March 13, 2013

For the first time in its history, the Bryn-Mawr Wellesley Book Sale will begin on Monday, rather than Wednesday. As a result, the preview sale day is Monday, March 25, and the usual Saturday-Sunday half-price and bag days now fall on Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29. The change was necessitated by limitations to access to Princeton Day School due to the coinciding of the Passover and Easter holidays.

With 85,000 books for sale, many for as low as $1-2, the Bryn-Mawr Wellesley event, with proceeds funding scholarships for students at those colleges, is among the largest, if not the largest, on the east coast. In addition to tens of thousand of books on subjects from archery and architecture to youth books and zoos, the five-day event will feature the impressive book collection of the late Peter Oppenheimer of Princeton. Mr. Oppenheimer was a book collector of wide-ranging interests, and his family has donated his collection of more than 15,000 volumes on philosophy, math, history, art, music, literary criticism, and biography. Other notable offerings include a Beatrix Potter collection; a three-volume Sotheby’s auction catalog describing the contents of Chateau de Groussay; The Solitude of Ravens, a gorgeous photography book; an 1878 manual on archery plus other titles on the sport; and Les Oeuvres d’architecture d’Antoine Le Pautre, architecte orginaire du Roy which features detailed 17th Century architectural castle drawings. The rare and unusual titles can be found in Collector’s Corner. The sale proper takes place in the PDS cafeteria and gymnasium at 650 The Great Road in Princeton.

Due to the size of Peter Oppenheimer’s library, half of the books have been set aside for the 2014 sale. His collection will be displayed in two areas, one on the main sale floor, the other in the Collectors’ Corner, which will include his copy of a 1968 first edition of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Many of Mr. Oppenheimer’s books were published by University presses and most are in “new, or like-new” condition. “When the family asked if they could donate 400-500 boxes of books, we were stunned by the size of the donation,” says Sarah Ferguson, the sale’s warehouse manager. “When we got to his home, we saw a forest of neatly stacked books with only a few paths to navigate from one room to another. The quality of these scholarly books was far beyond our expectations.”

Admission on Preview Day is $20 per person, with hours from 10 a.m. — 5 p.m. Preview sale admission tickets have been issued using a lottery system. Names will be drawn randomly for positions in line for preview sale customers. Tickets may also be bought at the door. The sale is open to the public on Tuesday, March 26, and Wednesday, March 27, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Half-Price Day, Thursday, the hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Box day, Friday, March 29, hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Box $10, standard paper grocery bag $5. Maximum box size 17” x 13” x 13”. Bring your own box or bag or buy a used box ($1) or a new, reusable Tote bag ($1.50) at the sale.

RESIDENT DIRECTOR: McCarter Theatre’s Rebecca Simon preps her actors before their first performance of “A Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare at Johnson Park Elementary School last Friday. School Principal Robert Ginsberg, seen here in the center right background, was also on hand to rally the students before the performance which included an appearance by Dr. Ginsberg dressed in a bear costume.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

RESIDENT DIRECTOR: McCarter Theatre’s Rebecca Simon preps her actors before their first performance of “A Winter’s Tale” by William Shakespeare at Johnson Park Elementary School last Friday. School Principal Robert Ginsberg, seen here in the center right background, was also on hand to rally the students before the performance which included an appearance by Dr. Ginsberg dressed in a bear costume. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Last Friday morning’s unexpected snowfall arrived just in time to add an appropriate backdrop to the performance of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale by fifth grade students at Johnson Park Elementary School.

The performance was the culmination of a six-week long intensive acting program led by former Broadway actress and McCarter Theatre teaching artist, Rebecca Simon. It was produced in collaboration with a McCarter residency program.

Fifth graders from classes taught by Sharon Cox, Diane Lefenfeld, Jennifer Park, Dan Van Hise, and Emily Vasille worked together on the project, which brings together all of the fifth grade students.

Over the last seven year’s, Johnson Park fifth graders have taken on Shakespeare plays including Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The script was adapted especially for children to perform.

“The earlier our students are introduced to this material the better,” said teacher Ms. Lefenfeld, who’s been involved since the program began. “We start in the summer, choosing the play in conjunction with McCarter theatre and the production provides lots of educational opportunities for our students.”

In preparation, students read Charles Lamb’s abridged version of Shakespeare’s play. They attended a Broadway show and will be treated to a backstage tour when McCarter Theatre stages A Winter’s Tale from April 2 to April 21.

In addition, the students formed backstage guilds to support the production. The Gallery Guild produced a playbill and all the art projects associated with the play. The Publication Guild put out a newspaper, posters, and invitations. The Costume Guild made sure that every member of the cast had a costume, many of which came courtesy of McCarter Theatre. Students designed coats of arms expressing hobbies and interests and wrote diaries from the points of view of the play’s characters.

The students were surprised when School Principal Robert Ginsberg took to the stage in the guise of a bear during the performance.

“The McCarter acting program at Johnson Park inspired this young group of actors,” said Dr. Ginsberg. “They have studied the craft of acting, learned about making ‘tableaux’, learned how to move across a stage and use an actor’s vocabulary of downstage-left, downstage-right, upstage-left, and upstage-right. They learned how to project their voices, and how to focus.”

The fifth graders gave two performances, one in the morning with the rest of the school as audience, and one in the evening for parents and the public.

A Winter’s Tale has been described as one of The Bard’s most elegant and haunting plays, a “magical classic celebrating redemption, reconciliation, and the mending of broken hearts.”

This is Shakespeare integrated into the elementary school curriculum, said Ms. Lefenfeld. “Students learn social skills of cooperation, delegation, helping one another, teamwork and, of course, acting skills too.”

Princeton’s Traffic and Transportation Committee (TTC) sees no safety threat from the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s proposed refitting and revamping of the information kiosks on Nassau Street. The group voted unanimously Monday to recommend that the plan, which would mix community news and local advertising on the kiosks, be endorsed.

Because the two kiosks on Nassau Street, one at Vandeventer Avenue and the other at Witherspoon Street, lie within the right of way, they must also be considered by the Historic Preservation Committee, TTC chairman Anton Lahnston said at the meeting. Princeton Council may discuss the proposal at its next meeting on April 1.

The kiosks are currently used for the posting of community news, events, and opportunities, in a haphazard fashion. “I think they’re a mess,” said Mr. Lahnston. “It does not speak well of Princeton.” TTC member Ralph Widner agreed, recalling that when the committee once tried to post a meeting notice, it was quickly stapled over with other flyers. “They are not a good way to disseminate information,” he said.

The Chamber’s plan is to display information, with corkboard and new paneling, about local transportation, maps, and arts and cultural events in one section of the kiosks. In another, local businesses will be able to advertise. Space for the community to post flyers and announcements will also be provided.

Chamber president Peter Crowley was given a lukewarm reception when he presented the proposal to Council last month. Members were most concerned about the advertising portion of the kiosks, saying that type of display was more appropriate for a mall. Questions about whether the advertising would cause safety issues by distracting motorists on Nassau Street were referred to the TTC.

Committee member Marvin Reed recalled that the kiosks were built during the 1980’s, when the late Barbara Sigmund was mayor of Princeton Borough. The idea at the time was to deter people from plastering posters and notices on trees and poles, and in windows. The Arts Council of Princeton was supposed to oversee and maintain the kiosks, but the arrangement didn’t last.

Mr. Crowley said the Chamber has reached out to the Princeton Merchants’ Association, cultural and arts groups for feedback, and that the original plan has been slightly readjusted to reflect cost concerns. The Chamber plans to provide information about advertising to its members and the local business community.

The Chamber would oversee maintenance of the kiosks, which would be designed with low-energy LED lighting and backlit panels. As much of the original structures as possible would be maintained and the new sign panels would fit into the existing buildings. The kiosks would also encourage visitors to stop by the Princeton Regional Visitor Information Center, located in the Princeton University Store on Nassau Street.


Whatever Albert Einstein might think of Princeton’s carnival-style birthday embrace of him, how could he resist this scene? Mayor Liz Lempert (on left) is obviously enjoying the moment, too, as Co-Founder of Pi Day Mimi Omiecinski of the Princeton Tour Company hands a $314.15 check to the winner of the Einstein Look-a-Like contest, 19 month old Lusia Bonner, who also won a bike from Kopp’s Cycle Shop that she may have to save for later. Other contestants are in the background. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

March 6, 2013
RENOVATIONS UNDERWAY: Almost six years after the staff of Town Topics moved from 4 Mercer Street to new quarters on Witherspoon Street, renovations are underway at the “old Town Topics Building,” that once housed Priest’s Drug Store (see front page) and was home to the staff of Town Topics newspaper for 57 years before the move to the current location at 305 Witherspoon Street.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

RENOVATIONS UNDERWAY: Almost six years after the staff of Town Topics moved from 4 Mercer Street to new quarters on Witherspoon Street, renovations are underway at the “old Town Topics Building,” that once housed Priest’s Drug Store (see front page) and was home to the staff of Town Topics newspaper for 57 years before the move to the current location at 305 Witherspoon Street. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Readers of this newspaper often express curiosity about the building at 4 Mercer Street that has become known as the “old Town Topics building.”

Recent passersby will have noticed activity in preparation for the building’s renovation by its owner Princeton University. After being vacated by the newspaper’s staff almost six years ago, building work is now underway.

Speaking for the University, Kristin S. Appelget, director of community and regional affairs, said that the University is in the process of extensive interior and exterior renovations that will “provide a first floor office space for a yet to be determined University use and that the second and third floors will be three separate housing units comprising part of the University housing stock for faculty and staff.”

The front section will have apartments on its second and third floors and there will be a duplex in a three-story brick addition to the rear of the building that replaces a timber section that has been removed. This section was a later addition to the original 19th-century building. “It was removed last week and will be replaced by a new brick addition that will blend with the exterior brick and historic architectural elements,” said Ms. Appelget.

Blue Rock Construction is the general contractor for the project and the architects are HMR Architects of Princeton, on Alexander Road.

Ms. Appelget, who declined to divulge the cost of the renovation project, said that the work is expected to be completed by fall of this year.

The University’s plans for the building were approved by the Borough Zoning Board in 2010 at which time attorney Richard Goldman of Drinker Biddle & Reath explained that the University’s goal in renovating the structure was to “restore the building to its historical look.”

The building has been empty since 2007 when Town Topics newspaper, which had occupied the space since 1950, moved to a new location at 305 Witherspoon Street.

Although the building could be cold in the winter and steamy in the summer, its linoleum cracked and its paint peeling, it is fondly recalled by Town Topics staff members (including this reporter) who once worked there. While there is no one who can recall, as former owner, the late Jeb Stuart once did, the days of ticker-tape news releases and the “advances” of cold type, many at the paper today remember the newspaper’s infamous “wing mailer,” a mid-1940s labeling machine that was still in operation in the late 1990s.

The building’s location was perfect for covering town and gown and while the interior left much to be desired, the facade had charm.

The move coincided with the switch to digital production that replaced the -techniques of the -composing room where items were pasted by hand to create camera-ready-copy for delivery to the printer.


Over the years, the building, which dates to 1878, was used for businesses and apartments, until it was moved in 1914 some 60 feet back from its original Nassau Street location to make way for the war memorial. That’s when One Nassau became 4 Mercer. Priest’s Drug Store occupied the ground floor at that time and according to a contemporary account recorded in New Jersey Architecture by Susanne C. Hand, it was said that when the building was moved a glass of water on the counter didn’t spill a drop.

Priest’s remained in the building until 1944.

The newspaper was founded in 1946 by Princeton University graduates Donald Stuart and his brother-in-law Dan Coyle together with Don’s wife Emily, known as “Cissy,” and Dan’s wife Mary. In 1950, Town Topics moved into 4 Mercer Street.

The newspaper passed to Donald and Emily’s son Jeb in 1981. Town Topics continued as a family business until it was sold in 2001 to the current publisher Lynn Adams Smith, architects J. Robert Hillier and Barbara Hillier, and a small group of investors.

Ms. Smith had worked for Town Topics, and Jeb Stuart was convinced that she was the right person to take over the newspaper, with its loyal readership.

“It will be good to see this beautiful old building restored,” said Ms. Smith.

2013 WOMANSPACE HONOREE: Best-selling author, journalist, and advocate for injured veterans Lee Woodruff will receive the 19th annual Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award from Womanspace at a ceremony and reception on Tuesday, May 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton. (Photo by Cathrine White)

2013 WOMANSPACE HONOREE: Best-selling author, journalist, and advocate for injured veterans Lee Woodruff will receive the 19th annual Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award from Womanspace at a ceremony and reception on Tuesday, May 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton.
(Photo by Cathrine White)

Best-selling author, journalist, and advocate for injured veterans Lee Woodruff will receive the 19th annual Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award from Womanspace, the Mercer County non profit agency that provides services — 24-hour hotlines, crisis intervention, emergency shelter, counseling, court advocacy, and housing — to victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Ms. Woodruff will receive the award at a ceremony and reception on Tuesday, May 21, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton.

Named for Barbara Boggs Sigmund, mayor of Princeton Borough from 1983 until 1990 and her death in office at age 51, after an eight-year battle with cancer, the award is given each May to “a woman of distinction who exemplifies the legacy of Womanspace founder and event namesake and women like her who inspire others to greatness.” In 1995, the first honoree was Ms. Sigmund’s younger sister, the ABC political reporter Corrine “Cokie” Boggs Roberts.

Since then, recipients have been, among others: artist Faith Ringgold (2011); sports coach C. Vivian Stringer (2010); broadcaster Nancy Snyderman (2009); author Jean Kilbourne (2008); women’s economic advocate Nell Merlino (2007); legal correspondent Nina Totenberg (2006); NJN news anchor Kent Manahan (2005); playwright and director of Princeton’s McCarter Theater Emily Mann (2004); crime novelist and head of the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA’s office (1976-2002), Linda Fairstein (2003); survivors of domestic violence Ann, Pat and Sandy (2001); Star Jones, co-host of ABC’s The View (2000); and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author Anna Quindlen (1999).

Last year, the award was presented to Dr. Stacey Patton, journalist, author, and children’s advocate whose first book, That Mean Old Yesterday, recounted her childhood experiences in New Jersey’s foster care system.

Princeton Borough Mayor

Ms. Sigmund had politics in her blood. She was the daughter of Democratic Rep. Hale Boggs of Louisiana and Corrine “Lindy” Boggs, who held the post of Congresswoman from New Orleans for some 20 years. She wrote letters for President John F. Kennedy and danced with President Lyndon Johnson at her wedding to Mr. Sigmund in 1964.

In 1972, she won a seat on the Princeton Borough council and led a successful campaign to “Save the Dinky.” Three years later she became a Mercer County freeholder. But in 1982, following a diagnosis of cancer, Ms. Sigmund had her left eye removed. With characteristic aplomb, she attended events as mayor of Princeton Borough sporting an eye patch chosen to match her outfit and when she entered the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1989, her campaign slogan was: “I’ve got my eye on New Jersey.”

Best-Selling Author

Lee Woodruff speaks and writes about ways in which good things can come out of tragedy. She came by her knowledge first hand when her husband, ABC correspondent Bob Woodruff, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Out of that experience came Ms. Woodruff’s first book, In an Instant, and an organization, The Bob Woodruff Foundation ( that helps wounded and fatigued servicemen and women and their families to receive the long-term care they need and to help them adjust and settle back into their communities.

Written together with her husband, In an Instant reached the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list after it was published in February 2007. The book led to appearances on national television and radio. The couple brought media and public awareness to the serious issue of traumatic brain injury among returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, as well as others living with the affliction.

Ms. Woodruff faced a devastating situation with resourcefulness and humor. The chronicle of her family’s journey to recovery is a compelling read.

After writing a collection of essays, Perfectly Imperfect — A Life in Progress, Ms. Woodruff launched into her first novel. Those We Love Most has been described as a “poignant page-turner about the complexities of love and marriage,” and its author compared to Sue Monk Kidd and Anna Quindlen. It has been praised by the likes of Catherine Coulter and Alice Hoffman.

Told through the perspectives of two generations within a single family, Those We Love Most chronicles the ways in which a sudden twist of fate forces family members to examine their choices, raising such questions as: Why do we hurt the ones we love? And what would we do ourselves in the face of unthinkable tragedy?

Besides her books, Ms. Woodruff has written numerous articles about her family and parenting in Health, Redbook, Country Living, Parade, and Family Fun magazines. She lives in Westchester County, New York, with her husband and their four children. She was a contributing editor at ABC’s Good Morning America before moving to CBS to join This Morning with hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O’Donnell.

“Lee Woodruff’s public efforts and her writing are an inspiration to others who face tragedy in their own lives whether from the violence of war or of domestic violence. Her contributions, like those of Barbara Sigmund focus on bringing hope and the capacity for change,” said Womanspace Executive Director Pat Hart.


Founded in 1977 by Ms. Sigmund together with Ellen Belknap, Valorie Caffee, the late Mary Ann Cannon, and Deborah Metzger, Womanspace was formed in response to a need that was brought to light in New Jersey by the 1976 Mercer County Commission on the Status of Women. The most pressing concern of that time for women was spousal abuse, then called ‘battered wives,’ and places where victims could find help and refuge.

Womanspace created the first shelter for female victims of domestic violence and their children in Mercer County. Since its founding, Womanspace has served more than 301,076 adults and children. It provides programs for families struggling with domestic violence and sexual assault. Over 10,900 adults and children were served last year. Programs include crisis intervention, emergency shelter, counseling, court advocacy, housing services, and a 24-hour hotline: (609) 394-9000.

The annual Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award reception and fundraiser helps provide much needed funds for these programs. Jansen Research and Development LLC is the presenting sponsor. Tickets are $150 in advance, $175 at the door. There are a number of opportunities to purchase journal advertisements, tables, and other sponsorships. In addition, raffle tickets at $50 each offer a chance to win a luxurious all-inclusive trip for two adults to the Dominican Republic for a 5-day/4-night stay at the Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts. A Silent Auction, to benefit the organization’s new children’s services program, will feature art by local artists including a piece by Faith Ringold.

For more information, contact Susan D. Klejst at (609) 394-0136 ext. 205, or; or visit:


Known locally as the “old Town Topics Building,” the historic brick edifice at 4 Mercer Street is shown here in a pre-1914 vintage photograph when its address was One Nassau Street. How did the change of address come about? Read the story on page 7. Astounding as it seems, the building was moved 60 feet back from the road in 1914 when the War Memorial was erected and Mercer Street extended. (Courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton)

February 27, 2013
UNMISTAKABLY BEBE: Yes, that’s Princeton’s own Bebe Neuwirth in a treasured image from the archives of the Princeton Ballet Company, which became the American Repertory Ballet (ARB) in 1990. The photograph is among a collection of images and programs donated by ARB to the Historical Society of Princeton. From left to right: Catherine Biewener, Linda Edwards, Ms. Neuwirth, and Penny Kingan in Corelli Concerto.(Courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton).

UNMISTAKABLY BEBE: Yes, that’s Princeton’s own Bebe Neuwirth in a treasured image from the archives of the Princeton Ballet Company, which became the American Repertory Ballet (ARB) in 1990. The photograph is among a collection of images and programs donated by ARB to the Historical Society of Princeton. From left to right: Catherine Biewener, Linda Edwards, Ms. Neuwirth, and Penny Kingan in Corelli Concerto. (Courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton).

Archives from the American Repertory Ballet (ARB) and the Princeton Ballet School (PBS) have been added to the collection of the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP).

“We are delighted to have this addition to our archives of the history of Princeton,” says Eve Mandel, HSP director of programs and visitor services.

Among the items is a commemorative booklet celebrating the ballet school’s “First 50 Years,” introduced by a remark from late founder Audrée Phipps Estey (1910-2002): “It is the discipline that goes with the art of dance and the special hard drive that goes into a production that makes the outcome rewarding. In a day of fast-changing values, it is good to remember that something remains constant — the beauty of the young to which we older ones can dedicate ourselves.”

In addition to early photographs of Ms. Estey, donated material includes images of notable students like Bebe Neuwirth and guest artists such as former New York City Ballet dancers Peter Martins and Darci Kistler. There are letters of support from New Jersey governors Thomas Kean and Brendan Byrne; student memoirs, including five pages by Kit Hulit (whose father advertised his Nassau Street shoe store, Hulit’s Shoes, in programs of the day); performance playbills, and press materials such as a New York Times article which dubbed Ms. Estey as the “First Lady of Dance.” Among Ms. Estey’s hundreds of students were Meredith Monk, Douglas Dunn, Diane Partington, and Jennifer Dunning.

According to Lisa de Ravel, former ARB dancer and PBS dean of students, the gift to HSP provides an opportunity to share the school’s impact on the Princeton area. Ms. de Ravel described the process of compiling the historic documents as “a fun and challenging experience. I have gained a deeper respect for the legacy we inherited, and the artistic and educational missions we continue to carry out.”

What is now one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation, and New Jersey’s preeminent contemporary ballet company, had humble beginnings back in 1954 when Ms. Estey founded the Princeton Ballet Society. Before that, she had created classes at the Lawrenceville School, where her husband L. Wendell “Bud” Estey was a teacher

Ballet quickly became a part of the Princeton scene with productions at McCarter Theatre; the first, Cinderella, in 1955, featured Barbara Dilley Lloyd and Elinor Coffee and was followed by a full-length Nutcracker in 1956.

The Princeton Regional Ballet Company, formed in 1963, performed its first Nutcracker in 1964 at McCarter and has been performing it every year since, both at McCarter and at theaters across New Jersey.

In May 1968, Estey was featured in Town Topics as Princeton’s Woman of the Week. As the ballet school and company evolved, there were further name changes. The Princeton Regional Ballet became the professional Princeton Ballet Company in 1978 and then the American Repertory Ballet Company in 1990, the name chosen to reflect “its artistic image and status as a nationally recognized ballet company.” Three years later, it put on an ambitious full length production of Swan Lake.

Ms. Estey retired in 1982. She was succeeded as artistic director by Judith Leviton (1982-1986), Dermot Burke (1986-1992), Marjorie Mussman (1992-1993), Septime Webre (1993-1999), Graham Lustig (1999-2010), and Douglas Martin (2010-present), who was principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet before joining the faculty in 1995

In 1987, the Princeton Ballet Company was named a “Major Arts Institution” by the New Jersey State Council on The Arts. That same year was their first New York season, and in 1989, they began tours of the Mid-Atlantic States.

Other highlights from ARB history include a 1994 production of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are under the direction of then artistic Director Septime Webre, which brought the author/illustrator to Princeton. The company’s repertory has included established masterpieces by distinguished American choreographers George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, and Twyla Tharp; cutting edge works by Val Caniparoli, Kirk Peterson, Dominique Dumais, Harrison McEldowney, Amy Seiwert, Susan Shields, and Melissa Barak; as well as works by former artistic directors Burke, Mussman, Webre, and Lustig.

Since 1986, Mary Pat Robertson has directed the Princeton Ballet school, which today enrolls some 1500 students a year, ranging in age from three through adult, with studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton. Its graduates have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the United States and abroad, including the Alvin Ailey Dance Co., Netherlands Dance Theater, Boston Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Twyla Tharp, New York Theater Ballet, to name a handful.

The American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School archives can be viewed by appointment at the Historical Society of Princeton. For more information, call (609) 921-6748, ext. 100 or email:

Artistic Director Douglas Martin will present “An Evening with American Repertory Ballet” featuring discussion of The Rite of Spring and Romeo and Juliet, with dancers performing excerpts from each, in the community room at the Princeton Public Library, Thursday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m.

The Westminster Symphonic Choir performs with orchestras from across the globe, led by internationally acclaimed conductors. But the 220-member choral ensemble, among the jewels of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, rehearses in a cramped space known as The Playhouse, with less-than-ideal acoustics.

Thanks to an expansion plan projected to begin in July, the Choir and other students at Westminster’s Princeton campus will soon be preparing for performances in a newly renovated and constructed facility. Officials from Westminster and Rider described the proposal during a courtesy review by the Planning Board at its meeting last Thursday, February 21.

In addition to a renovation of the Playhouse, the plan for the 18.75-acre Princeton campus includes a new academic building, a general services building, some reconfigured parking, new walkways, landscaping, and lighting. Officials hope to have the improvements completed in time for the fall semester of 2014.

“The last new building on campus was the student center in 1975,” Westminster Dean Robert Annis told the Board. Mr. Annis assured the Board that enrollment will be maintained at 450 students. “We are not increasing the size of our student body or faculty. We do not intend to increase the number of recitals.”

Three classrooms and a rehearsal room with “an appropriate acoustical environment” and enough seating for the Symphonic Choir are part of the plan, Mr. Annis continued. The new building will connect in an L-shape with the Playhouse. There will be more room for student recitals. Currently, most performances are held in Bristol Chapel and in the space at Williamson Hall that was intended as a student lounge. Once the new building is constructed, “we can turn Williamson Lounge back into a true lounge for students,” Mr. Annis said.

Architect Michael Shatken of KSS Architects said the new construction will take its design cue from the existing campus. “Williamson Hall heavily influenced how the new buildings will look,” he said, praising the “Georgian quadrangle and wonderful campus plan.”

The new, 11,980-square-foot building’s portico will be modeled after that of Williamson Hall, but the new hall will allow in more natural light. The renovated Playhouse will include such architectural improvements as a small vestibule with an overhead trellis that parallels the design of the walkways. The new general services building will replace two existing buildings on the campus.

Planning Board member Jenny Crumiller asked how sustainability would be addressed. Mr. Shatken said that LEED Silver status would be pursued, and that lighting systems and mechanical systems would be very energy efficient.

Westminster does not require approval for the expansion project, because the site in question sits more than 150 feet from a public zone and the municipality has no jurisdiction. Once building permits are obtained, construction on the project can begin.

The college received approval three years ago to expand and improve its parking lot, which has been done. Last June, the first draft of its master plan was presented to the Planning Board. The school met with neighbors last December before filing its current submission.

Only one neighbor, Ken Fields of Linden Lane, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. His sole issue was excessively bright lighting from two fixtures, which Westminster officials had already agreed to address. ”Myself and my neighbors want the Choir College to succeed, and are in favor of the master plan,” he said. “We did not want a fence, but now that the parking lot is done, perhaps it’s okay.”

Gail Ullman, who chairs the Planning Board, told Westminster representatives that she was originally dismayed at what appeared to be poor communication between the school and its residential neighbors when the project was first proposed.

“But with only one person here to comment, it seems to be okay now,” she said. “I would like to congratulate you on that.”

In all his 19 years on the job, Princeton’s Animal Control Officer Mark Johnson, has never seen a dog so cruelly treated that it died of its injuries.

The complaints that Mr. Johnson usually receives, between 15 and 20 from the public each year, are usually the result of a dog being left inside an owner’s vehicle in the heat of summer, being left outside without shelter, or not being properly fed by its owners.

And while these instances of neglect have the potential for serious harm, they are some distance from the 13 charges that Mr. Johnson has brought against Birch Avenue resident Michael G. Rosenberg.

Mr. Rosenberg has been indicted by a Mercer County grand jury for allegedly causing the death of a three-year-old female German Shepherd-mix in his care. Last month, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. announced that the 31-year-old Princeton resident had been indicted for one count of third-degree animal cruelty, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in state prison and a $15,000 fine.

The charges result from an incident last August when Lawrence resident Tracy Stanton, an attorney working in Manhattan, left her dog with Mr. Rosenberg, who had apparently advertised himself as a dog trainer, operating out of his home. He had been recommended by a friend of Ms. Stanton’s.

Two days after Ms. Stanton left her dog Shyanne with Mr. Rosenberg, she received a call from him suggesting the dog was in need of veterinary attention. He later called again to suggest she come and pick up her dog immediately. Shortly thereafter, the dog was found unresponsive but still breathing on the front porch of Mr. Rosenberg’s residence. Shyanne died before arriving at the emergency vet hospital. Results of a necropsy showed that the dog had four broken ribs and a punctured lung.

According to the complaints signed by Mr. Johnson, Mr. Rosenberg hit Shyanne with a crop, slammed her to the ground, jabbed his fingers into her ribs, and failed to seek medical attention for her injuries.

In addition, Mr. Johnson has brought five charges against the Birch Avenue resident that relate to the treatment by Mr. Rosenberg of his own two dogs, which have since been removed from Princeton. According to Mr. Johnson, the dogs were taken to Massachussetts by Mr. Rosenberg’s former girlfriend.

Mr. Rosenberg is listed as a Megan’s Law Tier 2 (moderate risk) sex offender for having consensual sex with an underage female acquaintance. He was convicted, November 9, 2011.

The five charges brought by Mr. Johnson, are categorized as disorderly person and fourth degree crimes. Each could result in jail time of between one and 60 days and/or fines of between $250 and $1,000.

Besides responding to complaints from the public that may alert him to animal abuse, Mr. Johnson investigates stray dogs and cats, animal bites, wildlife problems, and the removal of dead deer. He also coordinates rabies immunizations for dogs and cats twice each year.

Mr. Johnson’s advice to dog owners looking for help in training their animals is to always ask for and check references from anyone who calls themselves an animal trainer or handler. “At the present time, it is not against the law to operate as a dog trainer out of your home and anyone can call themselves a dog trainer,” said Mr. Johnson. “Pet owners should be sure to check out references that reputable animal handlers and trainers are happy to supply.”

According to a letter received by Mr. Johnson from the prosecutor’s office, Mr. Rosenberg’s court appearance is scheduled for March 8.

In rural Kenya, one in 16 women die from complications during childbirth. Nearly 40 percent of children under the age of five are malnourished. Infant mortality is 10 times higher than in the United States, and outpatient and admission wards in health centers are overcrowded and understaffed.

These are only a few of the painful realities that inspired a group of Princeton University students to start a chapter of TropicalClinics for Rural Health, a charitable organization committed to providing health care to underserved women, children, and families in Kenya. One clinic has been built. To raise funds for a second, the students are preparing for their annual 5K run/walkathon to be held on the campus on Saturday, April 6. Students and member of the community are encouraged to participate.

The Princeton group is the founding chapter in TropicalClinics’ Chaptership Program, which hopes to inspire other interested students nationwide to start their own branches at high school, college, and professional school campuses. The organization was founded by Dr. Margaret Kilibwa, a native of Kenya and clinical assistant professor at the Women’s Health Institute of the UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“We’re trying to build more clinics to make health care more easily accessible for more people in Kenya,” says Sarah Lloyd, a junior at the University and one of about 25 students involved in the local chapter. “Our job is to raise money so they can start building a second clinic.”

As a student in the University’s Global Health Certificate program, Ms. Lloyd traveled to Ghana last summer to study health care abroad. The situation there is similar to that of Kenya, which she heard about from a friend who spent part of his summer there.

“Buildings and areas in which they have clinics and hospitals are not very sanitary or developed,” Ms. Lloyd says. “If you go to a clinic, you have to wait about three hours before seeing a doctor, which can be a very long time for people who are really sick. There aren’t enough clinics. Some people live at least five or six hours away. And in rainy season, it can be impossible to get to clinics.”

The area of Kakamega, Kenya has been particularly ravaged by HIV. According to TropicalClinics’s website, the organization’s annual medical camps have served more than 3,652 people, especially women, at Kakamega. Recently, an existing five-room clinic at Kakamega was renovated into a pharmacy and treatment center to provide interim services for clients. “From this service we expect to demonstrate the project’s soundness and effectiveness to other foundations and corporate funders, community development agencies, and private funding sources for future funding of the long-term program,” the website reads.

Giving the situation a human face, the website tells the story of Muhonja, who is pregnant. “Her best hope for a safe delivery is help from a traditional birth attendant,” it reads. “If Muhonja experienced complications during pregnancy and delivery she will have to be transported on a bicycle almost 10 miles to the nearest medical facility. Many pregnant women do not make it to the medical facility; they bleed to death.”

The Kakamega clinic, when finished, will be an 80-bed medical and education center that will serve up to 500 patients a day. It will be the first in the region to offer state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, therapeutic treatment, and community outreach programs. Among the supplies and equipment needed are a blood pressure monitor, HIV testing kits, microscopes, a mammogram machine, centrifuges, laundry and kitchen equipment, ambulances, and computers.

The 5K run on April 6 winds around and through the Princeton campus. University students pay $12 to participate, and others pay $25. Everyone gets a tee-shirt. For more information, contact Ms. Lloyd at


She knows if you feed them, the gulls will come. She’s happy, the gulls are happy, the geese are geese, the others wish spring would hurry up, and it’s all happening at Lake Carnegie on the last Sunday in February. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

February 20, 2013
WINNERS ALL ROUND: At the Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards ceremony held recently at the Princeton Public Library, those honored celebrated with the organization’s representatives and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. Seated from left to right: John Emmons, Science Teacher Community Park Elementary School; Martha Friend, Science Lab Teacher Community Park Elementary School; Stephanie Chorney, Green Schools Coalition Co-Chair; Diane Landis, Sustainable Princeton, Executive Director; Andrea Malcolm, Sustainable Princeton, Program Manager. Standing from left to right, Jack Morrrison, President, JM Group;  Matt Wasserman, Church and Dwight; Mayor Lempert; Grace Sinden, Environmental Advocate; Robert Hrabchack, Princeton Day School, Student; Stu Orefice, Dining Services Director, Princeton University; William A. Wolf, Architect; and Bill Sachs, Tree Expert. (Photo by Kristin S. Appelget)

WINNERS ALL ROUND: At the Sustainable Princeton Leadership Awards ceremony held recently at the Princeton Public Library, those honored celebrated with the organization’s representatives and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. Seated from left to right: John Emmons, Science Teacher Community Park Elementary School; Martha Friend, Science Lab Teacher Community Park Elementary School; Stephanie Chorney, Green Schools Coalition Co-Chair; Diane Landis, Sustainable Princeton, Executive Director; Andrea Malcolm, Sustainable Princeton, Program Manager. Standing from left to right, Jack Morrrison, President, JM Group;  Matt Wasserman, Church and Dwight; Mayor Lempert; Grace Sinden, Environmental Advocate; Robert Hrabchack, Princeton Day School, Student; Stu Orefice, Dining Services Director, Princeton University; William A. Wolf, Architect; and Bill Sachs, Tree Expert. (Photo by Kristin S. Appelget)

After more than six years of planning, construction of Princeton University’s $300 million Arts & Transit project is on track to start with demolition this spring. According to a schedule released by the University at a meeting of the council of the Princeton University Community earlier this month, the initial work will begin with the sidewalk in front of Forbes College, on Alexander Street, where power lines will be moved. Completion of the entire complex is projected for fall 2017.

The houses that line Alexander Street opposite Forbes and the Springdale Golf Club’s course are also scheduled to be demolished in the spring unless someone with the means to move them steps forward by April. University administration has indicated that the school will give any or all of the houses to anyone willing to relocate them. Check the municipal website for more information.

Soon after the conclusion of the University’s June 4 Commencement activities, traffic will be rerouted on Alexander Street via University Place and College Road for about six weeks while utility work is completed. Alexander Street is scheduled to reopen the following month. At that point, initial demolition should be completed and construction of a new commuter parking lot and temporary train platform will begin. The Dinky will be out of service for a week and replaced by bus service between Princeton and Princeton Junction.

Next fall, the temporary train platform and new commuter parking lot are scheduled to open. The train will be in operation, but riders will still have the option of taking an express bus to and from Princeton Junction until the new station, which will be located 460 feet south of the current terminus, opens in the summer of 2014. Renovation of the existing train station buildings into a restaurant and cafe will also begin in the fall, as will construction on the transit plaza, new train station, new building for the Wawa market, and the access road to the West -Garage, also known as Lot 7.

Between fall 2013 and early 2014, construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Alexander Street and University Place will be underway. Early next year, the roundabout is scheduled to open and road detours will end. The new Dinky station is scheduled to open in the summer of 2014. Also targeted for completion at that time are the new Wawa, transit plaza, and access road to the West Garage. The Wawa will remain open at its current location until then.

The three arts buildings and public plaza in the complex are to be built between the summers of 2014 and 2017. A completion of the restaurant and cafe cannot be announced until a partner is selected to operate them.

The 22-acre Arts & Transit plan was approved by the Regional Planning Board last December. Three lawsuits have been filed by local citizens opposed to the part of the proposal that mandates moving the Dinky station south of its present location. The latest was filed in Superior Court on February 5.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Rojo’s of Lambertville’s little red rooster will soon be coming to Princeton. Rojo’s owner ­David Waldman has signed the lease on 33 Palmer Square with Palmer Square Management and plans to open his new coffee establishment some time this spring, between The Bent Spoon and Thomas Sweet Chocolate.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Rojo’s of Lambertville’s little red rooster will soon be coming to Princeton. Rojo’s owner ­David Waldman has signed the lease on 33 Palmer Square with Palmer Square Management and plans to open his new coffee establishment some time this spring, between The Bent Spoon and Thomas Sweet Chocolate.

Princeton will get a new coffee shop this spring when former country music guitarist David Waldman opens a companion to his Lambertville roastery Rojo’s on Palmer Square.

Mr. Waldman, who once toured with legends Waylon Jennings and George Jones and was nicknamed Rojo (Red) by Willie Nelson on account of his then red beard and ponytail, has signed the lease with Palmer Square Management for the 700 square-foot space between The Bent Spoon and Thomas Sweet Chocolate. Mr. Waldman’s Lambertville coffee roasters and cafe will remain in operation.

“We have quite a following in Princeton,” said Mr. Waldman. “Many of our customers have asked us when are we coming to Princeton and we’ve been waiting for the right time and looking for the right place for a significant Princeton presence.”

The new cafe will offer a selection of certified organic and sustainably grown coffees brewed by various devices such as Chemex, Hario, CONA vacuum, Turkish, Clever, French Press, or Aeropress. Besides coffee Rojo’s will also have a selection of teas, and tea brewing accoutrements. Brewing equipment and accessories will be available for purchase.

Rojo’s Princeton will open around 7 a.m. to catch the morning crowd and will serve locally baked goods.

Mr. Waldman has said that he wants to “raise coffee IQ,” and like the Lambertville operation, Rojo’s Princeton will offer public coffee tastings. Its trained baristas will give tutorials in how to make a good cup of coffee, espresso, and tea.

Rojo’s Roastery is a small batch artisan coffee roaster which imports, roasts, and sells beans from some 25 countries. It also works with architects and designers to build or renovate cafes, sells equipment, and trains baristas. Its products are currently sold in Princeton at Whole Earth.

Described as the “Wizard of Java” for the meticulous attention to the process by which green beans are sampled, analyzed, and experimentally roasted and sometimes blended, Mr. Waldman opened his Lambertville roastery in 2006 in a semi-industrial building along the Delaware River. Rojo’s uses a rare vintage 1956 gas-fired Probat UG-15 coffee bean roaster that was formerly used by a family business in the French town of Lille.

The Lambertville store was Mr. Waldman’s first departure from the music world. A native of Philadelphia, he is a classically trained musician who was drawn to Nashville where he had a successful career playing pedal steel guitar at the Grand Ole Opry.

A resident of Hopewell Borough for the past 28 years, Mr. Waldman says that he is committed to developing direct, sustainable, and financially beneficial relationships with small independent producers. Of the 85 or so coffee growing countries, 24 are among the best, he says. He buys from small volume growers, many of whom may be too small to sell their beans through the conventional coffee trading industry, in Central America, South America, and Indonesia.

A lot of his product can be labeled “Fair Trade,” but says Mr. Waldman, his social responsibilty philosophy and practice go beyond the scope of Fair Trade. “We work directly with small farmers so that they can make a living wage.” Seventy five to 80 percent of Rojo’s beans are the result of what Mr. Waldman calls “relationship buying.” Rojo’s typically buy a small grower’s entire crop.

“There is definitely room for another coffee place in Princeton,” he says. “Each coffee shop has its own identity and I’m not concerned about competition, there’s plenty of room for all of us.”

Asked for comment, Jessica Durrie, owner of Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street, agrees with Mr. Waldman. She has been expecting another coffee establishment to open in Princeton for some five years and is pleased to see another relatively small local business rather than a large chain. The arrival of Rojo’s, says Ms. Durrie “will help to grow and maintain the unique retail landscape that Princeton has to offer. I had lunch with David many years ago, before he opened Rojo’s and while he was crafting his vision in the coffee business, he’s passionate about what he does.”

For more on Rojo’s in Lambertville, call (609) 397-0040, or visit: www.


Zoe and Mia Al-Zubaidy share a moment at the Arts Council of Princeton’s president’s Day workshop Monday. That’s Zoe with Lincoln and Mia with Washington. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

February 13, 2013
LOVE AT SMALL WORLD: Local photographer Christine Ferrara captured the warm glow of Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street last Friday at the start of the opening reception for “The Love Show.” Ms. Ferrara was among more than 40 local artists featured in the show/art sale which runs through March 5 and benefits HiTOPS.(Photo by Christine Ferrara)

LOVE AT SMALL WORLD: Local photographer Christine Ferrara captured the warm glow of Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street last Friday at the start of the opening reception for “The Love Show.” Ms. Ferrara was among more than 40 local artists featured in the show/art sale which runs through March 5 and benefits HiTOPS. (Photo by Christine Ferrara)

With unexpected snow storms and freezing downpours interspersed with teasing signs of spring, February can be one bleak month.

For the past four years Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street has brightened the February gloom with a month-long community art show. Aptly titled “The Love Show,” the event raises funds for a local community non-profit. This year, the proceeds go to HiTOPS, the teen and young adult health center on Wiggins Street.

Some 100 people turned out last Friday night for the show’s opening reception. The coffee shop was transformed into a gallery and party space devoted to art in visual, musical, and culinary forms: with DJs spinning and baristas passing around treats donated by Olives and The Bent Spoon.

Many of the artists brought friends and family along to mingle with the store’s loyal customers, members of the community, and small world employees.

Four years ago, when Ms. Durrie and her team formulated the plan to curate a community art show, the month of February was chosen as a time when such festivity would be most welcome and the love theme was a natural. “We decided to make it a fundraising event as well as an art event accessible to all,” said Ms. Durrie. “We liked the concept of an opening party that would be so full of energy celebrating art and artists, with hors d’oeuvres and live music, so much fun that it would warrant asking for a suggested donation of $20,” she said.

Participating artists are asked to create pieces in response to the word ‘love,’ in broad or specific terms. “We are always inspired by the range of talent and creativity and thank all of the artists,” said Ms. Durrie. “We are so thankful for all of the wonderful entries, but alas, we only have so much space on our walls.”

In addition to the sale of the artwork, the coffee shop also sells love show t-shirts ($24.95) and stickers ($1), from which all of the proceeds benefit the selected not-for-profit. “While each of these fundraising efforts may be small in cash value, I am a big believer in the power of many small good gestures,” said Ms. Durrie. “That is one of the sub-themes of the show.”

Past beneficiaries have been the Arts Council of Princeton (2010), the D&R Greenway Land Trust (2011), and the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey (2012). In order to “spread the love around,” says Ms. Durrie, Small World Coffee decided to select a different not-for-profit each year so that different organizations would have an opportunity to get their message out to a potentially new audience. “What I did not realize when we decided to do this was how great it would be to get to know all of the different not-for-profits. I’ve truly enjoyed learning more about each of them and expanding my knowledge of our community.”

To date the coffee shop has raised some $1200 all told. This year, more is hoped for. “The bad weather on opening night may or may not allow us to exceed our goals, but it is not too late for people to come in and buy our stylish love show t-shirts or purchase a piece of original art work.”

Friday’s weather presented some challenges. While snow arrived, the scheduled performers, Motorfunker DJs from WPRB did not, necessitating a last minute change of plans. “But the strength of our Small World community came through,” said Ms. Durrie, who called local musicians Chris Harford and Matt Trowbridge to save the day by bringing in their sound system and turntables and DJing the dance party at the end of he evening.

More than 40 local artists: painters and photographers participated. Many donated the proceeds from the sale of their work, or a part thereof, to HiTOPS, which promotes adolescent health and well-being and is the only free-standing health center focusing exclusively on youth in New Jersey. Founded by nurse practitioners and health educators, it has been providing risk reduction education and health promotion to youth for the past 25 years.

“The event wrapped up at 11 p.m.,” said Ms. Durrie. “It was a good night.”

The Love Show continues through March 5 at Small World Coffee, 14 Witherspoon Street, Monday through Thursday 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information on HiTOPS, call (609) 683 5155 or visit:

One hundred and fifty years ago, during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1.

A series of events marking the 150th anniversary of this historic event will take place this month at the Princeton Public Library and Princeton High School Performing Arts Center.

The documentary film, Looking for Lincoln, written by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., screens tonight, February 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Library’s Community Room. The two-hour film reconstructs Lincoln’s complex life with insights gained from re-enactors, relic hunters, past presidents, Lincoln scholars, and historians.

On screen, Mr. Gates tackles the controversies that Lincoln’s life story provokes; issues of race, equality, religion, politics, and depression. Besides numerous Lincoln scholars, among those offering comment in the film are Pulitzer Prize winners Doris Kearns Goodwin and Tony Kushner; and presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Former Ebony editor Lerone Bennett challenges Lincoln’s record on race. Writer Joshua Shenk talks about the president’s depression.

A second documentary, based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, will be shown next Friday, February 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., also in the Library’s Community Room. The film challenges the belief that slavery in America ended with the Emancipation Proclamation.

Slavery by Another Name is an indictment of America’s failure to preserve the great moral victory of the Civil War and the mythologies we adopted to hide that failure,” says Mr. Blackmon. “No one group gets the blame. No one group gets to take credit.” Mr. Blackmon argues that both parties failed African-Americans over the span of many decades. To make his case, he evokes events following the Proclamation signing: Lincoln’s successor, Democrat Andrew Johnson, encouraged the return of white supremacist control of the South; Republican Teddy Roosevelt, initially a friend to African-American citizenship, turned against them; Democrat Woodrow Wilson extended Jim Crow segregation throughout the federal government. According to Mr. Blackmon, it was not until the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, that the first serious and sustained effort to defend the actual freedom and civil rights of blacks began. Even so, those efforts were deeply flawed, he states.

Until joining the Washington Post in 2011, Mr. Blackmon was chief of The Wall Street Journal’s Atlanta bureau and the paper’s senior national correspondent. He has written about or directed coverage of some of the most pivotal stories in American life, including the election of President Barack Obama, the rise of the Tea Party movement and the BP oil spill. He has also written extensively about race in America, from the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, to the Civil Rights movement and the dilemma of how contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past.

Slavery by Another Name grew out of a Wall Street Journal article revealing the use of forced labor by dozens of U.S. corporations and commercial interests in coal mines, timber camps, factories, and farms in cities and states across the South, beginning after the Civil War and continuing until the beginning of World War II. It was a New York Times bestseller, and received numerous awards including a 2009 American Book Award.

After the film first aired on PBS, Mr. Blackmon coined the term “historical contortionism” to describe some of the responses to his work that would use history as contemporary propaganda: the impulse to “value history only to the degree that bits and pieces can be used as ammunition in some contemporary fight — usually in ways that are irrelevant and ultimately false.”

“Unfortunately, there are also still many people who are desperate to contort every fragment of history that they find into a foundation for a particular political agenda,” says Mr. Blackmon. Democrats wish to “forget their ardent opposition to civil rights for African Americans a century ago” and Republicans wish to “claim credit for passage of the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s, even though the moderate wing of the party that cooperated with Lyndon Johnson in those votes has since been essentially obliterated.”

On Thursday, February 28, from 7 to 9 p.m., Mr. Blackmon will join Princeton historian James M. McPherson and students from Princeton High School in a Community Commemoration of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center, 151 Moore Street.

Mr. Blackmon and Mr. McPherson will speak and sign copies of their books. The event will also feature readings and songs by PHS students.

McPherson is professor emeritus of United States history at Princeton University and an authority on the Civil War. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 book Battle Cry of Freedom. His Abraham Lincoln will be the subject of discussion at the Library on Tuesday, February 19, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Library’s Quiet Room.

In addition, a student-led Black History Month celebration: An Evening of Cultural Celebration at Princeton High School will take place on Wednesday, February 27. The event, which is free and open to the public, will features food, dance, music and poetry.


Or will we have another Currier and Ives image like this one before winter takes its last bow? The setting for this winter scene is the Springdale Golf Course. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

February 6, 2013
AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE AVANT-GARDE: The choreography of Merce Cunningham and the visual art of Robert Rauschenberg are the focus of a special program at Princeton University next week. Pictured here are dancers Andrea Weber and Daniel Squire at a rehearsal of “Xover,” created in 2007 when Mr. Cunningham was 88 and Mr. Rauschenberg was 83. (Photo by Anna Finke; Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust)

AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE AVANT-GARDE: The choreography of Merce Cunningham and the visual art of Robert Rauschenberg are the focus of a special program at Princeton University next week. Pictured here are dancers Andrea Weber and Daniel Squire at a rehearsal of “Xover,” created in 2007 when Mr. Cunningham was 88 and Mr. Rauschenberg was 83.
(Photo by Anna Finke; Courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Trust)

The legendary collaboration between choreographer Merce Cunningham and visual artist Robert Rauschenberg is the subject of “Spheres of Influence,” a three-part presentation at Princeton University Art Museum from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. The program includes an exhibition, dance performance, and panel discussion among experts on Mr. Cunningham, who died in July, 2009 after a lengthy career at the forefront of the avant-garde.

After dancing in the company of choreographer Martha Graham for six years, Mr. Cunningham presented his first program of solo works set to the music of John Cage, who would become his frequent collaborator and life partner, in 1944. Nine years later, Mr. Cunningham founded his own troupe. He developed a unique aesthetic based on a radical approach to space, time, and chance. Mr. Cunningham’s last work, Nearly Ninety, premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2009. The company was disbanded on the last day of 2011 following a farewell tour.

In addition to Mr. Rauschenberg, Mr. Cunningham also formed artistic alliances with Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt, and other artists and architects. But Mr. Rauschenberg, who was the company’s resident designer, was his most frequent collaborator.

“There are so many things that are special about these two and their collaborations,” says Claudia LaRocco, a frequent contributor on dance to The New York Times and the moderator of the evening’s panel discussion. “So many of the traditions and aesthetics that are still in play today can be traced back to the nexus that was happening in and around the Cunningham company, whether you’re talking about Rauschenberg or other artists. So often, those names come up as touchstones.”

The program will start in the museum’s Marquand Mather Gallery with a tour of a selection of paintings, drawings, and prints from the 1960s and 70s. Included are works by Mr. Rauschenberg created specifically for the Cunningham company, on loan from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. The exhibition is the first of several the museum will present through the new Rauschenberg Loan Bank Program. The museum was chosen as a pilot institution for this initiative.

Next, a group of Princeton University dance students will perform a “MinEvent for Princeton,” a combination of excerpts from Cunningham’s choreography. Silas Riener ’06, a prominent contemporary dancer who studied in the University’s Program in Theater and Dance and a former member of the Cunningham company, has staged the program. The performance follows a recent programming technique of the Cunningham Trust to present curated compilations of the choreographer’s important works set to new music. The score is by Jeff Snyder, co-director of PLOrk [Princeton Laptop Orchestra] and Cenk Ergun, a graduate student in music composition.

“One thing that’s lovely about this evening is that it starts off with a chance to look at some of these Rauschenberg works, which can be one way in for people,” says Ms. LaRocco. “Just as you might think about spending time with a non-representational painting or work of art — Cunningham’s choreography functions in the same way. The eye can travel in so many different ways. If you think about classical ballet, there is a particular hierarchy on stage, so the eye is looking at one thing. Cunningham broke that open. It can be challenging, but liberating to watch.”

While Mr. Cunningham’s work is considered far off the traditional grid, his dancers were always highly trained with the same level of athleticism and technical finesse as those involved in classical ballet. In fact, numerous ballet troupes including American Ballet Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet, and the Rambert Dance Company have presented his pieces.

Like many who watch dance, Ms. La Rocco began to fall for the Cunningham aesthetic only after seeing the company perform a few times. “It wasn’t an instantaneous love for me with Cunningham,” she says. “Sometimes it takes a few tries to get adjusted. I remember seeing a [Cunningham] show at the Joyce Theatre a few years ago. I realized that there isn’t anything to hold onto. There was a really distinct feeling of, ‘Oh, there’s nothing to get. This is just like walking through your day and being alive, being happy with it.’”

Panelists joining Ms. LaRocco will include Nancy Dalva, the Merce Cunningham Trust Scholar-in-Residence; John King, composer/performer and former co-director of the Cunningham company’s music committee; Abigail Sebaly, Cunningham Research Fellow at the Walker Art Center; and Mr. Riener.

“We really wanted to have different types of panelists,” Ms. LaRocco says. “All of these folks have deep connections to the traditions at play. I’m hoping they will all speak about their particular access points and their thoughts about collaboration and interdisciplinary work.”

A reception in the museum’s Sterling Morton Gallery will conclude the evening. The public is invited free of charge.

Anna Gerwel always knew that her family had suffered hardships during World War II. As the daughter of political refugees from Poland who lived in Libya, Tunisia, and Italy before settling in New Jersey, when Ms. Gerwel was 14, she couldn’t help but be aware that the war played a significant role in shaping her family.

But the extent of that role became clear to her only recently. Interested in her family’s heritage, she had written to a great uncle in Poland, an engineer and amateur historian, to ask him if he could send her some family photographs or information. “I was expecting him to send me some letters, nothing out of the ordinary,” says Ms. Gerwel, who is the undergraduate administrator of Princeton University’s Department of Comparative Literature. “I was totally unprepared for what I received.”

Via e-mail, Ms. Gerwel’s uncle forwarded a yellowed copy of a letter he had received in 1977 that told of the imprisonment, torture, and death of another great uncle, Father Antoni Gerwel, at the Dachau concentration camp in 1942. According to the letter, which was written by a friend of Father Gerwel, he was among 1,700 Polish Catholic priests who were imprisoned at the notorious death camp. The friend survived his experience in the camp; Father Gerwel did not.

“I couldn’t read it very well at the beginning because the scan was difficult,” Ms. Gerwel recalls. “But after I printed it out and was able to read it, I was completely horror-stricken. This was my family. It was heartbreaking.”

The details of her uncle’s experience at Dachau were shocking. “They performed medical experiments on the priests,” Ms. Gerwel says. “They worked in the quarry and in the fields, and they were hired to plow the land. They were always beaten. They had very little to eat. They had to work out in the cold without anything to cover their heads, and their heads were shaved.”

But despite her horror, Ms. Gerwel wanted to know more. She began to do research. “Because the letter had information about hundreds of other priests imprisoned at Dachau, I started searching and found out the entire picture of 1,700 priests imprisoned there,” she says. “I emailed Dachau. I couldn’t believe it really happened. They emailed me back the confirmation and proof that he was there and he died there.”

After getting the news from the Dachau memorial site last May, Ms. Gerwel put together an account of the experiences of Polish Catholic priests at the hands of the Nazis.

“This is a story of one aspect of World War II atrocities committed against Poland, a story of Polish Catholic priests,” she wrote in her introduction. “I am focusing on this group of people because I have observed that their story is little known and therefore they have been given neither adequate respect nor recognition in light of this great human tragedy. This is not meant to be a research paper, but rather an evolving quest for the lost truth.”

She submitted the account to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., along with the original letter that had been forwarded to her by her uncle. The letter is now in the museum’s permanent collection.

Ms. Gerwel also sent copies of her account “to everybody I thought would be interested,” she says. “One professor from Washington invited me to speak, and I gave a presentation at the Institute of World Politics last November. Just speaking about it was very painful.”

As a Catholic who also has Jewish relatives, Ms. Gerwel is especially attuned to the atrocities committed against both groups. “I do believe the Jewish people suffered much worse, but Catholic Poles also suffered,” she says. “I hope that the suffering of the priests will be more known. I believe that this is important. It’s not very publicized. I was surprised to see how few people know about it. I feel people are forgetting what happened in Dachau.”

She hopes to translate her account into German and send it to institutions in Germany. “A lot of German students I speak to don’t know about it,” she says. “A couple people who are German Poles asked me why I was writing this. They said the Germans were just following orders, and the Polish priests must have been impolite to have had such treatment.”

The fact that the priests underwent medical experimentation is particularly disturbing, Ms. Gerwel says, because she comes from a medical family. “I’m passionate about shining a light on that,” she says. “I’ve been learning more and more that many physicians in Germany knew about this. They issued an apology last year for crimes against Jews and other ethnic groups, the horrors in the medical community.”

Most of all, Ms. Gerwel hopes her work will deepen understanding and keep alive the awareness of the atrocities. “I want to bring the Catholic and Jewish communities together,” she says. “That is so important to me.”

MGravesPrinceton architect Michael Graves is among five people who will be appointed to posts in the Obama administration, it was announced by the White House this week. Mr. Graves, whose office is on Nassau Street, will be a member of the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board.

Mr. Graves has been paralyzed from the waist down since 2003, when he contracted a bacterial infection. “I am honored to have been appointed to the United States Access Board by President Obama,” he said in an email on Tuesday. “When I became paralyzed, I realized that as an architect and designer, and then a patient, I had a unique perspective. As a result, I became passionate about using this perspective to improve healthcare and accessibility through design projects. Now, as a member of the Access Board, I expect to provide national leadership on accessible design, and hope I can contribute on a grand scale. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board in pursuit of this important mission.”

Others selected by President Obama for administration posts are Vinton Cerf, to join the National Science Board and National Science Foundation; Marta Araoz de la Torre, to become a member of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee; Laurie Leshin, to join the Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum; and Lynne Sebastian, to become a member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Mr. Graves is the founding partner of Michael Graves & Associates, an architecture and design firm that he founded in 1964. Since then, the practice has evolved into two firms, the Michael Graves Design Group and Michael Graves & Associates. He is also the Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus at Princeton University, where he taught for nearly four decades. Mr. Graves is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

“These fine public servants both bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles,” President Obama said in a press release. “Our nation will be well-served by these individuals, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”

Mr. Graves is scheduled to speak at Princeton Public Library on February 13 at noon as part of the Spotlight on the Humanities Architecture series


All in a Days Work ShirahShirah Metzigian is a dynamo. At just 26, she’s in charge of all aspects of the day to day running of the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI), the independent research center at 50 Stockton Street led by Dr. William Storrar. Since joining CTI’s small team less than two years ago, Ms. Metzigian has learned to juggle multiple duties. Imbued with a strong work ethic by her parents and a personal drive born of athletic competition, she’s not the least daunted by the responsibility. On the contrary, she thrives on it. Here, Ms. Metzigian talks about her day’s work.

—Linda Arntzenius

At the time I came across the job listing for the Center of Theological Inquiry, I was working in Rouge in Princeton. I was intrigued. When I met Dr. Storrar, it seemed like a really good fit for me: a small team where I would have the chance to do things that would normally be done by several divisions in a corporate environment. My job is very diverse. I never know what’s going to happen.

A lot of people mistakenly believe that CTI is part of the Princeton Theological Seminary. It isn’t. I usually describe CTI as an ecumenical “think tank.” We have scholars here from different faiths, different academic interests, and from all over the world. Currently we have a program, funded by the Templeton Foundation, that is bringing scientists and theologians together. In addition to their own projects, scholars gather to discuss and gain feedback on their research.

The first thing I do each day is check emails and catch up with the director to see what’s on the agenda, which might be anything from processing member billing to checking with vendors on work projects here at Stockton Street or at the Ross Stevenson Circle townhomes that are rented to our members and their families. I might be working on accounts payable, a budget report, website content, or different media about our programs.

The Center has three staff members: myself, the director, and the research director, and all three of us work past six in the evening. Certain times of the year tend to be bottle necks when I could potentially be working well over a 60-hour week. But the work ebbs and flows and it balances out. During the summer, when the townhouses are being prepared for the following academic year, is when I’m least in the office.

Paperless Office

Most of the scholars are here for a year. A large part of my job is making sure that they have what they need for a smooth home life so that they can focus on their work at the Center. I was very busy when Hurricane Sandy hit and we lost all power and heat. Since I’m not a parent, it can be challenging to help parents with children in the school system. It’s a learning process and I try to make the Center the best that it can be.

In July I’ll have been here two years and my position has evolved. The director chose my title as Center Administrator to reflect the mission-control aspect of my job. I’ve met some very interesting people: the broadcaster Krista Tippett, author Marilynne Robinson, and the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Lord Jonathan Sacks, a member of the House of Lords, among them.

Anyone in a professional environment knows that being organized is crucial. We use Mac computers and make full use of iCal and iCloud. The Center’s calendar is on my computer at work and at home as well as on my iPhone and iPad, so no matter where I am I can keep track. Besides Constant Contact and Paperless Post, my save-the-day software is Dropbox. If I didn’t have Dropbox I don’t know what I would do. It’s invaluable for travel arrangements, conferences, and all the flyers and programs those entail.

My boss is phenomenal and there are huge rewards that come from high expectations and a great deal of accountability. Dr. Storrar has a background of international positions at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. I am constantly learning from him. He’s got a great sense of humor too. What can I say? I work in a beautiful office and I love what I do.

Family Values

When people first meet me, they are often surprised that I am so young, especially vendors. I feel that I have a good way of commanding respect without being dictatorial in any way. This definitely comes from my parents and the way they raised myself and my twin brother Ryan. When we wanted cell phones we had to work to pay for them ourselves. We paid for our college educations.

I grew up in Pennington where my mother has her own hair salon and my father is a venture capitalist who develops technology. I went to the Peddie School in Hightstown, a small boarding school with wonderful teachers where I played field hockey, indoor track, and lacrosse.

When I was working my way through college, I did every kind of job that you can imagine, even while playing Division I lacrosse at Rutgers for two years. I was a coach, a flower delivery driver, a waitress. I was the girl who was working every weekend and every summer while my friends were visiting each other, traveling, or doing study abroad. I studied communications and my first job was as a program coordinator for a pharmaceutical company.

My mother and both my grandparents were hairdressers and I’ve always had this dream that at some point I’d either be working with my mother or doing something in the fashion/beauty industry. To be an entrepreneur and start my own business would be my dream job.

I just got engaged to my best friend and partner, Nathaniel Brown, an avid sailor. We look forward immensely to the summer when we go to his family’s house on Lake Clear in the Adirondacks, one of the most serene places you could wish for. We enjoy cooking together and entertaining friends.

Metzigian is Armenian and Shirah is the name of an Armenian princess. As a child I hated it because everyone got it wrong. My parents would tell me that I could always change it but I figured I’d live with it. Now that I’m older I like that it’s different and that people remember me because of it.


Fairy tale princesses surround the beauteous Cinderella at the YWCA of Princeton’s Cinderella Ballet Ball. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty were also in attendance. (Photo by Emily Reeves)


January 30, 2013
NASA EXPERT SPEAKS ON PLANETARY SCIENCE: Jim Green, of the Planetary Systems Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, in front of a replica of the Mars Curiosity Rover during the assembly of the NASA float that took part in the inaugural day parade in honor of President Barack Obama last Saturday. Mr. Green will speak at a meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton on Monday, February 4.(Photo by NASA/Paul E. Alers)

NASA EXPERT SPEAKS ON PLANETARY SCIENCE: Jim Green, of the Planetary Systems Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, in front of a replica of the Mars Curiosity Rover during the assembly of the NASA float that took part in the inaugural day parade in honor of President Barack Obama last Saturday. Mr. Green will speak at a meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton on Monday, February 4. (Photo by NASA/Paul E. Alers)

While visiting Princeton next week, Dr. James L. Green, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Planetary Science Division, will give an overview of planetary science exploration during the last five decades in a talk titled “The Revolution in Planetary Science” at the regular monthly meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton (AAAP) on Monday, February 4, at 8 p.m. in Peyton Hall on the Princeton University Campus.

Stargazers and armchair investigators who share a common love of the sky will be treated to a glimpse inside the world of NASA since it launched its first successful planetary spacecraft some 50 years ago. “Virtually everything we knew about the solar system, up to that time, came from ground-based telescope observations or the analysis of meteorites,” said Mr. Green. “NASA has literally invented planetary science that has allowed us to reveal many of the wonders of the solar system.”

The Planetary Science Division that Mr. Green leads is responsible for missions from Mercury to Pluto. The planet Mars has been the subject of particular attention in the last several years leading up to the landing of the Curiosity rover.

Speaking for the AAAP Secretary, Michael Wright said that he was delighted that Mr. Green was able to speak to the association. As director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division since 2006, Mr. Green is eminently qualified to discuss the latest solar system discoveries. Since he received his PhD in space physics from the University of Iowa in 1979, he has headed several data centers responsible for providing scientists with rapid access to data, other scientists, and NASA computers, and information.

Mr. Green began his professional career working in the Magnetospheric Physics Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in 1980. At Marshall, he developed and managed the Space Physics Analysis Network that provided scientists all over the world with rapid access to data, to other scientists, and to specific NASA computer and information resources. In addition, Dr. Green was a safety diver in the Neutral Buoyancy tank making over 150 dives until left MSFC in 1985.

From 1985 to 1992, he led NASA’s largest space science data archive, the National Space Science Data Center at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

While at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Mr. Green was a co-investigator and deputy project scientist on the Imager for the Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) mission.

At NASA, he is responsible for solar system exploration at a time when recent planetary science missions have been successfully ventured or completed, including the launch of Juno and Jupiter, and the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory and the Curiosity rover on Mars.

The author of over 100 scientific articles about the Earth’s and Jupiter’s magnetospheres and over 50 technical articles on data systems and networks, he has received numerous awards including the 1988 Arthur S. Flemming award for outstanding individual performance in the federal government and Japan’s 1996 Kotani Prize in recognition of his international science data management activities. You may have seen him in the PBS NOVA special Finding Life Beyond Earth. Last June, the American Astronomical Society presented him with the distinguished 2012 Popular Writing Award for his contribution to the article “The Perfect Solar Superstorm,” published in the February 2011 issue of Sky & Telescope

Not only is Mr. Green an accomplished scientist and communicator, he is a student of the American Civil War with a special interest in ballooning. It seems that during the war, balloons played an important role in map-making, artillery-spotting, and the observation and reporting of troop movement.

Founded in 1962, the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton currently has over 80 members with interests in all aspects of astronomy and space science. The organization promotes a wide range of astronomy-related activities including: solar, planetary, and deep-sky observing, astro-photography, star parties, lectures, and education. It owns and operates two observatories in New Jersey, one at Washington Crossing State Park and one at Jenny Jump State Park.

The AAAP, which hosts public observing at its observatory in Washington-Crossing State Park, Titusville, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (weather permitting) on Fridays from April to October, holds public lectures on the second Tuesday of each month in Princeton. The speaker to be featured on March 12, will be author Michael Lemonick. Admission to the lectures is free and the public is welcome. Free parking is available across the street from Peyton Hall. For more information, including directions, visit:

GOOD IDEAS HAVE A RIPPLE EFFECT: Princeton Public Schools teacher Nina Lavado (left) with assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Bonnie Lehet. The success of Ms. Lavado’s “Latinos en Progreso” program at John Witherspoon Middle School has sparked a a new “Parent University of PPS” initiative by Ms. Lehet that will benefit the district’s minority and disadvantaged families.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

GOOD IDEAS HAVE A RIPPLE EFFECT: Princeton Public Schools teacher Nina Lavado (left) with assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Bonnie Lehet. The success of Ms. Lavado’s “Latinos en Progreso” program at John Witherspoon Middle School has sparked a a new “Parent University of PPS” initiative by Ms. Lehet that will benefit the district’s minority and disadvantaged families. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

The Princeton Public School (PPS) system has numerous ways of engaging parents in their children’s education. Its website offers a wealth of information about personnel, programs, calendars, and events, as well as online access to student information through a Power School portal that allows parents to follow their children’s academic progress and eases communication between student, home, and school.

But what if you don’t have access to a computer? What if you have a computer but minimal access to the internet? What if your knowledge of the English language is limited? For many minority and immigrant groups there are numerous “what ifs,” each one a barrier to student success.

The “Latinos en Progreso” program at John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) is doing much to address these issues for Spanish-speaking families by providing step-by-step guidance through the college prep process as well as a variety of other services.

Started two years ago by JWMS teacher Nina Lavado in order to help parents who had difficulty in communicating with the school, “Latinos en Progreso” has met with stunning success, beginning modestly with a small number of parents and one meeting a week to three meetings a week: one for students only, one for parents only, and one for both parents and students, and between 50 and 70 participants. Families of middle-schoolers brought their elementary school-age children along too.

For parents “Latinos en Progreso” offers ESL training with the help of Rosetta Stone software as well as basic computer training and PPS Power School parent portal training, a must for navigating the school system.

For students, there’s basketball and Teen Topics.

For parents and students together there is a “Hispanics Inspiring Students Performance and Achievement” mentoring program as well as a six-week literary program, “Graciela’s Dream: A Family Journey to College.” Using the book, Graciela’s Dream, by Max and Katherine Benavidez, the program introduces families to the college process as it follows the aspirations of a young Latina girl. Though fiction, the book is based on real-life experience and strikes a chord with many Latino families.

In the beginning “Latinos en Progreso” was very much a work in progress, says Ms. Lavado, who has been teaching for almost a decade, first as a Spanish teacher at the Princeton High School and now teaching a “Habits of Mind” course at JWMS. She is also ESL-certified. “Research shows that parental involvement has a tremendous impact on student success and “Latinos en Progreso” has opened door to improved communication.”

The program’s name means “Latinos Moving Forward” and it was chosen by parents themselves to indicate their goals and hopes. As testament to its success, one student has been accepted into the rigorously academic PUPP (Princeton University Preparatory Program) program for low-income high schoolers. The tuition-free program prepares participants for admission to colleges and universities.

“Latinos en Progreso” has also had a ripple effect, moving from Spanish speaking families to other groups and to other Princeton schools and grades. Ms. Lavado and her team are well on their way toward implementing a new curriculum this year, providing “nuts-and-bolts basics” about the school system such as the role of guidance counselors and other school personnel.

The program has also resulted in a new initiative spearheaded by Bonnie Lehet, assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction: “Parent University of PPS,” will add to the achievement of “Latinos en Progreso” by broadening its scope to meet the needs of other minority families. Participating parents will be guided through school policies, practices, and programs that affect their children. “It’s a question of access,” says Ms. Lehet, “Language is one piece of this. Nina is working with one group, of Spanish speakers, but there is a broad need across many minority groups with respect to planning for college and careers.” To facilitate this Ms. Lehet expressed her hope of one day being able further the success of participating families with computers. “But for that we’d need a donor or grant source,” she added.

For more on the Parent University of PPS and Latinos en Progreso, visit