June 7, 2017

Grand Marshal Dan Lopresti, Princeton *87, leads the Princeton University P-rade on Saturday afternoon during Reunions weekend. He is followed by alumni in festive attire grouped by graduating class, starting by tradition with the 25th reunion class. Participants share why they came for Reunions weekend in this week’s Town Talk, and more photos are featured on page 18. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

Princeton University held its 270th commencement ceremony on the green in front of Nassau Hall yesterday morning. A total of 1,268 seniors were awarded undergraduate degrees, three from former classes, and 988 students were recognized with graduate degrees.

The University also gave honorary degrees to five individuals for their contributions to public service, the sciences, athletics, education, and the humanities. Recognized were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball star and social activist; Juliet Villareal Garcia, the first Mexican-American woman president of a U.S. college or university; Pamela Matson, an academic leader in environmental science; Bunker Roy, Indian social activist and educator; and Jeremiah P. Ostriker, astrophysicist and former provost of Princeton University who helped establish its pioneering financial aid program. more

The Princeton School Board and the teachers’ union are ironing out the final details of a two-year extension to the current contract that would carry through to the end of the 2020 school year.

Seeking to avoid the kind of conflict and public demonstrations that characterized the contentious negotiations over the current contract, which were finally resolved two years ago, the board and the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) have laid the groundwork to reach an agreement at least a year before the contract expires on June 30, 2018.  more

In the primary races for governor, the only contested clashes on the ballot in Princeton, Phil Murphy, former Goldman Sachs executive and ambassador to Germany, easily defeated his Democratic opponents, and New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno eked out a close victory over Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli to gain the Republican nomination.

According to unofficial results, Mr. Murphy and Ms. Guadagno will be the candidates in the November 7 election for the four-year term to succeed Governor Chris Christie.  According to the Mercer County Clerk’s Office, with 94 percent (228 of 243) of districts reporting, Mr. Murphy received 10,488 votes or 45 percent of the vote, while John Wisniewski got 5,784 or 25 percent in the Democratic primary. Jim Johnson earned 5,396 votes, Raymond J. Lesniak 746, Bill Brennan 482, and Mark Zinna 158.  more

Members of Sourland Conservancy, Mercer County Parks Commission, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, and the D&R Greenway Land Trust all came together to plant over 300 native flowers, shrubs, and trees in support of the American Woodcock Habitat Restoration Project in Hopewell Borough Park. (Image Courtesy of Brianna DiPalermo)

SAVE HER A SEAT: Gita Varadarajan, second grade teacher at Riverside School, has co-authored a book, “Save Me a Seat,” that Rhode island selected for this year’s Kids Reading Across Rhode Island initiative. She looks forward to her ongoing career as an author and educator.

Rhode Island celebrated “Save Me a Seat Day” on May 13, 2017 in honor of a recently published book co-authored by Riverside School second grade teacher Gita Varadarajan.

As part of the One State, One Book initiative and Kids Reading Across Rhode Island 2017 for students in grades three to six, the special day included an event at the state house with the authors, writing workshops, book signings, family activities, and even Indian dance and cricket demonstrations related to the cross-cultural theme of the book. more

For years, Hawthorne Lane residents Phyllis Teitelbaum and Anthony Lunn were bothered by the roar of leaf blowers — even those grooming lawns at the other end of the street. It wasn’t just the din that they found troubling. The smell from the gas-powered engines was equally concerning.

“There is noise pollution and air pollution, and it is hundreds of times more than what is put out by cars,” Ms. Teitelbaum said. “We knew we had to do something.”

From reading letters to the editor in local publications, the couple knew that others in Princeton shared similar sentiments. They contacted each of the letter-writers, and gathered for a first meeting in January 2016. That marked the birth of Quiet Princeton, the goal of which is “to improve the quality of life in our town and to restore and enhance its peaceful and harmonious character, by removing and controlling sources of noise in the environment,” according to quietprinceton.org. more

DISCOVERING PRINCETON: This familiar Princeton image graces the title page of “Discovering Princeton: A Photographic Guide with Five Walking Tours” by photographer Wiebke Martens and historian Jennifer Jang, who will launch Library Live at Labyrinth with an appearance at Labyrinth Books on Tuesday, June 13, at 6 p.m.

Princeton residents Photographer Wiebke Martens and historian Jennifer Jang will launch the summer edition of the Library Live at Labyrinth series with an appearance at Labyrinth Books on Tuesday, June 13, at 6 p.m. They will discuss and show images from their new guidebook Discovering Princeton: A Photographic Guide with Five Walking Tours. The presentation will be followed by a 7 p.m. walking tour of the Princeton University campus.  more

Thinking, writing, talking constantly about the poem as a way of life …. —William Carlos Williams, from  The Autobiography

Imagine pitching this idea to a Hollywood producer: “It’s a film about a week in the life of a New Jersey bus driver who writes poetry, he’s living with a lovely woman and her English bulldog and when he goes out at night to walk the dog, he stops by a bar and has a few beers.” Long pause. The producer is waiting to hear when does the guy hold up the bar or turn out to be a serial killer who leaves poems attached to his victims, or at least, when does the girl get raped or killed. No such luck. Nobody gets hurt, unless you count what happens to the notebook the bus driver writes his poems in. When the producer’s eyes stop rolling, he asks what happens to the notebook. “Sorry,” says the writer/director. “I don’t wanta give away the plot.” Then, seeing that the producer is hyperventilating, he fills him in: “It’s the dog. The dog’s jealous of the poet. His name is Marvin. He’s amazing. Looks like Winston Churchill after a full meal.” Pause. “It’s, like, a slice of life film about poetry and love and dogs and things like that.” more

INTERACTIVE ART PLAYGROUND: “Impulse,” a new installation at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, features 15 giant seesaws that, once in motion, produce a harmonious sequence of sounds and lights. It will be at GFS from June 11-July 9. The above photo shows “Impulse” at Leicester Square Gardens in London, as part of the Pause and Play Festival. (Photo by James Munson)

Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) is featuring “Impulse,” a new installation at the 42-acre sculpture park comprised of 15 giant see-saws that will transform the southern end of the Great Lawn into a vast, illuminated interactive art playground. more

“MY GARDEN”: This floral painting by Joanne Smith Bodner is among the 16 works by local artists that will be on display from June 10-24 at the Sawmill Gallery at Prallsville Mill in Stockton.

The Hunterdon Watercolor Society will be hosting its 2017 art exhibit at the Sawmill Gallery at Prallsville Mill. Sixteen artists will be displaying not only watercolor paintings, but all media of art including oils and acrylics. The show opens Saturday, June 10 and runs through Saturday, June 24. Viewing hours are Monday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  more

With last Saturday night’s concert by Concordia Chamber Players, this year’s Princeton Festival is off and running. The Concordia ensemble brought only four instrumentalists to this opening concert of Princeton Festival’s 2017 season, but violinist Emily Daggett Smith, violist Ayane Kozasa, cellist Michelle Djokic, and pianist William Wolfram filled Princeton Theological Seminary’s Miller Chapel with a full orchestral-level sound in music both Romantic and contemporary.

The string musicians of Concordia Chamber Players began the concert with a tribute to an 18th-century giant by a late 20th-century composer. American composer Aaron Jay Kernis is renowned for his imaginative approach to orchestral color and instrumentation, and his 1991 Mozart En Route (Or, A Little Traveling Music) takes Mozart’s concept for the well-known A Little Night Music to new levels.  more

The Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) will host its sixth annual Concert Under the Stars fundraiser on Saturday, June 10, from 6:30–10 p.m. at the Updike Farmstead. This year’s event will feature live performances by four local bands: Stony Brook Bluegrass Band, Gravity Hill, East Coast Ambush, and The Goods. Jammin’ Crepes will serve a dinner menu prepared with local ingredients. Local craft beers will also be available.

Stony Brook Bluegrass Band will open the event, with their unique fusion of music from across the Appalachian Region. Stony Brook’s repertoire combines traditional bluegrass with re-interpretations of country and rock tunes from the members’ collective youths.  more

The Tradition Continues

Photography by Charles R. Plohn 


TOP SCHOLARS: Recipients of this year’s Women’s College Club of Princeton scholarships include, from left, Alexis Davis, Michelle Mendez-Castro, Lourdes Zamora, Fia Miller, Maria Servis, Isabel Roemer, Anna Cincotta, Jamaica Ponder, Katherine Bristol, and Alexxa Newman.

The Women’s College Club of Princeton held its annual Awards Tea in May. Now in its 101st year, the club has continued to help outstanding young women obtain higher education and this year awarded $29,000 in scholarships.

There were twelve recipients from four Princeton high schools. The Ramona S. Peyton Award in honor of a former member was presented to Katherine Bristol of the Hun School, who will attend The College of William and Mary. The Marjory White Memorial Scholarship in honor of a former member was granted to Alexis Davis of Princeton Day School, who will attend Ithaca College. The Luna Kayser Scholarship was given to Molly Rodas of Princeton High School, who will attend Kean University. The Harriet Peterson Award was given to Anna Cincotta of Princeton High School, who will attend Gettysburg College; and the Molly Updike Award was given to Isabel Roemer of Princeton High School, who will attend Georgetown University.  more

Princeton Theological Seminary’s 205th commencement was held on May 20 in the Princeton University Chapel, where 180 students were awarded 193 degrees. The Class of 2017 comes from 13 countries including Egypt, Germany, India, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Peru, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand; 30 states; and Washington D.C. Graduates will serve as pastors in churches, as hospital and prison chaplains, and in the mission field. They will teach in urban schools, minister on college campuses, and continue their studies, both in the U.S. and abroad.


NICK OF TIME: Princeton University men’s heavyweight rower Nick Mead, center, pulls hard in recent action for the varsity 8. Last Sunday, senior captain Mead ended his Princeton career by helping the varsity 8 place fourth in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta in Sacramento, Calif. Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications

Nick Mead gave up lacrosse to start rowing as a freshman at the Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pa.

Initially, Mead wasn’t sure if he had made the right decision. “I didn’t like it the first couple of months but I think that is pretty typical of rowing when you are first starting” said Mead.

“It is not very much fun. You are learning all the new things, you are getting blisters on your hands, and you are not going very fast.”

But with his father having rowed at Princeton and his mother and brother having rowed at Penn, Mead was destined to excel as an oarsman. He became a star at Episcopal, helping its 4+ win the 2013 Scholastic Rowing Association of America title. Mead also competed with the men’s US 8+ at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Trakai, Lithuania. more

Paul (Joel Edgerton) managed to find a safe refuge for his family that was far from the rest of humanity in order to escape the deadly plague that has been decimating the Earth’s population. At least that’s what he thought, until his wife Sarah’s (Carmen Ejogo) father somehow caught the disease.

After she and their son (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) said their goodbyes while wearing germ-proof respirators, Paul shot his father-in-law and cremated the body in order to prevent it from infecting them. As the body was being cremated, Travis the 17-year-old grandson, comforted himself by telling his pet dog Stanley “Don’t worry, I’m going to take care of you.” Unfortunately, Stanley is the next to die in It Comes at Night, a suspense thriller that is set inside a darkened cabin in the woods. more

FUNCTION, FORM, AND FLAIR: “We provide kitchens and bathrooms both for new houses and renovations. An updated kitchen or bathroom are also very helpful if you plan to sell the house. The kitchen and bathroom are the best return on an investment if you are selling the house” says Kate Furman, COO of Princeton Home Center, who is standing by a transitional style kitchen display featuring walnut cabinets, subway-style backsplash, and “Lattice” polished quartz countertops.

“If you can dream it, they can make it!”

Kate Furman, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Princeton Home Center, is referring to the amazing advances in kitchen and bathroom design today. The choices in cabinets, countertops, organizing systems, flooring, and hardware are so plentiful and attractive that almost any need or taste can be accommodated. more

GOURMET SPECIALTIES: “I think of us as a European market, with specialties that include hard-to-find epicurean products. We have so many choices, and we are especially known for our cheeses from around the world, chocolate from all over, and our baguettes freshly baked all day. In addition, we have a great staff. We challenge ourselves to do better every day,” says Bill Lettier, co-owner of Bon Appetit (left). He is shown (from left) with his co-owner and wife Marta, and staff members JoAnn, manager Jose, Cristain, and Gio.

Everyone loves Bon Appetit! A true Princeton treasure, it is located in the Princeton Shopping Center and it just keeps getting better and better!

Opened in 1967 by Carl and Virginia Andersen, it featured a cosmopolitan flavor from the beginning. Mr. Andersen was from Denmark, and Mrs. Andersen’s parents were Spanish and German. The Andersens emphasized products from around the world. more

BEST FRIENDS: This 13-year-old young rider, shown with his equine companion, Secret Agent, has made remarkable progress in the Unicorn Therapeutic Riding program in Pennington. “Our students have a wide variety of capabilities, and the benefits of the program are many, ranging from increased muscle strength and range of motion to improved self-esteem and confidence,” said Founder and Director Erin Hurley.

For individuals facing a disability or special needs, each day brings challenges that are ever-present. Whether the person is a child or adult, whether the challenges are physical, intellectual, or emotional, each individual must persevere to enjoy a quality of life and sense of independence that so many of us take for granted.

Fortunately, many programs are available to provide support, disseminate information, and direction to resources. Local agencies, federal and state governments, schools, YMCA/YWCA, community recreation programs, and camps are all ready to help special needs individuals to develop skills, participate to the best of their ability, and to feel included as an important member of the team or activity group. more

May 31, 2017

Sponsored by the Spirit of Princeton, Saturday’s Memorial Day parade ended with more than one bang at the Battle Monument. Former Army Ranger Kris Paronto was the grand marshal and guest speaker at the Monument Plaza ceremony.     (Photo by Emily Reeves)

It’s a familiar sight in Beatles lore, a theatre full of girls screaming and swooning to “She Loves You” and “Twist and Shout.” The scene in question was filmed by Pathe news in late November 1963 in Manchester. It’s striking how small and brittle the Beatles look this early in their career, upstaged by the hysteria, out of their depth, the mastered masters performing charades of frenzy on cue while the audience responds with the sobbing, shrieking passion of the real thing. But it’s more than mere frenzy these radiant girls are expressing, it’s the ecstasy of feeling free to let go, sob, laugh, dance, scream, be delirious.


DANGEROUS INVADER: Hydrilla, a fast-spreading invasive weed currently clogging sections of the D&R Canal, can grow an entirely new plant from a tiny stem fragment. Those using the canal for boating are advised to wash off their vessel after leaving the water to help stop the plant’s spread.

As if the emerald ash borer plaguing Princeton’s tree canopy wasn’t enough, there is another dangerous invader on the move. It’s Hydrilla, a fast-spreading invasive weed currently clogging sections of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.


ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: Dr. Aly Cohen, a local internist specializing in comprehensive rheumatology, integrative medicine, and environmental health, will present two more lectures in her Environmental Health Lecture Series at Princeton High School this Wednesday and next Wednesday.