September 4, 2013
AROUND THE WORLD IN 1909: When Trenton business woman Harriet White Fisher set off around the world with her personal secretary Harold Brooks, many of the countries through which they traveled, including the United States, were ill-prepared for automobiles. In some cases, roads and bridges had to be built for them. Mr. Brooks’ granddaughter Rebecca Urban will describe their unique journey, Sunday, September 8, at 2 p.m. in the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park, Trenton. For more information, visit:

AROUND THE WORLD IN 1909: When Trenton business woman Harriet White Fisher set off around the world with her personal secretary Harold Brooks, many of the countries through which they traveled, including the United States, were ill-prepared for automobiles. In some cases, roads and bridges had to be built for them. Mr. Brooks’ granddaughter Rebecca Urban will describe their unique journey, Sunday, September 8, at 2 p.m. in the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park, Trenton. For more information, visit:

In 1909, Harriet White Fisher bought an automobile and set out to travel around the world. She did not go alone. And unlike Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg, it took her more than 80 days. Mrs. Fisher traveled with her chauffeur and personal secretary Harold Brooks, her maid, her butler, and a Boston Bull Terrier named Honk-Honk. It was 13 months before they arrived back in Trenton.

As can be imagined, their journey was full of adventure, and at times, misadventure. The Locomobile touring car in which they traveled was among the best cars of its day and Mrs. Fisher’s account of the journey was published as A Woman’s World Tour in an Automobile in 1911.

An exhibition of the travels of Mrs. Fisher and Mr. Brooks, aptly titled “Trenton Entourage Motors ’Round the World in 1909” and sponsored by AAA Mid-Atlantic, is currently on view at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park. It includes a display of the route, along with artifacts and photographs taken by Mr. Brooks on the trip.

Guest curator Rebecca Urban will present a slide lecture about this remarkable journey on Sunday, September 8, at 2 p.m. Ms. Urban is well-placed to speak on the topic. She is the granddaughter of Mr. Brooks and, along with 12 other grandchildren, she inherited the artifacts, photos, diaries, and other memorabilia of his adventure, most of which is on display.

A retired teacher from Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton Township, Ms. Urban will relate how the four travelers, and Honk Honk, prepared for their historic journey. Financed entirely by Mrs. Fisher, the trip took them across Europe, Africa, India, China, and Japan before they were back in the United State and motoring to Trenton from San Francisco.

In her account of her grandfather’s experiences, Ms. Urban draws upon stories handed down from her parents’ generation as well as an oral history he recorded in 1956 and some 240 of his photographs. Photographs show the entourage arriving at the Place Vendôme in Paris, fording a river in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and being mobbed by curious crowds in Kobe, Japan.

“I am so grateful to my Uncle Fisher [Harold Fisher Brooks II] for saving and preserving this material and for having the foresight to record my grandfather’s reminiscences on tape,” said Ms. Urban. “At the time of his trip, my grandfather was just 22, Mrs. Fisher was 48. Before they left, she spread a rumor that he was her nephew, possibly to avoid speculation as to their relationship by presenting it as respectable and acceptable. The fact that my grandfather’s middle name, by coincidence, was Fisher, made this story seem plausible, but they were not related.”

One effect of Mrs. Fisher’s ruse, however, was that Mr. Brooks was very well received when they stayed in hotels en route, and given first class accommodation on board ship unlike the maid and the butler. “People always ask me if my grandfather and Mrs. Fisher were romantically involved and I can tell you emphatically from reading his journal that they were not.” For those who want a love affair, however, the trip does provide one. On their return, the maid, whose name was Maria, and Albert, the butler, got married and, as far as is known, lived happily ever after.

“Mrs. Fisher was an amazing woman,” said Mr. Urban, “but she was more likely to record details of social gatherings, who they met and where they stayed, than the logistics of the journey. My grandfather on the other hand was in charge of the mechanics of the trip and his journal is full of details. I’m only he sorry that he started it in Italy and not before.”

Mrs. Fisher was a successful Trenton businesswoman in the early 1900s, at time when it was rare for a woman to run a business in the United States, especially a manufacturing business. Known as “The Anvil Queen of America,” she had inherited the Eagle Anvil Works, or Fisher & Norris, from her husband who died in 1902. The company was very successful and supplied all sizes of anvils to companies throughout the world.

Mrs. Fisher died in 1939 and had no children. Mr. Brooks lived until 1962, when his granddaughter was eight years old. Ms. Urban, who remembers visiting him until he went into a nursing home during the last two years of his life, plans to write a book of the automobile tour inspired by her grandfather’s letters home. Her talk and tour of the exhibition will take place Sunday, September 8, at 2 p.m.

“Trenton Entourage Motors ’Round the World in 1909” continues through September 22. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays and municipal holidays. For more information, visit:


The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded the Princeton Theological Seminary a grant of $1.5 million to expand the Seminary’s Theological Commons, a project to develop a digitally connected global library of theological resources. The grant is one of the foundation’s 75th Anniversary Grants.

Princeton Seminary has taken a leading role in the creation of digital resources for shared knowledge and learning by creating the Theological Commons in 2012, a free public digital library of more than 75,000 books on theology and religion. The project has been designed from the ground up with students, pastors, and theologians in mind, and it will establish partner relationships with theological libraries and communities in North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It has the capacity to offer sufficient resources to enable study for a theological degree in countries where such resources are too costly to acquire.

The Seminary prepared Henry Winters Luce for his work as a missionary in China (he graduated from Princeton Seminary in 1896), a ministry he pursued for 30 years (1897–1927). The Luce Foundation, established in 1936 in honor of his parents by the missionary’s son, Henry Robinson Luce, has provided the Seminary with an endowed professorship, collaboration in developing the now independent Center of Theological Inquiry, numerous fellowships, and the launch of the Seminary’s Asian American Theology Program. And the late Henry Luce III, grandson and son of these accomplished men, served on the Seminary’s Board of Trustees for 35 years, lending his energy and leadership in the 1990s in the Seminary’s campaign to build a library for theological research.

Recognizing the commitment of the Henry Luce Foundation “… to encourage the development of religious leaders through theological education,” Princeton Seminary president M. Craig Barnes values the partnership expressed in this gift. “We are deeply grateful for the Luce Foundation’s generous support of our mission,” he said. “Together we are committed to providing excellent theological education and service to scholars and religious leaders here and around the world.”

Dr. Michael Gilligan, president of the Henry Luce Foundation, remarked, “In awarding the Seminary one of our few 75th anniversary grants, the foundation’s board of directors noted that the Theological Commons represents a convergence of this historic relationship with 21st-century innovation, bringing the best of traditional scholarly resources to new audiences through current technology. With a major grant to support the development of the Theological Commons, the Henry Luce Foundation is honored to support Princeton Theological Seminary’s pioneering efforts in scholarship and service.”

ANTARCTICA: In 2000, painter Diane Burko added photography to her oeuvre. Her newest photographs include oversized prints from “Polar Investigations,” an ongoing series that began with her expedition to Antarctica in early 2013. The 20 photographs in “Antarctica Grid,” shown here in this archival inkjet print, capture chunks of ice in various sizes, breaking apart from glaciers and icebergs. Her work conveys concern about climate change and can be seen at the Zimmerli Museum through next July.(Courtesy of the Artist).

ANTARCTICA: In 2000, painter Diane Burko added photography to her oeuvre. Her newest photographs include oversized prints from “Polar Investigations,” an ongoing series that began with her expedition to Antarctica in early 2013. The 20 photographs in “Antarctica Grid,” shown here in this archival inkjet print, capture chunks of ice in various sizes, breaking apart from glaciers and icebergs. Her work conveys concern about climate change and can be seen at the Zimmerli Museum through next July. (Courtesy of the Artist).

A new exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University brings 19th-century American landscape traditions into the 21st-century with a blast of arctic air. “Diane Burko: Glacial Perspectives,” opens September 4 and continues through July 31, 2014.

The exhibition not only captures the beauty of ice, it also addresses the fragility of remote vistas and the concern that their disappearance will have drastic effects for us all. It documents changes in glacial movement and depleted snow levels that have occurred within the past century. “Few people will ever have the opportunity to visit these distant regions, yet their existence is crucial to life as we know it on this planet,” explains Suzanne Delehanty, Zimmerli’s director.

With their large scale and vivid color, Ms. Burko’s new work reflects her longtime interest in extreme landscapes. For more than 40 years, she has focused on monumental and geological phenomena throughout the world: from American scenic icons to volcanoes on four continents. Beginning in the early 2000s, Ms. Burko’s explorations have extended to include snow and ice in increasingly remote locations. “My ‘obsession’ since 2006 is the threat of global warming,” she explains. “My practice has been devoted to exploring those issues and interpreting that knowledge through my own aesthetic language articulated with my brush and camera.”

Expanding on American landscape traditions of the 19th century, Ms. Burko reinvents it by integrating contemporary climate concerns with scientific evidence — rather than political commentary — as the basis for her work and encourages viewers to develop their own points of view about climate change. “Diane has a marvelous ability to translate technical data into dynamic, panoramic views, while also evoking an intimate, emotional experience,” observes Donna Gustafson, the Zimmerli’s Andrew W. Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1945, Ms. Burko has had more than 30 solo exhibitions in galleries and museums across the United States. Her works are in numerous private and public collections and her residencies in Giverny, France, and Bellagio, Italy, resulted in two series of paintings that received critical acclaim. She has taught at such institutions as Princeton University and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as lectured at museums and university galleries across the country.

Ms. Burko’s paintings from her ongoing “Politics of Snow” series (2007-13) capture gradual landscape changes, as well as specific climatic events. She created the “Columbia Glacier” series (2011) based on photographs of this Alaskan glacier taken by explorers and the U.S. Geological Survey at different intervals during the 20th and 21st centuries. Each of the four canvases is a majestic scene in itself; and seen together, they illustrate the glacier’s rapid retreat since 1980. The paintings “Petermann Calving, August 16, 2010” (2012) and “Arctic Cyclone, August 2012” (2012-13) re-create specific natural events: a dramatic break in Greenland’s Petermann Glacier and a cyclone that traveled across the Arctic Ocean from Siberia to Canada, respectively. Burko referenced NASA imaging as her source material for these aerial views, but added a personal perspective with her sweeping brushstrokes.

“Diane Burko: Glacial Perspectives,” is at the Zimmerli Art Museum, 71 Hamilton Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. For more information, hours and admission (free on the first Sunday of every month), call (848) 932-7237 or visit: www.zimmerli


Two scientists doing post-doctoral research at Princeton University have been awarded grants by the L’Oreal USA Fellowships for Women in Science. Anisa Salim Ismail and Luisa Whittaker-Brooks were among five women chosen for this year’s grants of up to $60,000, which go to outstanding United-States-based candidates in the life and physical/material sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computer science.

For Ms. Ismail, who has been in the University’s molecular biology department for three years, the grant will go toward finding clues for curing inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. Ms. Whittaker-Brooks, who works in chemical and biological engineering, will use the funds to help design solar-thermal generators in photovoltaics that are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Bacteria are the focus of Ms. Ismail’s research, specifically how humans can maintain 100 trillion “friendly” bacteria in our intestines without becoming ill. “In fact, these bacteria are absolutely essential for our health,” she said in an email. “And a breakdown in this human-commensal partnership can lead to debilitating intestinal diseases such as IBD and Crohn’s disease. My research focuses on the possibility that we maintain beneficial relationships in the gut by talking to our bacteria through a process called inter-kingdom quorum sensing.”

The fellowship funds will allow Ms. Ismail to initiate a new project to study whether mammals “talk” to their bacterial partners through inter-kingdom quorum sensing. “We know that bacteria talk to each other through various chemical languages to coordinate group behaviors, but the idea that mammals can use a similar language to talk to their commensal bacteria is only just beginning to be addressed,” Ms. Ismail said.

Ms. Ismail earned undergraduate degrees in biology and Spanish at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and began her PhD in immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. It was there that she began studying the immune system of the gut and intestinal diseases. Moving to Princeton University brought her to the lab of Dr. Bonnie Bassler, which is “without a doubt the best place to study the question,” she said.

Ms. Whittaker-Brooks was a Fulbright Scholar and pursued her PhD in chemistry at the University of Buffalo. While there, she came to understand the impact that nanotechnology has over the worldwide scientific community. She started a post-doctoral research position at Princeton as part of her academic training. Through her investigations, she hopes to learn how to realize “low-cost, light weight, mechanically flexible thin-film devices such as organic transistors and solar cells,” she said in an email. “The materials we intend to synthesize could be a boon for several applications ranging from power generation to micro-processor cooling which would potentially solve energy issues in the world.”

Both women have enjoyed living in Princeton. Ms. Ismail said she especially likes showing the town off to visiting family members. “One of my very favorite activities while they are here is to walk through campus and through town — from the statement that Nassau Hall makes when lit at night, to the unexpected grandeur of the humbly-named ‘chapel,’ or to the delicious ice cream at The Bent Spoon, it really has been an unbelievable experience living here,” she said.

Ms. Whittaker-Brooks views the University as the centerpiece of the town. “Most importantly, at Princeton University you will find most of the smartest people on the planet,” she said. “And guess what … they aren’t big-headed. Princeton University is a big family of people working together in the pursuit of significant contributions that will make our world a better place to live.”

The Princeton winners will join the three others honored this year by the L’Oreal USA Fellowships at an awards ceremony on October 24 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The program is a national extension of the global U’Loreal UNESCO For Women in Science program, which has supported a total of 1,729 women scientists from over 100 countries since 1998.


Tennis has been a priority for Chris Hoeland for almost as long as he can remember. After first picking up a racquet at about age seven, he started competing in tournaments a few years later. At Princeton High, he won four Mercer County titles and had a high school record of 100-9. Then it was on to Washington University in St. Louis, where he started on the tennis team all four years, winning the team national championship in 2008, and earning all-American honors three times before graduating in 2009.

Now 27, Mr. Hoeland spent three years as assistant coach of men’s tennis at Princeton University before taking on a fresh challenge last month. He is the new Program/Player Development Manager of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) of Trenton, working with inner city children to improve their lives based on the ideals of the late tennis star Arthur Ashe.

NJTLT is part of a network of 620 chapters with 350,000 participants across the country. The Trenton program counts some 2,500 children involved throughout the year, with 600 enrolled during the summer and 500 to 600 during the school terms.

“I love kids,” Mr. Hoeland said this week. “I’d always been interested in teaching at some point. Working at Princeton University, one of the finest academic institutions in the world, clearly played a part in my role as a coach. Education and sports have always been a very big part of my life. I thought that in this role, I’d have a good chance to impact kids’ lives in Trenton, for the better. And what better way to give back than to help kids out by doing something I love?”

In his new role, Mr. Hoeland spends more time in the office than on the program’s recently refurbished tennis courts in Trenton’s Cadwalader Park. “I’m kind of getting things organized at the moment, but hopefully I’ll get to be on the court some more at some point,” he said. “I’m the main link between the tennis staff and the administrative office, and I’m still getting to know everyone.”

Mr. Hoeland was among those accompanying children from the Trenton program to the 18th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at the start of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows two weeks ago. Participating were first lady Michelle Obama, star players Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Sloane Stephens, and Serena Williams, and veterans Mary Jo Fernandez and John McEnroe. “It was awesome,” he said. “The kids got to be where it happens. They loved it.”

Mr. Hoeland lives in Princeton and is a product of its school system. He attended the Riverside Elementary School and John Witherspoon Middle School before moving on to Princeton High. He played tennis at Princeton Racquet Club and Hopewell Valley Tennis Center, “all the clubs,” he said, in his youth.

At Washington University, tennis continued to dominate his time. “It was easily the most enjoyable part of my college experience,” he said. “We won the nationals in 2008, so we obviously had a pretty good team. That was one of the reasons I got into coaching. I know my coach was a big part of what made it so special for me. That’s why I got back into college tennis after I graduated.”

Washington University is a Division Three program, and Princeton University is Division One. But the difference between the two was not Mr. Hoeland’s biggest challenge after he arrived at Princeton. “Learning how to coach and be an authority figure to kids less than a year younger than me was a big part of the transition,” he recalled. “But you pick it up quickly. You learn where to draw the line. It was an interesting balance for me.”

The youngsters in the Trenton program pose different challenges. The NJTLT provides 18 to 22 weeks of after-school tennis instruction in school gyms and community centers using the United States Tennis Association’s QuickStart format, with short courts and sponge balls, in partnership with the Trenton Public Schools, the City of Trenton, and other after-school providers. They compete in a tournament at the end at the city’s Sun Bank Arena.

“The program is awesome. We get the chance to change the lives of low income and at risk youth. Education is a big component,” he said. “They’re learning about things like geometry, through tennis. It’s the best way to learn, when you enjoy it and have a concrete connection.”

Mr. Hoeland will be checking in on the U.S. Open during the next two weeks. “I love playing, and I do watch, but I don’t follow as much as I should,” he said. “But I love [Roger] Federer, and we’ll have to see how that goes.”

In his new position, Mr. Hoeland hopes to inspire kids to love the sport of tennis as much as he has since early childhood. “It’s a sport you can play for the rest of your life,” he said. “And you can learn life lessons and a lot about yourself through sports. NO matter what you do through sports, you’re going to learn. And in a place like NJTL, where everyone is really supportive and has a common goal, you can really go far.”


p 1 Holder Hall Before Classes Resume

Architect Ralph Adams Cram called Day and Klauder’s design for Holder Hall on the Princeton campus “the highest point in their authoritative interpretation of Gothic as a living style.” This vaulted passage is waiting for the students who will soon be adding life to Holder’s style. Classes begin on September 11. Opening exercises will be held in the Chapel on September 8. In “My Lost City,” Scott Fitzgerald remembers his former classmate Edmund Wilson, a New York literary light, once “the shy little scholar of Holder Court.” (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)


August 28, 2013

The Princeton Record Exchange on South Tulane Street is a much-loved Princeton landmark, so it was a shock to all when longtime employee Brian C. Dornbach was accused in January of sexually molesting a girl with special needs.

Mr. Dornbach was arraigned on Monday before Judge Thomas M. Brown in Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton. He entered a plea of not guilty.

According to a document received from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office and signed by Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr., Mr. Dornbach is accused of “using force or coercion” to touch a special needs teen over and/or under her clothing and having the victim touch him inappropriately. The charge is aggravated criminal sexual contact (a fourth degree offense) and endangering the welfare of a child. The latter third degree offense carries up to five years in state prison.

It is alleged that Mr. Dornbach molested the developmentally-challenged teen on multiple occasions over a period of two years between January 2011 and the end of December 2012. When the alleged acts took place, Mr. Dornbach and the teen were alone at various times at the store and other locations in Princeton.

Mr. Dornbach, who lives in Roebling, is 51. The girl is now 16, but was 15 when the alleged events took place.

Mr. Dornbach has worked at the Princeton Record Exchange since it opened in 1980. He is described as being known to the girl’s family. The teenager was left in his care at the record store on occasions when her father was visiting Princeton. In the indictment, Mr. Dornbach had on those occasions “assumed responsibility” for the girl, who lives in Denville.

The case came to light in January of this year when the teen victim described the activity to a confidante who then told her father. After her father alerted the Denville police, the Princeton Police Department was contacted and officers arrested Mr. Dornbach. He was taken to Princeton Police headquarters where he posted bail of $50,000.

On June 19, Mr. Dornbach appeared before a Mercer County grand jury.

Asked for comment about Monday’s arraignment of Mr. Dornbach, Princeton Record Exchange General Manager Jon Lampert was reluctant to respond other than to reiterate that he and others were shocked by Mr. Dornbach’s arrest. He said that Mr. Dorbach has been on administrative leave since January pending the outcome of the case.

The Princeton Record Exchange has twice been featured in the New York Times and once in Rolling Stone magazine. It is described as one of the best vinyl record stores in the nation. Owner Barry Weisfield was on vacation and not able to comment.

Mr. Dornbach’s next court appearance will be October 16 when he is to attend a “status conference” with Judge Brown.


Fall class registration is now open at the YWCA Princeton with most classes beginning September 5. More than 300 classes are being offered.

Registration can be completed online at for most classes, or by calling (609) 497-2100 ext. 0. There are no residential requirements to take classes and nearly every class is open to both sexes. A listing of all classes can be downloaded from their website.

The Nursery School at YWCA Princeton has some spots remaining for the 2013-14 school year for children ages 2½-6 years, including its bilingual Nursery School. A licensed educational school, it offers students a variety of activities. Students may also take advantage of other YWCA offerings such as swimming and dancing for an additional cost.

This fall, there is a Dance/Aquatics combo class for preschoolers. This one-hour class is for those wanting their children to develop different skills sets. The aquatics department is offering more than 100 classes for ages 4 months through seniors. An “Introduction to Water Skills” class for 13-14-year-olds has been introduced this fall. Those interested can move on to more advanced American Red Cross Classes. A Competitive Swim Clinic is also available to get 9-15 year olds ready for competitive swimming. Residents of West Windsor and Plainsboro have an additional option of taking swim classes at the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North pool. This is being offered in conjunction with Plainsboro Aquatics Outreach Program.

The After School Program (ASP) at Princeton, Montgomery, and Lawrence are available to parents wanting to ensure that their children are safe before and after school. It is offered on regular school days, early dismissals, most full days, and during spring breaks. In Princeton, ASP is available at Community Park, Johnson Park (children are bussed to Community Park), and Riverside. It is offered in Montgomery, at Montgomery Lower Middle School, Orchard Hill, and Village Elementary and in Lawrence at Ben Franklin Elementary, Eldridge Park Elementary, Lawrence Intermediate, Lawrenceville Elementary, and Slackwood Elementary. Full time, part time, and day passes are available at most schools. For those schools starting mid-September, a day camp is being offered September 4-6.

More than 30 ESL classes are available this fall including TOEFL Preparation, Basic English, conversation, and pronunciation. A new women’s empowerment series, “Unstuck for Your New Life” is being introduced this October for those that want to move ahead in their lives, professionally or otherwise. This four-part series is intended to help participants discover a new future by overcoming common mistakes that keeps them from moving forward.

For more than 50 years, the Newcomers and Friends group has welcomed those who have moved to the area, and those experiencing a life transition, get acquainted with the area through activities, lunches, trips, and outings. This group’s general meeting and new member sign-up is scheduled for September 13.

A number of free classes such as Common Sense Parenting, GED Preparation, and Citizenship Preparation are also offered to the greater Mercer county community.


So begins Sunday’s Splash ‘n Dash Aquathon at Community Park, with kids ages 7 to 10 at the start of the race, which combines running and swimming. The event was sponsored by the Princeton Recreation Department. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

August 23, 2013
FROM PAGE TO STAGE: As part of the Princeton Public Library’s Page to Stage series, playwright and director Brandon Monokian and actress Kaitlin Overton with local high schoolers on the content of Homer’s “The Odyssey” this week. They team will present two performances of a 21st century version of the classic story this Friday, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Library’s community room. From left to right (front row) Elaine Milan, Ms. Overton, Mr. Monokian, Karina Lieb, Ursula Blanchard; (back row: Jocelyn Furniss, Hunter Sporn, Programming Librarian Janie Hermann, Noelle Anglade, Trinity Chapa, Olivia Harrison, and Karen Wang.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

FROM PAGE TO STAGE: As part of the Princeton Public Library’s Page to Stage series, playwright and director Brandon Monokian and actress Kaitlin Overton with local high schoolers on the content of Homer’s “The Odyssey” this week. They team will present two performances of a 21st century version of the classic story this Friday, at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the Library’s community room. From left to right (front row) Elaine Milan, Ms. Overton, Mr. Monokian, Karina Lieb, Ursula Blanchard; (back row: Jocelyn Furniss, Hunter Sporn, Programming Librarian Janie Hermann, Noelle Anglade, Trinity Chapa, Olivia Harrison, and Karen Wang. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Guided by stage professionals Brandon Monokian and Kaitlin Overton, a dozen or so teens, most of them about to enter 9th grade at Princeton High School (PHS), are getting to grips with The Odyssey this week at the Princeton Public Library.

In preparation for Homer’s classic, required for 9th graders at PHS, the teens are researching and rehearsing for a staged reading this Friday of Naomi Iizuka’s 21st century version, Anon(ymous).

“We chose this modern version as a way to introduce Homer’s original to students who will encounter the book this fall,” said Programming Librarian Janie Hermann. “The Odyssey is an amazing work of literature but it’s also a challenging text, so we have partnered with PHS to help students toward a successful understanding.”

Anon(ymous) is the story of a boy named Anon, a refugee searching for his mother in modern day America. Along the way, he meets characters representing the people and creatures Odysseus met in his journey, such as the cyclops who was blinded by him,” explained Jocelyn Furniss, who found the story to be sometimes funny but with dark aspects overall. “I love acting and so I decided to be a part of this program,” she said.

“The language is beautiful and descriptive and the play is especially well-suited to a staged reading; Anon is a sort of Everyman,” offered Ms. Hermann. Ms. Overton agreed: “When I first read this play, I felt that the character of Anon represented all children.” As for Mr. Monokian, he is particularly attracted to the way in which Ms. Iizuka’s play “takes Homer’s gods and monsters and makes them real people.”

That Anon is a refugee from a war in some unspecified country lends itself well to student discussion. “It’s is a modern and poetic version of The Odyssey that touches on lots of global issues,” said Princeton teen Ursula S. Blanchard.

“I enjoy the imagery and themes of hope, struggle, and finding a place in the world,” said Elaine Milan of Montgomery High School, one of several participants from schools other than PHS, like Trinity Chapa of Northern Burlington High School and Karen Wang of West Windsor Plainsboro High School South. All other participants will be at PHS this fall. Hunter Sporn, the sole boy in the group, came along in order to learn more about The Odyssey.

“I like the modern twist on an ancient story,” said Olivia Harrison. “My favorite character is Nasreen who I played in the read-through.” According to participant Karina Lieb, reading Anon(ymous) makes The Odyssey easier to understand “and more fun.”

On Monday, the students were still a little shy of one another. Chances are that will fall by the wayside as the week progresses and they pour their energies into Friday’s two performances. Throughout the week, for three hours a day, the students will also be examining source materials.

The workshop offers students an opportunity to bring their own interests to bear. At the end of their first session, they were invited to bring in an object from home that they felt had some association with the play. If they were up for it, perhaps they might stage a sword-fighting scene, suggested Ms. Overton, to general positive response. “O yes,” said one student, “that’s the sort of thing we do all the time in ballet school.”

Both Mr. Monokian and Ms. Overton, from Highbridge and Lumberton respectively, have been involved in theater from the age of five. They’ve been working together since both were students at Montclair State University collaborating on the Laramie Project. “We were both involved with a protest project called Revolutionary Readings that was created in response to a youth anthology, Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology edited by Amy Sonnie, which was banned from two public library’s in New Jersey. When the anthology was read at the Princeton Public Library, Mr. Monokian and Ms. Overton created the Library’s Page to Stage series with Ms. Hermann.

Mr. Monokian earned national attention with Revolutionary Readings. He’s helped to raise thousands for women’s charities and was recently listed as one of South Jersey Magazine’s “Names to Know.” His original play Grimm Women has been staged at New York’s Kraine Theater and in Adrienne Theater’s 2nd Stage in Philadelphia. He is also a professional actor with appearances at the Greater Ocean City Theatre Company, Vineyard Playhouse and Luna Stage, among numerous others.

Kaitlin Overton, a recent graduate with a BA in Theatre Studies and a minor in International Studies, is an actress with credits that include You Me Bum Bum Train, directed by Kate Bond. An intern with the critically acclaimed New York Neo-Futurists, she plays the ukulele and has written original music for several staged readings of the Library’s Page to Stage series.

Page to Stage

The Library’s Page to Stage series began three years ago with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The idea is to explore and present staged readings of books that have been made into plays.

Some eight titles including two other plays by Naomi Iizuka have been presented: Freak, which she wrote with Ryan Pavelchik, based on the Pygmalion myth in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Tattoo Girl an adaptation of “Perpetua,” a short story by Donald Barthelme.

In addition, Page to Stage participants have delved into: Eurydice, a retelling of the Orpheus myth by Sarah Ruhl; Einstein’s Dreams, an adaptation of the book by Alan Lightman by Kipp Errante Cheng; The Arabian Nights, Mary Zimmerman’s version of Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights; Jack and the Beanstalk adapted by Bill Springer from the classic fairy tale; Jookalorum!: a collection of stories from O. Henry adapted by Joellen Bland and named after the author’s own term for something special or spectacular; and Mr. Monakian’s Revolutionary Readings.

“Having high schoolers involved is a new direction for Page to Stage which more often involves students at the university level who come to share their love of theater, and so we are very excited about this production,” said Ms. Hermann. “This has been a really fantastic three year run and we are always evolving the program.” Princeton TV’s Sharyn Murray created a short documentary, Page to Stage: Bringing Literature to Life, about the program.

The teen drama and literary workshop culminates in two performances of Anon(ymous) this Friday, August 23, a public dress rehearsal at 2 p.m. before the performance at 6 p.m., both in the Library’s Community Room.


August 21, 2013
HONING LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Participants in Corner House’s 2013 Student Leadership Institute last week took part in three days of team-building on the campus of Princeton University. The annual retreat included lectures, communication exercises, and evening activities.

HONING LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Participants in Corner House’s 2013 Student Leadership Institute last week took part in three days of team-building on the campus of Princeton University. The annual retreat included lectures, communication exercises, and evening activities.

In its mission to foster the emotional well-being of area youth, the local social service agency Corner House has long enlisted the help of young members of the community. Divided into four teams, these students from Princeton High School, The Hun School, Princeton Day School and Stuart Country Day School focus on issues like bullying, family strife, and drug and alcohol abuse, learning techniques to cope and how to pass them on to others.

Last week, 75 participants converged on the Princeton University campus for Corner House’s annual Student Leadership Institute. The students took part in three days of team-building exercises, heard talks by guest speakers, and unwound in the evenings with a hypnotist, karaoke, and a dance party.

In early years of the program, the teams had taken part in individual retreats. But Corner House Executive Director Gary Di Blasio realized a few years ago that being a part of something bigger made the program an even more powerful tool. “You put some 70 students out in the community and they can set the standard of how things can be,” he said this week. “The Leadership Institute has become really important.”

Corner House student leaders from all four schools serve on the Student Board and the Teen Advisory Group, which is concerned with preventing abuse of drugs and alcohol. Those chosen for Project GAIA [Growing Up Accepted in America] and GAIA2, which focus on bullying and acceptance, are students at Princeton High School. The growing popularity of the programs has made admission competitive.

“The leadership programs began with the Teen Advisory Group 22 years ago. When I got here 13 years ago, I realized that the number of students applying were about four times more than we had spots for,” Mr. Di Blasio said. “So we began looking at how to expand that program for teens in the community. It seemed like leadership was something that students and parents and schools were interested in.”

The Teen Advisory Group was expanded, and the first Project GAIA was begun about 12 years ago. It became so popular that GAIA2 was added to the mix. The first Student Board had four participants; currently there are 15.

Princeton High School rising senior Harry Kioko applied to be in the GAIA program as a sophomore. “I didn’t know that much about it, but I decided to give it a try,” he recalled. “I did it sort of on a whim, as a resume-stuffer. But it quickly became a lot more than that.”

As part of GAIA and GAIA2, Harry and his colleagues went into elementary and middle schools to do workshops about acceptance, overcoming differences, and seeing the good in different backgrounds. Then he graduated to the Teen Advisory Group, which talked to middle school students about prevention, moderation, and pressures to drink and take drugs that they might encounter in high school.

As part of the Student Board this coming school year, “We act as an intermediary, I like to think, between students and adults,” he said. “We have seats on the recreation and human services boards, the Corner House board, and as a Princeton Council liaison. We raise the issues we see in school or with our friends. We also plan a lot of events for the community, like the All-City Dodge Ball tournament and Friday Live at the Library, which is geared toward creating a substance-free environment where kids can go on weekends. We really make sure they are as cheap as possible, or free.”

Taking part in these programs throughout the years has allowed him to talk to students he might not otherwise know, Harry said. “It’s really become a very close-knit family and community. It’s sort of cool, because in the past couple of years I’ve really seen Corner House gain more scope and more respect in the community,” he said. “I’ve seen myself change a lot, too. A lot of the stuff we talk about, it shapes you. It really is rewarding. You learn a lot from it. This year, I’m hoping to take it to new heights. It is a phenomenal experience.”

All of the students who take part in the Corner House leadership teams take a pledge, part of which says they will make every effort to abstain from using alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. That is especially meaningful to Princeton High School rising senior Brittany Van Name, who was on the Teen Advisory Group last year and is a member of this year’s Student Board.

“This program, for me, is an opportunity to meet other kids in the Princeton area who share my same beliefs about abstaining from drugs and alcohol while in high school,” she said. “At school, a lot of people don’t understand why I’m not at the weekend parties. When I’m at Corner House I feel more understood.”

Another PHS senior on the Student Board this year is Viraj Khanna, who learned about GAIA from his sister. She had started in her junior year and urged Viraj to apply in his sophomore year. He especially enjoyed taking part in a workshop designed to help eighth grade students transition to high school.

“Placing yourself in that role of being a role model really helps you view how you are viewed by the community,” he said. “Just knowing that more is expected of you by the surrounding community really changes you.”

Last week’s retreat was especially helpful because participants were together for three days and two nights, isolated from other distractions. “Everyone’s there. It really brings the group closer together,” Viraj said. “And you an see the transition in the group from before to after. Productivity really increases. People are communicating, suggesting ideas. Having completely candid conversations with your team members is really what brings it together.”

Chaperones for the retreat are all former student leaders. “Their commitment to passing it on, and to staying connected and wanting to stay part of it, is important,” Mr. Di Blasio said. “What I hear from students is that it gives them a sense that they’re having an impact on their community. They actually have the ability to impact their school and the town they live in. And it’s an impact that’s real.”


The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and the NAACP Trenton Branch are providing an opportunity to travel by bus to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, August 24 for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington, the historic march in which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech.

Buses will depart from the Princeton Shopping Center and Hamilton AMC Theater at approximately 5 a.m. The Coalition for Peace Action and the NAACP will arrive at the Lincoln Memorial in time for the major rally with Martin Luther King III, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and others.

Attendees will then march approximately half a mile together to the Martin Luther King Memorial to close the day. Buses will arrive back in New Jersey at approximately 8 p.m.

To reserve a bus seat or obtain further information, contact the Coalition for Peace Action at (609) 924-5022,, or visit www.peaceco

Princeton Adult School is celebrating its 75th birthday with a year-long festival beginning in September and featuring an array of special activities throughout the community.

There will be conversations with renowned individuals linked to Princeton, a special lecture series within the Princeton Adult School curriculum, a gala, and a shopping spree, all commemorating the Adult School’s past 75 years of classes and lectures attended by an estimated 200,000 individuals. In addition, the celebration will toast the Adult School’s future in which the organization will grow stronger and even more committed to inspiring a lifetime of learning and personal enrichment.

Several other local non-profit organizations will be hosting events in honor of the Adult School’s 75th birthday. These include the Princeton Public Library; Princeton Arts Council; McCarter Theatre; Princeton Art Museum; Pro-Musica; Rider University/Westminster Choir College; Princeton Festival; Princeton University Concerts; Historical Society of Princeton; Morven; Institute for Advanced Study; Princeton Symphony Orchestra; Dorothea’s House; and Princeton HealthCare System.

The first Princeton Adult School Anniversary celebration event will be a conversation with former ABC Good Morning America news anchor and Princeton University Alumnus and Board member Charlie Gibson, September 27, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Princeton University’s Friend Center.

The topic is “Higher Education: Changes over the past 75 years — looking back and looking ahead.”

Mr. Gibson, an ABC Network news anchor and commentator, will lead a conversation with former Princeton University Presidents Shirley Tilghman and Harold Shapiro. Conversations, which will continue throughout 2014, are an informal exchange among people in leadership roles who will share their insights and experiences. Patron tickets for the entire Conversations Series will be $150; A single ticket is $25. All proceeds benefit the Princeton Adult School 75th Anniversary Fund.

The next event with a confirmed date is the Champagne Gala and Live
Auction, Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Jasna Polana. This birthday party is being underwritten by William and Judy Scheide, who are honorary co-chairs along with Betty Wold Johnson and Vivian and Harold Shapiro. Among the items to be auctioned are a trip to the Today Show with NBC’s Chief Medical Editor and Princeton resident Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a day with award-winning Chef Scott Anderson of Elements, and a cocktail party for 20 with two mystery servers.

Also: a day behind the scenes at McCarter Theatre with Artistic Director Emily Mann, an after-hours children’s birthday party at JaZams toy store, a day with Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward going behind the scenes at the Frick Collection and other art galleries on the Upper East Side in New York City, and a walk-on role at the Princeton Festival production Diamonds are Forever.

Eight lectures will be held from October 8 through December 12 to celebrate the Adult School’s 75th Anniversary, also known as its Diamond Anniversary. Participating scholars are selecting someone or something from the last 75 years that has transformed their respective area of research or expertise.

Lecturers from Princeton University, include Cecilia E. Rouse, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School and Professor of Economics; Simon Morrison, Professor of Music; Michael W Cadden, Chair, Lewis Center for the Arts and Senior Lecturer in Theater; Angela Creager, Professor of History; Virgina A. Zakian, Professor of Molecular Biology; Alexander Nehamas, Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature; and Paul B. Muldoon, Professor of Creative Writing at the Lewis Center for the Arts.

Local shops and restaurants are donating a portion of all the proceeds and sales generated on November 7. More than 60 businesses already have made the commitment to participate in this Shop and Eat Event to benefit the Adult School, and it is anticipated that more will join.

Even though the Princeton Adult School held its first classes in January, 1939, the Adult School concept was born a year earlier during a discussion among Ruth Schleiffler, Laura Peskin, whose husbands owned Princeton News Delivery Service, and Mrs. W.R. Brearley, principal of the Nassau Street Elementary School. Mrs. Schleiffler visited the Trenton Adult School and returned from her adventure with one question and one statement:

“Why don’t we have such a school here? If Mrs. Brearley will do the curriculum, I’ll do the registration.”

Out of those words emerged what was then called Princeton’s Leisure Hour School, with a system of registration that involved spreading out index cards on tables in the Schleiffler living room.

The new adult school opened its doors literally to nearly 500 people during that first term, and figuratively to a new era in race relations. The adult school classes welcomed individuals of all races and religions, and its classes were being held at the Nassau Street Elementary School, a segregated school that remained segregated for public education classes for several more years.

After ceasing its operations during World War II, Princeton’s Leisure Hour School was reborn as the Princeton Adult School in 1948. When the Adult School turned 50 in 1989, student enrollment had grown six times during the course of the five decades. At the age of 75, the Princeton Adult School, during the 2012-13 fall/spring term, had enrolled more than 3,500 students in approximately 320 courses which is seven times the student enrollment and 11 times the course offerings that were available at the Leisure Hour School in 1939.

The variety of the course offerings are the result of the dedication of the Adult School staff and Board members and the resources of the Princeton community. Students can explore America and the world by learning languages, understanding the workings of governments, art and music, history and architecture. They can learn to cook exotic foods while remaining physically and mentally fit with exercise, computers, photography, and arts and crafts classes, and courses about the universe.

For information on the celebrations and course offerings, visit, or email For online courses, visit


Close to the corner of Nassau and Vandeventer, by the Garden Theater, Patrol Officer Chris Craven looks on as repairs to existing sewer lines get underway on Monday. The road will be closed for about three weeks during weekdays from Monday through Friday, as the sanitary sewer line is replaced in two stages, first from Nassau to Spring and then from Spring to Wiggins streets. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)


August 14, 2013
AT THE WELL: Counselors and teachers from the At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Summer Academy, which took place from July 28 to August 9, at Princeton University’s Friend Center gather Friday before the graduation ceremony. From left: Tina Haskell, Kekelly Ketemepi, ­Veronica Farrar, Alexandria V. duBoulay, SAT teacher Naomi Leapheart; in front, Residential Dorm Director LeRhonda Greats, Nicole Glass, Seana’ Dark, and Martice Sutton.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

AT THE WELL: Counselors and teachers from the At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Summer Academy, which took place from July 28 to August 9, at Princeton University’s Friend Center gather Friday before the graduation ceremony. From left: Tina Haskell, Kekelly Ketemepi, ­Veronica Farrar, Alexandria V. duBoulay, SAT teacher Naomi Leapheart; in front, Residential Dorm Director LeRhonda Greats, Nicole Glass, Seana’ Dark, and Martice Sutton. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Actress Jasmine Guy took center stage at the closing ceremony of the At the Well (ATW) Young Women’s Leadership Summer Academy in Princeton University’s Friend Center last Friday.

Ms. Guy spoke about her life experiences as a young woman who left home at 17 to dance for the Alvin Ailey company in New York City and, more recently, of her personal achievement as author of a biography of Afeni Shakur, the mother of Tupac Shakur, titled, Evolution of a Revolutionary.

Ms. Guy was just one of a stellar line-of inspirational mentors, teachers, entrepreneurs, and accomplished business leaders in the African American community invited by At the Well’s founder Jacqueline Glass to share their skills and experiences with a select group of 80 high school girls entering grades 10 through 12 from across the country, including Hawaii.

The ceremony was the culmination of two weeks in which high schoolers had followed a rigorous schedule of leadership training activities with workshops in mathematics, critical reading and writing, SAT preparation, independent study, and rehearsals for a play about deterring violence against women and girls created by the young scholars themselves. They participated in team building activities and heard from motivational speakers the likes of Brandi and Karli Harvey, entertainer Steve Harvey’s daughters; inventor Lisa Ascolese of QVC Television and The Home Shopping Network; author A’Lelia Bundles, whose biography of her great great grandmother Madame C. J. Walker, On Her Own Ground, is a New York Times bestselling biography and who is now working on a biography of her great-grandmother, A’Lelia Walker; Huffington Post blogger and money expert Tiffany Aliche; beauty journalist and editor Tai Beauchamp (Oprah Magazine, Seventeen); Delta Airlines professional and Atlanta Daily World’s 2013 Woman of Excellence Karmetria Burton; Deborah Owens, author of A Purse of Your Own; among others.

“I connected with speakers who had a passion for making a difference in the lives of girls. All of our faculty and our guest speakers like Jasmine Guy were excited to be coming here. These are individuals who can command large honoraria far beyond what we are able to give, but more than that they have heart,” said At the Well Founder and CEO Jacqueline Glass.

Now in it’s third year, ATW is the only summer leadership institute at an Ivy League campus for minority teen girls from under-served communities. From July 28 until August 9, they boarded at Princeton University and experienced a taste of college life. They were taught by Princeton University professors and coached by Goldman Sachs professionals.

It wasn’t all study, however, there was time for fun and a trip to New York City to attend a Broadway show, Motown. To their delight, comedian Chris Rock, the uncle of one student, stopped by to visit his niece.

Personal Perspective

Perhaps best known for her role as the iconic southern belle Whitley Gilbert from the Cosby Show spinoff television series A Different World, Jasmine Guy has a recurring role as Grams on the popular series Vampire Diaries. Her theater work includes Broadway productions of The Wiz, Grease and Chicago and among her awards are six consecutive NAACP Image Awards.

Commenting on her participation in a pre-event interview, Ms Guy said: “It is very important for us to reach out to these young girls, especially since all of the issues that we had growing up are compounded today with the revolution in communications. I wasted a lot of time comparing myself to others and tearing myself down. All we have is our own perspective so it needs to be balanced and healthy. It’s taken me many years to learn to do that, and I still fall prey to negative thinking from time to time. I hope to convey some of the ways that you can switch from negative to positive thinking and be a friend to yourself.” Her keynote address was peppered with wit and wisdom,

Achievement Gap

Motivated by the academic achievement gap between minority teen students and their white counterparts Jacqueline Glass, a 2003 graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, founded At the Well, which has its roots in a series of one-day conferences she set up beginning in 2009 to empower women, particularly women of color, who were struggling as she had.

Besides being a licensed minister, Ms. Glass has worked as an adjunct professor, a publishing professional, freelance marketing consultant, and editor. She is currently a court reporter for the New York Supreme Civil Court proceedings.

“The women’s conferences were founded as an alternative to feeling frustrated by not being able to climb the corporate ladder in spite of being overqualified in jobs and being looked over for promotion,” said Ms. Glass.

At one such event, a program for teenage girls was added. “That’s when I found my calling. This is a form of ministry for me. These girls hunger and thirst for knowledge, guidance, and leadership,” said Ms. Glass whose own teenage daughter is now in her second year as an undergraduate at Rutgers University and was a counselor at this year’s Academy.

According to Ms. Glass, “The U.S. Department of Education statistics state African Americans account for about 13 percent of the entire college enrollment. The low performance of African-American students in math and on SAT scores is alarming. Our program addresses these issues head-on.”

The first two-week At the Well Summer Leadership Academy was held in 2011. In 2012, there were 43 girls. This year that number has doubled. Of hundreds of applicants, only one in three is accepted. “This has grown beyond my wildest expectations,” she said.

To participate, students had to meet criteria based upon recommendations, an interview, a written essay, extracurricular activities, and grade point average. A generous grant from the F.I.S.H. Foundation has supported the Academy for two years. Toby Sanders, ATW director of curriculum and critical reading teacher has plans to set up a similar program for boys as soon as funding can be found.

At the Well

The name of the program was inspired by the Biblical story in the Gospel of John in which Christ speaks at length to an unnamed Samaritan woman who has come to draw water from a well and is transformed by the experience. “It is my hope that the experience of participating in this program will be transformative with inspiration, education, and reflection leading to transformation, seeing things anew,” said Ms. Glass.

A highlight of the closing ceremony was student Brandi McLeod’s a cappella singing. “I’m not the average girl from the video/and I ain’t built like a supermodel/but I learnt to love myself unconditionally/… my worth is not determined by the price of my clothes/no matter what I’m wearing I will always be/the beautiful Brandi.” Members of the audience had goosebumps.

For more information, visit:


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has honored physicist Rich Hawryluk with a Secretary’s Appreciation Award for his service to ITER, a huge international fusion experiment under construction in France.

Mr. Hawryluk, a former deputy director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), returned to the Lab in April after completing a two-year assignment as deputy director-general for the Administration Department at ITER, whose mission is to show the feasibility of fusion energy.

The DOE award, signed by former Energy Secretary Steven Chu and presented by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, recognized Hawryluk for “applying his wealth of big-science project management experience to enable the ITER project to make the transition from design phase to construction, thus helping ensure that this important international project will successfully move toward demonstrating the feasibility of fusion as a future energy source.”

Mr Hawryluk brought years of proven know-how to the ITER assignment. He joined PPPL in 1974 with a Ph.D. in physics from MIT and went on to head the Laboratory’s Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), which set world records for fusion power during the 1990s. He served from 1997 to 2009 as deputy director of PPPL, which Princeton University manages for DOE.

“Rich Hawryluk has an unparalleled track record in scientific and organizational leadership in the fusion energy sciences,” Edmund Synakowski, head of the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, said in commenting on the award. Such leadership included Hawryluk’s guidance of the TFTR project, which “culminated in the generation of nearly 11 megawatts of fusion power,” Mr. Synakowski said.

“The Department therefore heartily supported [Hawryluk’s] willingness to respond to the call from ITER’s Director General, Osamu Motojima, to join his leadership team in Cadarache, France,” Synakowski said. “Rich served with distinction by bringing to ITER the same industry and insight that the U.S. community has come to know and admire.”

“ITER was a very interesting experience for me,” said Mr. Hawryluk. “And I learned in much more detail about the issues associated with bridging the transition from design to construction. ITER’s unprecedented size and power mark “a huge step forward from TFTR. While experiments on TFTR produced important data, ITER will show whether such results can be extrapolated into a viable source of fusion energy.”


HomeFront’s food pantries are desperately low and so the local non-profit agency based in Lawrenceville is urging residents to help alleviate the food shortage through a Stop Summer Hunger Now food campaign.

For some local children summer is not a time they look forward to — especially when their mothers already have trouble making their food dollars cover meals during the rest of the year. These families find it especially difficult in the summer when their kids don’t have access to nutritious school breakfasts and lunches.

“Most people think that winter is the hardest time for these families,” says Connie Mercer, HomeFront’s executive director. “During the winter, the children get subsidized breakfasts and lunches at school. During the summer, they don’t. These are families that live on the edge, economically. They can’t afford additional food and the whole family suffers. And the line at our front desk, coming to us for bags of nutritious food, gets longer and longer — and our shelves get empty, one after another. August is an especially tough month.”

“There is a day I dread,” she adds. “That is the day we run out of supplies and we have to turn hungry families and hungry children away. I can only hope that our community members, our friends, and neighbors will help us help them by donating to our food drive and will make sure that this sad day never comes.”

“Hunger isn’t just about discomfort,” she says. “It makes it hard to focus. It results in lower grades and test scores for children. It makes it hard for adults to develop job skills and get employment. It endangers the future of every member of these families. Every donated box of food is an investment in a better future.”

For more information, visit

Terhune Orchards in Lawrenceville celebrates autumn with a two-day Apple Festival, September 14 and 15. The 37th annual festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Terhune will continue the celebration with fall festival weekends through October.

Participants can pick fresh apples from dwarf trees, take a tractor-drawn wagon ride, hear live music Saturday and Sunday from the Daisy Jug Band (returning for the 32nd year), visit the adventure barn, walk the farm trail, and have farm fresh snacks and a homemade lunch. There are numerous activities for kids, including face painting, pumpkin painting, pony rides, make-your-own scarecrows and a cornstalk maze.

Apples can be picked at the Cold Soil Road farm and Van Kirk farm on Apple Day. Pumpkins can pick be picked at the Terhune home farm.

At owner Pam Mount’s down-home food tent, a pig will be roasted for pork sandwiches. Barbecued chicken, hot dogs, homemade salads, and soup will also be for sale. Apple dishes will include apple pies, apple muffins, apple bread, cider doughnuts and applesauce, as well as Terhune apple cider.

Adults 21 and over can stop in at the vineyard and winery tasting room in the 150-year-old barn and sample our award-winning red and white wines, plus apple wine. The farm store will offer fresh-picked fruits and vegetables, homemade pies, homemade cookies, and fresh-pressed apple cider.

Fall festivals continue Saturdays and Sundays beginning the weekend of September 21 and ending October 27, including Columbus Day, Monday October 14. There will be live music, pumpkins to pick and decorate, pony rides, face painting, wagon rides, the corn stalk maze to explore, the adventure barn to visit, and festival foods to eat.

Pictures taken at the farm can be entered in the Terhune Orchards photo contest. Entries are due October 1. For complete rules and entry information stop by the farm store or visit

There is no admission to the farm store, winery tasting room, and Van Kirk pick your own. Admission to the festival area is $5. Children three and under receive free admission. Parking on the farm is free. There is no admission to the farm on weekdays. Terhune Orchards is located at 330 Cold Soil Road in Lawrenceville. Visit or call the farm store at (609) 924-2310 for directions.



The morning rain made voting in Tuesday’s special primary election for U.S. Senate a challenge. The downpour was a memory, however, by the time this couple arrived at the polling place located at the Suzanne Patterson Center. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

August 7, 2013
YOUNG ERIC AT THE PIANO: He may be only nine but he’s a whiz at the piano. Eric has come from his home in Brooklyn to stay with the Alena family in Lawrenceville as part of the Fresh Air Fund program. He plays for William and Emily Alena as their mother Minda looks on. Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has provided summer experiences to more than 1.7 million New York City children who visit host families in rural, suburban and small town communities like Princeton and Lawrenceville. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

YOUNG ERIC AT THE PIANO: He may be only nine but he’s a whiz at the piano. Eric has come from his home in Brooklyn to stay with the Alena family in Lawrenceville as part of the Fresh Air Fund program. He plays for William and Emily Alena as their mother Minda looks on. Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has provided summer experiences to more than 1.7 million New York City children who visit host families in rural, suburban and small town communities like Princeton and Lawrenceville. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Opening one’s home to kids from the city, can have unexpected consequences. Hearts and minds are opened too. Take Minda Alena and her family.

Ms. Alena and her husband Bill had been thinking about ways to give back to the community when they saw a pull-out insert in The New York Times about the Fresh Air Fund and its Volunteer Host Family Program. After finding out more, the couple felt that it would fit well with their family. They have a son, William, now 8, and a daughter Emily, now 6. “We were entranced by the concept and have found it to be a wonderful experience for everyone,” says Minda. “We would like to get the word out about the Fresh Air Fund. I don’t know why more families aren’t doing this.

This is the second year that the family has been visited by Eric, who comes from Brooklyn. Now nine, and with memories of last year’s visit, especially a day trip with the family to Hershey Park, Eric is perfectly at home. He knows exactly where to hang up his tennis racket on his way into the house after returning from day camp with William and Emily. The three children rush indoors with chatter about their day’s activities to share. The hot craft at summer camp this year seems to be “Rainbow Looming” and Eric, Emily and William have lots of examples to display.

Eric and William have favorite configurations for the small colorful elastic bands that are twisted into bands and rings. There’s the “fishtale,” the “zigzag trail,” and the “box.”

While here, Eric goes with Emily and William to a summer camp at the Trenton Country Club where some favorite activities are swimming (he just passed the deep end test and is all set to tackle the diving board next) and golf. “I like learning new things and meeting new people,” he says.

Eric’s 11-year old sister Diamond and 13-year old brother Paul are also on vacation in the country as part of the Fresh Air Fund program. Last year, Eric learned to swim here in the family’s pool and he loves tennis.

“It’s amazing to see how Eric has grown in maturity since last year,” says Minda. “He is very musical and we enjoy listening to him play the piano, especially at breakfast time, when he plays for us all. He has a band with his brother and sister,” she says. “Having him here definitely enriches all our lives.”

Neither William nor Emily, who both attend Lawrenceville Elementary School, plays an instrument (as yet) and are clearly captivated by Eric’s skill. Currently William’s favorite activities are sports-related: football, wrestling and Lacrosse; Emily loves cheerleading, gymnastics and ballet.

The family is also planning a few day trips this year to Six Flags to the New Jersey Shore and locally to Terhune Orchards (always a big favorite).

Eric arrived at Princeton Junction along with a bus load of some two dozen inner New York City kids on July 30, to spend one or two weeks with volunteer host families in the area. Hosts are located in Cranbury, Chesterfield, Trenton, Furlong, Princeton, Princeton Junction, Clarksburg, Manalapan, Villanova, Fair Haven, Lawrenceville, Manahawkin, Middletown, West Windsor, and Allentown.

The children, aged from six to 18, were greeted by balloons and brightly colored posters with their names writ large. Some were meeting host families for the first time. About two thirds of the group were, like Eric, returning to families they had visited before.

The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each year, over 4,000 children visit volunteer host families in rural, suburban and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

For many volunteer families, participation becomes a regular part of summer and the visiting children become cherished family members. Not only do city kids experience suburban or country living, an experience that can have a profound impact, host families have a chance to interact across cultural and socioeconomic divides.

For Princeton residents Elizabeth and Jonathan Erickson, this will be their fifth year hosting Cieanna, now 12, who comes from the Bronx. They also have three children: Alexandra, 11, and twins Edward and William, 9. Their favorite activities are swimming, playing outside, and biking.

Ms. Erickson urges others to take part in the program which she describes as extremely rewarding for all.

Minda Alena couldn’t agree more. “The time will pass all to quickly,” she says. Eric will go home, August 9. But before that there is much to be enjoyed. Right now, he’s having so much fun that he says he doesn’t have time to count the days. Instead, he has to get ready for a pool party. Ah summer! That’s how it should be.


After more than a decade of debate, deliberation, design and redesign, Copperwood in Princeton, the luxury rental active adult community on Bunn Drive, is rising in its forest setting.

The 300,000 square feet of construction which designer and developer J. Robert Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) refers to as a “modern European hilltop village” is made up of five buildings sitting atop a platform that provides underground parking for the residences with direct elevator service to the floor of their unit.

The platform is nearing completion and four of the five buildings have been framed out. The areas for amenities, which include a café-lounge, a community room and a fitness center surrounding a central piazza with trees and fountains, have all been roughly framed. Other amenities will include a full service concierge and a dog park.

The complex is surrounded by a preserved forest of trees over 100 feet tall that is part of the 200-acre Princeton Ridge Preservation. Sustainability features include sod roofs, low energy appliances, and recycled rainwater for irrigation.

“Copperwood will satisfy an unmet need for senior rental housing in Princeton and will provide luxury living and convenience to the active adults here,” said architect J. Robert Hillier. The Hillier organization has now begun processing lease applications for the 153 units which will open in early 2014. According to the organization, the 55+ community, in their planning to downsize, has shown a very strong interest in the apartments.

For more information, call (609) 688-9999, or visit:



The Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF) has announced that the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) has been awarded a $25,000 grant for operating support. This funding will go to support TASK’s mission: Providing meals to all those who are hungry; providing services to encourage self-sufficiency and improve quality of life; informing the wider community of the needs of the hungry; and advocating for resources to meet these needs.

TASK serves a hot, nutritious lunch Monday through Friday and an evening meal Monday through Thursday at its Escher Street location in Trenton as well as dinner Monday through Thursday at satellite locations in South Trenton, West Trenton, Hightstown and Princeton. TASK now serves over 4,000 meals per week. This past year, TASK has served over 209,000 meals to the Mercer County area.

In addition to meal service, TASK has programming to improve patron self sufficiency and quality of life. TASK’s Adult Education Program continues to have success with students who have not prospered in other programs. More than 80 students and 70 volunteer tutors are involved in the program. This year, 24 Students have earned their GED through its program, eight of whom are now taking college level courses.

TASK also offers an on-site social worker who provides referrals such as financial aid, housing assistance, veteran’s benefits, mental health treatment, addiction treatment, and health care.  It issues food and clothing vouchers that can be used at emergency facilities. Other services such as legal aid, blood pressure and cancer screenings, HIV and TB testings, voter registration, job counseling, and screening for Food Stamp eligibility are provided by agencies using its facility.

Those who come to TASK include the elderly, the addicted, the mentally ill, the physically challenged, veterans, recent immigrants, families with children, the working poor, and the newly unemployed.

For Volunteer opportunities and more information about TASK, visit:


With apologies to the invisible poets of Lake Carnegie and Theodore Roethke, whose heron actually walks “the shallows” in “The Heron,” which can be read in full on the Poetry Society of America website. (Photo by Charles L. Plohn)

July 31, 2013
VILLAGE PRIDE: Proud parents and residents of Princeton Community Village celebrate the outstanding scholars in their midst. Shown here are seven of 15 recipients of awards from the New Jersey and National Affordable Housing Management Associations. The seven award winners with their family members are: from left (front row): Henrietta Sackey and her daughter Courtney D. Sackey; Mary C. Ebong with her youngest sister Mercy and her father Emmanuel; Jurab Kazim; Cynthia C. Fuentes; Stephanie Nazario; and Vanessa Guzman; (back row): Anne Daniecki and her son Jonas I. Daniecki; Princeton Police Officer Shahid Abdul-Karim; Kumail S. Kazim; and Christian James Nazario.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

VILLAGE PRIDE: Proud parents and residents of Princeton Community Village celebrate the outstanding scholars in their midst. Shown here are seven of 15 recipients of awards from the New Jersey and National Affordable Housing Management Associations. The seven award winners with their family members are: from left (front row): Henrietta Sackey and her daughter Courtney D. Sackey; Mary C. Ebong with her youngest sister Mercy and her father Emmanuel; Jurab Kazim; Cynthia C. Fuentes; Stephanie Nazario; and Vanessa Guzman; (back row): Anne Daniecki and her son Jonas I. Daniecki; Princeton Police Officer Shahid Abdul-Karim; Kumail S. Kazim; and Christian James Nazario. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Fifteen high school students from Princeton Community Village (PCV) have won grants from the New Jersey and National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) and its New Jersey affiliate (JAHMA). The students are high achievers in both academic performance and community service. All but one are graduates of Princeton High School (PHS).

“It really does take a village to ensure success,“ said Susan O’Malley of Princeton Community Village. “We work closely with PHS guidance and with organizations such as Corner House, and parents are heavily involved. Many of these young students are the first of their families to attend college and many of their parents are immigrants.”

In order to be selected, the students had to demonstrate significant community involvement. They worked with organizations such as Big Brother Big Sister, End Child Hunger Organization, Latinos Unidos and Minority Achievement Network. This year’s recipients also worked on projects to reduce child hunger, promote racial justice, provide assistance to the elderly, and mentor youth. Their efforts were recognized at an awards ceremony, Monday at Princeton Community Village.

“This is a remarkable year with seven of our 15 award recipients receiving both state and national awards,” said Edith Juarez, PCV activities coordinator and one of several people encouraging their success. “Of the past 11 years, this is the highest number of award winners so far.”

Guest speakers at the ceremony were Charlene St. Clair, a three-time-award recipient and now a doctor in optometry, and Officer Shahid Abdul-Karim, of the Princeton Police Dept. who grew up at Princeton Community Village where he lived on Butternut Row.

In his speech, Mr. Abdul-Karim shared memories of growing up in the “ville,” as PCV is affectionately known, and described his own path to success as a police officer in his home town. “I applied three times before I got the job,” he said. Even though he likes to work out, he told the students, his first attempt failed when he completed only seven of the eight pull ups required by the admission test. Instead of giving up, he took the test again and then again. “Take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you,” he told the students.

Dr. Bruce Johnson, Scholarship Program Administrator for the awards and a former school principal, introduced each of the recipients, eight of whom were present Monday. “The culture of PCV supports education and you should feel proud of that, these are terrific students with above 3.0 grade point averages making a commitment to education and to their community,” he said. “Education leads to opportunity and opportunity leads to success.”

Asked about PCV in relation to other affordable housing, Mr. Johnson described it as outstanding. “Susan [O’Malley], Mary [Maybury] and Edith [Juarez] do an excellent job of promoting JAHMA and NAHMA and the highest number of applicants each year comes from PCV,” he said. “Students here attend one of the best high schools in the country [PHS], which gives them a very good preparation; they go on to some of the best colleges and universities; and the retention rate is impressive.”

This year’s students will attend Fairleigh Dickinson University, Franklin Marshall College, Haverford College, Ithaca College, Mercer County Community College, Norwich University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Seton Hall University, and Strayer University.

In contrast to JAHMA, which gives awards to 80 percent of those who apply, NAHMA awards only about 40 percent of applicants. Eight of the fifteen PCV scholars received the former, making this an outstanding selection of students. All in all the 15 were awarded some $40,000 from the two award programs; $22,000 from the state organization and $18,000 from the national organization. In general, NAHMA awards range from $1,500 to $2,500 and JAHMA from $500 to $3,500. Since 2002, students residing at PCV have been awarded scholarships from these sources totaling close to $200,000.

JAHMA is a nonprofit organization of property managers and owners who specialize in the development and operation of government assisted/affordable housing. NAHMA is dedicated to improving the skills and knowledge of affordable housing professionals, to industry representation, and to providing a better living environment for all residents of assisted/affordable housing.

Set for Success

The 2013 award winners are: Jackelynn L. Chmiel, Jonas I. Daniecki, Mary C. Ebong, Cynthia C. Fuentes, Cindy M. Guzman, Vanessa Guzman, Phoebe Hanna, Kumail S. Kazim, Tori N. Julious, Julio R. Lopez, Christian James Nazario, Juan Polanco, Syed H. Raza, Courtney D. Sackey, and Andres Felipe Velez.

At 21, Kumail Kazim has finished three years of a seven year combined biology and doctor of osteopathy degree at Rutgers University and will attend medical school at Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall. “The foundation has been everything to me, without it I’d be up to my ears in loans. I am so thankful to Mary [Maybury], Edith [Juarez] and Dr. Johnson for making sure that I keep on top of things. Because you are allowed to apply for support year after year, as long as you meet the academic and extracurricular requirements, there is a constant incentive to keep up your grades, and the end-of year celebration is something to look forward to. I really appreciate the supportive environment of PCV. I have two younger brothers one of whom, Murtaza Kazim, will be applying next year.”

Mary Ebong, 18, who moved from Nigeria to the United States with her father Emmanuel when she was just six, will be a freshman at Rutgers this fall, studying human resources management. Already planning ahead, she hopes to go on to a master’s program. She has been active as a tutor at the PCV after school learning center in reading and geography. “We don’t have a lot of money since we support our family back in Nigeria. I have taken out some loans, so these awards are very important to me,” she said. Mr. Ebong described his daughter as “hardworking” and doing all she can to take advantage of opportunities. “I am very proud of her,” he beamed. The oldest of three girls, Ms. Ebong is a model for her younger siblings.

Christian James Nazario will be attending Mercer County Community College and studying fashion management. Cynthia Fuentes will be there too, studying nursing. Jonas Daniecki will be going to Norwich University where he will study mechanical engineering and Vanessa Guzman will be at Fairleigh Dickinson. Courtney Sackey, who attended Princeton Day School, will be attending Haverford College in the fall to study political science with a view to going on to law school. Her mother Henrietta, originally from Liberia, spoke highly of the program and of her daughter’s accomplishments.

Ed Truscelli, executive director of Princeton Community Housing, commented on the atmosphere in the PCV club house. “We are like a family here, we all have the same sense of pride and you can feel that in this room,” he said.

Princeton Community Village (PCV) is an affiliate of Princeton Community Housing (PCH). Located on Karl Light Boulevard, across from Hilltop Park, it opened in 1975 to provide low and moderate income townhouses and apartments and provides homes to 238 households or about 630 residents. Of the approximately 1,400 students enrolled at Princeton High School, 31 are PCV residents.

The nonprofit PCH provides, manages, and advocates for affordable housing. Founded in 1967, it works to ensure a balance of housing opportunities that it deems essential to Princeton’s continued success and economic diversity. For more information on affordable housing available in Princeton, including locations, eligibility criteria and application forms visit,


When the Princeton Family YMCA opens its renovated athletic facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, September 14 at 10:30 a.m. in the Dodge Gymnasium, it will not only have new equipment it will have a new name.

The expanded open space with new cardio equipment, strength training, and free weights will officially be known as the Jim and Nancye Fitzpatrick Wellness Center.

The renovation, called “Project Jumpstart,” is designed to encourage healthy living and physical activity among people of all ages. “Our YMCA is dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community — and healthy living is one of our three areas of focus,” said Princeton Family YMCA CEO Kate Bech. “Offering an updated, modern Wellness Center with appropriate equipment is key to our ability to support Princeton residents and to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle, particularly among families.”

The naming of the new center came as a delightful surprise to Jim and Nancye Fitzpatrick. For more than a year, YMCA volunteers secretly raised money for the new facility which they had decided to name in honor of the longtime Princeton residents who have deep ties to the YMCA Movement.

Mr. Fitzpatrick has often said that the YMCA was one of his greatest influences. His father was a chaplain with the Y. The couple’s children participated in a variety of Y activities and programs and their son Hugh currently serves on the Board of Directors of the national YMCA of the U.S.A. Several of the Fitzpatrick’s grandchildren have attended and worked at YMCA resident camps.

Now almost 90 years old, Mr. Fitzpatrick was a bomber pilot in World War II. After his plane was shot down over Germany, he became a prisoner-of-war and recalls the supplies that he and his fellow soldiers received courtesy of the YMCA.

As part of the war effort, the YMCA provided books, athletic equipment, musical instruments, and art supplies to prisoners in the hopes of keeping up their spirits in the face of uncertainty. Mr. Fitzpatrick credits the books he received about economics for capturing his interest and sparking a passion that ultimately put him on his career path in finance.

Following the war, Mr. Fitzpatrick went on to get an education and eventually became the chief investment officer for the national YMCA Retirement Fund. During his tenure, the fund experienced unprecedented growth, which helped thousands of YMCA employees maximize their savings for a secure retirement.

The Fitzpatricks share a deep commitment to youth development and education.

Nancye Fitzpatrick, a former teacher at John Witherspoon Middle School where she taught English to generations of seventh- and eighth-graders from 1966 to 1982, has served the community through her work as a volunteer. She was a director and president of New Grange School. In the late 1980s, she was a mentor with the Trenton Afterschool Program. Even today, she meets monthly with one of her young charges from that period, now a 33-year-old woman.

So far, more than 40 donors have contributed $300,000 for Project Jump Start and they aim to raise a further $200,000. “The enhanced space will help us advance our mission of healthy living, and encourage more people of all backgrounds and abilities to become members and a part of the YMCA family,” said Ms. Bech.

It is hoped that the updated facility, the first major construction project at the YMCA in 40 years, will draw new members to the Princeton Family YMCA. Increased membership would benefit existing programs such as Princeton Young Achievers, an afterschool program for economically-disadvantaged children, and Y Scholars, a group mentoring program for young people that fosters education, aspirations, and goal-setting.

The construction, which is expected to take 12 weeks, is being led by the Yedlin Company, a Princeton-based commercial contractor. The YMCA will remain operational on a modified basis while the renovation is carried out.

For more on the YMCA’s membership opportunities or to make a contribution in honor of Jim and Nancye Fitzpatrick, call Denise Soto at (609) 497-9622 x209 or send an email to