January 9, 2019

WEEK OF HOPE: During its Week of Hope, January 19-25, HomeFront will offer many volunteer and educational opportunities related to breaking the cycle of poverty in the community. (Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

By Donald Gilpin

Breaking the cycle of poverty in our community is the goal of HomeFront (HF), and its January 19-25 Week of Hope will provide a wide range of opportunities for everybody to get involved and make difference in the lives of struggling local families.

Working at the diaper center or food pantry, reading to children, taking a bus tour of Trenton, participating in the painting of a giant mural, joining tours of the HF Family Campus and headquarters, coffee with HomeFront’s CEO and COO to learn about the organization and its future, and the Night of Hope open house featuring tours, refreshments, and entertainment are some of the events scheduled. more

EMPOWERING WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY: SheTek, focused on increasing the representation of women in the technology industry, will officially launch its New Jersey operations today at Merrill Lynch on Roszel Road. Pictured above are SheTek CEO Chaya Pamula (front row center), CSO Joanna Black (second from right), and their SheTek and Pamten team and advisory board members. (Photo courtesy of SheTek)

By Donald Gilpin

Looking to cultivate a national pipeline of women in technology, SheTek will officially launch its New Jersey operations today with a clinic on the cybersecurity industry followed by an opening event at Merrill Lynch’s 7 Roszel Road offices.

“Women do not get enough exposure to technology,” said SheTek CEO Chaya Pamula. “Only 25 percent of tech positions are held by women. I have a passion to help women succeed, to empower women.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Thanks to an anonymous troll among the twittering wallflowers of the far-right who posted a video meant to shame the youngest member of the House, the first surge of joy and hope I felt in 2019 came from a four-minute video made by some frisky Boston University students doing Breakfast Club dance moves on a city rooftop. It’s hard to imagine a more gloriously apt expression for what happened in Washington on January 3 than the sight of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez edging into view around the corner of that transformative moment with a big soundless shout of a smile, arms raised, black hair flying, as she uncoils, twirling, whirling, spiraling, the irrepressible embodiment of force and freedom. She and her fellow students were dancing to the music of the French band Phoenix, a number from 2009 called “Lisztomania,” with lyrics that have a ring ten years later, “This is show time, this is show time, this show time/Time, time is your love, time is your love, yes time is your love.”

Back to the Future

As the old year ended and the new one began, my wife and I were binge-watching a show that was too outrageous and irreverent for the networks in the mid 1970s. While revellers partied the night away in rainy Times Square, we were time-traveling to a daymare of small-town midwestern America, the home of Mary Hartman, mass murder, and the Fernwood Flasher.

The brainchild of All in the Family creator Norman Lear, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ran every weekday night between January 1976 and May 1977. Being first-time parents with an infant son at the time, we slipped comfortably into the chaos swirling around Mary (Louise Lasser) and her dysfunctional household. I doubt that we saw every episode, but we were definitely there when the Fernwood High basketball coach drowned, face down in a bowl of Mary’s chicken soup, an event that holds 97th place on TV Guide’s list of the 100 Greatest TV Moments.  more

Cross Pollination Gallery, an artist-owned gallery at 69 Bridge Street in Lambertville, invites the public to a painting demonstration on Saturday, January 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. SiriOm Singh, a landscapes and abstract painter, will demonstrate his unique layering technique — applying acrylic paint with pallet knives — and collages of various materials. He will also answer questions, and give advice to experienced and beginning artists. For more about Cross Pollination Gallery, visit them on Facebook.

TAPPING INTO SPRING: New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble is part of the spring 2019 Milk & Cookies series of music and storytelling programs for children, at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick starting in February.

State Theatre New Jersey has announced the return of the lively, interactive storytelling series Milk & Cookies, starting February 9 with the musician and storyteller Tahira.

The series holds three programs for children ages 3-8, and their families. Following Tahira, performances will be by New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble on March 2, and Sweetbeatz on April 6. Select performances are autism-friendly, allowing families with children on the autism spectrum or with other sensory sensitivities to experience live entertainment in a safe, welcoming, sensory-friendly environment. more

FIRST AMERICAN TOUR: Cellist Andrei Ionita is the soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania, coming to the State Theatre in New Brunswick Wednesday, January 16 as part of its first visit to the United States.

State Theatre New Jersey presents the National Symphony Orchestra of Romania with cello soloist Andrei Ioni on Wednesday, January 16, at 8 p.m. Conductor Cristian Macelaru leads the orchestra in their American tour debut. Tickets range from $17.50-$70.

The program includes Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No. 1 in A Major, Op. 11; Dvorák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191 with cello soloist Andrei Ionita; Strauss’s Suite from Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59; and Ravel’s Boléro. more

Trenton children who have been pursuing intensive string instrument study as part of the Trenton Music Makers Orchestra will give a free community concert in celebration of Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 21 at 5:30 p.m. The concert will take place at the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall on the campus of The College of New Jersey in Ewing.

The concert, co-sponsored by Trenton Music Makers and The College of New Jersey, will celebrate the growing partnership between the two organizations and will feature performances by the 100 young people who have been meeting after school for up to three years, and their teaching artists. It will also mark the public debut of the second graders from Wilson Elementary School who have joined the program this year as its Pre-Orchestra students. more

“INTERIOR 1”: This oil and oil pastel painting is featured in “Catherine Suttle: Spaces and Structures,” on exhibit at the Hunterdon Art Museum January 13 through March 3. A reception and gallery talk by the artist are scheduled for Sunday, January 13 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Catherine Suttle’s paintings encourage audiences to appreciate the little things that are all around us, but oftentimes fail to notice.

“My paintings reflect my conviction that beyond the obvious, there are nuances and subtleties to be seen and appreciated,” Suttle said. “They give my paintings their character and their personality. I enjoy the unexpected and the awkward, and my paintings are experiments in seeing how I can figure out ways to incorporate those qualities into a satisfying whole.” more

OUT FOR VENGEANCE: Nicole Kidman plays against type and is almost unrecognizable as Erin Bell, a self-abusing LAPD veteran detective turned vigilante in the revenge thriller “Destroyer.” (Photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures)

By Kam Williams

Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) is a veteran LAPD detective whose partner, Chris (Sebastian Stan), died when his cover was blown during an undercover operation gone bad. Courtesy of flashbacks, we learn that he was murdered by Silas (Toby Kebbell), the leader of the gang of bank robbers the two had infiltrated.

At the time, Erin and Chris were also lovers, and she was pregnant with his baby. Fast forward 16 years and we find the single mom doing a miserable job of raising their rebellious daughter, Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn), who is presently under the spell of a surly slacker (Beau Knapp) already in his 20s. more

HEALING TOUCH: “We care a lot about our guests, and we want to help them relax. We make them feel welcome and comfortable, and give them a great relaxation experience to make their day a little better.” Ellen Kogan, owner of Tranquility Den in the Princeton Shopping Center, looks forward to introducing more people to the healing benefits of massage.

By Jean Stratton

This was one of the nicest massage experiences I ever had. Everything about it was wonderful, including the relaxing atmosphere and the experienced, friendly massage therapist.”

This recent comment came from a Princeton resident after a visit to Tranquility Den, the new massage spa in the Princeton Shopping Center.

It is only one of a series of rave reviews that have been bestowed upon the new establishment since its opening in October.

“We are pleased and encouraged that so many people love the spa,” says owner Ellen Kogan. “We always try to go above and beyond for our guests. Even though we are new, we already have many regulars, and I think that’s a testament to the quality experience we offer.” more

BOUND FOR GLORY: Princeton University men’s basketball player Myles Stephens, left, snags a rebound last Saturday against Penn. Senior star Stephens grabbed a career-high boards and scored 11 points to help Princeton edge the Quakers 68-65 in overtime in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 8-5 overall, will have a rematch against Penn on January 12 in Philadelphia at The Palestra. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Myles Stephens has been battling an injured knee in recent weeks, but he was determined to block out the pain as the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Penn last Saturday in the Ivy League opener.

“I haven’t played much this past week, trying to get it better,” said senior guard Stephens, a native of nearby  Lawrenceville. “It is Penn, so ‘by any means necessary’ is what we say.”

The 6’5, 210-pound Stephens displayed a mean game in the paint against the Quakers, pulling down a career-high 16 rebounds and chipping in 11 points to help Princeton pull out a 68-65 overtime nail-biter in front of a throng of 4,212 packing Jadwin Gym. more

FINAL PUSH: Princeton University women’s hockey player Stephanie Sucharda fires the puck in recent action. Last weekend, senior defenseman and team captain Sucharda starred as Princeton defeated Harvard 4-1 on Friday and Dartmouth 5-2 on Saturday. Sucharda tallied an assist against the Crimson and added a goal a day later to help the fifth-ranked Tigers extend their program-record unbeaten streak to 16. Princeton, now 12-2-4 overall and 10-0-2 ECAC Hockey, plays at Cornell on January 11 and at Colgate on January 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team hosted Merrimack for a two-game set in its first action after the holiday break, Stephanie Sucharda realized that the clock is ticking on her college career.

For senior defenseman and team captain Sucharda, the holidays drove home the fact that she only has weeks left with the Tigers.

“It is kind of sad, coming back from Christmas break, you realize that you are halfway done the season,” said Sucharda, a  5’8 native of Mississauga, Ontario.  more

By Bill Alden

Having emerged as a key defenseman for the Princeton University men’s hockey team in his first two years with the program, Derek Topatigh was ready to shoulder more responsibility in his junior campaign.

“We have a lot of young defense, me and [Josh] Teves, we really have to try and step and be leaders this year,” said Topatigh,  “It has been a learning process for the young guys.”

As Princeton returned from its holiday break to host a two-game set against Maine in the last weekend of December, Topatigh and his teammates were primed to get back on the winning track.

“We have been on a bit of a skid before this weekend; we all came back from Christmas break mentally prepared and ready to go,” said Topatigh, a 5’11, 185-pound native of Mississauga, Ontario. more

THOM CRUISE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Matthew Thom glides on the ice in recent action. Last Friday, sophomore defenseman Thom contributed a goal and an assist as Princeton lost 3-2 to visiting Cornell. A night later Thom and the Tigers fell 4-3 to Colgate. Princeton, now 5-10-2 overall and 3-6-1 ECAC Hockey, will look to get in the winning track when they host Harvard on January 11 and Dartmouth in January 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Since getting off to a 3-1-1 start, inconsistency has become the constant for the Princeton University men’s hockey team since mid-November.

The Tigers have gone 2-9-1 in that stretch and a frustrating 3-2 loss to Cornell last Friday evening served as a microcosm of that uneven play. Princeton dug a 2-0 hole in the first period and then fought back to tie the game at 2-2 early in the third period only 3-2 on a goal that was originally waved off but hen reinstate after official review. more

PENNED IN: Princeton University women’s basketball player Bella Alarie puts up a shot under duress as the Tigers hosted Penn last Saturday. Junior star Alarie posted a double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds but it was not enough as Princeton fell 66-60 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, who dropped to 8-8 overall and saw their seven-game winning streak snapped, will now be on hiatus for exam break and return to action when they play at Columbia on February 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team trailing visiting Penn 37-34 midway through the third quarter last Saturday in the Ivy League opener, Bella Alarie took control of the contest.

Princeton junior star Alarie scored eight points over the last 3:41 of the quarter to help the Tigers forge ahead 44-39.

“We definitely felt like we needed to play off our momentum we took in the third quarter,” said Alarie. “I think this crowd was amazing tonight. The amount of people who showed up and were cheering us on was really special. We played off their energy.” more

PODCAST: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Nathan Podgalsky heads up the ice in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, senior defenseman and assistant captain Podgalsky led a solid defensive effort and contributed two assists to help PHS defeat Robbinsville 6-1. The Little Tigers, who improved to 9-4-1 with the win, play St. John Vianney at Hobey Baker Rink on January 10 and then face Hopewell Valley on January 11 and Notre Dame on January 15, with both of those games to take place at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a senior defenseman and assistant captain for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team, Nathan Podgalsky knows he has to speak up this winter. 

“I am definitely a voice, you have to keep the boys motivated,” said Podgalsky. “You got to keep them in line.’

Last Monday, Podgalsky and PHS was motivated to stifle Robbinsville as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two periods and cruised to a 6-1 victory, improving to 9-4-1. more

GLOVE WORK: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey goalie Jillian Wexler gloves a save in action last season. On Sunday, sophomore standout Wexler starred in a losing cause, making 33 saves as PDS fell 2-0 to Chatham-Madison High in the championship game of its Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational. The Panthers, who moved to 3-7 with the loss, are slated to host Rye Country Day (N.Y.) on January 10 and Randolph High on January 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jillian Wexler enjoys keeping busy when she is on the ice for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team.

Last Sunday as PDS hosted Chatham-Madison High at McGraw Rink in the championship game of its 29th annual Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational, sophomore star goalie Wexler was under the gun all afternoon. She ended up making 33 saves, starring in a losing cause as the Panthers fell 2-0. more

FIRING AWAY: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eddie Evaldi sends the puck up the ice in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior star Evaldi tallied three goals and two assists to help Hun defeat Princeton High 7-3 at Hobey Baker Rink. The Raiders, now 9-4, play at Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) on January 9 and at Seton Hall Prep on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Eddie Evaldi is developing into a force for the Hun School boys’ hockey team this winter.

Going from 5’3 as a freshman to 5’10 as a junior, Evaldi is a bigger, improved version of himself.

“I have grown a lot; that has really helped my confidence,” said Evaldi. “With that, my speed has also increased. I have been working a lot on my acceleration stuff and have really brought that to my game.” more

January 2, 2019

Traffic woes are inevitable when a section of Alexander Road closes this summer for state and county bridge replacement projects. But wider spans and safer conditions will be the result when the road reopens, hopefully in spring 2020. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

The bridge over the D&R Canal on Alexander Road is scheduled to be closed starting sometime this summer while the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) replaces the span. At the same time, Mercer County will be replacing a nearby culvert and the bridge over the Stony Brook. The closure is expected to last through spring 2020.

Traffic tie-ups are inevitable. “It’s going to cause traffic issues, obviously, and we’re going to be discussing in more detail what the detours are going to be,” Mayor Liz Lempert said during the December 17 meeting of Princeton Council. “The good news is that both bridges are going to be worked on at the same time, so we won’t have to shut it down again to work on each one.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University will support a lawsuit against the Secretary of Homeland Security and others over a recent change to immigration policy that could make it easier to ban international students from the country for up to ten years.

The original suit, filed in October by Guilford College and four other plaintiffs, states that the new federal policy would impose harsh and retroactive immigration penalties, causing thousands of students, researchers, and professors from other countries to face lengthy bans against returning to the United States after staying here too long, in some cases inadvertently.

On December 21 Princeton joined 65 other colleges and universities in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief to support the lawsuit, which targets an August 9 memorandum on F, J, and M visas issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, putting international students in jeopardy of receiving a ban from the U.S. without the opportunity to correct any error in their status.

The brief states that the new rule upsets the stability of the F, J, and M visa programs and “needlessly exposes international students and exchange visitors to devastating reentry bans. This new rule will harm international students and scholars as well as the institutions which host them.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Glass Room Experience is coming to Princeton Public Library (PPL), January 7-27, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the dark side of the digital world and learn about how their data is generated, harvested, traded, and sold every day.

The interactive exhibition, created by Mozilla and Tactical Tech, is an art installation that shows the impact of technology in day-to-day life and provides a visual representation of a variety of hidden phenomena related to data and privacy.

PPL is one of 25 libraries nationwide hosting the exhibition, which will be installed next week on the first floor near the welcome desk.

Features of the exhibit, based on Glass Room installations presented in New York, London, Berlin, Prague, and elsewhere around the world, will demonstrate the scale of companies behind the platforms visitors use every day, provide an understanding of what data can be gleaned from selfies, and reveal what people agree to when they click “I agree” at the bottom of the seldom-read users’ agreements. more

PRESERVING RURAL HISTORY: Thanks to a recent agreement, the Matthews Farm on Route 206 in Montgomery Township will be preserved in perpetuity as open space.

By Anne Levin

In a $1.43 million deal that will preserve a rural landmark, the Montgomery Township Committee voted December 20 to purchase the development rights to the Matthews Farm on Route 206, south of Harlingen Road at Rutland Road. The agreement means that land that would have likely been developed will now remain much as it has been for years.

“This has been in the works for about a decade or close to a decade,” Montgomery  Mayor Christine Madrid said this week. “The timing just wasn’t right, but now we have come to an agreement. The farm is right on 206, so everybody sees it coming or going through Montgomery. It’s a place everyone knows Montgomery by.” more

POETRY AT PDS: Tracy K. Smith, U.S. Poet Laureate and director of Princeton University’s creative writing program, will be visiting Princeton Day School on Friday for a day of readings and presentations for students and faculty. (Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths, courtesy of Blue Flower Arts)

By Donald Gilpin

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, director of Princeton University’s creative writing program, will spend the day at Princeton Day School (PDS) on Friday, January 4, reading her poetry and talking with different groups of students and teachers, from Pre-K through 12th grade.

Sponsored by PDS’s Imagine the Possibilities (ITP) visiting artist program, Smith, according to a PDS press release, will be looking to raise awareness about poetry as a means for students to develop their voices and explore fundamental questions, as she brings her poems to life and invites thoughtful reflection and conversation. more

By Anne Levin

Lidia Matticchio

To her legions of fans, public television personality Lidia Matticchio Bastianich is the smiling face and comforting voice of regional Italian cooking. Watching the energetic grandmother on her show Lidia’s Kitchen; visiting her restaurants in New York City, Kansas City, Mo., and Pittsburgh, Pa.; the Eataly markets in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles in which she is a partner; or reading one of her seven books, it would seem that Bastianich has been a connoisseur of fine food her entire life.

But there are Drake’s cakes, Jello, and Duncan Hines cake mixes in her past. “I loved all of that stuff when we first came to this country,” said Bastianich, who will make an appearance at Princeton’s Dorothea’s House on Sunday, February 24. “I thought it was wonderful. But then of course, I began to revert back to my culture and the Italian cooking that I knew from childhood.” more