September 3, 2014

Award-winning poet Gerald Stern will read from his work for 40 minutes followed by an open-microphone session as part of Poets in the Library, Monday, September 8, at 7:30 p.m. His appearance will be in the library’s Community Room.

Mr. Stern was born in Pittsburgh in 1925 and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. He is the author of 16 books of poetry, including, most recently, In Beauty Bright (Norton 2012) and Save the Last Dance (Norton 2009) as well as This Time: New and Selected Poems, which won the 1998 National Book Award. According to prize-winning poet C.K. Williams, “Stern is one of those rare poetic souls who makes it almost impossible to remember what our world was like before his poetry came to exalt it.”

About In Beauty Bright, Frank Wilson of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, “[Stern’s] style insinuates itself into your consciousness like a catchy tune, so that you find your thoughts echoing its rhythms, bopping from one to another, back and forth, like thought and language doing a jitterbug.”

Besides receiving the 2005 Wallace Stevens Award by the Academy of American Poets, Mr. Stern was the 2010 recipient of the Medal of Honor in Poetry by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was inducted into the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the 2012 recipient of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. He is also the 2014 winner of the Frost Medal. His new book of poems Divine Nothingness will be released in November.

Poets in the Library is co-sponsored by the library, Delaware Valley Poets and the U.S. 1 Poets’ Cooperative.

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Happy Pic

Don’t they look happy? Romy Toussaint of Romy Yoga, Anne Petco of lululemon, and Patty Cronheim of the Family Guidance Center are the brains behind Happiness Day, taking place this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (rain date Sunday). A marathon of five free one-hour yoga classes on Palmer Square green, the event will also include an “Intro to Happiness” talk by Ed Tseng, a lululemon athletica water lounge, and information on wellness and community service opportunities. Yoga mats will be available and water will be provided for participants. The Family Guidance Center will offer free budgeting assistance, blood pressure screenings, and other  activities. Yoga instruction will be provided by Romy Yoga, Gratitude Yoga, Rise Yoga, Yoga Soul, and YogaStream. For more information, call the Family Guidance Center at (609) 586-0668.

 

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The Princeton University campus is bustling again this week as the Class of 2018 makes its presence felt. The four freshmen shown here are on their way up the steps under the Blair Arch. To hear what some of the new arrivals are looking forward to, see this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

 

August 29, 2014

University Place, which has been closed from College Road to Alexander Street, will reopen to vehicular traffic this morning, Thursday, August 28. The temporary traffic signal at the intersection of College Road and Alexander Street will be in “flash” mode today, August 28 and tomorrow, August 29; it will then be removed. The TigerPaWW bus stop will remain at College Road, across from the entrance to McCarter Theatre Center. Bus schedules will not change. Please follow posted signs when walking, biking and/or driving through the area. Updated maps showing vehicular, pedestrian, and bike detours are available on the Arts and Transit Project website. For more information, call 609-258-8023.

August 27, 2014

The Princeton Pedestrian and Bike Advisory Committee is looking for original art to be on the cover of a new “Biking in Princeton” map that is being developed. Artists or photographers interested in submitting an image that might be appropriate for the map can do so by Wednesday, September 10. The committee would like submissions in a digital file rather than hard copy, sent to pjpbac@gmail.com. Entries will be accepted until midnight. Artists will be donating their images to be shared with the public, but will be credited.

THE VIEW FROM MOUNT LUCAS ROAD: The Vonvorys family at home on their back yard deck in a neighborhood where many smaller homes are being replaced by larger and more expensive homes.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

THE VIEW FROM MOUNT LUCAS ROAD: The Vonvorys family at home on their back yard deck in a neighborhood where many smaller homes are being replaced by larger and more expensive homes. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

In recent weeks, Town Topics has focused on Princeton’s commitment to Affordable Housing, with a “Princeton Perspectives” series of articles focused on diverse socioeconomic lifestyles and living options in the municipality. Princeton’s diversity ranges across race, origins, education, social background, economic status, and political persuasion. The series has introduced Princeton residents, some newcomers and others with deep roots in the community, some living in subsidized housing, others who purchased on the open market.

First, we met Dan and Mary Beth Scheid, who were among the first to buy into the Residences at Palmer Square (Town Topics, July 23). Then, an immigrant family from Ghana, Elizabeth Bonnah and Tony Smith and their two children, renting an apartment in Griggs Farm (Town Topics, July 30). Also in Griggs Farm, we met Bethany Andrade and her mother Karen Andrade Mims, one of the first to purchase a condominium through Princeton’s Affordable Housing Program, through which her daughter is now purchasing her own apartment (Town Topics, August 13).

Now come Colin and Laura Vonvorys, who bought their own home on Mount Lucas Road on the open market in an area where tear-downs are happening with greater incidence.

Reporters are privileged to be invited into people’s homes and Town Topics thanks all of the Princeton residents who have participated in these interviews.

Colin and Laura Vonvorys

It’s been said that with the development of larger and grander homes in Princeton, those in the middle of the economic spectrum are being pushed out as smaller homes are torn down to make way for more expensive homes. The Vonvorys live in just such a neighborhood. But if you think they are unhappy about the changes, think again. Colin Vonvorys, a diehard conservative, has a live-and-let-live attitude. Laura Vonvorys hopes that the new residents will enjoy the neighborhood as much as she does, and would be especially happy to see the arrival of young families with children.

On Mount Lucas

The Vonvorys live in a modest three-bedroom, two-bath ranch home on a wooded half acre on Mount Lucas Road with their two sons C.J., 13, and Aaron, 8, as well as their cat Tux. C.J. goes to John Witherspoon Middle School and Aaron to Community Park. Friday night is pizza night at the Vonvorys and over slices of Conte’s pizza we talked about what brought them to Princeton and what keeps them here.

An account executive for a software company, Colin, 53, works from his home office and usually travels one to three days a week. He graduated in 1992 from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied communications; his father was a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, his mother took care of Colin, his brother, and five sisters.

Laura, 46, is a stay-at-home mom. She’s a 1989 Penn State graduate; her father was an engineer working for Bristol Myers Squibb, her mother was a nurse.

The couple are involved in their children’s lives and education and the family attends St. Paul’s Church on Nassau Street. “We don’t go every Sunday but our kids are active in the Church,” said Mr. Vonvorys as the family settled in to say grace before the evening meal.

“Colin bought this house about a month before we got engaged,” said Laura. “We love it, especially the deck that was a wedding present from my father when we got married in 2000.” Laura’s dad, Jim, paid for the deck and it’s where the Vonvorys hold their annual neighborhood “Drinks on the Deck” party each September.

Princeton’s Allure

The couple met at the health club where Laura, a trained dietitian, worked as a personal trainer. “It took two years to get her to fall in love with me,” laughed Colin, who grew up in Lawrenceville and always wanted to live in Princeton. “Princeton had a certain allure for me growing up. I always felt a little like an outsider, looking towards Princeton with its good schools, its University, and its feeling of history. To some it has an elitist, snobby reputation and even though it isn’t really like that, I often feel I have to defend it from that misconception. I wanted to raise my kids here.”

Laura, who grew up in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, was living in suburban Philadelphia when they met. Colin wanted her to share his love of Princeton’s “history, the open space, the quaintness and convenience of the downtown, activities like canoeing or the annual Jazz Fest, or the many parades,” he said. At that time, he was running for Township Committee. For one of their first dates, Colin planned a multi-course dinner with each course taking place at a different restaurant, i.e., appetizer at the Peacock Inn, salad at Teresa’s; dinner at the Tap Room, dessert and coffee at Winberie’s; and after-dinner cocktails at Triumph.”

Although Laura first thought of the town as somewhat pretentious, “fou fou,” she called it, she’s come to appreciate it. “I wouldn’t have moved here if it hadn’t been for Colin but I love living here; our property is beautiful and it’s nice being so close to town that our kids can ride their bikes and meet their friends there. And the music program in the public schools is amazing.” C.J. is a percussionist and Aaron is learning to play the trumpet.

“A Miracle”

The couple’s easy manner betrays no hint of past trauma and Laura hesitates a little before speaking of the brain cancer that was discovered while she was pregnant with her first child. The tumor was “pretty big,” she said, and she is now monitored every two years by the University of Pennsylvania hospital, where she was treated by neurosurgeon Dr. Kevin D. Judy. “He was wonderful and I am blessed to have been able to have had a second child,” she said. “Laura is a miracle and I am so proud of her,” beamed Colin.

Although Laura has come to share her husband’s regard for Princeton, the couple are divided politically. “I’m a stalwart Republican and that makes me something of an anomaly in Princeton but I’m also a bit of a contrarian so it’s not an uncomfortable feeling for me to have,” said Colin. Laura is a Democrat.

Colin served as a commissioner on the Princeton Township Affordable Housing Board from January 2003 through 2012 and was a commissioner for the Princeton Joint Commission of Civil Rights from 1997 to 1998. “It was not unusual for individuals to attempt to exploit the program and not follow the agreed-to rules, so periodically we would have to address those violators. I’m not a fan of affordable housing, I don’t understand the reason for it,” said Colin, adding that he’s not keen on the idea of providing subsidies. He’s had several attempts to run for the local council.

As for the changes in his own neighborhood, with small homes like theirs being torn down and replaced with larger and more upmarket houses, Colin is fine with it. “The new homes look nice and I am a fan of private property rights.”

A Diverse Community

For Laura its important to live and raise her kids in a diverse community. “I wouldn’t want to live in a town where everyone was wealthy and there was little diversity. I wouldn’t want that for my children. As it is, in Princeton, you have all levels of wealth.

They are in agreement when it comes to their children’s education. “We are both fans of the Princeton schools and appreciate the fact that our children are surrounded by people who care about education as much as we do,” said Colin. “People don’t just arrive here casually, they choose to live in Princeton.”

If Laura could change something about Princeton, it would be to require more diversity of opinion. “In some places in Pennsylvania, towns have a ruling that the governing body should always have a bipartisan component so that it would never be the case of an all-Democrat or an all-Republican council. In the current administration, I’d like to see one Republican — that, to me, would be fair. As open as Princeton is, I’d like to see it open to that. Just as I wouldn’t want an all-white town, I wouldn’t want an all-Democrat town.”

“Let it Be …”

True to form, Colin disagrees. “Let it be what it is, the people should decide.” But there is one thing he would like to change, the municipal tree-cutting ordinance. He’d get rid of it entirely. “I have a problem with any liberal ideology knowing what is best for everybody else. It’s conceit and arrogance and I have nothing but contempt for those who think they know what I should do with my property.”

Property taxes and the cost of living in Princeton are the young family’s biggest concern. “The cost of living in New Jersey as compared to other states like Delaware or Texas, for example, is very high,” says Colin. “I see some beautiful places when I travel and I am always aware that there are alternatives. I like the fact that Princeton has a lot of history, but then so does Savannah or Richmond, Virginia.” But while their kids are in grade school, the Vonvorys will likely stay in Princeton.

 

IN PATAGONIA: Of her almost three-month long trip to Patagonia, Princeton resident Lizzie Price said there wasn’t much she missed from her life back home. The experience was “the best of her life,” and she hopes to eventually have a career that involves the outdoors. Even so, she said, she was happy to return to a warm house and a hot shower. And to be planning her next adventure. The mountains of New Zealand are calling.(Photo by Brian Prescott)

IN PATAGONIA: Of her almost three-month long trip to Patagonia, Princeton resident Lizzie Price said there wasn’t much she missed from her life back home. The experience was “the best of her life,” and she hopes to eventually have a career that involves the outdoors. Even so, she said, she was happy to return to a warm house and a hot shower. And to be planning her next adventure. The mountains of New Zealand are calling. (Photo by Brian Prescott)

For the past four months, Lizzie Price, 22, who graduated Princeton High School in 2009, has been working on a research project focused on a population of Rhesus monkeys on the Puerto Rican island of Cayo Santiago. The island’s lush terrain is a far cry from windswept Patagonia, with its notoriously changeable weather and isolated gaucho farms. Lizzie reports only two days of clear weather during one of the three months she recently spent there. In spite of long periods of rain and low hanging clouds that made visibility a challenge for mountain travel, Lizzie describes the experience as “the best of her life.”

“I had wanted to see Patagonia for as long as I can remember,” she said in a telephone interview from Puerto Rico. “It’s one of the most untouched regions of the world and it is very beautiful.”

A remote region at the southernmost end of South America, Patagonia is shared by Chile and Argentina. Lizzie traveled within the Chilean region as part of a semester-long wilderness expedition with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

The course was designed to impart mountaineering and sea-kayaking skills, but Lizzie said that was just a small part of what she gleaned from the experience, which attests to the NOLS philosophy that people thrive when challenged.

During the first week, Lizzie and 14 fellow students completed almost three days of a Wilderness First Aid course that prepared them to make basic medical decisions in the back country. Then, together with four instructors, they headed to the rugged Colmillo Plateau north of Rio Engano for a 75-mile wilderness sojourn during which they practiced rope teams, snow travel, and glacial safety.

The NOLS curriculum features mountain travel skills like route finding, bushwacking through dense forests, off-trail travel on steep, rocky terrain, and risk management. Leadership skills and tolerance for adversity and uncertainty are brought to the fore by having to manage hazards such as river-crossings, steep snowfields, icefall, crevasses, and extreme weather.

“We had one fall when the five-person rope team above us slipped. We were in a white out cloud and a minute or so after they fell, our rope team also slipped.” Although one young man hurt his shoulder and Lizzie had a few cuts to her face, she said that “the teams had trained for just this sort of scenario and no one was seriously injured.”

NOLS practices “Leave No Trace” camping and challenges students to step outside of their comfort zones. Students cook their own meals and forego the many conveniences of modern life.

After 31 days in the mountains, Lizzie and her team traveled to southern Chile for 30 days of sea kayaking. En route they observed Patagonia’s fiords, mountains, archipelagos, and the pristine rain forests along its coastline.

“On our sea-kayaking course, we learned how to read charts and how to navigate coastal waters safely; we would find places to camp overnight,” Lizzie recalled. “Often we were caught by bad weather, which might make it impossible to cross a channel, for example, and we spent quite a bit of time under a tarp in the pouring rain. But we had a blast and the experience taught me that you don’t need a lot to be happy; a chocolate bar was a delicious treat. We had so much fun,” she said. “An experience like this makes you realize just how much you take for granted.”

The group paddled 165 miles, all the while learning technical skills that included basic kayak rescue, as well as seamanship and navigation. The shared experience formed them into a tight-knit group with a deep appreciation for the Patagonian landscape.

An outward bound course in Alaska that Lizzie undertook while studying for her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated last year, prepared her somewhat for her Patagonian semester. Her parents, she said, were supportive of her decision to immerse herself in this non-traditional classroom setting. Drawn to mountains from a young age, and inspired by family trips to National Parks out West, she hopes one day to work in the outdoors, perhaps as a teacher or as an instructor for an organization such as NOLS.

Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS has more than 221,000 alumni of its classroom-based courses and outdoor wilderness education programs that are offered in some of the “most awe-inspiring” locations in the world. Described as “the leader in wilderness education,” NOLS has its international headquarters in Lander, Wyoming. For more information, call (800) 710 NOLS or visit: www.nols.edu.

 

PRINCETON ON THE BIG SCREEN: Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates star in “Boychoir,” a film inspired by Princeton’s American Boychoir School. Several American Boychoir students have speaking roles in the film, along with Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and Dr. James Litton, Music Director Emeritus.

PRINCETON ON THE BIG SCREEN: Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates star in “Boychoir,” a film inspired by Princeton’s American Boychoir School. Several American Boychoir students have speaking roles in the film, along with Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz and Dr. James Litton, Music Director Emeritus.

The American Boychoir will see their visibility increased with the September 5 premier of director François Girard’s Boychoir, one of only 7 Gala presentations at the Toronto International Film Festival. Boychoir tells the story of an orphaned 12-year-old boy sent to a prestigious music school where he struggles to join an elite group of world-class singers. No one expects this rebellious loner to succeed, least of all the school’s relentlessly tough conductor who wages a battle of wills to bring out the boy’s extraordinary musical gift. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger, and Garrett Wareing.

The American Boychoir School students feature prominently, serving as the film’s choir and providing all of the singing heard throughout. Several American Boychoir School students auditioned for speaking roles in the film and one, Dante Soriano, was cast as one of the five major boy characters. Litton-Lodal Music Director Fernando Malvar-Ruiz appears as the orchestra conductor and Dr. James Litton, Music Director Emeritus, also provides a cameo.

“Our choir is known throughout the world and has established a loyal global audience. We are excited that a film such as Boychoir not only showcases our talented students, but opens up a larger audience to our music and the powerful work we do to nurture and mentor our students,” says newly installed American Boychoir School President, Dr. Kerry Heimann.

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the leading public film festivals, screening more than 300 films from nearly 60 countries every September. To learn more, visit www.tiff.net.

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ENDANGERED SPECIES: Sophia Phelan, a student at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, holds her prize-winning drawing of a peregrine falcon. Ms. Phelan is the Mercer County winner of the “Species on the Edge,” contest for fifth graders sponsored by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Sophia’s drawing of New Jersey’s largest falcon and the world’s fastest animal, capable of flying over 200 miles per hour, calls attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife and their habitats. Her work and that of other award-winning fifth graders from across the state will be on display from September 2 through October 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, (off Rosedale Road).

ENDANGERED SPECIES: Sophia Phelan, a student at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, holds her prize-winning drawing of a peregrine falcon. Ms. Phelan is the Mercer County winner of the “Species on the Edge,” contest for fifth graders sponsored by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey. Sophia’s drawing of New Jersey’s largest falcon and the world’s fastest animal, capable of flying over 200 miles per hour, calls attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife and their habitats. Her work and that of other award-winning fifth graders from across the state will be on display from September 2 through October 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, (off Rosedale Road).

Each year, the D&R Greenway Land Trust and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey bring the “Species on the Edge,” with prize-winning art by fifth graders, to its Olivia Rainbow Gallery.

Fifth graders from across the state will have their words and images, calling attention to New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife, on display from September 2 through October 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, (off Rosedale Road).

The artwork and accompanying essays resulted from fifth graders’ having studied over 80 endangered and threatened species of New Jersey wildlife, under the auspices of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J. Local artists visit schools to coach the children in effective imaging. The resulting works are judged by artists and scientists. D&R Greenway is one of many venues to celebrate this blend of art and science annually. These works, the cream of the crop, were selected from over 2,000 entries.

The Mercer County winner is Sophia Phelan, a student at Princeton’s Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. Sophia drew the peregrine falcon, New Jersey’s largest falcon and world’s fastest animal, capable of flying over 200 miles per hour. The 2014 winners in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery call attention to the urgency of preserving New Jersey’s wildlife and their habitats.

The Olivia Rainbow Gallery showcases student art throughout the year. It was founded and is funded in memory of young Olivia Kuenne, who cherished both art and nature. Its next exhibition, “Natural Treasures,” will be provided by frequent exhibiting artist Deb Land. One of Deb’s students at Stuart Country Day School is Sophia Phelan, the Mercer County winner. Her work has hung in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery during an earlier Stuart exhibit.

For the statewide Species on the Edge Art & Essay Contest, beginning each fall on October 1, children choose representative species of endangered New Jersey wildlife. In effect, during their research and painting/drawing, each becomes a temporary wildlife biologist. More information about the contest can be found at www.conservewild
lifenj.org. For more on D&R Greenway Land Trust, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

The exhibition is free and open to the public on business hours of business days.

Most Princetonians with only a passing knowledge of American history know about the importance of the Battle of Princeton in the Revolutionary War. But how many locals are aware that their hometown can claim to have been the site of the first capital of the United States?

Not many, figures Mimi Omiecinski, who owns Princeton Tour Company and has been leading historically-themed tours of the town for the past seven years. Ms. Omiecinski is out to further educate the public with a free, family-friendly tour on Saturday, September 6 at 1 p.m. “First Capital Princeton,” to be led by Ms. Omiecinski and Rutgers graduate Tom Murphy, starts at Morven and ends 90 minutes later at the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where George Washington toasted the birth of the nation in 1783.

“People are going to learn about the diverse group of characters, famous and not, who were instrumental in this period,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “We want to spark an appreciation and curiosity, among adults and children.”

Even though she is descended from 12 different veterans of the Revolutionary War and has been a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) since her teens, Ms. Omiecinski wasn’t especially interested in that period of history until she moved to Princeton from her native Tennessee in 2006.

“My grandmother Alice Ross was state regent for Tennessee for over 12 years, and I was really close to her,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “And my grandfather was an active member of the Sons of the American Revolution. On his side, I’m related to a signer of the Declaration of Independence, George Ross. But I never really appreciated all of this until I came here and started learning about Princeton’s significance in the Revolutionary War. It made me realize that legacy is really important.”

After attending the Princeton chapter of the DAR, and bringing her grandmother to a meeting (“She was thrilled”), Ms. Omiecinski started learning about local history and leading tours. “I saw right away that Princeton had a lot more history than just the Battlefield,” she said. “It was home to three signers of the Declaration of Independence. And it was home to the first capital of the United States.”

When Ms. Omiecinski learned that in 1783, Congress met at Nassau Hall after fleeing to Princeton from near-mutinous troops in Philadelphia, she was hooked. “Since October 1781 when Cornwallis had surrendered his army at Yorktown, Americans had been waiting impatiently for the signing of a peace treaty with Britain,” she said. “As the months passed and the peace negotiations dragged on, the army became increasingly restless, weary of the long war, and impatient with the unfulfilled promises of Congress for back pay. On June 20, troops surrounded the statehouse in Philadelphia, where Congress was meeting in an attempt to satisfy their grievances.”

There were no violent incidents and the mutiny subsided, but Congress felt insulted by the event and unsupported by the government of Pennsylvania, the story continues. A resolution directing Congress to meet in “Trenton Princeton” was passed. Princeton was soon chosen as the location by the President of Congress, Elias Boudinot.

Ms. Omiecinski’s research revealed that Princeton may have been chosen because Boudinot was a Princeton native from a prominent family, he was a trustee of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), and Nassau Hall was large enough to accommodate the Congress. All of this will be explained and examined in detail during the tour.

“They received the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783, in Nassau Hall,” Ms. Omiecinski said. “That makes it the first capitol [building], while Princeton becomes the first capital.”

Registration is mandatory for the tour, though admission is free. There will be surprises along the way. Since it is designed for families, the tour is being held on Saturday, September 6 rather than September 3, which would be the actual anniversary of the Treaty of Paris.

“We’ll be doing this the first Saturday of every September as long as the town will let us,” Ms. Omiecinski said. The whole idea is to delight and inspire.”

Email firstcapitalprinceton@gmail.com to register or call (855) 743-1415 to learn more.

 

PANORAMIC VIEW: This 1988 photo portrait, titled “Anna and Tom” by Lee Friedlander depicts Tom and Anna Roma and is part of the exhibition, “Pannaroma – MCCC,” which opens at Mercer County Community College Gallery on Tuesday, September 2. The show will run through September 25. For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

PANORAMIC VIEW: This 1988 photo portrait, titled “Anna and Tom” by Lee Friedlander depicts Tom and Anna Roma and is part of the exhibition, “Pannaroma – MCCC,” which opens at Mercer County Community College Gallery on Tuesday, September 2. The show will run through September 25. For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will open with an exhibition of photographic works produced by 18 photographers from September 2 through September 25, who used a specially designed 1×3 panoramic camera built by Thomas Roma, the Director of Photography at Columbia University. The public is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, September 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., that will feature statements by some of the photographers.

Titled “Pannaroma — MCCC,” in honor of Mr. Roma’s wife, Anna, the show was previously exhibited in New York City, Miami, and New Orleans.

According to MCCC Photography Professor Michael Dalton, co-curator of the exhibit with Gallery Director Dylan Wolfe, professor Roma created 31 cameras from the mid-1980s through the 1990s built on a handheld 35mm Nikon F. Mr. Dalton notes that panoramic cameras at that time were significantly heavier and used larger film, requiring the use of a tripod. “Professor Roma’s goal was to make the taking of panoramic photos easier and allow for more versatile subject matter,” said Dalton.

Many of the photos in the exhibit capture interaction between people and their environment, a departure from the sprawling natural scenery typically depicted with panoramic cameras. “The Roma camera allows for more,” said Mr. Dalton. “The result is a wide-ranging group of photographs that draws the viewer into the content of the photo.”

“Pannaroma” features work from professional photographers, including a number of Mr. Roma’s former students. In addition to Mr. Roma and MCCC’s Dalton, the exhibition includes photos by Inbal Abergil, Tony Chirinos, Sasha Waters Freyer, Lee Friedlander, Stephen Hilger, Yoav Horesh, Zsolt Kadar, Richard LaBarbera, Jeff Ladd, Kai McBride, Laura Mircik-Sellers, Claudio Nolasco, Anibal Pella-Woo, Dennis Santella, Raghubir Singh, and Daniel Willner.

The MCCC Galley is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. Gallery hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For more information, including directions to campus, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

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Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action and Not In Our Town, Saturday’s March and Rally for Justice for Michael Brown was attended by as many as 125 people. Among the speakers were CFPA Executive Director, The Rev. Robert Moore; the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church Carlton Branscomb; and, at the lectern, Rutgers Professor Emeritus Daniel Harris. Some of the participants express their thoughts in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

August 26, 2014

HiTops is looking for volunteer traffic cyclists as well as volunteers for other positions in anticipation of the Princeton Half Marathon that is scheduled to take place on November 2 from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. For more information, or to register, go to http://princetonhalfmarathon.com/volunteer/.

August 25, 2014

The Arts Council of Princeton’s new website design is interactive, filled with colorful photographs, and reflects a commitment to the organization’s mission of “building community through the arts.” New features include an improved format for events and calendar, more information on how the Arts Council serves the greater Princeton region, and the  “ACP Insider” Blog, which will be updated regularly. Administrative Manager, Julie Sullivan-Crowley, spearheaded the re-design and launch, working closely with Command C, a Brooklyn-based custom web design firm, and with help from the entire ACP staff. Check it out at: www.artscouncilofprinceton.org. Anyone experiencing an issue with the site is asked to contact Alyssa Gillon at (609) 924-8777 x110 or email agillon@artscouncilofprinceton.org.

 
August 22, 2014

AvalonBay, the developer of a planned 280-unit rental complex on the former Princeton Hospital site, is holding a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, September 3 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 400 Witherspoon Street.

Princeton Council voted August 18 to approve the developer’s agreement, which allows AvalonBay to begin planning demolition of the former hospital buildings. The controversial agreement was the subject of recent legal proceedings over how much environmental testing would be done before the during the demolition. Many neighborhood residents have expressed concerns about potential dangers associated with the process.

All neighborhood residents and members of the public are invited to attend the meeting, which was announced on Friday afternoon.

August 21, 2014

The Princeton University professor charged with stealing 21 signs from in the area of Rosedale and Elm roads is scheduled to appear in pre-trial hearing on September 8. John Mulvey, 67, will appear in Princeton municipal court with his lawyer, Kim Otis.

Mr. Mulvey was videotaped removing the two-by-two-foot signs advertising Princeton Computer Tutor, which is owned by Ted Horodynsky. Mr. Horodynsky has claimed that the signs, which are valued at a total of $471, began to disappear after Mr. Mulvey cut him off in traffic.

Mr. Mulvey teaches operations research and financial engineering. He was charged with theft after the signs started disappearing in June 2013. He has said that he intends to fight the charges, and claims he was picking up debris. The signs were found by police in his garage.

August 20, 2014

website   house    for 8-21

FINAL MOMENTS FOR THE “FLOOD HOUSE”: This rental property at 59 Meadowbrook Drive was demolished Wednesday morning, to the relief of many neighbors who have watched over the years as the low-lying property was repeatedly inundated with stormwater. It wasn’t uncommon to see occupants’ belongings being dried out on the lawn after a heavy rain. Princeton Council approved an ordinance recently to tear down the house, which was built in 1960. The site is to be turned into a pocket park, which must be completed by September 12 under the terms of the FEMA grant that paid for the demolition.

Members of the Princeton community will host a parade and rally to support justice for Mike Brown on Saturday, August 23 from 2-4 p.m., starting at Tiger Park on Nassau Street. “Please join us in solidarity and determination to fight for equality and justice for all — the words we say when we recite the Pledge of Allegiance,” a notice announcing the rally reads.

Those joining the gathering will march peaceably along Nassau Street to Witherspoon Street and to Hinds Plaza next to the Princeton Public Library, where participants can deliver speeches, songs, poems, and demonstrations of solidarity, with remarks kept to approximately three minutes. Signs should be cardboard or the like, not on poles or sticks. Language should preferably be for justice, healing, and (radical) reform, not against the police.

Volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and help keep the walk in line. Contact Daniel Harris at  www.danielharrispoet.net or (609) 683-0198 to volunteer, or to let organizers know you will be attending.

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Titled “Landisville Road Meadow,” this painting by Cindy Roesinger will be on view as part of an exhibition of and sale of work by two dozen members of the New Hope Art League at the Upstairs Gallery in Peddlers Village, Courtyard Shop #10 (behind Earl’s Restaurant), Lahaska, Pa., from September 5 through October 3. The following artists will be on display: Jeanne Chesterton, Lois Clarkson, Kit Dalton, Joyce Danko, Diane DeAngelis, Susan Eckstein, Shane Forbes, Oz Freegood, Jeanette Gonzales, Diane Greenberg, Susan Halstrick, Donna D. Lovely, Loretta Luglio, Katalin Lukzay, John Mertz, Betty Minnucci, Margie Perry, Cindy Roesinger, Ilene Rubin, Cindy Ruenes, Natalie Searl, Kate Viola, and Chaz Walter. An opening reception with the artists will take place Friday, September 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. Gallery hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (215) 794-8486, or visit www.NewHopeArtLeague.com.

 

August is Canning and Preserving Month at the Pennington Farmer’s Market. The market is located at Rosedale Mills, 101 Route 31 in Pennington and is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Visitors can learn how to preserve the summer’s bounty and try some local salsa, jams, and sauces. Available for purchase are fresh plums, peaches, apple butter, sweet corn, sunflowers, bread pudding, homemade granola, tea, vegetables, breads, sauces, wine, meats, dairy products, desserts, crafts, creams and lotions, and others — all produced within 50 miles of Pennington.

The August 23 vendors include: Beechtree Farm, Chickadee Creek, Fulper Farms, Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Hoppin’ Good Salsa, Judith’s Desserts, Kerr’s Korn, Lincoln Creek Smokehouse, Sacred Roses, Seeds to Sew, Stace of Cakes, Terra Momo Bread and Camella Sauces, and live music by Jeff Griesemer. The local Sierra Club chapter will be visiting with information about the People’s Climate March, happening in New York City on September 21.

For more information, visit penningtonfarmersmarket.org.

HELPING HANDS: Princeton Day School student Emily Yuhas and two young Haitian friends spent time together during the recent summer service trip by KONEKTE to Haiti, where participants helped with construction of a new remote village school, leading art classes, installing a “solar suitcase” at an orphanage and middle school, and other tasks.

HELPING HANDS: Princeton Day School student Emily Yuhas and two young Haitian friends spent time together during the recent summer service trip by KONEKTE to Haiti, where participants helped with construction of a new remote village school, leading art classes, installing a “solar suitcase” at an orphanage and middle school, and other tasks.

When Princeton teenagers travel to Haiti as part of the locally based summer service program known as KONEKTE, they often arrive with certain expectations. But those assumptions are usually dispelled as soon as the teenagers begin to interact with the Haitian people they have come to help.

“One of the things they are surprised to see is that in spite of the poverty, the people are positive and joyful,” said Judy Sarvary, a board member of KONEKTE, which took 15 teenagers and five adults to Haiti this summer to work on a variety of projects, from building a school to teaching art classes. “They are very welcoming to us. There is no resentment. They are so happy to share and are very proud of their country.”

Students from Stuart Country Day School, Princeton Day School, and Princeton High School were among those who were part of the group. KONEKTE was founded over three years ago by Madelaine Shellaby, a former art teacher at Stuart, and Anne Hoppenot, who teaches French at the school. Ms. Sarvary has been involved since 2012.

“What our kids come away with is that there is great productivity in Haiti’s younger generation,” she continued. “They’re expecting to see a lot of poverty and hardship. But they come away with how much joy there is.”

While the students are taken to Haiti in the summer, Ms. Sarvary and Ms. Hoppenot travel to the country a few times a year. “It’s really a collaboration,” says Ms. Hoppenot. “We stay in touch and keep a real relationship going all year long. It’s not just about going for 10 days. It’s about a long relationship, and that’s what we’re trying to build.”

The group’s focus is determined before they arrive on Haitian soil. “We do quite a lot of organization before we go,” said Ms. Sarvary. “They tell us what they’d like us to do, what is needed in the village. Then we say what we’d like to do, what skills we have. It’s a bit of back and forth. It ends up being a little bit of everything.”

Construction projects are always part of the mix. Last year, the group helped build a health and hygiene clinic. This summer, they worked on the foundations for a new remote village school as well as the second floor of the Men Nan Men vocational school, which is a project of the Foundation for Peace, the New Jersey-based organization that hosts the group in Haiti.

There was also a call for mosquito nets and repellents. Aided by Hillsborough Presbyterian Church, young team participants Eric Kinney and Celena Stoia raised funds for more than 100 nets and repellents to distribute in the village of Kwa Kok, where residents are exposed to the fast-spreading and painful Chikungunya virus. Princeton area dentists donated hundreds of tubes of toothpaste and tooth brushes, which were also distributed.

Volunteers helped out with mixing cement by hand, teaching business, and leading soap-making classes. They also brought solar power to an orphanage dormitory. Assembled by students at Stuart as part of a two-week program, a “solar suitcase” — a transportable system that provides lighting and charging for places without regular electricity — was given to an orphanage. A second solar suitcase was installed in a local middle school so that students can study after dark.

A celebratory graduation at the school KONEKTE sponsors and a soccer tournament were among the activities during the visit.

The participants stayed in a hotel near Port au Prince, traveling to and from there by bus each day to an area on Haiti’s east coast, near the border of the Dominican Republic. “We go back to the same place each year,” said Ms. Sarvary. “It makes it personal. It’s not just statistics or pictures you’ve seen on Facebook. These are real people and they’re our friends. There is a real sense of community.”

The idea is to educate people at home as well as helping Haitians in need. “This is year round,” Ms. Hoppentot said. “We’re trying to raise money, raise awareness, get more of the schools involved, and even talk to businesses about getting involved. We want it to be community-wide, and we’re trying to expand on that idea.”

For information about Princeton Haiti KONEKTE, visit www.konekteprincetonhaiti.weebly.com.

 

HiTOPS Adolescent Health and Education Center of Princeton is pleased to announce the addition of George Benaur and Grayson Barber to their Board of Trustees.

Mr. Benaur, an experienced U.S. business lawyer specializing in contracts and dispute resolution, has been selected as New Jersey Super Lawyers® Rising Star for the past three years and in 2014 was selected to the New Jersey “Leaders of the Bar” list, formerly known as “40 under 40”. In addition to a broad range of business litigations in federal and state courts across the country, George works on corporate deals, contracts, risk analysis, due diligence, and other compliance projects. In 2013, George served as the chair of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professionals Group, and remains on the steering committee this year. He recently completed Volunteer Connect’s pilot program Board Connect, and joins his first non-profit board this year.

Ms. Barber is a longtime admirer of HiTOPS and its services in our community. Her interest in reproductive health care dates from working at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the 1970s. As an attorney she worked in private practice, followed by several years as a volunteer for civil liberties organizations like the ACLU and EFF. In 2013 she received the Intellectual Freedom Award bestowed by the New Jersey Library Association. She served on the New Jersey Privacy Study Commission, the state Supreme Court Special Committee on Public Access to Court Records, and the Individual Rights Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association. As a preceptor at Princeton University, Grayson contributed to courses on discrimination and the law. She served on a number of nonprofit boards, including the national board of the ACLU and the Princeton Public Library. She retired from the practice of law in March 2014. As a privacy advocate, she continues to serve on the board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and is pleased to join the board of HiTOPS.

HiTOPS is a non-profit organization located in Mercer County, New Jersey. HiTOPS’ ultimate goal is healthy, empowered youth who make healthy enhancing choices and avoid long-term negative health outcomes. For more information, visit www.hitops.org.

When Princeton Public Schools open this fall, teachers will be working under their “old” contract, which expired at the end of June. Negotiations that would put a new contract in place have stalled over the issue of health care and salary increases.

The Board of Education last met with representatives of the teachers’ union, the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) on July 24. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 11, after the beginning of the school year.

Under New Jersey state law, when a new employment agreement is not reached before a contract expires, the prior contract continues in place for both parties until a new agreement replaces it.

“So the public should rest assured that all staff will start the new school year working under the same collectively-bargained contract that has been in effect for the past three years,” said BOE negotiator Patrick Sullivan in a statement released to the media. “No one will be working without pay or without contractual protections.”

PREA negotiators have repeatedly expressed their frustration with the Board of Education’s stance on health care, which Mr. Sullivan described as being constrained by the school budget and the two percent budget cap required by New Jersey law.

“At our last meeting on July 24, the Board made a detailed proposal to the PREA team that would provide all employees with a fair, predictable salary increase in each of the three years of the new contract, within the Board’s financial constraints,” said Mr. Sullivan, who announced that details of their proposal would be shared with the public at a District board meeting on Tuesday, August 26.

 

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The former Princeton Hospital building has finally been scheduled for demolition. Thanks to the approval Monday night of a controversial developer’s agreement, AvalonBay will begin to take down the buildings at Witherspoon Street and Franklin Avenue in preparation for a rental housing complex that has been the subject of much debate over the past three years. (Photo by Linda Arntzenius)

August 19, 2014
The Princeton University fall sports teams are starting preseason practice later this week. The Town Topics will be running profiles of Tiger football star Anthony Gaffney along with PU field hockey players Maddie Copeland and Sarah Brennan in the August 20 edition to kick off its fall coverage with team preview stories to follow in upcoming issues. The regular season starts September 5 with women’s soccer hosting Rutgers, field hockey playing at Duke, men’s soccer playing at Fairleigh Dickinson, and women’s volleyball taking part in the Temple Invitational in Philadelphia.