February 18, 2015

book mug bao

Karen Bao, a 2012 Princeton High School graduate, will discuss her debut novel, Dove Arising (Viking Juvenile $17.99) in the Community Room at the Princeton Public Library on Friday, February 27 at 7 p.m.

The first in a planned trilogy, the novel, about a young woman who lives in a colony on the moon and embarks on a quest to save her mother and siblings, was written when the author was a 17-year-old high school senior. Its totalitarian society setting was inspired by stories she heard about her grandfather, a professor who was imprisoned in Mao’s reeducation camps in China. The scientific foundations in the book are based on the author’s own research in biology and technology. She is presently a sophomore majoring in biochemistry at an Ivy League university.

Dove Arising tells the story of Phaet Theta who has lived her whole life in a colony on the moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar. Then her mother is arrested.

According to School
Library Journal, Characters are well developed, especially strong-willed Phaet, and an even pace will keep teens turning pages. Fans of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Marie Lu’s Legend should flock to this well-written debut effort by 19-year-old Bao.” 

Karen Bao graduated from JW in 2008 and PHS in 2012.

More information can be found on www.dovearising.com.

Last week, a Morris County tax court judge denied Princeton University’s motion to dismiss a complaint by four local residents seeking to rescind the school’s property tax exemption for the tax year 2014. This is the third time that Judge Vito Bianco has ruled against the University in cases regarding its tax-exempt status.

Soon after the decision was issued on February 12, the University announced it would ask the Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court to hear an appeal concerning the applicable legal standard while the rest of the case is still pending. Local attorney Bruce Afran, who represented the four Princeton residents in two lawsuits that have been filed, called the request for an appeal at this stage “extraordinary.”

“They have to get permission, and it’s rarely granted,” he said last Friday. “Judge Bianco has never been reversed. It almost smacks of desperation by the University. I was very surprised. We all left court yesterday about 10:30 a.m. By 10 minutes to 3 p.m., the University had posted a press release saying they would appeal. It sounds to me that they are in a desperate position.”

One of the lawsuits challenges the tax-exempt status of some of the University’s properties in the 2011 tax year. The other relates to its tax exemption in the 2014 tax year. It is the denial of the attempt to dismiss the latter case that the University is seeking to appeal.

“Under New Jersey law, nonprofit universities are entitled to property tax exemption unless it is proven that their dominant motive is to make a profit,” said University General Counsel Ramona E. Romero in the press release issued last week. “In this case, the four individuals challenging the town of Princeton’s decision to grant the University a property tax exemption for 2014 have not even attempted to claim that the University’s dominant motive is to make a profit, which of course it’s not.”

Mr. Afran contends that the University’s statement that it can only lose the tax exemption if profit is their dominant motive is not, in fact, the law. “The Supreme Court has rejected it,” he said. “The law in New Jersey is that if you share profits or engage in commercial activity, you risk the loss of the entire exemption. So the statement in the press release is the argument they’re trying to push, but the courts have rejected it repeatedly.”

The 2014 case is slightly different from the earlier one because it challenges the University’s entire tax exemption, not just in two buildings. “This is the first time, as far as I can tell, that a University is faced with the loss of its exemption because of commercial activity,” said Mr. Afran. “It is a significant decision that came out, and that’s why the University is trying to block it.”

Mr. Afran said that the University should be paying taxes on some buildings that are tax exempt but have commercial operations such as selling tickets and food. The University also gets royalties for patents, he said, not unlike other major educational institutions such as Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which earn “billions of dollars in royalties,” he said.

According to the press release, “The University feels strongly that the resources necessary to litigate such a case should not be diverted from our central mission of teaching and research, and that is why we seek clarity from the appellate court at this time.”

post office

Having reviewed a plan last week for a 7-Eleven convenience store and post office to replace the long-empty West Coast Video store on East Nassau Street, Princeton’s site plan review advisory board (SPRAB) has passed the proposal on to the town’s Planning Board. The Board will likely consider the idea sometime in March.

The 7-Eleven, approximately 5,000 square feet, would have frontage on Nassau Street, while the post office, at about 3,500 square feet, would be located to the rear. The branch would replace the post office that has been a longtime fixture on Palmer Square, at a date to be announced. The 1930’s post office building was sold in December 2013 to a California-based company called LCOR Ventures, which has yet to reveal its future use.

“Once the new location is ready, we will ‘postalize’ that location and set a date to move the operations from Palmer Square,” said Ray V. Daiutolo, who is with the United States Post Office’s corporate communications, in an email on Tuesday. “As for Palmer Square, the property is under contract and the buyer is in due diligence. We will not move operations until the sale is final and the new site is ready. Generally these retail operational moves are done over a weekend so there is no break in service.”

The arrival of a 7-Eleven store in their neighborhood was opposed by several residents, who have expressed concerns about late-night noise and disturbances. Last December, Princeton Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that prohibits retail establishments touching residential zones from operating between 2 and 5 a.m., and the 7-Eleven must comply with that ruling.

The West Coast Video site has been vacant for about a decade. During that time, the Rite Aid drug chain leased the building, but never opened a store there. For Robert Bratman, whose family has owned the property since it was a furniture store several years ago, the review by SPRAB is an encouraging step. “It looks like both the 7-Eleven and the post office will be going in there,” he said Tuesday. “It now goes on to the Planning Board. Everything seems to be moving along.”

Mr. Bratman said the post office will be a retail store rather than a sorting facility, with ample parking. The parking lots would be restriped and repaved. “We want to pave the back lot,” he said. “The dicey part is that we don’t want to have paved it and then have the Planning Board say we have to do other things that require us to tear up that paving.”

Among SPRAB’s requests is a sidewalk from Princeton University’s Engineering Quad to the building, which Mr. Bratman said would be incorporated into the site. Bike racks would be installed, and LED lighting would reduce glare for nearby residents, he said. The building would be painted beige and have a small 7-Eleven sign in front. “They have a package they put together for nicer towns like Princeton,” he said.

As for the neighbors who are opposed to the convenience store idea, “I think they’re going to end up shopping there,” Mr. Bratman said. “It has healthier choices than the old 7-Elevens. It’s not the same store we grew up with. Time will tell, I guess.”

A burst water pipe at McCaffrey’s Princeton store caused the facility to close Monday afternoon as customers stocked up in preparation for the snowstorm that was expected later that night.

A crew of some 20 people worked through the night to make sure that the store opened for business as usual on Tuesday morning. Store manager Steve Carney, told Town Topics that owner Jim McCaffrey, who had arrived at around 4:30 p.m. that day, remained at the store overnight until 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. By that time, customers would not have known that there had been such activity overnight, said Mr. Carney.

The overnight crew worked to repair and clean up the store after a pipe burst in the ceiling over the customer service office, causing extensive damage to computers and, to some extent, in the floral section nearby.

No food products were affected, however, said Mr. Carney, who also worked late into the night with other members of McCaffrey’s staff.

Since the incident began with a small leak, the store had some warning and a crew was already on its way when the pipe burst and came apart from the sprinkler system, said Mr. Carney. By morning, all signs of damage to walls and flooring had been addressed. “It was big, but it could have been a lot worse,” said Mr. Carney.

Andrew Jarecki

The Lewis Center for the Arts will welcome Oscar nominated alumnus Andrew Jarecki ’85 back to campus for a screening and discussion of his new HBO documentary series, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, on Friday, February 20, at 6 p.m. in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street. The event begins with a reception and is free and open to the public.

Jarecki directed and produced the documentary film Capturing the Friedmans (2003), which was nominated for an Academy Award and won 18 major international prizes including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival, and the New York Film Critics Circle Award. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English literature and a certificate in the Program in Theater and Dance. He also directed and produced the narrative feature All Good Things (2010), starring Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, and Frank Langella, and produced the acclaimed documentary Catfish, also released in 2010. He is executive producer of Catfish, the television series, and has co-written and performed music for film and television including Felicity and Silver Linings Playbook. Jarecki also founded Moviefone and served as chief executive until he sold the company to America Online in 1999. He is a member of the advisory board of The Marshall Project and of the Director’s Advisory Council of the Sundance Institute. The Jarecki Family Foundation is devoted to supporting efforts to improve the criminal justice system. He is also a member of the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Advisory Council.

Now premiering on HBO, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst is a six-part series that tracks the strange history of Robert Durst, scion of a New York City’s billionaire real estate family, who has been accused of three murders over the past 30 years but never convicted. Durst’s story was also the inspiration for Jarecki’s All Good Things. Brilliant and reclusive, Durst has not spoken publicly – until now. The show, which debuted on HBO on February 8, exposes long-buried information discovered during Jarecki and his partner Marc Smerling’s 10 year investigation of a series of unsolved crimes, and was made with the cooperation of the man suspected of being at their center. “Over the decade in which we pursued the story through all its unexpected revelations, uncovering the truth became an obsession,” says Jarecki. “Now the audience can watch it unfold in front of them as it did for us.”

“We are incredibly pleased to bring Andrew to Princeton to talk about this project and his work as a storyteller,” notes Michael Cadden, chair of the Lewis Center. “Many people are not aware of the many film and television artists who have come out of Princeton, including Winnie Holzman ’76, creator of the series My So-Called Life; Ethan Coen ’79 of the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers; Alex Gansa ’84 and Howard Gordon ’84, the team behind Homeland and 24; producer and screenwriter David E. Kelley ’79 (The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal); and Jennie Snyder Urman, the creative force behind this year’s groundbreaking CW Network series Jane the Virgin. The Lewis Center takes pride in how Princeton has nurtured these artists and looks forward to growing in ways that will empower the next generation to use film, television and media yet to be invented to tell their stories.”

Following the screening of Episodes 1 and 2 of The Jinx, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Cadden will engage Jarecki in a discussion about the series and his work as a filmmaker. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Admission is free but advance ticket reservations are recommended and can be made online http://arts.princeton.edu.

music mug walsh

Irish tenor soloist James Walsh will perform at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton on Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m. as part of VOICES Chorale’s “Irish Harp and Song” concert. Additional performers include the Jameson Sisters with Mary Malone and harpist Ellen Tepper. General admission is $25 per person at the door ($20 in advance). Children and students are $10 with proof of ID. To purchase tickets, call (609) 658-2636 or visit www.VoicesChorale.org.

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The seventh annual Cupid’s Chase 5K sponsored by Community Options Inc. last Saturday drew over 4,000 runners across the nation and raised over $200,000 to support people with disabilities. Runners who set off from Princeton Shopping Center were among those competing in several New Jersey communities including New Brunswick, Glen Rock, Pennsauken, Morristown, and Seaside Heights, and 27 cities across the country.

February 11, 2015
“FAMILY IS EVERYTHING”: “Today, Roza and Max have a growing family — three sons, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren — that will forever honor their legacy, courage, and pride.” Harri Schwartz and Barbara Majeski are proud of the strength, fortitude, and resilience of Max and Roza Schwartz, who were Holocaust survivors, and Harri’s parents and Barbara’s grandparents.

“FAMILY IS EVERYTHING”: “Today, Roza and Max have a growing family — three sons, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren — that will forever honor their legacy, courage, and pride.” Harri Schwartz and Barbara Majeski are proud of the strength, fortitude, and resilience of Max and Roza Schwartz, who were Holocaust survivors, and Harri’s parents and Barbara’s grandparents.

“Honor the Past. Illuminate the Future.”

These words are the underlying theme of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JFCS) of Greater Mercer County’s annual fundraising gala, this year known as the “Illumination Ball.”

For almost 80 years, JFCS of Greater Mercer County has been a mainstay in supporting individuals and families by empowering people to care for themselves and others.

For those of any faith or affiliation who are suffering or in need, this non-profit organization offers support, hope, and comfort. In a recent year, its professional staff and scores of volunteers assisted more than 3000 individuals, including families, seniors and their adult children, and couples who needed help.

Services and programs include information, referral, therapy, support, education, and advocacy.

Displaced Person’s Camp

In conjunction with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp operated by the Germans in Poland during World War II, the JFCS gala will honor Holocaust survivors, and in particular, those in Mercer County.

This is of special importance to Barbara Majeski, chairperson of the gala and also a member of the JFCS Board of Directors. Her grandparents, now deceased, were survivors of the Holocaust, and her father was born on a cattle train in which his mother was traveling to a displaced person’s camp in Germany.

“I feel it is so important to honor the victims and survivors and to share my family’s story,” explains Ms. Majeski. “My grandfather, Max Schwartz, born in Poland, was the eldest of seven. His parents and siblings died in Auschwitz and other camps. Max was the only survivor in his family.

“My grandmother, Roza Schwartz, also born in Poland, was the third of six children. She was the only survivor in her family. The details are unknown, but the family members are presumed to have died in the ghetto and camps.”

Ms. Majeski’s father, Harri Schwartz, continues the narrative. “During the war, when my mother was about 13, she came home from school one afternoon, and no one was home. Everyone was gone, and she never saw any of her family again. She was told she should leave Poland immediately, and somehow, with others, she made her way to Russia, where she was put to work in a slave labor camp.”

While in Russia, she met Max Schwartz, who, after being imprisoned, had been forced into the Russian Army. As Harri explains, “Max was fleeing the Nazis, running eastward from Poland, as the Germans invaded. He was arrested at the border of Russia, and was sentenced to 13 years ‘as a bar mitzvah!’ (Max always saw the irony in this punishment). When the Nazis began fighting the Russians, Max went from being a prisoner to being a soldier in the Russian army.”

HONOR AND REMEMBRANCE: Remembering and honoring the survivors of the Holocaust is the focus of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s upcoming gala, the “Illumination Ball”. Shown in this photo from 1964 are two Holocaust survivors: Max Schwartz (second from left) and his wife Roza, who are the grandparents of gala chair person, Barbara Majeski. Also in the photo are Max and Roza’s sons, Robert (left), Harri, and Jeffrey (foreground) on the occasion of Robert’s bar mitzvah.

HONOR AND REMEMBRANCE: Remembering and honoring the survivors of the Holocaust is the focus of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service’s upcoming gala, the “Illumination Ball”. Shown in this photo from 1964 are two Holocaust survivors: Max Schwartz (second from left) and his wife Roza, who are the grandparents of gala chair person, Barbara Majeski. Also in the photo are Max and Roza’s sons, Robert (left), Harri, and Jeffrey (foreground) on the occasion of Robert’s bar mitzvah.

Cattle Train

Eventually, Max and Roza were married. Harri Schwartz relates that after the war ended, his father “was working in a rice factory, and secretly helping to smuggle Jews out of Russia, to get them to occupied Germany. However, my mother was pregnant, and they were not taking pregnant women.

“But finally, it was decided that if my father stayed behind and continued to smuggle people out, she could leave. I was born on a cattle train somewhere between Germany and Poland in 1946. Then, they told my mother that if the baby cried, both she and the baby would be shot.”

Somehow, they made it safely to a displaced person’s camp in Germany, then occupied by the Americans, British, and Russians. “My mother left notes on bulletin boards all over the area, explaining where she was,” continues Mr. Schwartz, “When my father was able to get to Germany, he found the notes, and they were reunited.”

The family lived in the camp, and Max worked as a baker until 1951, when they were able to leave for the U.S., settling in New Jersey. Eventually, two more boys, Robert and Jeffrey, were born, and the family was close-knit and comfortable.

“Max and Roza were devoted to their three sons, and they were dedicated to raising them within Judaism,” says Ms. Majeski. “Their profound loss and their devastating tragedies from the war were not often shared. Instead, they preferred to channel their energy and love into their children. Harri, Jeffrey, and Robert were raised with the understanding that family was everything and everything was family. Roza and Max found comfort in the face of their losses by infusing their boys with love, pride, and laughter.”

“We had a happy family,” adds Mr. Schwartz. “My parents learned English, and when I was growing up, some of my friends would say ‘Your mother has a funny accent, but I didn’t even think about it. I thought everyone sounded like that.”

Hope for the Future

“We knew a lot of other refugee families, and they all became very successful. My father worked hard, with two bakery jobs. People, like us, who came to the U.S., had hope for the future. The whole point was that if you work hard, it can work for you. You can be successful. And, also, education was important. We all knew when we were in the first grade that we were expected to go to college.”

A year in the planning, the gala will be held in the Westin Hotel in Forrestal Vllage on February 28. It will include a video featuring interviews with Holocaust survivors, and the lighting of six candles, commemorating the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust, as well as a silent auction, dinner, and dancing.

Eighteen Mercer County area Holocaust survivors will be guests of honor, and 500 other guests are expected to attend, including Geoffrey Schwartz, who plays football for the New York Giants. A “Tribute Journal,” with stories from families remembering their relatives in the Holocaust, will be given to guests.

Both Ms. Majeski and Mr. Schwartz believe the gala’s focus on remembering the Holocaust victims and survivors is timely and necessary. The Holocaust must never be forgotten.

“It is important to remember the Holocaust so it will never happen again,” says Mr. Schwartz. “The Holocaust teaches us that it doesn’t take some thug or back room psychopath to do terrible things. Germany was a nation of cultured people, who were led by this maniac into horrible events.”

“I think it’s important to remember the Holocaust to honor those whose lives were not allowed to fulfill their potential,” points out Ms. Majeski. “It’s our responsibility to tell their story. The Holocaust survivors are relying on us not to allow their relatives to have died in vain.

“This is especially important to me. Knowing that I am the granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, when everyone else in their family died, gives me a feeling of profound strength. I am a person of strength, and that came from them. It gives me a real sense of pride.

“When I was in sixth grade,” continues Ms. Majeski, “I mentioned the Holocaust to one of my friends. She said, ‘What’s the Holocaust?’ It had been part of my family’s heritage, and I knew about it, but I really didn’t know how to explain it to her.

“Today, I feel more than ever it is so important that it must never be forgotten.”

According to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Audrey Dantzlerward, the Princeton University junior found dead in her dorm room last month, committed suicide by means of a drug overdose.

The 22-year-old was discovered in Edwards Hall on Monday, January 12. She was a native of Purcellville, Virginia. At the University, she was a member of the a cappella group, Wildcats, Princeton Women‘s Mentorship Program, Princeton Presbyterians, and the Edwards Collective, a residential community celebrating the humanities and creative arts.

 

A fire that started in a duplex at 36 Wilton Street on Wednesday, February 4, caused firefighters to evacuate the adjoining (occupied) home at 34 Wilton Street.

The blaze broke out just after 6:30 p.m., according to Princeton police.

Princeton Police and Princeton Fire Departments evacuated three residents of 34 Wilton Street. No one suffered any injuries related to the fire, said police, who also reported that no one was inside 36 Wilton Street at the time of the fire.

Firefighters forced entry into 36 Wilton Street and opened the second floor bedroom walls to extinguish the fire. They also opened the second floor bedroom walls of the 34 Wilton Street.

The investigation revealed that the roof of the duplex had recently been repaired, during which a blow torch was used in the area of the front porch roof. It is thought likely that the blow torch contributed to the cause of the fire, police said.

Subsequent to the investigation the duplex was determined to be uninhabitable, police said.

The Plainsboro Fire Department, Kingston Fire Department, Princeton University Plasma Lab and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad assisted at the scene.

 

Local celebrations of the Chinese New Year are planned for the Princeton Senior Resource Center and Princeton Public Library. On Wednesday, February 4, PSRC will celebrate with students from the YingHua International School in Princeton. The library marks the day on Saturday, February 14.

More than one billion people in China and millions of others around the world will mark the first day of the Chinese New Year on February 18. This is the most important of Chinese holidays, kicking off a celebration that lasts for 15 days and culminates with the Lantern Festival. Each year is associated with one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac; in 2015 it is the sheep.

PSRC’s annual tradition will include a performance by the students and entertainment by adult members of the local Chinese community. Traditional refreshments will be served. The program is free and open to the general public. Call 609-924-7108 to reserve.

At the library, traditional Chinese dance, music, games and more are part of the celebration for people of all ages. The event is hosted by Princeton High School and the Princeton Chinese Language School. Shwu-Fen Lin, who teaches Mandarin at PHS, organizes the event. Students from several heritages and backgrounds will share many aspects of the Chinese culture as part of the celebration. The event will be held in the library’s Community Room.

All Princeton Public Library programs are free and open to the public. Call (609) 924-9529 or visit www.princetonlibrary.org for more information.

Each summer, nearly 4,000 inner-city children visit suburban, rural and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada through The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program. Volunteer host families in Central and Southern New Jersey open their hearts and homes to New York City children.

Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from six to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are six to 12 years old and stay for one or two weeks. Children who are re-invited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips. Families find hosting so rewarding that more than 65 percent of all Fresh Air children are invited to visit the same host families year after year. Through the eyes of Fresh Air children, families often rediscover the beauty of their own communities.

“I have so many favorite memories that it’s hard to pick: helping our Fresh Air child catch a fish for the first time, or how excited she was her first summer to see cows and horses, or finally being able to gaze up at the stars, because she said the glare of city lights doesn’t allow her to see them. It’s definitely the little things that mean the most,” says Meg, a Fresh Air host.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. For more information on hosting a Fresh Air child this summer, please contact Deborah Asirifi at (212) 897-8969 or visit The Fresh Air Fund online at www.freshair.org.

On Saturday, February 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., local yoga teacher Shannon Hurley will lead a by-donation yoga practice to benefit the Do It For the Love Foundation, at Princeton Center for Yoga & Health (PCYH), located at 88 Orchard Road in Skillman. Do It For the Love Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by musician Michael Franti that aims, through the healing power of music, to inspire joy, hope, and lasting celebratory memories in the face of severe illness and trauma.

The class will feature a flowing yoga practice appropriate for all levels, from beginner to advanced, as well as live music from Philadelphia area musicians Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner, who will be playing a chaturangui (Indian slide guitar), and Hoagy Wing, who will be playing a doumbek (Middle Eastern hand drum).

“Music has always played an important role in my life and it is a tremendous part of my yoga practice,” said Ms. Hurley, who has been teaching yoga at Princeton Center for Yoga & Health since 2011. “After hearing about Michael Franti’s foundation, I knew I had to do something to give and to educate people about the work this foundation does.”

Attending participants will receive a goody bag as a thank you for participating and donating. “Yoga Journal, Yogi Tea, GoMacro Macro Bars and (seed) body care have all generously donated to our goody bags,” said Hurley. “The musicians providing the live music during the class have donated their time. And there will be a chocolate meditation featuring delicious treats donated by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.”

Participants can give what they can to attend. Donations will be sent to the Do It For the Love Foundation. For more information about this event or to reserve a spot, visit PrincetonYoga.com or call (609) 924-7294.

ywca dance

It was a gala scene at the Father-Daughter YWCA Valentine’s Day Dance. You can meet some of the dancers in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

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Members of the Hun School boys’ hockey team celebrate last Thursday after defeating Morristown-Beard 5-3 in the state Prep title game at Twin Oaks Ice Rink. The triumph marked the program’s first Prep title since 1996. See page 30 for details on Hun’s title run. (Photo Courtesy of the Hun School)

February 4, 2015
AWARD WINNER: Tag Quijano with his border collie Sadie in his home basement workshop where he has built his own 3D printer among other innovative projects. The keen scout, along with two other Princeton Day School (PDS) students, won a 2014 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award last week. Tag designed and led the construction of a Human Powered Rain Water Delivery System for the teaching garden at PDS that he hopes will be a model for others interested in conservation.(Photo by Jill Carpe)

AWARD WINNER: Tag Quijano with his border collie Sadie in his home basement workshop where he has built his own 3D printer among other innovative projects. The keen scout, along with two other Princeton Day School (PDS) students, won a 2014 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award last week. Tag designed and led the construction of a Human Powered Rain Water Delivery System for the teaching garden at PDS that he hopes will be a model for others interested in conservation. (Photo by Jill Carpe)

Princeton Day School (PDS) sophomore Tag Quijano was delighted to hear that he was going to receive a 2014 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award but disappointed that he had to miss the award ceremony at the Princeton Public Library last Thursday, January 29. The 15-year-old had good reason for his absence though — he was attending a model United Nations conference in Philadelphia.

As a student well on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, Tag is something of a role model himself. Last summer he led a team of scouts in building shelves and organizational units at the Princeton Friends School. “He is very handy,” said his mother Jill Carpe, owner of “Shop the World,” Princeton’s fair trade store, on Spring Street. “He’s built his own 3D printer and is always working on something.”

Along with fellow PDS students Zach “Woogie” Woogen and Kate Yazujian, both seniors, Tag was honored by Sustainable Princeton and the Princeton Environmental Commission for collective efforts that resulted in an annual Harvest Dinner for 250 people as well as a Student Environmental Conference. They were also part of a Greenhouse Gas Assessment team. All three are participants in the national Student Climate and Conservation Congress run by the Green School’s Alliance.

Tag is also a member of Princeton Scout Troop 43, and his contribution to the PDS environment was an innovative Eagle Scout project that would achieve sustainable change through engineering and design. With the help of a team of scouts and other PDS students, Tag built a Human Powered Rain Water Delivery System of his own design for the school’s teaching garden.

Using a donated bike on a platform constructed from recycled wood pallets, Tag’s project collects rainwater thereby reducing the amount of tap water used to irrigate the garden’s crops and flowers. Pumps powered by the bicycle rider, take the rain water to where it’s needed.

The impact of his Human Powered Rain Water Delivery System is something that Tag hopes to spread to other schools and communities. Plans for the system are available on the Troop 43 website (www.princetontroop43.org).

“I want the project to be replicable in other schools and gardens, and that as many students as possible have the opportunity to learn from it,” said Tag, who hopes that students will learn to be stewards of the land and its resources. It’s a mission that aligns with the Scout’s “Leave No Trace” ideal. So it’s no surprise to learn that Tag is the “Leave No Trace Instructor” for Troop 43.

His commitment to environmental issues has taken him on two occasions to the Student Climate and Conservation Congress, which exists to empower outstanding student environmental leaders with the skills, knowledge, and tools to address climate change and the challenges to the Earth’s natural resources.

Concern for the environment as well as scouting seem to run in the family. Tag’s older brother Max, 26, who now lives in Belize where he owns a solar light company, was a scout. His sister Grace, 13, is a girl scout cadet and his younger brother Chase, 11, is currently a Webelo cub scout who will be jointing Troop 43 in the spring. Both of Tag’s younger siblings attend the Princeton Friends School, where, following the success of his Human Powered Rain Water Delivery System at PDS, he plans to build a second system for the school garden.

Eagle Scout Projects require demonstrated leadership as well as service to others. A successful project is one that a scout can be proud of for the rest of his life. As far as his mother is concerned, being a scout is an enriching experience. “It’s all about being in a good supportive troop and we are very happy with Troop 43, whose members come from many different private and public schools in the Princeton area. The leaders and parents are very supportive of all the boys,” said Ms. Carpe. “I am proud that at such a young age Tag wants to make a difference in the world.”

For more information on Troop 43, scout, visit www.princetontroop43.org. For photographs of Tag’s project at Princeton Day School, visit: www.princetontroop43.org/eagle-projects/tag-quijano/tag-quijano.

The man found dead by workers clearing snow-covered walkways on the morning of Monday, January 26, has been identified as George Gagliardi, 49, of Sewell. According to West Windsor police, the death is not suspicious and is being regarded as a suicide.

The deceased was located at 10:36 a.m. in a patch of woods near 502 Carnegie Center, according to police. Police and paramedics were immediately called to the scene.

Detectives from West Windsor Township Police and the Mercer County Homicide Task Force conducted the investigation.

ASPECTS OF PRINCETON: “Princeton Places,” a project Lewis Center visiting faculty member Danielle Aubert suggested to students in her fall 2014 advanced graphic design class, will be introduced February 11 at a 6 p.m. presentation and discussion at the Princeton Public Library.

ASPECTS OF PRINCETON: “Princeton Places,” a project Lewis Center visiting faculty member Danielle Aubert suggested to students in her fall 2014 advanced graphic design class, will be introduced February 11 at a 6 p.m. presentation and discussion at the Princeton Public Library.

Teaching at Wayne State University in Detroit, graphic artist Danielle Aubert often met fellow artists visiting the city to do projects about its abandoned buildings and urban blight. While she admired their efforts, she wondered what it would be like for budding artists who actually lived there to express their ideas about the city.

Currently a visiting Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Ms. Aubert suggested a similar idea to students in her fall 2014 advanced graphic design class. The result, a book called Princeton Places, will be introduced February 11 at a 6 p.m. presentation and discussion at the Princeton Public Library.

The eight students interpreted such sites as Palmer Square, Princeton Running Company, the Princeton Airport, and the Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath, varying widely in their use of methods and materials. “I wanted to do something in Princeton that was useful for students to get to know the community, and graphic design is an interesting way to do it,” said Ms. Aubert. “You can pull together so many different materials. There are a lot of ways to represent a place.”

The students were asked to choose a site to examine and represent as a book using the tools of graphic design. They employed images, maps, interviews, writings, and archival materials. Simon Wu used photographs of food he ordered at Soonja’s Cafe to talk about the restaurant on Alexander Street. Neeta Patel’s photos and printed interviews were her interpretation of Princeton Running Company. Felicia Ng used historic photos, maps, and text to talk about the displacement of an African-American neighborhood to make way for the development of Palmer Square. Andrew Sonderm also chose Palmer Square, but took a different approach.

“Two of the students did projects on Palmer Square. They looked at interesting sides of it,” Ms. Aubert said. “One mapped out all of the stores from decade to decade, but you see them moving around within the square. Another one was an interview with someone who lives in Palmer Square.”

Ms. Aubert decided it was important to focus on locations that were easily accessible for the students, because she knew multiple visits and detailed exploration would be part of the project.

“When I started thinking about this, I knew that New Jersey was marking the 350th anniversary of its naming, so I considered telling the students they could go anywhere in New Jersey,” said Ms. Aubert. “But the more I thought about it, I realized I wanted them to be able to visit the sites multiple times, and have their own relationships to the sites so they were not just visiting or thinking of it as an outsider. The one rule was that it had to be off campus. I told them to pick a street, a shop, or whatever, focusing on a place that was lively and not necessarily a historical site.”

Asked for her favorites, Ms. Aubert was diplomatic. “I thought they were all interesting,” she said. “I did really enjoy reading the one by Angela Zhou about Shanghai Bun, the restaurant in Princeton Junction. I thought it was interesting because it brings in a sort of global angle. And in her book, she talks about her own relationship to the restaurant, which is a little bit surprising.”

As part of the project, each student created his or her own book. Princeton Places is made up of excerpts from those
individual publications.

Ms. Aubert is no stranger to using graphic design for a book. “I actually co-edited a book about my neighborhood in Detroit,” she said. “It’s called Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies: Lafayette Park, Detroit. It guided me a lot with this project, in terms of what I was asking them to come up with. To gather all the material and edit and design it is a big project. No one is telling you ‘You can’t put that in your book.’ It’s a big undertaking.”

The book launch of Princeton Places is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 11, at Princeton Public Library.

Princeton resident and corporate executive David Hill has joined the board of trustees of Volunteer Connect. Mr. Hill is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of NRG Energy, Inc. He joined the company in 2012 after holding leadership positions in both private law firms and the federal government in Washington D.C.

At NRG, Mr. Hill encourages his employees to volunteer to support the needs of community nonprofits, either with skilled volunteer opportunities or board service. NRG recently hosted VolunteerConnect’s, BoardConnect nonprofit board training service for top executives from Boston and Princeton.

“VolunteerConnect’s model and mission fit well with my interest to connect people with community needs,” said Mr. Hill. “I am honored to join the board of an organization that can and does play an important role with helping nonprofits and helping people find good service opportunities.”

Robin Fogel, Board Chair of VolunteerConnect, commented, “David Hill’s commitment to service and corporate social responsibility are exemplary. We are thrilled to add his impressive expertise and insights to the talented VolunteerConnect board, and to further our relationships with Central New Jersey companies.”

VolunteerConnect partners with corporations to engage employees in nonprofit board training to learn to be effective nonprofit board members and provides skills-based volunteer opportunities with Central New Jersey nonprofits in need of strategic support.

The Historical Society of Princeton invites members and friends to the 2015 Annual Meeting and Lewis B. Cuyler Lecture, to be held at the Nassau Club, 6 Mercer Street, on Wednesday, February 11, at 7 p.m. James W. Hughes, Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, will be the guest speaker.

Mr. Hughes will discuss the topics addressed his most recent book, New Jersey’s Postsuburban Economy, which was co-authored with Joseph J. Seneca, Rutgers University Professor of Economics, and based on the nearly three-decade-long Rutgers Regional Report series. New Jersey’s economy, from its colonial origins to the present day, has continuously and successfully confronted the challenges and uncertainties of technological and demographic change, placing the state at the forefront of each national and global economic era. On the brink of yet another transformation, this one driven by a new technology and an internet based global economy, the state will have to adapt itself again.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited; call (609) 921-6748 x105 or email eve@princetonhistory.org to make a reservation.
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Dr. Paul Corkum, professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa, will deliver this year’s Plasma Science and Technology Distinguished Speaker Lecture entitled “Plasma Physics at the Atomic Level.” The lecture, sponsored by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the School and Engineering and Applied Science, will be held on the Princeton University campus, Tuesday, February 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering faculty room, J-223, E-Quad, Olden St., Princeton.

The talk will describe the deeper understanding of the effects of strong fields on atomic and molecular physics made possible by his invention of high-power short-pulse X-ray lasers based on optical field multiphoton ionization. These systems have achieved record levels of intensity and brevity, allowing scientists to probe, with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution, the detailed geometry, chemistry, and attosecond evolution of small systems, exploiting and “photographing” the orbitals of individual electrons.

The characteristics of the coherently emitted light during the ionization process extend optical science to extremely short pulses and short wavelengths. The emergent plasma-physics-like concepts are shown to be applicable to the multiphoton creation of excitons in solids and allow measurement of the band structure of solids with all-optical methods.

Dr. Corkum, a member of the Royal Societies of London and of Canada, the Order of Canada, and the U.S. Academy of Sciences, is Director of the Attosecond Science Program, National Research Council. He has been awarded the Canadian Association of Physicists’ gold medal for lifetime achievement in Physics (1996), the Einstein Award of the Society for Optical and Quantum Electronics (1999), the Royal Society of Canada’s Tory Medal (2003), her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), the Optical Society’s Charles H. Townes award (2005), the IEEE’s Quantum Electronics award (2005), the American Physical Society’s Arthur L. Schawlow prize for Quantum Electronics (2006), and NSERC’s Polanyi Award (2008).

The talk is free and open to the public.

front page snow tiger

As Katy Perry sang “The Eye of the Tiger” at Sunday’s Superbowl half time show, one of Princeton’s own tigers was holding its own against the snow as shown here in this shot by local fine art photographer Richard Trenner. (Image courtesy of Richard Trenner)

January 28, 2015

After reviewing the case of Eric Maltz, 22, the Princeton resident who was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2013 crash that killed a Princeton rabbi, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier ordered Mr. Maltz’s release from the criminal locked unit at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

Mr. Maltz had been held at the facility since Judge Billmeier’s December 23 ruling that he was not guilty by reason of insanity in the Riverside Drive crash that resulted in the death of Rabbi James S. Diamond and caused serious injury to Rabbi Robert Freedman.

Mr. Maltz had been charged with one count of death by auto and one count of assault by auto following the incident. He pleaded not guilty to the charges that could have meant up to 40 years in prison, a sentence of 30 years for first degree aggravated manslaughter and 10 years for aggravated assault.

Following the judge’s December ruling, Mr. Maltz was sent to the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital pending review of his case. He was ordered to remain there “if and until the court finds that he is no longer mentally unfit, such that he poses a danger to himself or others.”

He was released, with conditions, Friday, January 16.

According to a psychiatrist Mr. Maltz posed no danger to others. It was recommended that he be released on condition he remain in psychotherapy, continue taking his medications and submit to random drug tests. At present, he will not get his driver’s license back or be allowed to drive. His father will be responsible for his supervision.

Mr. Billmeier’s December ruling was based on the findings of a psychiatrist who had interviewed Mr. Maltz and reviewed his psychiatric records. He found that at the time of the crash Mr. Maltz met the legal definition of not guilty by reason of insanity.

In March 2013, in what is thought to have been a botched suicide attempt, Mr. Maltz drove a BMW car at high speed into an unoccupied Toyota Camry on Riverside Drive. The struck car then hit a parked Toyota Prius just as Mr. Diamond, 74, was getting into the passenger side. Mr. Robert Freedman, then 63, a former cantor at the Jewish Center of Princeton, was in the driver’s seat. Both men were leaving a Talmud study group.

The Toyota Camry had been parked in front of the Prius. The impact of the BMW pushed the parked Camry into the Prius. Mr. Diamond, who had directed Princeton University’s Center for Jewish Life from 1995 to his retirement in 2003, died at the scene. Mr. Freedman and Mr. Maltz were both taken to the trauma center at Capital Health Medical Center.

After the incident, Mr. Maltz was committed to Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, where he remained for several months until he was released to his family on Braeburn Drive. Reportedly, the young man has a history of mental illness and had been in a psychiatric facility not long before the March 2013 crash. He had tried to harm himself with a knife in 2012 and had struggled with mood swings and depression.

ON CAMPUS SOON: Andrew Solomon will discuss his  award-winning work “Far From The Tree” on February 10 at 6 p.m. in McCosh Hall 50. A Washington Post review called the book “a hybrid series of thematically linked oral histories, the majority of which are deeply moving about the strength of parents who display heroic energy and creativity.”

ON CAMPUS SOON: Andrew Solomon will discuss his award-winning work “Far From The Tree” on February 10 at 6 p.m. in McCosh Hall 50. A Washington Post review called the book “a hybrid series of thematically linked oral histories, the majority of which are deeply moving about the strength of parents who display heroic energy and creativity.”

Writer, lecturer, and activist Andrew Solomon will discuss his award-winning book Far From The Tree (2012) on February 10 at 6 p.m. in McCosh Hall 50. The book is an exploration of the means by which families accommodate children with physical, mental and social disabilities and how these unusual situations can be invested with love.

Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Julie Myerson termed Far From the Tree “a passionate and affecting work that will shake up your preconceptions and leave you in a better place. It’s a book everyone should read and … there’s no one who wouldn’t be a more imaginative and understanding parent — or human being — for having done so.”

Far From The Tree received the 2012 National Book Critics Award, the Lambda Literary Award, Media for a Just Society Award of the National Council of Crime and Delinquency, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.

The founder of the Solomon Research Fellowships in LGBT Studies at Yale University, he is a professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University. His 2001 book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, explored the science and culture of clinical depression through interviews and his own experience. It was awarded the National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The Stafford Little Lecture Series and the Belknap Visitors in the Council of the Humanities are cosponsoring this event, which is free and open to the public. For more information on this event, please visit lectures.princeton.edu.

HISTORIC LODGE: The Masonic Temple at 30 Maclean has a rich history. Situated on the corner with John Street, the building is in the process of being purchased by a group of developers working in tandem with local architect Josh Zinder and others who plan to restore the building’s exterior while restructuring the interior as rental apartments. Mr. Zinder and his partners brought their initial concept of the building’s future to a meeting with members of the local community held at the Arts Council of Princeton last week.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

HISTORIC LODGE: The Masonic Temple at 30 Maclean has a rich history. Situated on the corner with John Street, the building is in the process of being purchased by a group of developers working in tandem with local architect Josh Zinder and others who plan to restore the building’s exterior while restructuring the interior as rental apartments. Mr. Zinder and his partners brought their initial concept of the building’s future to a meeting with members of the local community held at the Arts Council of Princeton last week. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Is there a market in Princeton for rental apartments within walking distance of the center of town for people of modest income who want low rents and access to all that the municipality has to offer? Princeton Property Partners (PPP) seem to think so. And, in conjunction with local architect Josh Zinder and several others, they are putting their beliefs into action with an undertaking that would turn the old Masonic Lodge at the corner of John and Maclean streets in the Jackson/Witherspoon neighborhood into an apartment building.

Last Wednesday, January 21, PPP’s Aubrey Haines and Mr. Zinder invited the neighbors in to see what they had in mind. Their plans met with a cautious thumbs up.

The proposal to turn the Masonic Temple into a 10-unit apartment building was presented to those who live near the historic structure and who are concerned about the impact that any plans for its future use might have on the neighborhood.

About 50 people, including four former Princeton mayors: Jim Floyd, Marvin Reed, Mildred Trotman, and Yina Moore, came to the Arts Council to hear Mr. Zinder, who lives on Moore Street and is principal of the architectural firm JZA+D, describe plans for 10 apartments ranging from about 500 square feet to just under 1,000 square feet.

To conform with the municipality’s 20 percent affordable housing requirements, two of the units would be designated “affordable housing.”

Aubrey Haines of PPP, which invests in college-town properties, spoke first and acknowledged co-investors, Jared Witt, Roland Pott, and Josh Zinder. “Josh is a 14- year resident of Princeton, he understands a lot about this community and how they view change,” said Mr. Haines. “Others might come in and say here’s what we want to do. We recognize that this doesn’t get a good reception, so we want to start with the community and get things right.”

“This historic structure is important to the people who grew up here and a developer could come in, knock it down, and build two mansions, but that isn’t appropriate for this neighborhood,” said Mr. Haines. “We are here to listen to what you have to say.”

Stressing that the ideas being presented were still in the early stages and that the purchase of the building hasn’t yet been finalized, Mr. Zinder said: “We think we have a good project for this neighborhood. We want to restore and maintain the building.” Noting that the building had some original brick, he said, “We would like to bring back some of the character of the original structure, perhaps expose some of the brick, refinish the wood, or color the stucco.”

“We want to present the concept to the neighbors, since we will be seeking variances and would like to have their support. We want to keep the original structure rather than tear it down and put up something that would be at odds with the neighborhood,” said Mr. Zinder.

The plan would include an external staircase and an elevator tower serving three ground floor flats (two studios and a one-bedroom apartment), three second floor units, and four units on the top two floors, and a parking lot on Maclean.

Questions and comments from the audience followed the brief presentation. The first came from a neighbor who knew the building from the days when her grandfather was a mason. “It’s hard to see how you will get ten apartments into this building,” she said, to which Mr. Zinder responded that the building is bigger than one might think — when a mezzanine is taken into account, it’s over 7,000 square feet.

The developers were asked what sort of rent was anticipated. “The rentals would be less than some of the fancier units in town,” said Mr. Haines, citing other “affordable housing” offered in the municipality. “Not only is this good for the town, it’s a good business decision. We don’t want to compete with that market. We will be targeting seniors and students.”

“I share your concern that some of the properties being developed are out of the price-range of most average people,” said Mr. Haines, noting that it was hard to give any figures until all of the costs had been worked out. “This is a process. We want to work with you and listen to you, but we have to make money on this project or we are not going to do it,” he said.

Neighbors were concerned that the building’s history be acknowledged, perhaps by a brass plaque or signage, as had been done for the Waxwood Building nearby.

Questions were also raised about parking for new residents. The town requires 1.5 parking spaces per unit. As it stands, the plan would need 15 spaces. “Currently there are 13 spaces, including a handicapped space at the site,” said Mr. Zinder, acknowledging the problem. “We are hoping that not all residents will have cars. The worst case scenario would be a need for 20 spaces. We recognize this is something we have to solve.”

The developers pointed out the need to maximize profitability and their belief that renters of studio apartments would not need parking spaces. He acknowledged, however, that this was an issue that had been struggled with and that it was possible that the number of units could change. But with a reduced number of units, the rentals would be higher.

But one neighbor who had moved to Princeton from New York City agreed that there would be renters who needed no parking spots. “I’d like to see this plan succeed and would hate to see it torpedoed by parking issues,” he said.

Ingrid Reed asked whether there were data available on whether there was a market for people who do not want to have a car. Mr. Zinder said that they were intending to hire a traffic consultant to address that issue.

“I came here with an open mind,” said Birch Avenue resident Leighton Newlin, who was born and raised in the neighborhood. “I like your presentation. This building means a lot to this community. I don’t blame you for wanting to make a profit out of it. It will still look like a Masonic Temple. You will keep the integrity of the building. If another developer comes in with a better plan, I’d be surprised.”

Mr. Floyd also spoke favorably of the project, asking how members of the community could invest in it. “I’m impressed that you are trying to be honest about this and not deceitful. We are grateful for your concern for the neighborhood.”

Sheldon Sturges of Princeton Future commented on neighborhood gentrification. “Even these properties will not be affordable for this community,” he said, suggesting that the developers do something really innovative, something historic, and ask the municipality to allocate 50 percent of the units to people who would pay 30 percent of their income.

Mr. Sturges suggested that “as a community, would do well to think of a new way to encourage developers to build ’50-50’ residential, mixed-income units. Fifty percent of the units might be ‘market’ and 50 percent might be ‘non-market.’ The non-market units could be made available to those who qualify at 30 percent of their income. Incentives for the developer might involve: a granting of wished-for zoning variances and/or a grant of public property on which to develop another, similar project. This is a moral issue for the community. It is a social justice issue. Josh and his team are good, local partners to try to work out a new way for us all to work together.”

Rounding up the meeting, Mr. Zinder said: “We are open to having another neighborhood meeting when we are ready to present to the Princeton planning board. Principal of the architectural firm J ZA+D, Mr. Zinder was recently honored with the Architectural Firm of the Year service award. He is scheduled to speak at the Princeton Adult School March 19 as part of a series of conversations with Ingrid Reed.