October 23, 2013
ADDING TO THE GREENBELT: A new partnership has added a wooded lot on the Princeton Ridge to a chain of properties that environmentalists hope will form a ring of preserved open space around the town. (Photo by Eric Tazelaar)

ADDING TO THE GREENBELT: A new partnership has added a wooded lot on the Princeton Ridge to a chain of properties that environmentalists hope will form a ring of preserved open space around the town.
(Photo by Eric Tazelaar)

A wooded property on the Princeton Ridge that could have been developed for townhouses has been permanently preserved by a public-private partnership involving the municipality, Mercer County, New Jersey’s Green Acres Program, and the Borden Foundation. Known as the Klepper property, the 4.3-acre lot is just north of Ewing Street with frontage on the east side of Route 206.

Preservation of the wooded tract adds to a collection of lots totaling nearly 30 acres, according to Wendy Mager, president of the Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS). The site is close to the Ricciardi property, which was preserved in 2011 by many of the same partners.

“The property is almost opposite a 32-acre parcel that belongs to the water company and has a significant conservation easement,” Ms. Mager said. “It is well-placed to make a connection to Mount Lucas Road and other preserved properties. It is part of something that Friends of Princeton Open Space has been working on for many years — not just preserving isolated pieces, but preserving a greenbelt that extends around the town.”

The parcel was first brought to Ms. Mager’s attention in 2009 by Princeton planning director Lee Solow. “He pointed out that this would be a really good property to preserve,” she said. “We had been talking about other preservation projects on the ridge. When I tried to get in touch with Anne Klepper, one of the owners of this property, I learned that she had recently passed away. So I got in touch with her daughter.”

Leslie Klepper Arkin, who lives in New York, “didn’t really have much of a connection to the property,” Ms. Mager said. “Her parents had bought it quite a number of years ago. She was really learning from us why we thought it was so important to preserve, and it wasn’t hard to convince her.”

The site includes forests and wetlands that are particular to the environmentally sensitive Princeton Ridge, and is immediately adjacent to other undeveloped lots. “These lots have mature forests and provide an important habitat for some threatened species,” Ms. Mager said. “They are also part of an important system that helps prevent flooding in areas that are down-slope from the ridge.”

The property is part of a parcel that was approved several years ago for a 49-unit development, Princeton Senior Townhomes. Environmentalists including FOPOS and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association were opposed to the idea. A lawsuit by neighboring property owners resulted in a lower density than originally proposed, and preservation became an option.

The acquisition was completed using FOPOS’s Green Acres grant, grants to FOPOS and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation from the Mercer County open space program, funds from Princeton’s open space tax, and a grant from the Borden Foundation to cover the costs of appraisals, title work, and legal fees.

Ms. Mager said she hopes to talk with the owners of other lots that were part of the proposed development in an effort to persuade them to follow Ms. Klepper Arkin’s example and opt for preservation. “This is not the end of the story,” she said in a press release about the property. “It taught me that you should never give up on a property that is worth preserving. Projects get approved, but not all of them get built, and sometimes there is still a chance to turn things around. I especially appreciate the spirit of conservation and public-mindedness that Leslie Klepper Arkin showed in working with us.”

The property will be owned 65 percent by Princeton, 25 percent by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, and 10 percent by FOPOS.

 

Earlier this year, five candidates put their names forward for three open seats on the Princeton Board of Education: Molly Chrein, Thomas Hagedorn, Meeta Khatri, Dennis Scheil, and Andrea Spalla. Mr. Scheil has dropped out of the running, citing personal reasons, so there will be four candidates for the three three-year term seats when residents vote in the November 5 election.

Even though he is no longer a candidate, Mr. Scheil’s name will appear on the ballot because he withdrew after the deadline for inclusion.

In a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters last week, all four candidates responded to questions from the League and from the public. A second forum, sponsored by the Special Education PTO, will take place Monday, October 28, at 7 p.m. in the John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS). The public is encouraged to attend.

Incumbents Ms. Chrein and Ms. Spalla have been on the Board since 2010. In addition to their seats, a third seat was made vacant when Dorothy Bedford stepped down after serving six years and moved to Pennsylvania. The remainder of her term has been served by former Board President Anne Burns.

Ms. Chrein has lived in Princeton for almost a decade and is a Womanspace volunteer. She chairs the Board’s personnel committee and is a member of the student achievement committee. She also serves on the board’s negotiations team and is the liaison to the JWMS PTO. She has two children at Princeton High School (PHS): senior Lily Hyman and freshman Nathaniel Hyman. “I am passionate about public education and believe it is crucial to our democracy,” she said.

Ms. Spalla currently chairs the student achievement committee and is a member of committees on facilities and external affairs and personnel. A former attorney, she serves as the Board’s vice president and is liaison to the PTO Council and to the PTO at Riverside School.

A Princeton resident since 1998, Ms. Spalla has two sons, both went to Community Park School: James Royer is now a 7th grader at JWMS and Benjamin Royer is a 9th grader at PHS. “My legal background and knowledge of policy, governance, finance and contracts informs all my school board work. I am dedicated to serving our community. As a public school parent, I am enthusiastically committed to participating in the district’s robust process of continual improvement, so that every child gets an excellent education, every day,” said Spalla.

A professor of mathematics at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) for 17 years, Tom Hagedorn has lived in Princeton for almost two decades. His son Nick Hagedorn is a second-grader at Community Park Elementary School. Through his involvement with the school, Mr. Hagedorn has become informed “on many of the important issues in public education.” He has been a supporter of the school’s Edible Garden, participating in garden days and tending the garden during the summer, and co-organized a Chess Club in the fall and spring of last year. “Education has been my life’s vocation,” he said. “I am passionate about educating the whole student and ensuring that each student is given every opportunity to fulfill their potential. Academics are a top priority, but our children’s success should not be measured solely by their test scores.” If elected, Mr. Hagedorn hopes to use his experience as coordinator of a TCNJ-wide program to improve student graduation rates to help solve issues that currently confront the school district. He describes two priorities: “1: to set specific five-year benchmarks to ensure continued progress on tackling Princeton’s achievement gap; and 2: to help create a strategic plan for the Valley Road building to benefit the students and the community.”

“I would solve these issues through greater dialogue between parents and the community. While consensus may not be possible, I believe open discussions enable new innovative solutions. I also favor regular forums on education issues,” said Mr. Hagedorn.

Meeta Khatri moved to Princeton two years ago after having lived in West Windsor and East Windsor. A long-time educator, she has owned and operated a supplemental education learning center in Hamilton since 2002. Both of her children, Nikita Khatri and Anush Khatri attended St. Paul’s School in Princeton. “As an educator and owner of a learning center, I instruct children pre-K through 12th grade from five different public school districts,” said Ms. Khatri. “Regular interaction with their families, over 11 years, has informed me of the critical opportunity I have to boost student achievement. At my center, kids who remain enrolled for more than 12 months achieve a year above grade level in both math and reading. This goal is achievable for all students irrespective of their socio-economic background with a very small investment of time and money.”

“As an educator, I have extensive experience of both public and private schools in Mercer County and I would like to bring a fresh perspective to the board and to education policy,” said Ms. Khatri.

Asked about challenges facing the school district at the recent candidates forum, both Ms. Chrein and Ms. Spalla described budgetary concerns, new teacher evaluation and student testing systems, and the transition to a new superintendent. “The best way to deal with all three … is to keep our priorities straight and not become reactive but to be flexible while keeping our larger goals of excellence and achievement for each child always at the forefront of our decision making,” said Ms. Chrein.

In response to the same question, Mr. Hagedorn also identified financial pressures on the schools as a pressing issue as well as the challenges of the new state-mandated evaluation system. In addition, he called for “community expertise” on the future of the Valley Road School building and the achievement gap. “The district should work with the community to create specific plans to meaningfully close the achievement gap within the next five years,” he said.

Closing the achievement gap for low-income students was also a priority for Ms. Khatri who suggested “providing extra after school and in school attention on a daily basis, for as long as it takes.” To address unfunded state mandates, she raised the idea of students taking standardized tests digitally online. The burden of state-mandated evaluations. she said: “can be best achieved by providing as much information to those being evaluated in a timely manner, transparency within the process will ensure minimum strife. In the long run evaluations should happen on a regular schedule, with a process of feedback and remediation in place.”

The next candidates forum takes place at JWMS Monday, October 28 at 7 p.m. following an Open House from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

 

Princeton Councilwoman Jo Butler is being investigated by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for a 911 call she made on September 18 from the Dinky train station parking lot when no emergency was apparent. Contacting 911 without an emergency is a fourth degree indictable crime in New Jersey.

Princeton Patch, the online news website, first reported last Wednesday that Ms. Butler had made the call, which went to the Princeton Police dispatch. When an operator responded, Ms. Butler asked the dispatcher whether she was calling Princeton University’s Department of Public Safety or Princeton Police. When the dispatcher ignored her question and asked the nature of the emergency, Ms. Butler hung up.

The operator then called back. Ms. Butler said she was “an elected official” and did not mention an emergency. Ms. Butler has since said she made the call because of concerns she has about which organization responds to such calls.

Ms. Butler has been particularly vocal about this question. At the September 23 Council meeting, she asked whether calls made from a cell phone are sent to the town’s police or the University’s public safety department. Princeton police lieutenant Chris Morgan said, at first, that the university’s internal security program would get the call. Kristin Appelget, the University’s Director of Community and Regional Affairs, said she thought a call to 911 from a cell phone, made from the parking lot, would be directed to the town, adding, “But let’s clarify that.”

Asked for comment this week via email, Ms. Butler said she cannot voice an opinion while the matter is under investigation, but added, “This is an issue about which I have expressed much concern.”

Assistant Mercer County Prosecutor Kathleen Petrucci said yesterday that the case is still under investigation.

 

ACTIVE LEARNING: “The boys feel free to express themselves in the classroom. They can move about and be active, which can promote learning at a young age,” says Olen Kalkus, founding headmaster of Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart. In the photo, second graders in the Lower School have selected an unusual setting for their reading assignment.

ACTIVE LEARNING: “The boys feel free to express themselves in the classroom. They can move about and be active, which can promote learning at a young age,” says Olen Kalkus, founding headmaster of Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart. In the photo, second graders in the Lower School have selected an unusual setting for their reading assignment.

Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart is set apart from other independent schools in several ways. First, it is an all-boys day school, offering a traditional curriculum from Junior K through eighth grade.

Equally important, it is part of the network of the Sacred Heart Schools throughout the United States and around the world. Its near neighbor is Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart whose student enrollment is all girls, except for its pre-school, which accepts boys up to four years old.

In addition, Princeton Academy has a strong focus on the importance of character development and values. “I’m a big believer that character and values are embedded within the culture of the school,” says founding headmaster Olen Kalkus. “They are instilled here, and values and character are shown in how the boys treat each other and how the staff and faculty interact.

“200 years ago, it was expected that values would be taught in school. Over time, our society has gotten away from that, but at Princeton Academy, it is an important part of our mission, which is shaped by the Goals and Criteria adapted by the network of Sacred Heart Schools around the world.”

Guiding Principle

As explained in the school’s mission statement,

(1) “A personal and active faith in God is the guiding principle of Princeton Academy’s education, which is offered to students of all faiths.”

The other principles include:

(2) “A deep respect for intellectual values with the goal of helping each boy become a self-reliant thinker, reader, and learner.

(3) A social awareness which impels to action.

(4) Building community as a Christian value.

(5) Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom.”

Princeton Academy opened its doors in September of 1999 at 1128 The Great Road. The location on 50 acres was formerly home to a private residence, built in the 1930s, and later became Our Lady of Princeton Convent.

“The idea for the school started with a small group of parents about 15 years ago, who wanted to establish an all boys School of the Sacred Heart,” explains Mr. Kalkus. “It began with 34 students, kindergarten, first grade, and combined second and third grade, and four full time and three part time faculty.

“Today, we have 225 students, a 40-member faculty on a 50-acre campus. 50 percent of the student body is Catholic, and 50 percent members of other faiths. Parents of students of other religious denominations like the idea of an all-boys school and the values we emphasize at Princeton Academy.”

The school’s focus on educating boys is centered on the belief that at the earliest ages, boys develop and learn differently than girls. “We’re built around the Sacred Heart values and the current research on how boys develop and learn,” points out Mr. Kalkus. “Developmentally, boys progress more slowly verbally than girls. These differences are more pronounced at younger ages, and we need to keep the boys engaged to help them develop a love of learning. I believe we are the only all-boys elementary school in the state of New Jersey.”

Active and Energetic

Boys are active and energetic, and don’t sit quietly at a young age. These factors are all taken into consideration at Princeton Academy. Classrooms are configured so that boys can move about and be active.

“We combine academics, play, and activities. Physical education, recess, and exercise are very important,” says the headmaster. “Studies have shown that cognitive skills are also developed through exercise and play. During recess and after school, the youngest boys just like to play. It’s like the old-fashioned neighborhood, where all the kids got together for unstructured games and sports. This can be a great learning experience. Our teachers understand boys’ development and that they need to be active, and that indeed, activity serves to engage boys’ brains.”

“Boys do better when they are active. They need to burn off energy,” agrees Princeton Academy director of admission Tom von Oehsen. “Some of our classes  begin with running. There is a lot of activity in the classroom.

“Sometimes, boys stand at their desk and move about. We accommodate to the fact that boys need to move, and then they will learn better.”

Princeton Academy has produced an enlightening video featuring many of its concepts regarding educating boys. Included are five principles.

(1) “Boys learn best when they are navigators of their own learning.

(2) Boys learn best deductively.

(3) Boys learn best when given clear goals and feedback.

(4) Boys learn best when they are not afraid of failure.

(5) Boys learn best through relational experiences.”

Academic Excellence

“We emphasize an environment that motivates, excites, and interests a boy, that helps him think he is involved in his learning,” explains Mr. Kalkus, who also enjoys teaching a weekly seminar for eighth graders on decision-making and how the brain works.

The school is committed to academic excellence, and the curriculum is challenging, beginning in kindergarten. “Today’s kindergarten is more like first grade,” notes Mr. Kalkus. “It is all-day, and focuses on reading and writing, not just play and activities. Throughout all grades, we have small class sizes, with 12 to 16 students. In kindergarten and first grade, there is a teacher and assistant, so there is a lot of individual attention. Also, teachers are available after class to give extra help.

“Our curriculum is similar to that of many independent schools, and additionally there is a spiritual aspect to our school. We offer very broadly-oriented religion classes. We study the Old Testament, the New Testament, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and other faiths.”

An added feature in the Middle School is “Tea Time” in the religion classes. “ The idea is that with one cup of tea, you may be a stranger, with the second, you are a friend, and with the third cup, you are family,” explains Mr. Kalkus. “The boys really look forward to this.”

A love of reading is encouraged from the earliest grades, and the school has an excellent library. The boys often spend time there after school finishing homework assignments or reading. “We definitely try to introduce boys to the pleasure of reading at a young age,” says Mr. Kalkus.

Of course, technology is a major focus in most schools today, including at Princeton Academy. “We do a lot with technology,” he continues. “In the lower schools, iPads and lap-top computers are available in Junior kindergarten through fifth grade, and our fourth graders are creating power point presentations. We provide sixth, seventh, and eighth graders with iPads, and there is a clear reduction in paper use. The iPad can become a text book, note book, and library. The possibilities and versatility are amazing.”

Appropriate Use

“Also, we focus on instructional technology with the first year of the iPad. We want to emphasize appropriate use of technology. We currently have four mobile lap-top computer labs. Each mobile lab contains 16 Apple Macintosh wireless lap-top computers. The mobile labs enable teachers to bring the ‘computer’ lab into their classrooms to enhance the subject matter of the current lesson. Thus, the computer is used as a tool of the curriculum rather than becoming the curriculum. We are building content knowledge and 21st century skills.”

Princeton Academy has an innovative approach to learning another language; it focuses on only one: Spanish. Junior kindergarten students start leaning Spanish, and continue through eighth grade. “I believe it is more important to know one other language thoroughly,” notes Mr. Kalkus.

As part of its curriculum, the school offers classes in the arts, such as music and visual arts, and the students also perform in a musical production every year.

After school programs and sports are important at Princeton Academy. The sports program includes soccer, cross-country, basketball, squash, wrestling, baseball, lacrosse, and tennis. Boys in the Middle School have an opportunity to be on a team and compete with other schools in the area. “The boys learn how to compete appropriately,” points out Mr. Kalkus.

Other after school programs include computer programming, strategic games, music, and drama, as well as a homework club.

“The boys can do their homework after school,” says the headmaster. “We believe in academic excellence without piling on homework. It’s finding the right balance.”

Community Service

Caring for other people and the world around them is emphasized at the school. Helping others through community service is stressed at all grade levels. As Mr. Kalkus points out, “We have all-school projects in which the boys gather produce and give it to food kitchens. And we also have division projects, when every grade level establishes its own service project. The Middle School has a relationship with HomeFront, and invites HomeFront children here to play games.

“Some of the students come up with their own ideas. For example, the boys have a fundraiser for SAVE, and have created animal toys. Also, the Chaplain let us know about a family that had lost everything in a fire. The boys decided to adopt the family for Christmas, and collected food and gifts for them.”

Instilling a sense of gratitude among the boys is another focus at the school. Each Friday, the entire student body and faculty gather to offer “Friday Thank Yous.”

“The time of thanks begins with words of welcome and reminds everyone of this wonderful week of exploration and learning they have experienced,” says Mr. Kalkus. “It is good to go through life with a healthy sense of thankfulness. I believe that this thankfulness (not guilt) can guide us to become more compassionate people and a more compassionate community.”

The boys come up with gratitude for everything from “thanking my dad for driving me to school” to “thanking my teachers” to “thanking Tommy for sharing the swing with me” to “thanking my classmates for welcoming me into the school.”

Many of the parents (who occasionally join in the Friday Thank You sessions) are also very pleased with Princeton Academy’s combined focus on academics, character, and values. As a non-Catholic parent of a Middle School student explained: “It’s the values and the education that are so important. I’m a Hindu, but love, kindness, and compassion are emphasized at Princeton Academy, and these don’t belong to just one religion.”

Respect and Brotherhood

Added the father of a Lower School boy: “There’s a strong sense of brotherhood and respect for others. The school is consistent with the values we are trying to instill at home.”

Princeton Academy has recently completed phase one of a renovation of many of its buildings. New state-of-the-art science and prep labs, 10 new classrooms, a Junior K/K suite, and larger student common areas are now available.

Geothermal wells were installed on the school’s grounds to provide an alternative source of energy. All of the building and renovation projects will reinforce Princeton Academy’s commitment to environmentally-responsible and sustainable designs. In addition to the new geothermal heating and cooling system, the project includes features such as skylights for improved natural light and state-of-the-art insulation and energy efficient electrical fixtures. When combined with plans to add on-site solar energy, these features will create an opportunity to reduce the school’s energy consumption requirements.

“We try to express the importance of this to the boys,” remarks Mr. Kalkus. “To change behavior, you need immediate feedback. For example, if boys fill up their own water bottle at the water fountain in the Middle School, a register shows how many plastic bottles have been saved from going to a land fill. Recently, the number was 4,659.”

Remaining renovation work at the school will include a new music wing with both instrumental and choral music rooms and practice rooms, a new infirmary, a larger space for the visual arts, and a technology center.

In honor of its upcoming 15th anniversary in 2014, the school plans a series of celebratory events, which will include speakers and various happenings throughout the year.

Timeless Values

Princeton Academy prides itself on its commitment to providing a diverse student body, and financial assistance is available to students. It is the school’s mission to extend its educational philosophy to a broad community of students.

“We’re about educating boys in the best way to help them grow into young men of character,” points out Mr. Kalkus. “It is so important to offer the timeless values of the Sacred Heart. You need an anchor to navigate the storm of change in the world today. The pace of change keeps increasing so rapidly.

“We want our boys to become critical thinkers, problem-solvers, communicators, and collaborators. The school recognizes that both the successes and failures of students is an opportunity for development. We offer an environment in which students have the freedom to learn how to accept responsibility for their actions, to feel pride in their achievement, and to grow from mistakes. In order to have innovative discovery, you need to have a strong foundation. The school’s mission is to develop young men who, when faced with the challenges of these times, will make the right choices.”

 

page1

The Princeton University Marching Band opened festivities on Hinds Plaza Sunday. October 20, when the sixth annual Princeton Reads began with activities around the themes in this year’s selection, Matthew Quick’s novel, “The Silver Linings Playbook.” (Photo by Emily Reeves)

 

October 18, 2013
PRESENTING “PADIDDLE”: The cover of this latest work by local poet and teacher Betty Lies features a vintage photograph of her parents. Ms. Lies read from this, her third and newest collection of poems, in the Princeton Public Library last Saturday, October 11.

PRESENTING “PADIDDLE”: The cover of this latest work by local poet and teacher Betty Lies features a vintage photograph of her parents. Ms. Lies read from this, her third and newest collection of poems, in the Princeton Public Library last Saturday, October 11.

In a launch of her third book of poetry at the Princeton Public Library, Saturday, Betty Bonham Lies jumped right in with the poem that opens Padiddle, and sets the tone for the first of the book’s three sections.

“Sex everywhere;/the earth/hums dark with sex/last summer’s swinging seeds/are coupling in/the most unlikely corners.” So begins “Panspermia,” after the epigram explains the term as the “hypothesis that the seeds of life are ubiquitous in the universe and may have been delivered to Earth and … other habitable bodies.”

Sex and love, memory and marriage feature large in this book, which follows The Blue Laws and The Day After I Drowned. Ms. Lies’s work can be heartbreaking and funny, often both at the same time.

In The Day After I Drowned she writes of profound loss, her husband’s illness and death. In Padiddle, she gives us scenes from her own marriage as well as celebrations of couples and coupling. Judy Rowe Michaels puts it this way: “Betty Lies revels in possibility of form, wordplay, music, and above all, in the possibilities of coupling … pairs of words marry their way into metaphor, and she sees possibilities even in the most unlikely couples.”

Ms. Lies’s imagination yields some surprising pairings here: Emily Dickinson and Elvis, Paul Bunyan and Julia Child, Zeus and Amelia Earhart. My favorite is “At the Ball, Johnny Depp Approaches Miss Austen” but “Martha Stewart Drops in on Beowulf’s Mead Hall,” comes in a close second. Ms. Lies knows how to entertain.

“Of course, most of these pairings don’t turn out that well,” she told the audience, before describing the source of her “Sleeping with Wiglaf,” inspired not so much by the hero from the Beowulf epic as by her son’s cat of the same name. “Wiglaf was separated from his mother too early and had some intellectual and social problems, the saddest thing was that he used to suck his little paw,” she said.

Beowulf, pussycats, the vast soupy cosmos, all are grist for this poet’s wit. Her subjects range across a vast landscape of imagination, from the classical to the whimsical. From a Japanese temple dedicated to broken sewing needles to fabric softener. Even, she said, in a television anchor’s blooper, launching into a poem from an earlier collection. In reporting fires in the mountains behind Santa Barbara the newsman had spoken of “erotic” rather than “erratic” winds.

In case you are wondering, the book’s title, “Padiddle,” comes from a night time driving game: a kiss for every one-eyed car (i.e. with only one headlight working) spotted. One of my favorites from Padiddle is short enough to quote here in its entirety:

LOVE SONG IN POLKA TIME

The moon’s long horn dips deep

in the cup of ocean.

Let’s have a jamboree:

You be the oak,

I’ll be the sky,

I’ll be the jewelweed,

you be the bee

and sting me till I die.

Ms. Lies read the poem inspired by the circa 1930 photograph of her parents that appears on the book’s cover. It shows Bonnie and Bert (oddly enough he is Bonnie, a nickname derived from his last name of Bonham, and she is Bert, short for Bertha, a name she hated, said Ms. Lies) on the day of their engagement. “The Two of Them,” is a loving tribute to her parents and it opens the books second section.

In the third section, are poems written after the death of Ms. Lies’s husband. As Ms. Michaels notes, Ms. Lies “isn’t afraid to look back and knows ‘The air keeps moving/for a while/after the flute has stopped.”

Ms. Lies came to Princeton in 1961 and taught English at Stuart Country Day School for 25 years. She also taught at The College of New Jersey and is a Distinguished Teaching Artist for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a Geraldine R. Dodge Poet for the the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. She currently teaches at Princeton’s Evergreen Forum and is a cherished member of the local US1 Poets’ Cooperative, for which she guides the annual journal, U.S.1 Worksheets, as its senior poetry editor. She has earned the Governor’s Award in Arts Education and been awarded several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

With her son, Brian Lies, the noted children’s book author and illustrator, she wrote a guidebook for teachers of creative writing: The Poet’s Pen: Writing Poetry with Middle and High School Students (1993). Brian Lies is known for his bats series: Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and others. He is a regular at the Library’s annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival.

Another of Ms. Lies’s titles, Earth’s Daughters: Stories of Women in Classical Mythology, was facilitated by a stay at the Vermont Studio Center. It was written to address the imbalance she perceived in existing books on mythology which featured gods, heroes, and monsters prominently and women only marginally.

For Ms. Lies, poetic inspiration comes from images or scraps of language, her process is one of discovery. “I try not to write about ideas because that never works,” she said. “If I know what I’m thinking it doesn’t work; you have to discover that by writing. I tell a child: surprise yourself, don’t try to control the poem, take your hands off the controls and let your poem soar.”

Although she wrote poetry all through her childhood, which was rural rather than urban, a fact that surfaces in her work, she more or less gave it up when she reached college, where it was discouraging to find a canon of “only dead, white, European and American male poets.” It wasn’t until the late 80s when Ms. Lies was already a seasoned teacher that she rediscovered her muse. Having invited poet Lynn Powell, then a Princeton resident, into her English class at Stuart, and working together with her students on assignments set by Ms. Powell, Ms. Lies began to write. At Ms Powell’s urging, she joined the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative and then went on to found, with several other U.S.1 members, the Cool Women group. It was fellow member of the Cool Women group, Lois M. Harrod, who gave Padiddle it’s shape, said Ms. Lies. “Lois actually put the poems in order, then formatted it all on her computer to send to the publisher. I am intensely grateful to her.” Padiddle is published by Cool Women Press.

Ms. Lies’s Saturday reading took less than 20 minutes and seemed even shorter. At one point a member of the audience was heard to whisper to another, “She’s sensational.”

Fellow poet Scott McVay praises Padiddle as the work of a “wise conscious woman.”

The poet, now working on her next collection, has set herself a high standard to follow Padiddle. But, since the intrepid Ms. Lies is about to embark on a trip to the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon, her readers can be confident of even more surprising discoveries.

 

October 17, 2013
A COUNTER TENOR ON CAMPUS: Aryeh Nussbaum-Cohen’s unique ability to sing in a soprano register earned him three grants last summer to spend time with experts on music in the Baroque period. The results of that intensive study will be the focus of the Princeton University junior’s recital on Saturday at Mathey College.

A COUNTER TENOR ON CAMPUS: Aryeh Nussbaum-Cohen’s unique ability to sing in a soprano register earned him three grants last summer to spend time with experts on music in the Baroque period. The results of that intensive study will be the focus of the Princeton University junior’s recital on Saturday at Mathey College.

Aryeh Nussbaum-Cohen has always liked to sing. When he was in seventh grade, his parents signed him up for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, which rehearsed just down the block from his school. Soon, he was performing with the New York Philharmonic and other famous arts organizations, at such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

As with most boys, his voice dropped when he entered his teens. But unlike most boys, he retained the ability to sing soprano — and sing it well. It was then that Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen, now a 19-year-old junior at Princeton University, joined the rare and specialized ranks of counter tenors. These vocalists are prized for their mastery of unusually high registers, a talent especially important in music from the baroque period.

Baroque music is the focus of a recital Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen will present on Saturday, October 19 at 4 p.m. in the Mathey College Common Room of the University’s Lower Madison Hall. The program, which features music by Vivaldi, Dowland, Handel, Purcell, and Clerambault, is the culmination of the singer’s intensive study of Baroque music this past summer, made possible by three separate funding awards from the University’s Office of the Dean of the College, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the Department of Music.

Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen attended the Early Music Vancouver Festival in British Columbia, and the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute in Ohio. He also spent time being coached in New York with experts in the field, including Princeton ’04 alumnus Anthony Roth-Costanzo, who sings with the Metropolitan Opera.

“This past summer, I really began to appreciate, more than ever before, the incredible beauty and intimacy of Baroque music,” said Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen, whose speaking voice, while not deep, doesn’t sound different from other young men his age. “Everything then was performed in small living rooms, even big operas. The theaters back then were tiny. With that comes a lot of real delicacy with the text. This music was really so much more about the text than later classical music. It’s also about beautiful singing, but mostly about bringing out the text.”

Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen, who likes classic rock and jazz as well as classical music, can sing in a lower register. But he doesn’t do it often. “I don’t have much choice because this feels like my natural voice,” he said of the higher sound. “I can sing in a lower register and I do, but I mostly do ‘up there’ because that’s what I train, and that’s what feels most comfortable.”

His ability to sing in the range usually reserved for female sopranos is “very unusual,” Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen acknowledged. It can provoke a mix of reactions from his peers. “It’s a very shocking experience to see someone who is clearly a man open his mouth and sound like a woman,” he said. “I get a kick out of it. There is something about the counter tenor voice that is kind of haunting. It’s not that it’s a woman’s voice in a man’s body. It has something about it that is surprising to people, and also draws people in in a way that I’ve always found remarkable.”

As Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen explains it, the repertory he sings was written for castrated men (castrati), who were celebrated in their era. “In the 17th century, castrati were the rock stars of the day. They drew huge crowds,” he said. “Women were falling all over them, like sex icons. Castration ended in the mid-17th century, but around the 1940s the repertoire started to be performed more. Alfred Deller, a British choirboy whose voice dropped, retained the voice, and he’s kind of the father of the counter tenor voice. He brought the music back into the forefront and paved the way for counter tenors like me.”

Mr. Nussbaum-Cohen began to study classical music in earnest while a student at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, otherwise known as “the Fame school.” But he has always made time for additional interests. “I didn’t want to give up my other intellectual passions like politics,” he said. At Princeton, he is a political history major with a minor in vocal performance.

But singing is clearly part of his future. “This is what I’m planning on,” he said. “I love it. And now that Baroque music is really in fashion again, counter tenors are never out of work.”

 

October 16, 2013
LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING: Former high school teacher and New Jersey resident Matthew Quick will discuss his novel “The Silver Linings Playbook” as the culmination of the 2013 Princeton Reads at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 15 in the John Witherspoon Middle School auditorium. This Sunday, October 20, sees the start of Princeton Reads with pep rally festivities on Hinds Plaza.

LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING: Former high school teacher and New Jersey resident Matthew Quick will discuss his novel “The Silver Linings Playbook” as the culmination of the 2013 Princeton Reads at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 15 in the John Witherspoon Middle School auditorium. This Sunday, October 20, sees the start of Princeton Reads with pep rally festivities on Hinds Plaza.

Read the book. See the film. Meet the author. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick is this year’s selection for Princeton Reads, Princeton Public Library’s town-wide literacy and literary celebration held every other year.

The reading program is bound to get everyone talking about the issue of mental illness as it is depicted in Mr. Quick’s novel; meanwhile the library will offer plenty of opportunity for discussions on this and other aspects of the book in the coming weeks.

Princeton Reads begins Sunday, October 20, with a pep rally of family-friendly activities inspired by “silver linings,” and culminates in an appearance by Mr. Quick at John Witherspoon Middle School on Friday, November 15, at 7 p.m. The author will discuss The Silver Linings Playbook and his latest young adult novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.

Besides mental health and “silver linings”, The Silver Linings Playbook explores the importance of family and community as well as the role of classic literature through the story of its main character, Pat Peoples, a former high school history teacher who has been recently released from a mental health facility. Mr. Quick, who likes to go by the moniker “Q,” drew upon personal experiences as a former teacher of literature and film at Haddonfield Memorial High School and as a behavioral therapist working with individuals who had suffered traumatic brain injuries. Originally from Philadelphia, he was raised in Oaklyn, New Jersey and now lives in Massachusetts.

With this book, the Princeton Public Library has taken the opportunity to create a community forum on the subject of mental health with film screenings and discussions, including one with representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

As Mr. Quick’s character Pat tries to win back his estranged wife by adopting a philosophy of being “kind instead of right,” he finds his life transformed through a series of encounters with relatives and friends old and new. His path leads from the stands of Philadelphia Eagles home games to the floor of an unusual ballroom dance competition.

“The selection of ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’ is a catalyst for the community to have a discussion about the stigmas and hardships faced by both sufferers of mental illness and their families,” said Leslie Burger, executive director of Princeton Public Library. “We hope the book, and the many scheduled programs and events associated with it, create awareness about helping people get the diagnoses and treatment they need.”

The film adaptation of Mr. Quick’s book was nominated for no less than eight Academy Awards earlier this year. Described as “super engaging, warm and sharply funny” the film starred Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Chris Tucker. Ms. Lawrence won the Oscar for best actress.

“This is the sixth time we’re doing Princeton Reads, and this book is kind of different for several reasons,” commented Tim Quinn, the library’s marketing and communications director, citing the book as “accessible” and with many aspects to promote active discussions. It also involves football and is the first Princeton Reads selection with a major movie tie-in.

One other reason to add might well be the chance to include some fun family activities such as the Garbage Bag Run involving Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder, John Witherspoon Middle School Principal Jason Burr, and other Princeton notables leading a run from Princeton High School to Hinds Plaza on Sunday.

The run will begin at 10 a.m. and end around 11 a.m. Garbage bags like the one worn  by the main character in The Silver Linings Playbook will be provided at the starting line. Children 10 and under are welcome to ride scooters and bikes. Strollers and wagons are welcome, too. Everyone taking part in the run will be entered into a drawing for tickets to a 2013 Princeton University football home game of their choice. Winners will be selected at the pep rally following the run.

The day’s activities will include marching bands, a tailgate party, prizes and more. In addition to 50 pompoms, Princeton University has donated 100 tickets to its November 2 game against Cornell for distribution during the pep rally and at other Princeton Reads programs.

At around 12:30 p.m. there will be a Football Fanatics Competition of participants dressed in support for their favorite teams. Face paint, jerseys, and imagination are encouraged. Then at 1 p.m., the Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys showdown will be screened in the library’s Community Room. This game between division rivals has special significance in Mr. Quick’s book.

Other related events include a screening of the film Silver Linings Playbook on Friday, November 1, at 6:30 p.m.; a discussion of the book led by librarian Janie Hermann on Sunday, November 3, at 3 p.m.; a second screening and a discussion with representatives of the Mercer County chapter of NAMI, about how mental illness is depicted in the film, on Saturday November 9, at 3 p.m.; and a “Story Slam” focused on the “silver linings” experiences of participants who are asked to bring along a prepared story or poem of three minutes or less to share on Tuesday, November 12, at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit: www.princetonlibrary.org.

 

The second parking enforcement officer suspended last month for not ticketing vehicles displaying logos of some downtown stores on their dashboards was given a four-week suspension without pay, and reassigned to one of the municipal parking garages as an attendant.

The fate of Jon Hughes was decided following an internal investigation into parking enforcement activities. The investigation was launched after it was revealed by the news website Planet Princeton last month that vehicles with certain menus, shopping bags, and other items on their dashboards were being allowed to park at metered spaces for up to 10 hours at a time without being ticketed. Parking officer Chris Boutote was fired as a result of the investigation.

Mr. Hughes was reassigned after it was found he had improperly dismissed a parking ticket. At a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night, municipal administrator Bob Bruschi explained why Mr. Hughes was suspended but not terminated. “We were not able to uncover anything on him other than he didn’t follow normal procedure on a summons,” he said.

Mr. Boutote was a former Borough police officer earning $48,109 a year with a $4,400 pension. Mr. Hughes earns $44,000 a year. The municipality will not pursue criminal charges, but the case has been turned over to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Mr. Bruschi said.

“We will be meeting with Princeton officials and law enforcement representatives next week to discuss its investigation into the parking issue and why that investigation has not resulted in criminal charges being filed,” said Casey A. DeBlasio, public information officer for the Prosecutor’s Office, in an e-mail yesterday.

Earlier on Monday, Mr. Bruschi said there had been rumors in recent years about officers getting free food and drink in exchange for favors. He declined to name the businesses involved in the scheme, but said he thought it was staff, rather than owners of the businesses, who were involved. “I’m disappointed in the way they took advantage of the system,” he said. “We followed up on all the calls we got but nobody would talk.”

At the Council meeting, he said the municipality and the police department are trying to come up with a system to make such behavior more difficult to carry out. “We won’t look at hiring anyone [to replace Mr. Boutote and Mr. Hughes] until I’m satisfied we have a new system,” he said. “Hopefully, it won’t happen again. But one never knows.”

 

Witherspoon Grill’s fifth annual Harvest and Music Festival is Sunday, October 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Hinds Community Plaza adjacent to the Princeton Public Library. Live music and an array of foods for purchase will be available, all proceeds of which benefit the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (T.A.S.K.).

Participants are Witherspoon Grill, Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar, Button’s Creperie, and Sweet Mama’s desserts. Kids can take part in pumpkin painting, apple dipping, face painting, pie-eating contests, and other attractions. There will be live music from Franklin & Alison, Pi Fight, Joe Vadala, Rest Assured and Jon & Mike.

Witherspoon Grill and Blue Point Grill have been collecting donations of food, hygiene, and monetary items for T.A.S.K. and will continue to do so through October 21st. Items can be dropped off at either location and also at the Princeton Public Library October 6-16. Needed are: canned spaghetti sauce, instant oatmeal packs, Chef Boyardee microwave cans, coffee, tea, dry pasta, granola bars, peanut butter, jelly, salad dressing, individual servings of Jell-O or pudding that do not require refrigeration, and juice boxes. Hygiene items including toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, razors, shampoo, and hand/body lotion are also appreciated. Also being collected are large plastic storage boxes to deliver the food.

For more information, visit www.witherspoongrillharvestandmusicfestival.com.

Author and Harvard professor Ruth Wisse will be at Princeton Public Library Thursday, October 17, at 7 p.m. to discuss her book No Joke: Making Jewish Humor. Part of the library’s Thinking Allowed series of author talks co-sponsored by the library and Princeton University Press, the talk will be in the library’s Community Room.

Ms. Wisse’s book is about the most celebrated of all Jewish responses to modernity. She evokes and applauds the “genius of spontaneous Jewish joking” as well as works by writers like Heinrich Heine, Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, S. Y. Agnon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Philip Roth. At the same time, she draws attention to the precarious conditions that have called Jewish humor into being — and the price it may exact from its practitioners and audience.

All Princeton Public Library programs are free and open to the public. If programs require registration, preference is given to library cardholders. The physically challenged should contact the library at (609) 924-9529 48 hours before any program with questions about special accommodations.

Opinions expressed during programming at Princeton Public Library do not necessarily reflect the views of the library, its staff, trustees or supporters. For more information about library programs and services, call (609) 924-9529 or visit www.princetonlibrary.org.

 

October 9, 2013
FILMING PRINCETON: For the last five years, filmmaker Brad Mays has been researching, interviewing, and honing his feature-length documentary “I Grew up in Princeton,” which premiers in the Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School Friday, October 18, at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit: https://iguip.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Admin@igrewupinprinceton.com, or visit: www.igrewupinprinceton.com.(Photo by Linda A. Carroll)

FILMING PRINCETON: For the last five years, filmmaker Brad Mays has been researching, interviewing, and honing his feature-length documentary “I Grew up in Princeton,” which premiers in the Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School Friday, October 18, at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit: https://iguip.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Admin@igrewupinprinceton.com, or visit: www.igrewupinprinceton.com. (Photo by Linda A. Carroll)

During the past five years award-winning Indie filmmaker and Princeton High School alumnus Brad Mays has done a lot of thinking. It’s been a period of change for the filmmaker. After losing his wife to cancer and moving from Hollywood, California to Hollywood, Florida, he reconnected with old friends, and, as he worked on his latest feature-length documentary, he found common ground with some of the Princeton adults he once regarded as “the enemy” during a time of protest against the Vietnam War.

Mr. Mays will be back in his hometown to premiere his film, I Grew up in Princeton, in the Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School (PHS), Friday, October 18, at 8 p.m., on the eve of the 40th reunion of his 1973 class.

The filmmaker got his start as an intern at -McCarter Theatre before going on to direct dozens of stage, television, and independent film productions. About five years ago, his late wife suggested that since he was an accomplished filmmaker he should compile a video journal for the upcoming reunion of his graduating class. But when Mays began interviewing fellow graduates, he found a recurring theme dominated their conversations. Vietnam.

“The Vietnam War was a tipping point in history for my generation,” said Mr. Mays. “As I started having initial conversations with former classmates, Colin Dougherty and Elizabeth Carpenter come to mind, it started to crystallize that this wasn’t just a ‘reunion’ video, but an in-depth look at a troubling time and a series of events that impacted all of our lives.”

“The film brings all of us back to that time, but this isn’t nostalgia,” said Mr. Mays. “Sixty people tell their stories and in so doing present a collective story. A huge part of that story is the “brouhaha” that took place over the IDA [Institute for Defense Analysis], which became a symbol of the Vietnam War and the focus of protests. At that time, IDA was thought to be in cahoots with the war machine and plotting bombing routes in Cambodia. If that had been true, it would have been noble to protest against it,” but, said Mr. Mays, as he now knows and as the film reveals, the story was a little more complicated. “I didn’t go looking for skeletons in closets, but they found me.”

“One event became the centerpiece of recollection for most,” Mays recalled. “It blew the town apart, the University apart, an event that combined all of the toxic elements of that time. But I won’t say more as you have to see the film.”

Mr. Mays’s extensive interviews included current and former Princeton residents: cartoonist Arnold Roth, former IDA Director Lee -Neuwirth, former Superintendent of Princeton Regional Schools Phil McPherson, famed artist Nelson Shanks, author Zachary Tumin of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and political activists James Tarlau and David Schankler, both former members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

What emerges is a deeply personal “coming-of-age story” that yields perspective on the role of perception in a town that was split racially, economically and sociologically. I Grew up in Princeton documents the town during the political and cultural change of the 1960s and 1970s. It features footage of Martin Luther King, Jr., African-American author James Baldwin, radical activists H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, and president Richard M. Nixon.

The film’s scope takes in a broad range of topics, from experimental public educational programs and the war to the expressions of exploding arts and counter-cultural communities, both on the Princeton University campus and within the local community of “townies.” It has an original score by composer Jon Negus, who also grew up in Princeton before studying jazz at the University of Miami and making a name for himself on Chicago’s music scene.

“I did a lot of navel contemplation as I went through the editing process,” Mr Mays revealed. “I must have spent 1000 hours editing the film and I am very proud of it.”

The process provided an opportunity to rethink some of his own views. Of his interview with former IDA Director Neuwirth, Mr. Mays said: “I was expecting Dr. Strangelove. Instead I found a very liberal guy, a very gentle and cultured man who sat me down and showed me photographs that he had taken of the demonstrations at the time, which was clearly a very distressing time for him and his family. Today, I feel privileged to be in his company.” In spite of the rumors about bombing in Cambodia, the people at IDA were actually doing cryptography, Mr. Mays said.

This comes out in the film, which Mays describes as “a very aggressive and visceral experience that takes you right back there. It’s an honest piece that shows the backdrop of anger and paranoia at that time.” Others have described it as “funny and horrifying at the same time.” By all accounts it’s a must-see for Princeton.

While thinking about the film’s biographic title, the filmmaker discovered that he had grown up more than once in Princeton. “When I was bussed in from West Windsor to attend PHS, I found a community that embraced me. Going back to Princeton to make this film has been a second maturation process. Princeton keeps you young, going back was like being baptized again,” he said.

In spite of the line that advertises it, “Stories you never expected to hear about a town you thought you knew,” the film is far from an -exposé said the filmmaker, who suggests a closer affinity to the work of Studs Terkel.

The screening will take place on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the class of 1973. Mr. Mays is hoping that former Superintendent McPherson might be there. “What a great guy he is,” said Mr. Mays. “He wanted to deal with national issues in the local setting of Princeton, and he did. He also upset a lot of people.”

By many accounts, I Grew up in Princeton is a “funny, absorbing, and occasionally shocking portrait of a very special time and place, a mosaic of memory, imagery, and music.” It is bound to set Princeton talking.

Mr. Mays will be back in his hometown to premiere I Grew up in Princeton in the Performing Arts Center at Princeton High School (PHS), Friday, October 18, at 8 p.m. For tickets, visit: https://iguip.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Admin@igrewupinprinceton.com, or visit: www.igrewupinprinceton.com.

GARLIC CONNECTION: Dorothy Mullen, garden educator and Princeton School Gardens Cooperative co-founder, planted garlic last Sunday with Drew Becher, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society president, Luca and Milla Petrecca, and Anna Eaton, to celebrate the collaboration of the two nonprofits — and Riverside’s placement as the finale on the garden tour. The tour, its first in the area since 2002, was a sellout, with more than 400 registrants visiting public and private gardens in Hopewell and Princeton.(Photo by Jennifer Lea Cohan)

GARLIC CONNECTION: Dorothy Mullen, garden educator and Princeton School Gardens Cooperative co-founder, planted garlic last Sunday with Drew Becher, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society president, Luca and Milla Petrecca, and Anna Eaton, to celebrate the collaboration of the two nonprofits — and Riverside’s placement as the finale on the garden tour. The tour, its first in the area since 2002, was a sellout, with more than 400 registrants visiting public and private gardens in Hopewell and Princeton. (Photo by Jennifer Lea Cohan)

Sustainable Princeton and the town of Princeton have announced initiatives to reduce waste and follow more energy-efficient municipal practices in the coming year. At a press conference Tuesday, plans for a municipal green team and a campaign to help local homeowners reduce energy use and costs were formally unveiled by several speakers, including Mayor Liz Lempert, Sustainable Princeton’s executive director Diane Landis, Princeton Environmental Commission chair Matt Wasserman, and Sustainable Jersey co-founder Randall Solomon.

“The tide is turning, but the tide is not turning fast enough,” Mr. Solomon said of efforts in recent years to increase sustainability. “It’s not enough to expect local governments to figure out how to do this. They need help.”

The municipal green team will include Mayor Lempert, Ms. Landis, administrator Robert Bruschi, municipal engineer Bob Kiser, the town’s Infrastructure and Operations Director Robert Hough, Planning Board member Cecelia Birge, and environmental commission member Gail Ullman. Ms. Lempert said the team will evaluate current sustainability practices. Princeton is currently certified bronze by Sustainable Jersey, having earned the required 150 points for its sustainability efforts. To be certified silver, Princeton would need 350 points.

“We will work hard on becoming silver-certified,” Ms. Lempert said. “My goal is for Princeton to be a leader in the state when it comes to sustainability.”

For its campaign to help local homeowners become more energy efficient, Sustainable Princeton has contracted with Ciel Power company, which has similar programs in operation in Highland Park and Woodbridge. Under the EnergySmart Homes program, Princeton residents can have home energy assessments for $49, which is discounted from Ciel Power’s regular $99 fee. Homeowners who sign up for the program can qualify for up to $5,000 in cash rebates and up to $10,000 in zero-interest financing for home energy improvements that reduce energy use by up to 30 percent.

Helping get the program off the ground is a $10,000 grant from Princeton University’s Office of Community and Regional Affairs. Two panel discussions with local home energy experts are being planned as part of the initiative. The first is scheduled for October 29 in the Community Room at Princeton Public Library. Short videos about how home energy improvements help the environment and save money will be screened during the library’s annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival in February 2014.

Local homeowners will receive letters from Mayor Lempert in coming days urging them to participate in the campaign, which is based on a model designed by Sustainable Jersey. The town earns 20 points toward silver certification by promoting the program. Other initiatives that have earned points for the municipality include recycling organics, holding farmer’s markets, and encouraging school gardens. There are currently 11 silver-certified towns in New Jersey, and more than 100 bronze, according to Mr. Solomon.

Scott Fisher of Ciel Power said that homes built before 1980 can benefit most from the EnergySmart program. Poor insulation in attics and basements and older equipment that needs upgrading are often identified as in need of improvement by the assessments. Customers can choose Ciel Power if they decide to make those improvements, or hire another company.

The goal is to have at least 100 homes enrolled by next August, Mr. Fisher said. But Mr. Wasserman of Princeton Environmental Commission said he hoped to have better results. “I will be disappointed if we only get 100,” he said, adding that while cost savings for homeowners are important, the real impetus for the program is something else. “It’s good to save money, but what it’s really about is how we cut our carbon footprint,” he said. “And we think this is a wonderful way to do it.”

 

page1

About 100 supporters of an international ban on the illegal trade in ivory drew Princeton’s attention to the plight of the African Elephant on Friday, October 4 as part of a global march to save the animal from extinction. According to march organizer Marianne Romano, 36,000 elephants lost their lives due to poaching in 2012 alone. The international March for Elephants crossed three continents and 42 cities and was inspired by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Speaker Andy Dobson, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University, was joined by musicians, artists, and other volunteers. Ms. Romano marched alongside her 80-year-old mother, who has done missionary work in Africa. (Photo by Laura Pedrick)

 

October 2, 2013
INNOVATORS AT THE INSTITUTE: Posing for a mid-1940s photograph in an office in Fuld Hall, the main building of the Institute for Advanced Study, are (from left): James Alexander, Albert Einstein, Frank Aydelotte, Oswald Veblen, and Marston Morse. Frank Aydelotte was the director of the Institute from 1939 to 1947. The other individuals pictured were on the faculty of the Institute’s school of mathematics. The Institute is among the topics at “Mercer Makes: Innovation & Technology in the Capital County” at the College of New Jersey on Friday.(Photo Courtesy of The Institute for Advanced Study)

INNOVATORS AT THE INSTITUTE: Posing for a mid-1940s photograph in an office in Fuld Hall, the main building of the Institute for Advanced Study, are (from left): James Alexander, Albert Einstein, Frank Aydelotte, Oswald Veblen, and Marston Morse. Frank Aydelotte was the director of the Institute from 1939 to 1947. The other individuals pictured were on the faculty of the Institute’s school of mathematics. The Institute is among the topics at “Mercer Makes: Innovation & Technology in the Capital County” at the College of New Jersey on Friday. (Photo Courtesy of The Institute for Advanced Study)

As the celebration of Mercer County’s 175th anniversary continues, the focus shifts from architecture, the subject of a recent symposium, to technology. “Mercer Makes: Innovation & Technology in the Capital County” is the title of another day-long session being held this Friday, at the College of New Jersey. Professors from Princeton University, local historians, and experts are among those on the program.

“We have an amazing legacy of creativity, innovation, and industry throughout Mercer County,” said County Executive and Princeton native Brian M. Hughes. “We’re proud to share this part of Mercer’s history during our 175th anniversary year.”

It was in Mercer County, after all, that the wire rope for the Brooklyn Bridge and other suspension spans was developed and manufactured. That was in Trenton, the same location of the flourishing pottery industry in the mid-19th century. A few miles north in Princeton, the American electronics industry took off, decades before Silicon Valley became synonymous with high-tech innovation.

“We had a planning committee made up of at least five departments in the county, working together on this,” said Tricia Fagan, Mercer County’s historic outreach specialist. “When we started talking about the aspects of history we wanted to celebrate, the innovation and technology came up right away. And we realized it was also something that would be a good segue across the 175 year span.”

Emily Thompson, a professor of history at Princeton University, moderates the first session of the day. Historian and author Clifford Zink, whose topic is “Mercer Makes … Iron & Steel,” will trace the way iron and steel innovations in Trenton helped transform modern life with new methods of transportation, construction, and communications. Richard Hunter, founder and president of the archaeology firm Hunter Research, will speak on “Innovation, Technology Transfer, and Entrepreneurialism in the Trenton Potteries, 1850-1930.” Mr. Hunter will provide an overview of Trenton’s industrial potteries, their emergence in the city and their principal output.

Michael G. Littman, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University, will discuss the 19th century innovator Joseph Henry, a Princeton professor who left the University in 1846 to spearhead the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Mr. Henry was instrumental in developing the telegraph and electric motor during his years at the University.

David Sarnoff, RCA president, is the topic of another session led by Benjamin Gross, who is consultant and curator to the recently opened Sarnoff Collection at The College of New Jersey. Christine Di Bella, archivist at the Institute for Advanced Study, will discuss the history and mission of the Institute and highlight some of its key contributions to the world of ideas.

“Inventions, Communications & the Future” is the title of a session to be moderated by Katherine Kish, executive director of Einstein’s Alley. Serving on the panel are former Princeton mayoral candidate Dick Woodbridge, partner in the law firm Fox Rothschild, speaking on “Mercer County — Intellectual Property Powerhouses — Past and Future;” Greg Olsen, president of GHO Ventures and one of three private citizens in the world to orbit the earth on board the International Space Station, presenting “From Entrepreneurship to Spaceship;” and historian Alexander Magoun of IEEE History Center, speaking on “Beyond and After RCA Labs in Mercer County.”

The topics were selected after meetings with a subcommittee and much winnowing down. “There is so much we hoped to squeeze in,” Ms. Fagan said, “so many industries to choose from, like GM and Switlik Parachute, which was huge. We just had to narrow it down.”

“Mercer Makes’ is the third event in a series celebrating the 175th anniversary of Mercer County. Still to come is a photography exhibit at Mercer County Community College. Ms. Fagan is hoping that the momentum will continue even after the milestone is officially passed. “We’re getting requests to do more, and we might look at doing that as a county,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to be able to highlight not only our history, but knowledge we have here, and it would be nice to continue that down the line.”

 

BOBCAT AND KIT: Lana Glisic’s “Bobcat” will be on display with other award winners from the Species on the Edge Art and Essay contest, sponsored by Conserve Wildlife New Jersey, in the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery, Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, through November 8. Now a sixth grader at John Witherspoon Middle School, Lana was a fifth grader at Riverside when her essay and artwork won for Mercer County. For more information, call (609) 924-4646, or visit: www.drgreenway.org. For more about the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, visit: www.conservewildlifenj.org.

BOBCAT AND KIT: Lana Glisic’s “Bobcat” will be on display with other award winners from the Species on the Edge Art and Essay contest, sponsored by Conserve Wildlife New Jersey, in the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery, Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, through November 8. Now a sixth grader at John Witherspoon Middle School, Lana was a fifth grader at Riverside when her essay and artwork won for Mercer County. For more information, call (609) 924-4646, or visit: www.drgreenway.org. For more about the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, visit: www.conservewildlifenj.org.

According to Maria Grace of the nonprofit Conserve Wildlife New Jersey, 82 animal species are endangered in New Jersey. Lana Glisic, now at the John Witherspoon Middle School, wants you to know about one in particular: the elusive bobcat that is found in the northwestern part of the state.

Lana’s artwork and essay is the Mercer County winner of Conserve Wildlife New Jersey’s annual statewide Species on the Edge Art and Essay Contest. Lana was a fifth grader at Riverside Elementary School last year when her teacher Amanda Nichols suggested participation in the contest. Her bobcat along with other fifth grade drawings is being exhibited by the D&R Greenway Land Trust.

For her entry, Lana researched the habits and habitat of the bobcat as a wildlife biologist would. She wrote her attention-grabbing essay from the animal’s perspective: “Greetings. I am the bobcat, or Lynx rufus. I live in the beautiful, green forests of New Jersey. You can recognize me by my yellow-green eyes, tufted ear-tips, golden-brown fur and black, spotted tabby markings. We are named after our short, ‘bobbed’ tails. Cats like me can range from a yellow to a reddish-brown, too, and with stripes or spots. I hunt muskrats, mice, squirrels, insects, birds, and rabbits for my meals. Sometimes, sick or dead deer can become our food, also. My species, though, is in danger.”

“Lana loves all animals but especially cats,” said her mother, Tanja Glisic, originally from Croatia. “Lana was born in Switzerland and her first language is Italian, so I am very proud that she is now as fluent in English as a native speaker of the language.”

An only child, Lana came to Princeton with her parents in 2009. According to her mother, she is an avid writer who loves drawing and creating her own comic book-style cartoons.

“Bobcats are a popular subject for young artists but they are not easy to draw and require a lot of attention to detail. Lana did an excellent job,” commented Ms. Grace, Conserve Wildlife’s education and outreach manager.

Created in 1998, the organization works to protect and preserve rare and imperiled species that live, breed, and migrate through New Jersey. In addition to research on these species, the nonprofit restores habitat, and educates and engages citizens.

Its annual statewide competition is designed to call attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife, especially among the young.

Some 2,000 entries were received and judged “with a slight emphasis on the artwork over the essay, but both are important,” said Ms. Grace. A winner is chosen from each county in the state.

The endangered list for New Jersey includes the bald eagle during the breeding season from January through July, barred owls, turtles, both sea and bog varieties, and bobcats. As Lana’s essay points out, hunting and habitat depletion have reduced the state’s number of these “fascinating felines.” She urges action before they are gone forever.

Teachers who want to participate in the contest, can download a kit from the Conserve Wildlife NJ website in October. Submissions must be sent by January 31. For more information, visit: www.conservewildlifenj.org.

 

Author, psychologist, and mother of four Eileen Kennedy-Moore will give a talk October 10 at Princeton Public Library. Called “The Social Curriculum: Five People Skills Every Child Needs to Learn,” the session will be at 7 p.m. in the library’s Community Room.

Ms. Kennedy-Moore will describe five essential people skills that are part of the unspoken social curriculum for school-age children during the talk, which is part of the library’s “Inside a Child’s Mind” speaker series. She will also offer parents practical ideas for helping children feel more comfortable and confident in social situations.

Ms. Kennedy-Moore has published books for parents, children, and mental health professionals and has been quoted in dozens of national and regional magazines and newspapers. She has a private practice in Princeton.

The library is at 65 Witherspoon Street. Visit www.princetonlibrary.org or call (609) 924-9529 for more information.

page1

The right time was Sunday and the right place was Hinds Plaza, where the Hinds Gates were celebrated and dedicated. The man who designed the gates, Tom Nussbaum (third from the left, next to former Township mayor Jim Floyd), discusses his design in this week’s Town Talk, which also includes thoughts on the much-loved Mr. Hinds from Gates Committee Chair Barbara Trelstad (far right) and on her right, Eric Broadway. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

 

September 25, 2013
BUDDING SCIENTIST: As a schoolboy, Freeman Dyson was a great fan of Jules Verne’s 1877 adventure “Hector Servadac” (or “Off on a Comet”). When he read the book, he took it to be true and was disappointed to discover that it “was all made up.” Nonetheless Verne’s style inspired Mr. Dyson’s own boyhood writings. Shown here is the distinguished scientist alongside an image from one of his early notebooks.(Images Courtesy of the Institute for Advanced Study)

BUDDING SCIENTIST: As a schoolboy, Freeman Dyson was a great fan of Jules Verne’s 1877 adventure “Hector Servadac” (or “Off on a Comet”). When he read the book, he took it to be true and was disappointed to discover that it “was all made up.” Nonetheless Verne’s style inspired Mr. Dyson’s own boyhood writings. Shown here is the distinguished scientist alongside an image from one of his early notebooks. (Images Courtesy of the Institute for Advanced Study)

At the age of nine, Freeman J. Dyson who celebrates his 90th birthday this year, began writing a novel, Sir Phillip Roberts’s Erolunar Collision. When his mother died at the age of 94, the unfinished manuscript was found among her papers. “My hero Sir Phillip is clearly based on Sir Frank Dyson, the literary style is borrowed from Jules Verne’s story From the Earth to the Moon and a Trip Around It, and the theme of a collision between the asteroid Eros and the Moon must have been suggested by the close approach of Eros to the Earth in the year 1931,” explains the author in the preface to his 1992 popular book, From Eros to Gaia. 

In 1931, Frank Dyson, who was apparently not related to Freeman Dyson’s family, was England’s Astronomer Royal. He had organized the expeditions to Africa and Brazil that had tested Einstein’s theory of general relativity during the solar eclipse of 1919 and he influenced his young namesake to become a scientist.

On discovering his youthful story, Mr. Dyson wrote: “I was amused to see how little I had changed. I was a writer long before I became a scientist. And I was always in love with spaceships. In all my writing, the aim is to open windows, to let the experts inside the temple of science see out, and to let the ordinary citizens outside see in.”

Today, Mr. Dyson is a hero to many who admire his writings.

As a theoretical physicist and mathematician, he has contributed to numerous branches of physics, engineering, astronomy, among others. Honored and distinguished for his academic work, he has done a great deal to make science accessible to the layman.

In Disturbing the Universe (1979), his most autobiographical work, he eloquently shares his sense of wonder from childhood reading through his involvement as a civilian statistician in operations research for the Royal Air Force Bomber Command during World War II; his visit after the war to the United States, where he studied with Hans Bethe at Cornell; and his relationships with J Robert Oppenheimer, Richard P. Feynman, and Edward Teller. He also shares thoughts on a vast range of subjects from nuclear war to nuclear-powered space-exploring rocket ships, from poetry to extraterrestrial intelligence, and from nuclear disarmament to religion.

Born December 15, 1923, Mr. Dyson spent his boyhood in the cathedral town of Winchester where his father, the composer Sir George Dyson taught music at Winchester College, a private boys’ school. His father later became head of the Royal College of Music. His mother had studied law. Mr. Dyson graduated from Cambridge University in 1945 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. His first visit to the Institute was in 1948–49. He became a professor in 1953. He became a citizen of the United States in 1957.

One of his most notable contributions to science was the unification of the three versions of quantum electrodynamics invented by Feynman, Julian Schwinger, and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. He worked on nuclear reactors, solid state physics, ferromagnetism, astrophysics, and biology, looking for problems where elegant mathematics could be usefully applied. From 1957 to 1961 he worked on the Orion Project, a plan for space-flight using nuclear pulse propulsion.

As readers of the New York Review of Books know, Mr. Dyson, a regular contributor, has many interests and an ability to instigate dialogue and inspire generations of scholars. Shy and self-effacing, he is known to have an impish contrarian streak. His books for the general public, include Infinite in All Directions (1988) and The Scientist as Rebel (2006).

Married twice, Mr. Dyson has two children, Esther and George with his first wife, the mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson, and four daughters, Dorothy, Mia, Rebecca, and Emily with his second wife, Imme Dyson. His eldest daughter Esther, is a digital technology consultant. His son George is an historian of science and author of Project Orion: The Atomic Spaceship 1957–1965.

This year also marks Mr. Dyson’s 60th year as a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). To mark the event, his colleagues in the School of Natural Sciences have organized a celebratory two-day program this Friday and Saturday, that provides a perspective on his work and its impact across the sciences and humanities.

Titled “Dreams of Earth and Sky” and advertised with a poster that shows the scientist pondering a vast and colorful universe from atop the world, the event brings together many of the scientist’s friends and colleagues for discussions on the numerous topics upon which he has made his mark.

After opening remarks by IAS Director Robbert Dijkgraaf on Friday, September 27, the program gets underway with remarks from Nati Seiberg of the School of Natural Sciences. Talks on mathematics follow before its on to physics with string theorist Ed Witten and others before the topic of global warming gets an airing with a provocatively titled talk by Princeton University’s William Happer, who asks: “Why Has Global Warming Paused?”

On Saturday more topics within Dyson’s huge bag of interests follow: first astronomy with scientist Scott Tremaine from the Institute and M.I.T.’s Sara Seager. Joseph Kirschvink of the California Institute of Technology discusses “A Martian Origin for Terrestrial Life.”

Dyson’s boyhood hero Sir Frank Dyson was Astronomer Royal from 1910 until 1933. The present holder of that title, Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal since 1995, will present a talk on “Our Universe and Others” before the program turns to public affairs with Sidney Drell addressing the question: “Is it Illogical to Work Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons?”

The event closes with afternoon tea.

Please note that except for a limited number of seats made available to the Princeton community and for which registration must be made in advance, the event is open only to the Institute and broader academic community. For more information, visit: www.ias.edu.

 

D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to celebrate their dedication of the rescued historic timberframe barn on Hopewell’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve. Festivities take place from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday, September 28, following the Hopewell Harvest Fair. Barn dancing will start at 7 p.m., to the music of Bill Flemer’s Riverside Bluegrass Band. Guests are invited to bring picnic suppers, blankets, flashlights, and folding chairs.

Ian Macdonald Catering of Hopewell will offer beverages and foods and beverages, including barbecue, for purchase. Entry is off Princeton Avenue in Hopewell, across from Saum’s Interiors. A $5 donation is suggested. Fees assist D&R Greenway in their preservation and stewardship mission. No advance registration required.

Transforming barns is irresistible enough that PBS is producing a series on barn restoration, for which Steve Zink of Warren Z Productions filmed the re-creation of the McComb Barn. Seed from native plants grown at the preserve will be stored in the renewed barn, as well as farm equipment which maintains the land. Restorers included entryways and nesting boxes for barn owls and swallows. Crowning the re-created barn is a handsome weathervane, by Z Signs of Trenton. A silhouette of four children holding hands against the Hopewell sky, the design commemorates children who lived in the St. Michaels Orphanage in the years 1873 into 1972. D&R Greenway spearheaded the preservation of this 360-acre parcel, with broad multi-community support, in 2010.

The circa-1840 timber frame barn was restored by the expert team of the New Jersey Barn Company. D&R Greenway Trustee and barn collector, Dr. Dave Reynolds, had the McComb barn disassembled in Belle Mead, and stored on his Hopewell property until it could replace the crumbling St. Michaels barn. Dr. Reynolds asserts, “This barn comes from the 19th century. In its new life, it will stand for hundreds of years, symbolic of the countless people who helped preserve St. Michaels and the children of the St. Michaels Orphanage.”

Five Hopewell residents donated significant funds to enable the McComb barn’s construction on the new site.

Guests of all ages may sing, dance, and play along at a family music and movement class, led by Music Together® Founder/Director Ken Guilmartin. Participants may join a 5:30 p.m. nature walk from the restored barn to the site of the one-hour yoga session at the Charles Evans Overlook. Beginning at 5:45, St. Michaels outdoor yoga will be led by Lara Heimann from Princeton’s YogaStream Studio. Yoga mats and infused water will be provided on site, courtesy of “lululemon athletica Princeton.”

The nature quilt winner will be announced at the barn celebration: “Beacon”, a luminous evocation of mallards upon a pond on a D&R Greenway property, was quilted and donated by Trail Volunteer, Deb Brockway.

Native plants from D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery may be purchased on-site, so that participants may turn their home gardens into nourishing habitat for New Jersey wildlife.

For more information, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

 

“Spotlight on the Humanities: Philosophy,” a series of lunchtime philosophy talks, begins Monday, September 30, at noon at Princeton Public Library when Gideon Rosen of Princeton University presents “Philosophy and Free Will.” Mr. Rosen is Stuart Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Council of the Humanities at Princeton and specializes in metaphysics, epistemology, moral philosophy, philosophy of mathematics, and ethics. He is the author, with John Burgess, of the 1997 book A Subject With No Object: Strategies for Nominalistic Interpretation of Mathematics.

The series continues October 15 when Douglas Husak, professor of philosophy at Rutgers University, will discuss principles of criminalization in a talk called “Philosophy and Law.” A graduate of Denison University who earned doctorates in both philosophy and law from Ohio State University, Mr. Husak is the author of Drugs and Rights and Overcriminalization among other books. He is the editor-in-chief of the journals “Law and Philosophy” and “Criminal Law and Philosophy.”

The third talk of the series, “A Brief History of Freedom,” will be given November 13 by Philip Pettit, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University. Mr. Pettit has taught political theory and philosophy at Princeton since 2002. In the talk, Mr. Pettit will offer a historical understanding of the development of the concept of freedom or liberty. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books. In March, 2014, he will release a book for general audiences, Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World.

“Spotlight on the Humanities: Philosophy” talks will continue through spring, 2014, and will be held in the library’s Community Room. The library is located at 65 Witherspoon Street. Visit www.princetonlibrary.org or call (609) 924-9529.

Cynthia R. Green, PhD will be the keynote speaker at the Princeton Senior Resource Center’s Total Brain Health® Fair. One of America’s foremost memory fitness and brain health experts, Dr. Green is founder and president of Memory Arts, LLC. She is a respected author, lecturer, and spokesperson in the field of memory enhancement and total brain health.

Cynthia R. Green, PhD will be the keynote speaker at the Princeton Senior Resource Center’s Total Brain Health® Fair. One of America’s foremost memory fitness and brain health experts, Dr. Green is founder and president of Memory Arts, LLC. She is a respected author, lecturer, and spokesperson in the field of memory enhancement and total brain health.

It’s definitely the hot topic in health today. TV and radio talk shows, newspapers, on-line articles, and casual conversation are all focused on it.

The buzz is all about that three-pound super computer in your head that makes everything work. All those brain cells, neurons, billions of synapses and connections busily engaged keeping everything on track. How does it do all this? And importantly, how do we keep it fit, toned, and healthy — and even create a smarter brain?

“The big thing is that everywhere you turn today, there is something on brain fitness,” says Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW, director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC). “People come to the center and say ‘Have you heard about this?’ Or ‘did you see the show on TV about it?’ A lot of people today seem to be worrying that if they forget something, it may be the beginning of memory decline, and that they will lose the ability to problem-solve and remember.”

With 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, there will be lots and lots of seniors on the scene. The U.S. Census reports that in 2004, 36.3 million people aged 65 and older lived in the U.S. It is projected that this population will zoom to 86.7 million by the year 2050.

Special Concern

The idea, then, is not only to live longer, but to live better. Good health is crucial to this, and all the research indicates that activity and exercise — mental and physical — along with a healthy diet are the key to successful later years.

Keeping the memory sharp is important for everyone, but it is often a special concern for the older generation. Unfortunately, according to an article in AARP The Magazine, approximately 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers believe the number will nearly triple by 2050.

With all of these factors in mind, PSRC is sponsoring a Total Brain Health® Fair on Saturday, October 5th, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We hear all about the latest pharmaceutical advances, computer games, and other strategies for brain health and wonder if they really work,” points out Ms. Hoskins. “Many of us vow to do something, but never get started. Every fall at PSRC, we have a free conference in the community to educate and inform the public about various issues — legal, financial, planning ahead, etc. This year, we decided on brain health and memory — all the things you can do to enhance brain health.”

The keynote speaker is Cynthia R. Green, PhD, an expert in the field of memory fitness and brain health. She is currently assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and she also founded the Memory Enhancement Program at Mt. Sinai. This is a unique and innovative approach to enhancing memory fitness in healthy adults of all ages.

“Dr. Green created the Total Brain Health® Fair to deliver the concept of better brain fitness to large audiences,” explains Ms. Hoskins. “She concurs with many researchers who say that the best things you can do for brain health is physical exercise, being socially active, practicing good nutrition, and exercising your brain by learning new things. It has to be new and challenging learning, not repeated familiar exercises. She’ll be talking about total brain health, including memory strategies, what to do to keep the brain healthy, referencing body, mind and spirit. All of these are important to brain health.”

New Tricks

Much of the research into understanding the brain today refutes the vintage adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Not so, say the researchers. Indeed, “new tricks” can be learned at advanced ages. And learning something new has immense neurological benefits.

As Ms. Hoskins notes, neuroplasticity is the focus of much of the new research. The brain is not fixed and rigid, but plastic and malleable, and can actually continue to grow or shrink. It can be toned up and sharpened at any age, and be capable of learning new things. “For example, think of the challenges for people who have had a stroke or vision loss. Other parts of the brain begin to take over for the areas that have been lost.”

It has also been determined that one’s lifestyle and personality, behavior, and activities are factors in brain health. Scientists have discovered that the brain is an activity-dependent organ — the more it can do, the better. Even the size of a person’s “life-space” is related to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to a PBS TV series on Smart Brains, it has been shown that people with the largest life-space (those who go out regularly, see friends, engage in activities, and travel, etc.) are half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

To live is to accept and experience change. That is a given. Adapting to new situations, accepting new challenges, and handling difficult experiences are all ways to keep the brain sharp. Participating in an acting class brings active engagement, taking part in a dance class provides spatial awareness, as well as exercise. These are positive activities for the brain and the body.

It is often assumed that older people are less likely to seek out new challenges. As are other myths relating to age, this is also refuted by the many older adults who take classes at the Princeton Adult School, attend the various courses at PSRC’s Evergreen Forum and its many other opportunities, and by a New Jersey grandfather with a deaf grandson, who went to a school for the deaf to learn signing in order to communicate with the child.

Motivation is important and the more motivated people become, the more they will accomplish, thus gaining increased self-confidence to do even more. All this activity is good for the brain.

Country Fair

It’s also fun to be active and engaged. The Brain Health® Fair will be a great example of all that is available for people to help keep the brain engaged, and will be entertaining as well.

“The idea is like going to a country fair,” reports Ms. Hoskins. “There will be more than 20 different booths or stations throughout the Suzanne Patterson Center, Monument Hall, and outdoors in the courtyard. People will be able to try their hand at solving puzzles, do yoga, even juggle. The plan is to introduce people to things they haven’t done before. It’s important for them to get out of their comfort zone, and learn different things they can put into practice.

“Those who come to the fair will have two and a half hours to visit various stations which will each feature an activity that you can engage in on a regular basis to maximize brain health. The stations will include physical, mental, and spiritual activities, since we need to engage in all three for the best brain health, and each station will have a different facilitator.

“We expect that every 10 to 12 minutes people will move on to different stations. They will also have opportunities during the Fair to talk with representatives from the many area organizations who provide related services. These organizations support PSRC through this event and make it possible to offer it free to the public.”

Among the activities are dance exercises, gardening, drumming circle, writing activities, “Brunch for Your Brain” (brain health exercises), adult coloring, “Food for Thought” (healthy eating tips and tastes), Wii, and computer games, “Ask the Pharmacist”, “Seven Words of Wisdom (you fill them in), and “Wall of Ideas” on which people include their thoughts on keeping mentally active.

Researchers believe that reduced anxiety improves blood flow to the brain, and an opportunity for meditation will also be available at the Fair.

Quiet Reflection

“There will be a quiet space for reflection for the spiritual dimension of brain health,” points out Ms. Hoskins. “It’s important for people to set aside some quiet time during their day and find ways to help relieve stress. These quiet moments are when the brain takes all the random things and fits them together with the rest of your experiences. I often get my best ideas in the shower. Even deep breathing for 30 seconds when you’re stopped at a traffic light will help. It may not seem like much, but every little bit can add up.”

This eclectic selection of choices at the Fair will keep everyone entertained and stimulated, she believes. In addition, a complimentary continental breakfast will be served at the start of the Fair, and a “brain healthy” lunch will be provided by Brandywine Senior Living at 12:30.

Ms. Hoskins notes that the Fair is sponsored in part by a grant from Janssen Pharmaceutical and that Acorn Glen and AARP are also major sponsors.

“Of course, all our staff is involved in this too. It is only possible because of the dedication of our staff and our many volunteers. I do want to emphasize that the Fair is for people of all ages. It is never too soon to begin working on keeping the brain healthy. What I hope is that people will go home from the Fair with new ideas and will have learned something. For example, ‘I didn’t know that chocolate really is good for you!’ or ‘I always wanted to try Wii, and I loved finding all the websites with games I could do.’

“We take the name ‘resource center’ really seriously. We need to keep ourselves informed, and it is our big responsibility to inform the community.”

To register for the Fair, call (609) 924-7108 or go to www.princetonsenior.org. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. The location is 45 Stockton Street.

 

page1

Princeton’s 20th president, Christopher L. Eisgruber (second from left), shares a moment in the Faculty Room at Nassau Hall with his three predecessors (from left) Harold T. Shapiro, Shirley Tilghman, and William G. Bowen. Alumni, faculty, staff, students and higher education leaders traveled from across campus, the country, and the world to hear the new president’s inaugural speech at Sunday’s celebratory ceremony, which took place in front of Nassau Hall. (Photo Courtesy Princeton University Office of Communications, Denise Applewhite, 2013)

 

September 18, 2013
STORYTELLERS TOO: Members of the Princeton Storytelling Circle, Richard Fischer, Maria ­LoBiondo, Luray Gross, Eva Foster, Tara McGowan, and Denise McCormack, will be on hand this Saturday, September 21, at 1 p.m. in the Princeton Public Library to engage youngsters from grades 2 and up with literary tales about wrestling princesses, learning to fly, how the elephant got his trunk, and more, as part of the activities when the Eighth Annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival takes place on Hinds Plaza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shown from left: Mr. Fischer, Ms. LoBiondo, Ms. Gross, and Ms. Foster.

STORYTELLERS TOO: Members of the Princeton Storytelling Circle, Richard Fischer, Maria ­LoBiondo, Luray Gross, Eva Foster, Tara McGowan, and Denise McCormack, will be on hand this Saturday, September 21, at 1 p.m. in the Princeton Public Library to engage youngsters from grades 2 and up with literary tales about wrestling princesses, learning to fly, how the elephant got his trunk, and more, as part of the activities when the Eighth Annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival takes place on Hinds Plaza from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shown from left: Mr. Fischer, Ms. LoBiondo, Ms. Gross, and Ms. Foster.

Whether you are a child or a grown up, a teen or a tween, or just a kid at heart, the Children’s Book Festival to be held this Saturday under five large tents on Hinds Plaza will surely make you smile.

The annual festival, sponsored by the Princeton Public Library, has grown so much that it’s now on the radar of children’s book authors, illustrators, and their literary agents across the country. Youth Services Librarian Allison Santos, the festival’s director, is now able to choose from a wish list of authors eager to participate.

“The festival is now one of the largest of its kind in the country,” says Ms. Santos, who has been at the library for 13 years. “We began with local and New Jersey-based authors and now include authors and illustrators from all over. More often than not its publishers who contact us.”

Although the festival is geared toward “tweens,” children aged 10 to 12, who are reading chapter books and not yet into young adult fiction, the event is attended by a broad range of age groups. “We get teens excited to meet authors whose books they grew up with and parents eager to introduce their kids to old favorites and new writers,” said Ms. Santos. “It’s wonderful to see the excitement of teens coming in to talk to authors whose work they love.”

The Princeton Public Library is at the heart of a town that loves books. It’s where children go after school and at weekends. They do their homework there, meet friends, participate in numerous library-sponsored activities, and simply hang out and read in the third floor children’s library. It’s pretty similar to the relationship that author Ann M. Martin had when her parents used to take her to the library when it was located in Bainbridge House on Nassau Street. “My parents took me from a very early age and I remember when the new library was built. I was there all the time, reading and doing homework,” said the author of the popular Baby Sitters Club series.

Ms. Martin grew up on Dodds Lane, the daughter of beloved New Yorker cartoonist Henry Martin. Now 58 and living in upstate New York, Ms. Martin is looking forward to her second visit to the festival. “I expect to see some familiar faces,” she said.

After Littlebrook Elementary School, Ms. Martin went to Community Park School for 6th grade and then spent a year at the Valley Road School before going on to Princeton High School. Her many novels for young readers include A Dog’s Life, Everything For a Dog, Belle Teal, and the Newbery Honoree, A Corner of the Universe. 

Her latest book is the first of a new four-part series, titled Family Tree, a saga with a large cast of characters set in Maine. The first book introduces the character of Abigail in the 1930s; the second takes place some 25 years later and focuses on Abigail’s daughter. Subsequent titles will be about Abigail’s granddaugher and great granddaughter, said the author.

Like Ms. Martin, award-winning author and illustrator Brian Lies also has fond childhood memories of Princeton’s public library. Mr. Lies, whose mother Betty Bonham Lies is a well-known local poet, has been illustrating children’s books since 1990. Since then, he has written and/or illustrated more than two dozen titles, including his New York Times bestselling bat series, Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library, and Bats at the Ballgame. A fourth bat book, Bats at the Concert, will be published next year.

Some 86 of the most acclaimed authors and illustrators in children’s literature will participate in the festival, about 12 of those coming from New Jersey. Their books will be on sale through JaZams, and besides author signings there will be plenty of photo opportunities.

“With so many participants, we had to have a random drawing to select the 30 who will speak about their work, but you are bound to see illustrators doodling and authors reading to children at their tables,” said Ms. Santos.

Local participants include Lawrenceville author Ame Dyckman, an avid reader of picture books. “Sometimes I stop reading them long enough to write one,” she said. Her titles are Boy + Bot, published last year with illustrations by Dan Yaccarino; Tea Party Rules, published this year with illustrations by K.G. Campbell, and her new work, with the working title Wolfie and Dot, which will be out next year with illustrations by Zachariah O’Hora.

Other popular visitors will be the author known simply as Avi, whose books are Things That Sometimes Happen, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, and Sophia’s War; and author John Rocco, best known for creating the book covers for the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. Mr. Rocco created the poster for this year’s festival.

Among those new to the festival is Raina Telgemeier from Queens, New York, who has adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club series. She’s also authored two popular works of her own, Smile and Drama, both were listed as No. 1 New York Times bestsellers.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Santos, whose favorite moment usually come half way through the morning when the festival has found its stride. “I walk around and observe, soaking up the excitement of the authors and enjoying the smiles of the kids. There are a lot of special moments.”

The eighth annual Princeton Children’s Book Festival, made possible by a partnership with JaZams of Princeton, Bai5, Terra Momo Restaurant Group, and the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, will take place rain or shine Saturday, September 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Hinds Plaza. Admission is free. For a complete list of participating authors and illustrators visit: http://community.princetonlibrary.org/pcbf2013/. For more information, call (609) 924-9529 or visit www.princetonlibrary.org.

 

An event design to raise money and awareness for The Parkinson Alliance will be held on Palmer Square Sunday, October 6. On the green from noon to 4 p.m., the focus of “Stylin’ on the Square” will be the Salon Pure Cut-a-thon, during which guests can choose from a menu of services including haircuts for women, men, and children, braids, curling, straight ironing, color hair spray, and mini-manicures (haircuts will not include wash and blow dry).

Those who pay for a service will receive a free mini-facial from Origins.

Adult services are $30; children are $15. All of the proceeds will be donated to The Parkinson Alliance, a Princeton-based, national non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to help finance the most promising research to find the cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease.

For those who choose to donate more than the requested amount, Salon Pure will be supplying gift cards. Those giving $50 receive a $10 card; $100 gets a $15 card, and $150 receives a $20 card (Gift cards may be redeemed for salon services; excludes products).

All of the professional stylists involved in the event will be donating their time and expertise.

“With this event, the stars just aligned. We were looking to host something different and we were interested in working with a charity,” said Anita Fresolone, Marketing Director of Palmer Square Management. “Heather Rizzo and Amy Kaczowski, owners of Salon Pure, were brainstorming some event ideas with us and we landed on the cut-a-thon.”

In addition to affordable haircuts, there will be a fashion showcase on the green at 1 and 3 p.m. featuring fall/winter styles from Ann Taylor, Bucks County Dry Goods, Urban Grace, Jack Wills, Lace Silhouettes Lingerie, Botari, Dandelion, Brooks Brothers, and Palm Place, a Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store. Lululemon athletica will also be hosting yoga demonstrations.

Winberie’s Restaurant and Bar will be selling pulled pork sandwiches, vegetarian chili, hot dogs, beer, and wine, while Chez Alice Gourmet Café and Bakery will be selling homemade cookies, hot chocolate, and hot apple cider.

The jaZams kids’ tent will be providing glitter tattoos and an arts and craft station. Tattoos will be offered for a $3 donation, to be donated to The Parkinson Alliance.

“We were so grateful to learn that Salon Pure and Palmer Square had chosen to design an event to benefit Parkinson’s research,” said Marty Tuchman, chairman of The Parkinson Alliance. “With a grassroots event like this, there is not only a chance to raise much needed funds for research, but it also raises awareness of the disease and that is key.”