June 21, 2017

In the wake of the June 6 primary contests, both Democrats and Republicans are gearing up for the November general elections, with the New Jersey governor’s race in the spotlight and state Senate and Assembly seats also up for grabs.

Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) President Owen O’Donnell urged Democrats to rally behind nominee Phil Murphy, who won Princeton only narrowly over PCDO-endorsed John Wisniewski in the primary, but triumphed handily in the statewide vote. more

MAKING THE ROUNDS: A black bear recently seen on Campbelton Road is believed to be the same bear that has also been spotted in several other Princeton and Lawrence neighborhoods. Anyone who sees a bear should report it to the police department. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Police Department)

A black bear has been showing up on local streets during the past few days. A five-second video of the bear romping down Campbelton Road is posted on the Facebook page of the Princeton Police Department, as is information about what to do, and what not to do, in the event of an encounter.

“He’s a little guy, but bears are deceptively strong,” said Sergeant Frederick R. Williams, spokesman for the Princeton Police Department. “He’s just been running around in the open as opposed to staying in the woods. It’s probably the same bear that was taking a dip in a Lawrenceville swimming pool.” more

Plans for Triumph Brewery to move from Nassau Street into the former U.S. Post Office branch on Palmer Square are inching closer to reality. Last week, Princeton’s Site Plan Review Advisory Board (SPRAB) met to review LCOR Ventures’ proposal for Triumph to operate a 300-seat restaurant at the site. The main entrance would be on Palmer Square East, where the former loading dock was located.

SPRAB approved the plan, with certain reservations, and referred it to the Planning Board, which will consider the issue next month. In the meantime, the Princeton Environmental Commission is scheduled to review the proposal on June 26, and the town’s Historical Commission will discuss the plan on June 29. more

Mercer will offer a First-Time Homebuyer Program workshop on Wednesday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System, 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence.

“Mercer County is again offering assistance to potential homeowners through our First-Time Homebuyer Program, and I invite you to sit in on this workshop to learn more about the lending process,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. more

The 2017 Eighth Annual New Hope Film Festival will take place from July 21 through 30. The judges selected 136 Official Selections, a number that includes 104 films from 16 countries and 32 scripts. Many of the films are U.S. and world premieres. The Festival will screen films from the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Philippines, Malawi, and Iceland.

All films will be screened at the New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton Avenue in New Hope. Filmmakers and screenwriters from around the country and abroad will attend the screenings. more

Artifacts found recently on the Princeton Battlefield, including rifle balls and buckshot, period buttons, brass buckles, and an iron axe head, are helping to shed light on the events of January 3, 1777.

An archeological and historical study just completed by the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) and its consultants, archeologist Wade Catts of Commonwealth Heritage Associates and historian Robert Selig, did not yet find an anticipated mass burial site, but they will be carrying out additional investigations in the coming months.  more

Princeton Arborist Lorraine Konopka and Bartlett Tree Experts Local Manager Scott Tapp are leaders in the battle to combat the emerald ash borer and preserve Princeton’s ash trees. (Photo Courtesy of Patricia Frawley and Alexandra Radbil)

Board members of the 101:Fund, which provides Princeton High School graduates with financial assistance for college, awarded $125,000 in need-based scholarships in 2017. The organization has awarded more than $1 million to PHS seniors over the last four decades. 

Saturday, June 24 is wheat harvest day at Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell Township. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., farmers will “cut and shock” this year’s crop. Wheat harvested that day will be threshed on Saturday, July 29, the first day of the annual 4-H Fair. A reaper-binder will be used to cut and bundle the wheat. The farm is at 79 Woodens Lane. Admission is free. Visit www.howellfarm.org.

With forecasters predicting a busy 2017 hurricane and tropical storm season, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is urging County residents to prepare and plan for potential storms this summer and fall. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

Although it’s impossible to predict how the season might affect Mercer County residents, the county executive advises residents that it’s better to be over prepared. Mr. Hughes suggests taking the following readiness steps in preparation for hurricane season: more

At a meeting on June 12, Princeton Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance to better address the growing problem of stormwater runoff. This was welcome news to members of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, the Princeton Environmental Commission, Sustainable Princeton, Friends of Princeton Open Space, and others concerned with the increasing threat of major storms and the rise in developments that turn the ground into hard surfaces that don’t absorb water.

But the ordinance is only the first phase of action that environmentalists say must be taken in order to tackle the issue. “The passing of Princeton’s stormwater ordinance is a significant step forward to begin addressing these stormwater challenges,” said Molly Jones, executive director of Sustainable Princeton, this week.  more

ROCK BROOK CONNECTIONS: The Rock Brook School in Skillman recently held its Third Annual Family Night/Community Open House. Shown at the event, from left, are Lauren, Rock Brook student; Mary Caterson, executive director, Rock Brook School; Mark Caliguire, Somerset County freeholder and former mayor of Montgomery; and Henry, a RBS staff member’s son. The group is holding a chain link Connections Project, which the students worked on to celebrate the conclusion of Special Education Week. (Photo Courtesy of Rock Brook School)

On May 19, the Rock Brook School (RBS) in Skillman hosted its Third Annual Family Night/Community Open House. This event offered an opportunity for the community to visit the school and meet the students, staff, and families who make Rock Brook such a special place.  more

Rutgers University–New Brunswick faculty member Azzan Yadin-Israel will speak about his book The Grace of God and the Grace of Man: The Theologies of Bruce Springsteen (Lingua Press, 2016) from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at Alexander Library, 169 College Avenue, New Brunswick. The event is free and open to the public.

The Grace of God and the Grace of Man is divided into three parts. The first section traces the evolution of theological ideas in Springsteen’s early albums with a focus on critiques of traditional religious institutions and the possibility of redemption on the open road, a notion that Springsteen ultimately rejects in Darkness on the Edge of Town. The second section looks at records after Darkness and Springsteen’s refashioning of three common religious concepts: sin, grace, and the struggle within. The book’s final section — named “Springsteen’s Midrash” after the ancient commentaries on Hebrew scriptures — looks at songs with explicitly biblical source material, such as “Adam Raised a Cain” and “Jesus Was an Only Son,” to examine how Springsteen recasts traditional biblical stories to grapple with his own uncertain faith. more

It’s only fitting that signed editions of several of Princeton native John McPhee’s acclaimed works — part of what the New York Times called “a grand pointillist mural of our time and place” — are among the items of special interest at the upcoming Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Sale. During a library ceremony honoring him some years ago, McPhee confessed that when he was a boy he’d borrowed a book and failed to return it (“Well I lost it”). In donating signed editions of all his works to the library’s Princeton Collection on that occasion he was in effect repaying his debt. He then gave the idea of repayment another turn by claiming that he’d written all those books to make up for the one he’d lost.  more

AWARD WINNER: Recent TCNJ graduate Piper Torsilieri is the winner of Princeton Area Community Foundation’s 2017 Thomas George Artist Fund Award. Graduating art majors from Mercer County colleges and universities are eligible to apply for the annual award of $5,000. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Area Community Foundation)

The Princeton Area Community Foundation has named Piper Torsilieri as the winner of the 2017 Thomas George Artist Fund Award.

Ms. Torsilieri, 23, who grew up in Flemington, graduated from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in May. more

“THE SON AND THE HOUSE”: This glitch art painting by Phillip McConnell is part of the “Digital Alchemy” exhibit at The Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury from July 9-28. A reception will be held at the gallery on July 9 from 1-4 p.m

The Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury presents “Digital Alchemy” by Trenton artist Phillip McConnell from July 9-28. A free reception will be held at the gallery on July 9 from 1-4 p.m.

Mr. McConnell describes himself as a glitch artist with a focus on abstract, surrealist digital art.

“‘Digital Alchemy’ is a project where I blend different aspects of photography (landscape, portrait, urban, nature and macro) with different concepts of glitch art (VHS, aesthetic, vapor wave) to create something new out of something broken,” said Mr. McConnell. “With almost everything in photography being digital, it leads the mind to wonder what can really be done when pushed a step further. more

WORK AND RIGHTS: As the opera “Fidelio” opens with the Overture, we see how the nobleman Florestan (Noah Baetge, second from left holding the banner) was imprisoned for demonstrating with the workers for “trabajo y derechos.” (Photo by Jessi Franko Designs LLC, Courtesy of The Princeton Festival)

The last two times Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera Fidelio was performed in Princeton, the productions were plagued with blizzards. In the early 1980s, Princeton University mounted a production, only to have a performance besieged by a monster snowstorm. In January 2016, a visiting opera company came to Richardson Auditorium to present the same work, with blizzard conditions predicted for most of the performance weekend and the schedule adjusted accordingly. Hopefully, Princeton Festival had no thoughts about the “Princeton Fidelio snow curse” in opening its production of Beethoven’s only opera this past weekend at McCarter Theatre Center. Festival Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk led the cast members of Sunday afternoon’s performance at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre on a moving journey through the work Beethoven himself described as “the one most dear to him” of all his compositional “children.” more

QUALITY AND SERVICE: “We are the only ones in the area who sell high-end previously-owned cars and also service them.” Tom Foster (right), owner of Hopewell Motors, and service manager Dave Leary are proud of their outstanding selection of high-quality automobiles and their expert service. They are shown next to a top quality Mercedes-Benz, one of their specialties.

Tom Foster loves his job!

“I like this so much that it’s easy to come to work every day. I enjoy every aspect of the business. I’m proud of our cars, and I like getting to know the customers. Many have become good friends.”

When the boss enjoys coming to work this much, it sets the tone for all the employees and the customers as well.

This is an important reason why so many people are certain that Hopewell Motors will provide them with the best car for their needs, along with the proper maintenance service. In addition, the friendly atmosphere is a big attraction for many customers. more

June 19, 2017

Every year, in observance of Independence Day, Morven Museum and Garden at 55 Stockton Street in Princeton hosts a FREE event celebrating America’s heritage at the home-turned-museum of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The festivities take place on Tuesday, July 4, from noon to 3 p.m. No registration is necessary. more

June 16, 2017

IN SYNCH: Members of the Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity 8 compete in a race earlier this spring. Earlier this month, the varsity 8 placed fourth in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta in Sacramento, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

As his Princeton University men’s heavyweight squad prepared for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championships, Greg Hughes decided to shake things up.

“There is a lot of parity within the group, and as the season goes on people make some great adjustments,” said Princeton head coach Hughes. more

June 15, 2017

Lots of people took advantage of the beautiful weather on Sunday and enjoyed the day outdoors at Terhune Orchards in Princeton. Fresh strawberries are now featured, and guests can pick their own daily in the field at the farm. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

June 14, 2017

Tracy K. Smith, the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Princeton University Professor in the Humanities and a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2017-18.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment today. Ms. Smith will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library of Congress’s annual literary season with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium. more

ENJOYING THE MOMENT: Princeton High throwing star Paul Brennan grins during a meet this year. Sophomore Brennan culminated a big spring by taking seventh in the discus at the Meet of Champions last Saturday at Northern Burlington High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Tim Brennan took up throwing events as a sixth grader at the Cranbury School and went on the enjoy a brilliant career for the Princeton High boys’ track team.

Brennan set a PHS record in the discus at 180’9 and competed at the next level, throwing for Dartmouth College over the last four years, recently getting named as a recipient of the program’s Herb Chase Track Award given to athletes who have made the greatest improvement in his or her event through hard work, self-discipline, and enthusiasm for the sport. more

In a five-page letter delivered Monday, Acting State Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington denied the Princeton Board of Education’s request to stay, pending resolution of an appeal, her February 28 decision approving Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) proposal to expand enrollment and implement a weighted admissions lottery.

The School Board appealed the acting commissioner’s decision to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court on March 10, and on March 17 the Board requested a stay to enjoin PCS from implementing the weighted lottery and expansion pending resolution of the appeal. more

It was announced on Monday that Robert K. Durkee will be stepping down as Princeton University’s vice president for public affairs, a role he has held since 1978, but he will remain in the position of vice president and secretary of the University.

In sharing a few reflections on his career so far, Mr. Durkee, who arrived at Princeton as a student in 1965, graduated in 1969, and began working in the University president’s office as assistant to the president in 1972, chose to focus “on my engagement on behalf of the university with the communities in which it is located.” more