June 22, 2015

The Spirit of Princeton invites the community to the 14th Annual Independence Day Fireworks on Thursday, July 2 at 9 p.m. at the fields next to the Princeton University Stadium, along Western Way. The site opens at 7 p.m. for picnics and socializing with friends and family.

The event is free and open to all. The 16th Annual Spirit of Princeton Fireworks Celebration will take place rain or shine – only lightning will cancel the show. No alcoholic beverages are allowed at the site. Also, no smoking is allowed on the field because of the new artificial turf. But food, fun, music, and frolic are encouraged to be followed by the spectacular fireworks. Parking is available in University Lot 21 below the fields off of Faculty Road, as well as in the University parking garage on Prospect Street. Better yet, walk to the fields and beat the traffic.

Thanks to the Spirit of Princeton, a Princeton-based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the community together through a variety of civic events, the town residents can enjoy not only the fireworks, but also the Memorial Day Parade, the Flag Day celebration, and the Veteran’s Day ceremony.

To make a much needed donation and for further information, visit: www.spiritofprinceton.org

In response to the recent shooting at a Black Church in Charleston, the Mt. Pisgah AME Church in collaboration with the Princeton Clergy Association and the Coalition for Peace Action, will take place Wednesday, June 24, from 7 to 8:45 p.m. The event will begin with a March from Mt. Pisgah AME Church (the same denomination as the church where the shooting occurred), 170 Witherspoon Street. Supporters are urged to gather the front of the church for the approximately quarter mile March to Tiger Park, Palmer Square. Those who are unable to march are welcome to go straight to Tiger Park. Area faith leaders will offer prayers and reflections followed by a candlelight vigil as darkness falls. For further information, visit www.peacecoalition.org or call (609) 924-5022.

June 19, 2015

A group of 36 environmental, labor, religious, community and citizen groups met Friday morning to work to reduce climate impacts and greenhouse gases. On June 25, they will hold a Lobby Day and Rally at the State House in Trenton.

“We are in a battle for the future of our state, our nation, and our planet. This battle has come together in New Jersey in a fight for clean energy over dirty fossil fuels. People from all over the state are fighting one project after another. The enemy is not just dangerous trains or pipelines destroying open space, but frackers and drillers, dirty fuels. That is why we need to push to make New Jersey a leader again in clean, renewable energy. That is why we must end this addiction to carbon and transition to a clean economy,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

Referring to the proliferation of pipelines, fracking, and other projects, the Coalitions calls for action by the Governor and Legislature “against this onslaught of dirty, dangerous, unneeded fossil fuel projects as they threaten our drinking water, open space, ocean, property values, communities, and neighborhoods; exacerbate the climate crisis; and block our transition to a green economy that creates more jobs at less cost.

At the rally June 25, members will be in Trenton urging policymakers to pass a suite of bills that will be up in the Senate session. SR106 (Codey/Kean) opposes the Pilgrim Pipeline, a proposal to install two brand new pipelines across New Jersey to carry crude oil and refined petroleum products. The Senate will also consider two bills and a resolution (S2858, S2979, SCR165) improving safety standards for railcars carrying explosive Bakken crude oil, produced by fracking.

The coalition unifies organizations across the state working to oppose various fossil fuel threats and to promote renewable energy alternatives that will reduce carbon pollution and will create more green jobs and promote a clean energy economy. They are focused on six important goals, for which they will advocate at the State House: Accelerate New Jersey’s transition to a safe, clean energy future, increase economic security and resiliency, and reduce carbon pollution; stop new pipeline projects from cutting through New Jersey communities and environments to service more fracked gas and oil; ban fracking and the dumping of frack waste in New Jersey; prohibit Bakken Shale crude oil and Alberta Tar Sand products from barreling through New Jersey on explosive oil trains; and prohibit offshore drilling and exploration of fossil fuel in and around New Jersey’s waters.

Clean Energy Rally & Lobby Day is Thursday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Morning briefings will be held in Committee Room 9, on the third floor of the State House Annex. The Rally for Clean Energy is at noon on the Statehouse Annex Front Steps.

June 17, 2015
A DECADE AT THE ARTS COUNCIL: Jeff Nathanson will be honored for his ten year’s of leadership of the Arts Council of Princeton on Thursday at the ACP’s annual meeting. Shown here surrounded by artworks in his office on Witherspoon Street, Mr. Nathanson spoke about the high points of his tenure and of the challenges to come.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

A DECADE AT THE ARTS COUNCIL: Jeff Nathanson will be honored for his ten year’s of leadership of the Arts Council of Princeton on Thursday at the ACP’s annual meeting. Shown here surrounded by artworks in his office on Witherspoon Street, Mr. Nathanson spoke about the high points of his tenure and of the challenges to come. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

When the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) holds its annual board meeting tomorrow, June 18, there will be much to celebrate, not least of which is a decade’s worth of leadership by Executive Director Jeff Nathanson.

As anyone in Princeton will tell you, the Arts Council has gone through a remarkable transformation during the last decade.

“The annual membership meeting is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Mr. Nathanson, interviewed Monday. “It’s an opportunity to thank our outgoing board members after their two three-year terms and welcome trustees newly elected by our membership. We also present our Pride of the Arts Council Awards to volunteer, neighborhood, and corporate partners and supporters, and announce this year’s winners of the Evans Scholarship for college-bound high school students.”

Chances are Mr. Nathanson will also receive some accolades of his own at the meeting.

As a kid growing up in Hawthorne, the Southern California suburb of Los Angeles that was home to Mattel Toys and the Beach Boys, Mr. Nathanson excelled as a student and although he was always interested in the arts, he entered UCLA as a pre-med student. In his sophomore year, he transferred to art with a minor in music. A talented guitarist, he plays in a band, Box Project, a fusion of jazz and rock with a heavy dose of world influences. Their latest piece has a strong Middle Eastern flavor. Locally, he’s played with Minister William Carter’s gospel group at venues such as ACP, the Princeton Shopping Center, street festivals, and the YMCA.

After college he worked in private galleries in downtown San Francisco, where he had a partnership in a gallery for a time in the 1980s, all the while playing rock, R&B, and jazz inspired music. At one time he was music director for the Faultline Comedy Theater.

But working in private galleries didn’t satisfy Mr. Nathanson’s deep-rooted belief in art as an important part of life. “Trying to find paintings for clients who wanted artwork that would match their sofas, was not satisfying,” he said. “Art is very important to society and I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives.”

By 1990, he was looking to build a career in the non-profit side of the art world. After gaining a graduate certificate in non-profit administration and fundraising from the Indiana University School of Philanthropy, he served for a decade as executive director of the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, California, an arts education and community arts center that in many ways resembles the Arts Council of Princeton.

It was an offer to become president and executive director with the International Sculpture Center (ISC) at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, that brought him to Princeton with his wife Connie Tell and daughter Anya. Ms. Tell is now director of the Institute for Women in Arts at Rutgers and Anya, 19, has just finished her freshman year at Rutgers.

In Princeton, he worked with Leslie Burger at the Princeton Public Library in 2003-04 to acquire art for the new building: pieces like the swan in the children’s library, the extraordinary donor book in the foyer, and the stunning mosaic mural on the ground floor. “Working with Leslie and the art committee was a very fulfilling experience,” he recalled. “I believe strongly in the power of art to influence community, so having a public library that is so committed to art is really exciting.”

As a guest curator at the Princeton University Art Museum, Mr. Nathanson brought works by sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz to the campus, those unforgettable “Walking Men” outside the art museum.

With such installations behind him, it was hardly surprising that he found himself being recruited to lead the Arts Council of Princeton in 2005.

He stepped across the street from the public library and into a $10.5 million fundraising campaign for the new Arts Council building. “A dinner hosted by the Momos at Mediterra kicked off the process and this month marks the seventh anniversary of the renovation and expansion of the old Arts Council building by the late Michael Graves,” he said. “The project had then been almost ten years in the making and a roller coaster of changes and revisions, but in 2005 with all of the approvals in hand, we shifted into high gear to get the building underway.”

But before construction could take place, new premises had to be found so that the Arts Council could continue its work. “A lot of work went into engineering that transition,” said Mr. Nathanson. “People were amazing, everybody from the board to the staff to volunteers rolled up their sleeves and got to work. When I first talked to the board about taking on the job, the general belief was that the ACP should scale back during this transitional period, but I felt that we should do the opposite and increase our membership, our programs, and our outreach, and that’s what happened. We had the conTEMPorary site at the Princeton Shopping Center, a ceramic studio in Rocky Hill, and our summer camps moved to the Princeton Junior School and when the new building opened we had scaled up and were bigger and better than before. I am very proud of what we accomplished at the time.”

Not the least of Mr. Nathanson’s accomplishments is the transformation of Communiversity, its expansion of programs and outreach. “Communiversity is a really good example of our organization’s spirit,” he said.

“When I was hired, I attended Communiversity in anticipation of my responsibility. At that time, the event seemed more like a street fair than an arts festival. One of my first tasks was to find out what could be done to change that and I reached out to the staff, the board, and to the Princeton Area Arts and Culture Consortium (PAACC), which has about 30 member arts organizations whose representatives meet regularly to share professional practices and form collaborations. To induce more arts organizations to be involved, we gave them lower fees on booths and an additional discount if they did something interactive.”

The challenge to engage the public reaped benefits. “One of my favorite activities resulting from this is the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s instrument petting zoo,” said Mr. Nathanson. “Communiversity has come a long way from funnel cakes and rock music and people handing out brochures to an event that draws 40,000 people, a mix of professionals, students and volunteers, with rock and roll, classical, and dance events.”

According to Mr. Nathanson, the high point of the last ten years is none of the above but rather the ability provided by the ACP’s new building to offer more benefits to the community. “The ACP is at a whole other level from where it had been, with new marketing strategies and increased outreach and partnerships, more classes, concerts, and exhibitions. And every year since we reopened we’ve received a citation of excellence from the NJ State Council on the Arts and a Governor’s Award in 2011.”

The ACP’s operating budget has grown from half a million to $1.8 million a year. Its motto is “Building Community Through The Arts,” achieved through collaboration and outreach to the public. “The highlight of my time here has been the ability to increase relevance and accessibility. The biggest future challenge is the need for more space as we continue to expand. I have to hand it to our staff for creatively designing programs with others like Morven and Grounds for Sculpture. We have after school programs at local elementary schools and free programs with Princeton Young Achievers and HomeFront.”

Funding remains a constant challenge as well and Mr. Nathanson and his Board President Ted Deutsch will be rolling out a new strategic plan at Thursday’s meeting. Half of the ACP’s operating budget comes from earned income from classes and ticket sales, the rest comes from local foundations and businesses, corporate sponsors, and so on.

“My passion is in the visual and performing arts and music. I am very happy here. Working with creative people keeps me energized,” said Mr. Nathanson. “The most successful people have a creative component to their lives. You don’t have to be a great thespian, dancer, visual, or performing artist to benefit from training in the arts. And all creative artists need an audience, the better we educate people in our country with respect to arts appreciation, the better our audiences will be.”

“I live and breathe the Arts Council,” he said, adding that he looks forward to a time when the ACP reaches a point of equilibrium and he might have an opportunity to follow through on some of his curatorial ideas and to make more music.”

For more information on the Arts Council of Princeton, visit: www.artscouncilofprinceton.org.

LAKESIDE LIVING: The new housing development for Princeton University graduate students and their families is designed with sustainability, community, and maintainability in mind. The complex is a mix of townhouses and apartments that will be home to more than 700 residents.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton University)

LAKESIDE LIVING: The new housing development for Princeton University graduate students and their families is designed with sustainability, community, and maintainability in mind. The complex is a mix of townhouses and apartments that will be home to more than 700 residents. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton University)

With its brick and wood-frame buildings linked by landscaped pathways sloping down toward Lake Carnegie, Princeton University’s Lakeside Graduate Student Community is worlds away from the stark, concrete Hibben and Magie apartment buildings that previously housed graduate students and their families on the same site. Tenants began moving into the complex, which is located on Faculty Road near Alexander Street, early this month. By the end of the summer, all 329 units — townhouses and apartments of varying configurations — are expected to be filled.

The newly constructed 13-acre development designed by the Arizona-based architects Studio Ma consolidates the graduate students who were living in the Butler and Stanworth locations into one that is closer to the campus, and is designed for a multi-generational population ranging from single residents to families and pets. It is big on sustainability and making the most of its naturalistic setting.

The community’s predecessor, the eight-story Hibben and Magie apartments, were built in the 1960s and “were not meeting today’s goals,” said John Ziegler, the University’s Director of Real Estate Development, during a recent tour. “So it was not so difficult a decision to take the buildings down. Hibben and Magie were somewhat isolated. There was no visual connection to the campus.”

Hibben and Magie had 192 units with a capacity for 512 residents. Its systems were outmoded and its interior layouts were not exactly user-friendly. Even though Lakeside will house more people, its geothermal heating and cooling systems are expected to make the complex about 40 percent more energy efficient than its predecessor. The complex will be LEED Silver Certified, Mr. Ziegler said.

Tenants at Lakeside will be spread out among 74 townhouses and 255 apartments, ranging from one to four bedrooms and one to three bathrooms and costing between $1,217 to $2,512 a month. All of the units, some of which are furnished, have dishwashers and full-size washers and dryers — none of which was offered at Hibben and Magie. Kitchens have more storage and counter space, and units with doors to the outside are open to residents with pets.

Chief among the attractions is a 6,000-square-foot center that includes lounges, study rooms, a fitness room, a playroom for children, a communal kitchen, and a large patio with a grill area. Called The Commons, the center is designed to encourage social interactions. Wooden stools made from trees that were taken down at the site are part of the contemporary design in the main seating area, which also boasts a large gas fireplace.

“We wanted opportunities for students to encounter and react with each other,” said Andrew Kane, assistant vice president of University Services. Biking trails, a basketball court open on all sides, and community gardens are also part of the site.

While completely different in its style and materials, the new complex is built, for the most part, on the footprint of the old. “The massing of apartment buildings is shifted, affording more vignettes rather than just two large buildings,” Mr. Ziegler said. “It’s nestled into the woods. The others were icons.”

Efforts were made to preserve the natural features of the site. “Most of the buildings and roads were built on what were prior impervious surfaces,” Mr. Ziegler said. “We only took down a little bit of the trees. Almost everything was preserved, and we planted many, many additional trees and shrubs around the site.”

University administrators sought input from the student community before deciding how to proceed with the new complex. Student government, surveys, and focus groups provided ideas, while the analysis of years of applications were helpful in deciding how space should be assigned, Mr. Kane said.

It will take all summer for Lakeside to be filled, but the few who have moved in appear to be enthusiastic. “It’s anecdotal, but I’ve heard of some high-fives on moving day,” Mr. Ziegler said.

Peter Muller, the founder and CEO of PDT Partners, will speak Thursday, June 18 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Tigerlabs, the shared office and co-working space for professionals, entrepreneurs, and startups at 252 Nassau Street. The event is hosted by StartUp Grind, a global startup community that connects entrepreneurs.

Mr. Muller has worked at BARRA and Morgan Stanley and has sat on several boards advising colleges and organizations nationwide. He has published research on financial optimization, mortgage prepayments, and equity valuation models. In his free time, he designs music-themed crosswords and plays the piano. He has released two albums with his New-York-based trio, and currently lives in Santa Barbara.

StartUp Grind hosts monthly events across the globe featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies.

Visit StartupGrind.com for more information.

Keith Poet

Princeton resident Keith O’Shaughnessy will be reading from his collection Last Call for Ganymede: Poems on Saturday, June 20, at 3 p.m.

Poet Rachel Hadas says that “Keith O’Shaughnessy inhabits and animates Phaedra, Cleopatra, Beatrice, and many others, and does so with lyric precision and crackling wit. The poems in this collection are like filigreed lightning.

Keith O’Shaughnessy is the author of Incommunicado, winner of the inaugural Grolier Discovery Award, sponsored by the poetry book shop on Harvard Square of the same name. He has also published three chapbooks — Carnaval, The Devil’s Party, and Snegurochka — all with Pudding House Press. He teaches literature, creative writing, and composition at Camden County College.

The public is invited to celebrate America’s Independence Day on Saturday, July 4, at Princeton Battlefield State Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free.

Revolutionary War period soldiers from Mott’s 6th Company, 2nd Continental Artillery will be on hand to demonstrate drill, artillery, and flintlock muskets. The Clarke House Volunteers will be demonstrating domestic skills that might be found on a farm such as Thomas Clarke’s. Period games will be available for children of all ages to try. The Thomas Clarke House and the Arms of the Revolution exhibit will be open to tour. There will also be a talk on the Battle of Princeton at noon. At 1 p.m., there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Visitors can bring a picnic lunch to eat in the Park’s open fields, though barbecues and alcohol are not permitted. Hiking can be done on the trails of the adjacent Institute Woods.

The battlefield is at 500 Mercer Road. Call (609) 921-0074 for more information.

A LITTLE ROCK AND BLUES: Straight from the Grand Ole Opry, guitar duo Striking Matches will perform at Princeton Day School on Sunday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 2015 Princeton Festival. To purchase tickets, visit www.princeton festival.org.

A LITTLE ROCK AND BLUES: Straight from the Grand Ole Opry, guitar duo Striking Matches will perform at Princeton Day School on Sunday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 2015 Princeton Festival. To purchase tickets, visit www.princetonfestival.org.

Now on tour following the release of their new CD, “Nothing but Silence,” Nashville guitar duo Striking Matches will perform at the McAneny Theatre at Princeton Day School on Sunday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. This event is presented by The Princeton Festival.

In recent months, Striking Matches (Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis) has been named “Nashville’s newest power duo” by Rolling Stone magazine. The group came to fame after appearing on the hit ABC television drama, “Nashville” starring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere. Striking Matches has appeared frequently at the Grand Ole Opry and has toured with Vince Gill, Train, Ashley Monroe, and Hunter Hayes.

Davis states, “our music is best left up to interpretation, but we hope it resembles an amalgamation of everything that has influenced us over the course of our lives including rock and roll, country and blues.”

To purchase tickets, visit www.princetonfestival.org. Princeton Day School is located at 650 Great Road in Princeton.

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Young Audiences’ (YA) New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees announced that President and CEO Laurence Capo plans to retire at the end of the year. Capo’s decision to step down will bring 26 years of service to Young Audiences — 16 years as a trustee and 10 years as the organization’s leader. Capo will remain with Young Audiences until a replacement is found to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

“Young Audiences is in the best shape that it’s ever been thanks to Larry. He successfully managed the organization through a period of growth and built a dedicated and capable staff, all while working tirelessly to fulfill our mission to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts,” said Board Chair Rich Goldman. “It is both impressive and humbling to reflect on just how much Young Audiences flourished under Larry’s leadership.”

Mr. Capo’s tenure as president and CEO has been a period of strong collaborations with artists, educators, other state arts education organizations, and funders. He led two mergers — with the Institute for Arts and Humanities Education in 2009 and, more recently, with Young Audiences of Eastern Pennsylvania in 2011. The results of these mergers served to expand YA’s territory and deepen its programming.

Under Mr. Capo’s leadership, Young Audiences surpassed its $3.1 million capital campaign goal to establish the organization’s first endowment and scholarship fund.

“I am so proud of our remarkable growth. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Working with extraordinarily talented artists, a great board of trustees and a dedicated staff has been a distinct honor and privilege,” commented Mr. Capo, who recently received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Arts Education. “With the success of our capital campaign, Young Audiences’ future is bright. I cannot think of a better time to make a graceful exit and start an exciting new chapter of my life.”

Mr. Capo currently serves on the board of trustees for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, NJ ArtPride, Creative New Jersey, and the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership. Prior to his work at Young Audiences he held leadership positions at Rider University, McCarter Theatre, Michael Graves Architects, and Farewell Mills and Gatsch, Architects.

The YA Board of Trustees, working with Mr. Capo, has begun the search for new leadership and has appointed a transition committee to oversee the leadership change. Mr. Capo will continue in his role until a successor is named.

Iceland Art

Work such as this by the photographer Alan Kesselhaut is currently on view on the second floor Reference Gallery at the Princeton Public Library. Together with a selection of abstract paintings by the artist Danielle Bursk, Mr, Kesselhaut’s photographs will be on view through the end of August. Both artists will speak about their work at the library on Friday, June 30, at 7 p.m. Mr. Kesselhaut is the founder of the Princeton Photo Workshop and teaches photographers of all skill levels. Ms. Bursk makes art about accumulation and connection, concentrating primarily in drawing/painting and performance/video. She relates her drawings to many things including nests, webs, and vines. The talk is co-sponsored by the library and The Arts Council of Princeton. For more information, call (609) 924-9529, or visit: www.princetonlibrary.org.

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On the Wilson School’s Scudder Plaza, sculptor James Fitzgerald’s Fountain of Freedom looms over Robertson Hall and Ai Weiwei’s installation, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads,” the subject of a letter on page 8. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

June 15, 2015

A meeting to update the public on the swattingphone threats that have plagued schools, hospitals, malls and private residences in Princeton and other parts of New Jersey in recent weeks will be held Wednesday evening at John Witherspoon Middle School. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Mayor Liz Lempert, School Superintendent Steve Cochrane and Police Chief Nick Sutter are scheduled to be on hand to answer questions and provide an update on recent efforts to determine who is behind the phone threats, none of which have led to the discovery of bombs or other dangerous situations.

Mr. Sutter has met with members of the FBIs cyber crime unit to help figure out who is making the threats, most of which have been called in by computer. They are called swattingbecause they draw a heightened response from a SWAT team. At the meeting, the status of the investigations will be discussed. All are welcome.

Save Princeton Public Schools, a public advocacy offshoot of Community for Princeton Public Schools, which had planned to hold a public forum tonight, June 15, at 7:30 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Church, 50 Cherry Hill Road, has cancelled the meeting “due to the sensitive state of current negotiations between PREA and the Board of Education.” The “teach-In” designed to provide clarity regarding the lengthy negotiations between the Board and the PREA may be rescheduled for a later date. The next meeting of the Board of Education will take place Tuesday, June 16.

The Rescue Mission of Trenton will host a community forum on opioid abuse on Tuesday, June 16. The forum is open to the public and will be held at the Mission at 505 Perry Street in Trenton. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and the panel discussion will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. Parking is available at the Mission’s lot on 98 Carroll Street.

Last year, the number of opioid-related deaths claimed nearly 800 lives of New Jersey residents. Ongoing public education, awareness, and community support can spearhead prevention efforts and save lives.

The community forum will mark the one-year anniversary of the State of New Jersey Narcan Expansion Program. Last June, Governor Chris Christie announced the statewide expansion at the Rescue Mission of Trenton – the expansion allows first responders and law enforcement officials to administer medication in the event of an overdose.

Since the expansion, police departments across the state have implemented measures and training programs to prepare for such situations. Communities have rallied together to spread public awareness about opioid abuse and the safe disposal of prescription medication.

The community forum will feature a guest panel including: Eric Edwards, Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer, and Vice President of Research and Development for kaléo Pharma; Paul Ressler, CEO and President, The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation (TOPAC); Dr. William D. Stanley, Medical Director for Rescue Mission of Trenton, Medical Director for Summit Behavioral Health; Barbara Schlichting, Executive Director for Somerset Treatment Services; Meredith LoBuono, Outpatient Program Manager, Rescue Mission of Trenton. Michele Siekerka, President of the NJ Business & Industry Association, will serve as guest moderator.

“The Mission is pleased to host this community forum on such an important issue. Opioid abuse is a very real issue for so many communities and the Mission hopes that this conversation will continue ongoing, public education in an effort to save lives, “said Mary Gay Abbott-Young, Chief Executive Officer of the Mission.

The conversation is supported by the City of Trenton Department of Health and Human Services, Mercer County Office on Addiction Services, City of Angels NJ, Inc., National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – New Jersey, Trenton Health Team, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

Last December, the Mission received a donation of EVZIO naloxone auto injectors from kaléo, a pharmaceutical company based in Richmond, Va. Mission staff have been trained to administer the medication in the event of an overdose. kaléo Pharma will continue their efforts to widen access to naloxone and increase public education about opioid abuse by participating in next week’s forum. Eric Edwards, Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, is a guest panelist.

The Rescue Mission of Trenton is the agency in the City of Trenton that serves the truly needy men and women who have no place to turn for shelter, food, and clothing.  2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Mission providing a safe, clean, warm refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient, and the addicted.

This event is open to the public. Tickets are available by contacting samanthab@rmtrenton.org or (609) 964-0414 ext. 100.

June 12, 2015

The American Boychoir School has raised enough money to plan the coming school year, but students will board with local families instead of on campus. And the famed choral academy, which filed for bankruptcy in April, is pursuing a lease for a day school campus in the Princeton area instead of remaining at its current location in Plainsboro.

“Our traditional boarding model would be converted to a homestay model for this school year, with boys living in local homes — at least two ABS boys in each homestay home,” Rob D’Avanzo, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, wrote in an update to supporters of the school on Thursday. “We have engaged a homestay consultant and have been working with him to learn about and implement this new feature of our School. He will work with us throughout the coming school year to coordinate and supervise the entire program. We have also been in touch with various families that have offered to serve the School as homestay hosts.”

Mr. D’Avanzo said he is confident that a day school location will be secured in the coming weeks. But the change is not anticipated to be permanent.

 “The Board believes that the best operating model to achieve ABS’s mission is one in which we include boys from around the world on one fully-integrated boarding campus,” he wrote. “At this time, however, we do not have an integrated campus option readily available to us, and we simply do not have the funds to acquire or operate one. Over the next year, we intend to work to raise those funds and to find a long-term boarding home, but in the interim we plan to operate ABS on a day school campus suing a homestay model.”

The Board voted unanimously earlier this week to pursue the day school option. The past school year was finished early, but the school fulfilled the touring and performance commitments it had made. Founded in 1937 in Columbus, Ohio and relocated to Princeton in 1950, the School’s choirs have performed with major orchestras and conductors across the globe.

An emergency fundraising campaign with a $350,000 goal was launched to save the school after bankruptcy filing was announced this spring, and the figure was exceeded, providing “a bit of a cushion,” Mr. D’Avanzo wrote. “I have told you that we need to raise a very substantial amount of money in advance of the school year in order to be on a sound footing when school opens, and that remains the case.”

 More than $235,000 in pledges has been received for next year’s Annual Fund, representing more than 26 percent of the school’s budgeted Annual Fund income. “This is a great head start, and the more pledges of operating support we receive now, the better-positioned we will be to achieve our reorganization,” he wrote.

ABS is going forward with plans for its annual “American Boychoir Experience” summer camp, with 23 boys signed up as well as some current students. They are scheduled to perform in August at the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshires, with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra.

“We think an exciting future is within reach,” Mr. D’Avanzo wrote. “I must caution you, however, that we are still operating under the supervision of the Federal Bankruptcy Court, and we will be subject to court oversight until ABS completes a reorganization under Chapter 11. We will be working throughout the summer on myriad tasks necessary to prepare for a new year in a new place with a new model, including seeking court approval for our reorganization based on a solid long-term financial plan.”

June 11, 2015

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of protesters gathered on Nassau Street to call for the resignation of Princeton University bioethics professor Peter Singer, whose controversial views about infants born with disabilities were aired in a radio interview this spring

The remarks were made on the radio show “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on April 16. Mr. Singer, who is known as an animal rights advocate, said it is not unreasonable for infants with disabilities to be denied treatment by private insurance companies or the government. Those babies with “zero quality of life” should not be afforded costly care, he said.

Baby dolls were placed in an open coffin in front of the campus. Protesters in wheelchairs stopped traffic on Nassau Street for about 20 minutes, but no arrests were made or summonses issued.

In a letter published on the Trenton Times website Thursday, Alan Holdsworth, a community organizer for the advocacy group ADAPT, requested that the University call for Mr. Singer’s resignation, publicly denounce his comments, hire a bioethicist from the disability community “in a comparable position to provide a platform for views that contrast with Mr. Singer’s views,” and create a disability policy program “to educate future leaders about inclusive communities.”

University spokesman Martin Mbugua issued this statement: “Princeton is strongly committed to ensuring the academic freedom of members of its community and to ensuring that the campus is open to a wide variety of views.”

June 10, 2015

Garden Tour Mill Hill

The urban gardens of Trentons historic Mill Hill neighborhood will be open to visitors Saturday, June 13, from noon to 5 p.m., rain or shine. This is the 24th consecutive year for the annual event, which draws visitors from all over the area to view some of the regions best examples of urban and small space gardening.

This years tour is themed The City Soirees: Behind the Garden Gates.Mill Hill is known for its unique collection of 19th century row homes, and many have distinctive gardens that are carefully tended by residents. Gardens are as varied as the houses they border, ranging from tidy and traditional to modern and naturalistic.

Proceeds from the tour help fund the Old Mill Hill Society Neighborhood Restoration Grant program, which aids homeowners in restoring and maintaining the areas landmarks and historically significant sites.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 the day of the tour, and can be purchased by cash, check, or credit card. Register and begin the tour at Artworks, 19 Everett Alley at South Stockton Street. Ample free parking is available.The maps distributed double as admission tickets. For more information, visit trentonmillhill.org.

NEW CENTER UNVEILED: Princeton is smack in the middle of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, a 265-square-mile area in Central New Jersey that includes parts of four other counties and 25 other towns. Providing oversight for the safety of the region’s water is the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association which unveiled this new Platinum LEED-certified Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education last month. The building, designed by Farewell Architects of Princeton, opened May 2. Located in Hopewell Township on the 930 acre Watershed Reserve, the new facility is at 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, N.J. 08534. The Watershed Reserve’s hiking trails between Hopewell and Lawrence. are open each day from dawn to dusk; Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education’s hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 737-3735, or visit: www.thewatershed.org  (Photo by Jeff Tryon)

NEW CENTER UNVEILED: Princeton is smack in the middle of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, a 265-square-mile area in Central New Jersey that includes parts of four other counties and 25 other towns. Providing oversight for the safety of the region’s water is the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association which unveiled this new Platinum LEED-certified Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education last month. The building, designed by Farewell Architects of Princeton, opened May 2. Located in Hopewell Township on the 930 acre Watershed Reserve, the new facility is at 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, N.J. 08534. The Watershed Reserve’s hiking trails between Hopewell and Lawrence. are open each day from dawn to dusk; Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education’s hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 737-3735, or visit: www.thewatershed.org (Photo by Jeff Tryon)

With so much water falling from the skies over New Jersey, unexpected flooding in Texas, and ongoing drought in California, the topic of water is never far from public discourse.

As executive director of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, Jim Waltman is intimately connected with the water cycle and its disruption due to both global warming and a history of pollution that is the legacy of industrial New Jersey.

“In a word, we are all about water,” he said. “We teach people about water, the threats to it and what can be done to protect it.”

He has his work cut out. New Jersey has a legacy of pollution and contamination that we are still recovering from. “Two-thirds of our streams don’t meet clean water standards. Add to that, the changing climate in which we see more dry periods and periods of heavy rainfall coming in bigger bursts and you see that we need to recognize and prepare for changes in the water cycle,” he said. “Every time we build in a less environmentally thoughtful way, we make it more difficult for the natural water cycle. Changes continue apace.”

For decades, the Watershed Association has been doing its best to ameliorate this legacy.

With the unveiling of its new $5 million Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science, and Education, the Association is about to embark on its mission with renewed vigor.

“The plan is to use this new center as a demonstration area of what can be done,” said Mr. Waltman, who hopes that the center will inspire homeowners, businesses, schools, and municipalities to replicate its environmental sensitivity.

Located in Hopewell Township on the 930 acre Watershed Reserve, the new facility designed by Farewell Architects of Princeton opened May 2. With a wealth of innovative sustainable technologies, it has earned Platinum LEED certification, the highest level possible in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

As befits the Association’s role, the architecture has a unique interaction with storm water, wastewater, wetlands, solar energy, geothermal heating and cooling, among other environmentally sustainable features.

“This building is all about water, water consumption, storm water run-off, wastewater treatment,” said Mr. Waltman as he pointed out the slant of the butterfly roofline. “New construction can have a negative impact on the environment and we have done so much to mitigate that, especially in terms of water which in new construction often has nowhere to go and runs off to impervious surfaces. Here the water runs off into a depression that is forming a rain garden planted with plants that like to get their feet wet. It’s just one example of new environmental strategies that we advocate.

“When we create hard surface on the landscape, like parking lots, roads, and rooftops, we alter the water cycle. Water runs off these hard impervious surfaces faster than it does from natural areas like forest, wetlands, and meadows, which cause flooding. These hard surfaces also prevent water from percolating into the soil, robbing our aquifers of essential replenishment.”

The building boasts a green roof with plants that keep the building cool, thus saving on air conditioning costs while helping reduce storm water runoff. Rain gardens full of water-loving plants reduce and purify storm water runoff and help recharge the aquifer.

Water collected from the roof is used to flush toilets and a wetlands-based sewage system filters the wastewater from its toilets, showers, and sinks and returns it back to the land.

A heat pump system circulates water 400 feet deep underground to wells that help cool it in the summer and warm it in the winter.

Besides solar panels that generate electricity and produce heat for water, the building uses passive solar with windows that capture the natural light on sunny days and interior lights fitted with automatic dimmer switches to reduce energy use on dull days.

Solar panels were donated by Recom Solar (with assistance from NRG energy).

Inside, a topographical map shows visitors the entire Stony Brook Millstone Watershed. Visitors can locate a waterway near their home and discover names that instantly connect to the Princeton area history, such as Harry’s Brook, Great Bear Swamp, Devil’s Brook Swamp, Upper Bear Swamp, Alexander Creek, Palmer Lake, Strawberry Run.

A 500-gallon tank has species of native fish and turtles (musk, mud, painted) and there are activities for children and adults alike.

The new Center was much needed, said Mr. Waltman, who has been in the job for a decade now, after working on the Galapagos Islands. “We needed more space for all of the things we do: environmental policy advocacy, leadership, education and science … we have scientists and teachers here. But all of these elements were not well-integrated because we were divided over two buildings, the old Buttinger Nature Center and the historic 18th-century Drake Farmstead that Muriel Gardiner Buttinger and her husband Joseph lived in from 1940 to 1985.”

“The idea was to build a new center that would demonstrate technologies and systems that protect water, conserve water, and conserve energy,” said Mr. Waltman. “And the building itself will allow us to expand our educational and advocacy work.”

Rather than tear down its existing 4,500 square feet Buttinger Nature Center, the Association renovated it, adding an extra 10,000 square feet with exhibition space, a laboratory, a computer learning center, conference rooms, a gift shop, kitchen, and updated staff offices.

Some $8.5 million was raised by the Association, which has 25 people on its staff, although that number grows with a summer camp program that has served 10,000 kids over the years; 400 are enrolled this summer.

Having grown up in Princeton, Mr. Waltman attended Johnson Park Elementary School and graduated from Princeton High School in 1982. His favorite part of the job, he said, is its diverse demands. “I’m constantly involved in a mix of different things, from lobbying in Trenton, to discussions on the STEM curriculum, removing a dam on the Millstone River, and talking with kids.”

His next goal is to turn from building the center to using it to advance the Watershed’s mission and he’s eager to get the message across to high school students interested in science and engineering. A one-week Watershed Academy is designed just for them during the summer.

The Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association is located at 31 Titus Mill Road, Pennington, N.J. 08534. The Watershed Reserve’s hiking trails between Hopewell and Lawrence. are open each day from dawn to dusk; Watershed Center for Environmental Advocacy, Science and Education’s hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 737-3735, or visit: www.thewatershed.org (where an audio-visual tour of the new Center can be viewed).

In what appeared to be a last ditch attempt to come to an agreement before negotiations move to the costly fact finding stage, representatives of the teachers’s union, Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA), sat down face to face last week, June 2, with the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE).

According to District negotiator Patrick Sullivan, both sides had agreed before the meeting to start talks at 9 a.m. and “to go on as long as it takes.”

True to that promise, the talks went on into the small hours of Wednesday morning.

“The meeting went 18 hours,” said John Baxter, PREA chief negotiator. “We did not reach a tentative agreement but scheduled a meeting for June 10, to continue talks.”

BOE President Andrea Spalla reported that the June 2 meeting “went pretty well,” with much progress being made. “I think getting a deal is definitely do-able,” she said, adding that today’s meeting was intended to “close the remaining differences between the two sides.”

The apparent shift forward comes after lengthy negotiations that have been ongoing for more than 14 months. Teachers have been working without a new contract since last July. Chapter 78 remains a stumbling block, even though, as BOE member Patrick Sullivan pointed out, 107 districts in the state have settled without any change to Chapter 78.

Last month, the District reached agreements with two other unions, the Princeton Regional Educational Support Staff Association (PRESSA) and the Princeton Administrators’ Association (PAA), replacing contracts that had previously been negotiated for 2012-15 and 2014-15, respectively.

The negotiations with PRESSA lasted eight weeks, those with PAA six weeks.

The new contract with administrators gives them annual increases for the next three years of approximately 2.39 percent, 2.38 percent, and 2.37 percent. That with PRESSA gives an annual increase of 2.5 percent for each of the next three years.

The most recent PREA offer from the District was for 2.44 percent, 2.2 percent, and 2.3 percent over the next three years.

According to 2013-14 figures, salaries for Princeton teachers range from $54,033 for a teacher on the first step with a bachelor’s degree to $108,050 for an upper level teacher with a doctorate. A teacher’s base salary goes up with level of education attained and number of years in the District. For example, a teacher with a doctorate will earn more than one with a master’s degree, who in turn will earn more than one with a bachelor’s degree. A teacher who has served 15 years or more, will earn a longevity payment. Many teachers supplement their basic salary through coaching or by teaching extra classes or doing home tutoring.

In comparison, figures for 2014-15 show that administrators earn (including longevity payments) between $107,000 and $185,415, with the average being $141,661. In West Windsor, for the same period, the average is $129,805.

No Coaching

In view of the ongoing contract dispute, coaches in the Princeton Public Schools signed a letter last month about summer volunteer activities. Coaches announced that they will not do any volunteer summer coaching or training until August because of the impasse.

Their contracts specify August 10 as the starting date for coaching. Earlier this year, in reaction to the contract stalemate, teachers stopped doing other work they are not compensated for. Twenty-four coaches will be affected.

Based on data for the 2014 calendar, they stand to lose stipends of between approximately $6,000 and $20,000. At Princeton High School (PHS), for example, an assistant football coach would earn $8,304; an assistant girls soccer coach, $5,260; and an assistant girls tennis coach, $5,039, within a range from preschool to high school between $20,060 and $90,700.

The average coaching stipend at Princeton High School, as detailed in the last PREA contract, is $7,229.69.

Save our Schools Meeting

Just in case today’s talks fail to produce a contract, Save Princeton Public Schools, a public advocacy offshoot of Community for Princeton Public Schools, is planning to hold a public forum Monday June 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 50 Cherry Hill Road “in the hopes of providing clarity and encouraging transparency about the lengthy negotiations between the Board and the PREA.

Described as a “teach-in,” the event will include members of PREA. For more information, contact saveppsnj@gmail.com. To submit a question, visit: bit.ly/1KjEyOn.

The next meeting of the Board of Education will take place Tuesday, June 16. For more on this issue, see the Mailbox on page 8.

Opera Company

For the second year in a row, The Princeton Festival was awarded “Favorite Opera Company” in the annual Jersey Arts People’s Choice Awards. Princeton Festival Chairman Costa Papastephanou and Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk hold the award.

Riverside Elementary School presents a free evening of music and dinner Friday, June 12 from 7-9 p.m., to benefit the organization Christine’s Hope for Kids. This “Adult Night” will feature the Princeton High School Studio Band led by Joe Bonjovi.

Returning for the event is Mark Stern, jazz saxophone player and Riverside School alumnus. Participants are encouraged to make a donation to Christine’s Hope for Kids, the five-year-old organization that helps local children by teaching kids to aid other kids.

The event will be held in the Riverside School gym, 58 Riverside Drive. To RSVP, contact Bill Cirullo at (609) 806-4260 or bill_cirullo@princetonk12.org. Donations can be made online at www.christineshope.org.

Art 1

This delightful watercolor by Lisa Walsh is part of the exhibition “Works by Watercolorists Unlimited” through June 26. Each month the group of artists has been meeting, for more than 25 years, to critique their paintings on a new subject. The 18 artists show their work throughout New Jersey and annually at the Gourgaud Gallery, located in Town Hall, 23-A North Main Street, Cranbury. The artwork is for sale with 20 percent of each sale going to support the Cranbury Arts Council and its programs. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, June 7, June 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information contact (609) 395-8567, or visit: www.cranburyartscouncil.org.

June 9, 2015
GRAND PRIZEWINNER: Lawrence Township resident Puttita Sae-Wang, 11, won this year’s Trash ArtStravaganza with her “Party Dress” design of a two-piece garment made from cinched, fringed, and ruffled newspaper. (Photo by Laura Fuchs Photography)

GRAND PRIZEWINNER: Lawrence Township resident Puttita Sae-Wang, 11, won this year’s Trash ArtStravaganza with her “Party Dress” design of a two-piece garment made from cinched, fringed, and ruffled newspaper. (Photo by Laura Fuchs Photography)

In collaboration with Princeton University, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will present the annual Trash ArtStravaganza exhibition in ACP’s Taplin Gallery at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts from June 12 through June 26. There will be an opening reception on Friday, June 12 at 4 p.m.

The sustainable art-making contest, held annually during Communiversity, will feature work in three age categories, from young children to adults. Entries range from beautiful dresses and jewelry, elaborate and whimsical sculptures and multimedia pieces, to a fantastical city of figurines, vehicles, and dwellings, all fashioned from trash and recycled materials.

The grand prize was awarded to Puttita Sae-Wang, an 11-year-old Lawrence Township resident who designed a two-piece dress from cinched, fringed, and ruffled newspaper. Ms. Sae-Wang donated her $1,000 award to the Princeton Junior School, a non-profit organization. Her entry will be highlighted during the Trash Art Exhibition.

Trash ArtStravaganza, a grassroots organization, began in 2010 at Princeton University’s Sustainability Open House. Its objective is to raise awareness for non-profit organizations that work to sustain the earth’s environment and communities. This year’s contest at Communiversity ArtsFest 2015 welcomed entries from town and gown and helped raise awareness of sustainability endeavors at Princeton University and beyond. For more information on Trash ArtStravaganza, visit http://www.princetontrashart.com/home.html.

Starting on Saturday, June 13, University Place will be closed to through traffic from College Road to Alexander Street due to work to repair the crosswalk adjacent to the Berlind Theater. This closure is expected to remain in place for three to four weeks. A detour for vehicular traffic will be in place for the duration of the closure. A temporary traffic signal at the intersection of College Road and Alexander Street will be operational while the detour is being used. Local access to and from the metered diagonal parking spaces along University Place south of College Road, adjacent to the McCarter Theatre Center, will be maintained via the College Road-University Place intersection. Pedestrian and bike paths in the area will be shifted during this construction phase. Signage will be posted.

For more information, call (609) 258-8023, or visit: http://www.princeton.edu/artsandtransit, where you can download an updated map showing vehicular, pedestrian, and bike detours.