May 20, 2020

STICKING TOGETHER: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Allison Cowan goes after the ball in a game last spring. Senior star Cowan and her classmates were poised for a big finale before 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hun players have remained connected through Zoom and Instagram as they have worked from home. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rachel Hickey sensed something special about her Hun School girls’ lacrosse team this spring.

“I don’t know if I have ever been part of a team where I have seen so much growth, not only physically but in terms of culture as well,” said Hun head coach Hickey.

“It was just a really wonderful feeling of how the girls were really enjoying being there. They were really enjoying each other and just working so hard. They were wanting to work hard for each other and we worked to change the culture.”

Hickey credited her senior group with taking a major role in setting that positive tone.

“A huge piece of it as well was this year I had 10 seniors so that was real special,” added Hickey, whose Class of 2020 included Emily Albanese, Sophie Bennett, Emma Caforio, Allison Cowan, Grace Davis, Rose Denommee, Ariel Gold, Samantha Gold, Julia McBryan, and Chessie Ross.

“All of the seniors were friends as well. When you have a group of leaders who are friends that in and of itself goes so far when kids want to play for each other.”

With Hickey in her second year at the helm of the program, the players had developed a greater comfort level from the start of the school year.

“Kids in high school are young and change is challenging for anyone,” said Hickey. more

May 15, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The curve continues to flatten in Princeton, as only two new cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Princeton Health Department since Monday, with a total of 161 cases, 62 active positive cases, and 79 COVID-19 patients recovered and released from isolation, according to today’s May 15 report.

There have been 15 confirmed COVID-related deaths and an additional seven probable (not tested but COVID symptomatic) deaths in Princeton.

At his Friday afternoon press briefing, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced 201 more deaths from COVID-19 in the state, bringing the New Jersey total to 10,138 deaths, with at least 143,905 total cases, 1,297 new cases reported over the past 24 hours.

Murphy emphasized that the state’s daily numbers of new deaths from COVID-19, confirmed cases, and hospitalizations continue to decline significantly, allowing an easing of restrictions and lockdown orders. more

May 13, 2020
Ewan, 6

For week three of our Community Comes Together Campaign, we invited local children to send in their nature photos. Next week’s project will feature poems.

“BRIDGE OUT” NO MORE: The Alexander Street/Road project, replacing three bridges and closing the road for six months, is almost complete, and the road is scheduled to open on Friday, May 15. A joint undertaking of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Mercer County, in close coordination with the town of Princeton, the project “will be fully appreciated when the stay-at-home order is lifted and we begin the return to work,” said Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert.

By Donald Gilpin

Alexander Street/Road in Princeton and West Windsor is scheduled to reopen on Friday, May 15 after six months, following concurrent Mercer County and New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) projects that replaced three bridges over the D&R Canal, the Stony Brook, and Alexander Creek.

The new bridges between Princeton and West Windsor are complete, the sidewalks are open for pedestrians, and Mercer County and the NJDOT are in the process of final paving and striping.

“It’s great to have this major project coming to a conclusion and to have the road opened back up,” said Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. “We all benefit when necessary investments are made in our vital infrastructure, even though the disruption caused by construction can be painful.”

Princeton Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton added, “It has been an excellent example of how the state, county, and municipality can be flexible and work together to achieve a common goal.”

Lempert emphasized the importance of Alexander Street/Road access to Princeton as one of only three main entrances to Princeton from Route 1 and the east. “This investment will be fully appreciated when the stay-at-home order is lifted and we begin the return to work,” she said. more

By Donald Gilpin

On Tuesday, May 12, when the Princeton Health Department reported no new COVID-19 cases or deaths in the previous 24 hours and three more COVID-19 patients recovered with isolation complete, Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser expressed cautious optimism about the effects of social distancing. The state is also seeing declines in new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

“Social distancing efforts in New Jersey are starting to make tremendous improvements in a few of our epidemiological trends of note,” he wrote in an email. “New Jersey is seeing a decline in new positive cases, hospitalizations, and fewer reported deaths per day. These three metrics began exponential growth in early April and fortunately we are seeing a larger decrease each day since May has started.”

Grosser attributed the improving counts to social distancing and other efforts of residents in Princeton and throughout the state. He pointed out that Princeton has been seeing a decline in new cases, though there was an uptick in numbers last Friday because of new counting criteria that include probable cases, individuals who have not been tested but are COVID-19 symptomatic.

Grosser also noted positive trends in Princeton’s long-term care facilities, where many of the cases and most of the town’s COVID-19-related deaths have occurred. There have been nine COVID-19-related deaths at the Princeton Care Center, with 36 confirmed cases, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), and Acorn Glen assisted living facility has reported five deaths with 18 confirmed cases. more

By Anne Levin

Betty Wold Johnson, who provided major support to many local civic, community, and arts organizations, has died at the age of 99. The Hopewell resident, who formerly lived in Princeton at a house she recently donated to The Hun School, was the mother of New York Jets owners Christopher Johnson and Woody Johnson, who is the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Johnson was married to Robert Wood Johnson III, grandson of the founder of the Johnson & Johnson Company. They had five children before his death in 1970. She married Douglas Bushnell in 1978. He died in 2007.

Though she was quiet about it, Johnson’s generosity to local causes was well known. She recently donated $500,000 in honor of McCarter Theatre’s departing Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann. She was a fan of McCarter productions and attended many performances and gala celebrations.

“I loved Betty Wold Johnson. I loved her generosity, her tough mindedness and her wisdom,” said Mann in a statement. “I reveled in her warmth which covered a spine of steel. If she believed in you, she let you know it, and she always set the bar high. Bless you, Betty, for all you asked of us and all you gave us. I am only one of many who will miss you sorely.”

When the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad broke ground for its new home last year, Johnson was on hand for the celebration. “The Johnson family has been engaged with the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad since 1939 when we stocked our first ambulance with medical supplies, many from Johnson & Johnson,” said Mark Freda, president of the squad. “And for many decades, Betty Wold Johnson continued to support us, most recently with a generous gift to our capital campaign for our new building. Something we were surprised to learn about Betty was her keen interest in building design. She clearly enjoyed touring our new building while still under construction last October, asking many detailed construction related questions. We are very pleased that she got to see the building as it came close to being completed.”  more

KEEPING AUDIENCES ENGAGED: When American Repertory Ballet streamed excerpts from its recent production of “Giselle” to patrons, the favorable response encouraged the company to continue presenting online content once it is safe to return to live performances.

By Anne Levin

Last Thursday evening, Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward delivered a public lecture online. A total of 965 people participated, more than the museum would ever be able to squeeze into its auditorium.

On May 2, McCarter Theatre Center streamed an online tribute to outgoing Artistic Director Emily Mann, with tributes from several well-known actors and theater professionals. More than 3,000 people watched from their homes.

Originally envisioned as a way to keep patrons engaged during the COVID-19 shutdown, the use of online content by arts organizations has turned out to be more than just a stopgap measure. Locally, nationally, and internationally, museums, theater companies, dance troupes, orchestras, and presenting organizations are finding a favorable response to the variety of programs they are making available online — so much so that they are planning to incorporate it into their regular schedules and repertories.

“There is a set of outreach opportunities that is now possible because of the digital efforts we’ve made. Why would we not try to sustain them?” said Steward. “Going forward, it has to be both. Once you open the door and discover that people not just locally, but in geographically remote areas are actually hungry for your content, it presents a wonderful opportunity.” more

Barry Galasso

By Donald Gilpin

When Barry Galasso takes over leadership as interim superintendent of the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) on July 1, he’ll be bringing with him many years of experience, particularly with a critical background and expertise in online learning and in leading school district searches for top administrators.
Galasso, whose appointment was announced at last week’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting, will continue in his position for about six months to a year as the BOE searches for a permanent replacement for Superintendent Steve Cochrane, who will be stepping down at the end of June. Galasso has been in public education for five decades as a teacher and administrator and has worked at every level of leadership: department chair, assistant principal, supervisor, principal, and superintendent.

Most recently interim superintendent of the Voorhees Township School District, Galasso has served 21 years as superintendent in three different New Jersey school districts. Upon retirement he was appointed executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators representing all superintendents in the state. For eight years he served as executive director of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit, an educational service agency based in Doylestown, Pa., working with 13 school districts and their school boards.

Galasso, who received his doctorate in education from Rutgers University, has taught courses in administration, curriculum, and leadership at Rutgers, Rowan, Farleigh Dickinson, Delaware Valley, and Gwynedd Mercy University.

Galasso noted that, having conducted more than 20 searches for top administrators in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he hoped to use that experience to help the Princeton BOE. “In fact the organization that I led in Bucks County assisted all 13 Boards of Education in selecting new executive leadership,” Galasso wrote in an email. “In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I conducted dozens of board of education retreats, administrative and community goal- and objective-setting meetings. The purpose was to provide all the stakeholders a forum using a consensus-building model to determine the priorities of the community.” more

By Anne Levin

A presentation by Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Business Administrator Matt Bouldin was among the items at Princeton Council’s May 11 meeting, held virtually via Zoom. Bouldin and PPS Finance Chair Brian McDonald updated the governing body on the budget, which was recently passed by the Board of Education.

Bouldin discussed efforts that have been made since the COVID-19 crisis closed the schools. “The good news is that we should have some net savings for our current budget year, which should allow us to add some fund balance or cash in the bank,” he said. “We don’t know yet how much that will be.”

McDonald added that they have been working hard to identify opportunities to save funds, and have found in the neighborhood of $1 million. “We’re describing this as a budget, but I think of it as a snapshot,” he said. “We think it is highly likely this budget will change. We’ll need to take a second look in late August or early September, when we learn about the aid numbers [from the state of New Jersey] and when we have a better idea on costs related to COVID-19.”

Bouldin said that while remote learning is for the most part working well, there are many students in general and special education who are falling behind. “We have an obligation to keep these kids moving at an acceptable pace,” he said, adding that efforts may be made over the summer to help them catch up which could result in additional costs. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Let’s get rid of that old man hate
And bring our fellow man up to date.
—Little Richard (1932-2020)

“Good Golly, Miss Molly,” it looks like the death of Little Richard has invaded a column marking the 50th anniversary of Kent State, Paul McCartney’s first solo album, and the break-up of the Beatles. But surely there’s room for the man who taught Paul “everything he knows.”

By the time they formed a band, Lennon and McCartney had taken crash courses at the College of Little Richard, as can be heard in John’s frenzied “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and Paul’s out-of-the-body and over-the-top “Long Tall Sally.” With some help from the singer who “came screaming into my life as a teenager,” Paul took rock-and-roll-roller-coaster hysteria to another level in “Helter Skelter,” a fitting theme song for the state of the nation, whether you mean May 1970 or May 2020.
America Screaming

Speaking of college, say you’re on the first day of a European tour, one of 36 American students, all but eight of them females. It’s a sunny afternoon in Delft, and you’re coming out of Vermeer’s house in a still-life spell feeling three centuries away from the U.S.A. You’re wandering through a street fair with calliopes and bump-em cars near a quaint park with swans when you hear a sound — no, it’s too big to hear, the sound descends on you, it attacks you, it eats you alive; it’s the sound of America screaming — “A wop-boppa-LOO-BOP a-lop-BAM-BOOM!” Yes! Glory be! Hallelujah, suddenly you’re a rock ‘n’ roll patriot ready to sing the anthem and salute the Stars and Stripes of joyous chaos (“I got a girl named Daisy, she almost drives me crazy”) — but except for one or two Daisys and Miss Mollys, most of the girls seem appalled and embarrassed by the neuron-shattering blast of “Tutti Frutti.” more

MCCARTER@HOME: McCarter Theatre presented an online conversation between Emily Mann, its outgoing artistic director and resident playwright, and Oskar Eustis, artistic director of The Public Theater. (Mann photo by Matt Pilsner; Eustis photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy of The Public Theater)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter Theatre presented “McCarter LIVE: In Conversation with Oskar Eustis” on May 8. The discussion was part of the theatre’s ongoing McCarter@Home series of livestreamed events. McCarter’s artistic engagement manager, Paula T. Alekson, curated the conversation. The event was hosted via Zoom, as well as McCarter’s Facebook page.

Eustis became artistic director of San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre Company in 1986, following his position there as resident director and dramaturg. He became artistic director of the Mark Taper Forum (Los Angeles) in 1989, followed by Trinity Repertory Company (Providence, Rhode Island) in 1994. He has been artistic director of The Public Theater in New York City since 2005. His association with Emily Mann predates her 30-year tenure as McCarter’s artistic director and resident playwright.

Their first collaboration was a production of Mann’s Obie Award-winning play Still Life. Speaking from his home in Brooklyn, Eustis recalls that Still Life — the result of Mann’s interviews with three people whose lives have been affected by the Vietnam War — was “one of the most brilliant and piercing things I’d read. I was about 21 years old. This was before I’d met Emily; I just knew she’d written this brilliant play, and somehow we’d get the rights to do it.”

“That’s how I got to meet Oskar,” says Mann. “I remember Oskar calling with Tony Taccone [the Eureka’s artistic director at the time]. We had what ended up being, for me, a life-changing conversation. I had never talked to a pair of directors, or a dramaturg [Eustis], who understood the play on such a deep level. So I got on an airplane, and I went out to San Francisco — and the rest is history. We became fast friends.” more

A RINGING ENDORSEMENT: Westminster’s Concert Bell Choir is among Westminster Choir College’s seven primary choirs. In September, the Bell Choir will begin its 42nd anniversary season.

Rider University is the recipient of a $125,000 Presser Foundation capital grant to support the University’s renowned Westminster Concert Bell Choir.

The grant will be used to create a specialized rehearsal space on the first floor of the Fine Arts Center on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus, to which Westminster Choir College is scheduled to move this fall. The space will accommodate the choir’s extensive collection of handbells and Malmark Choirchime instruments, and it will feature sound attenuation that will protect student hearing during rehearsals and minimize sound transfer to adjacent offices and classrooms. The grant will also provide a security system for the instruments, which have an estimated value of more than $200,000.

The Westminster Concert Bell Choir has made 11 solo recordings and has been featured on numerous television broadcasts, including Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and NBC’s Today show. The ensemble performs on the largest range of handbells in the world — eight octaves, from C1 to C9. Many of the bells are made of bronze and range in weight from four ounces to 11 pounds.

Westminster Choir College is a leader in education in the handbell world. Thousands have attended Westminster for this very specific study, and Westminster is unequaled in the number of handbell ringers, conductors, clinicians, and composers it has produced since its training and performance curriculum was first developed in 1978. more

AN ORCHESTRAL FIRST: Composer Jose Luis Dominguez has created a work specifically for physically distanced orchestra, to be performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Montclair University Singers for a virtual world premiere on June 8.  (Photo by Fred Stucker)

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and to express gratitude to frontline medical and service workers, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) has commissioned a new work, Gratias Tibi, for physically distanced orchestra and choir from José Luis Domínguez.

The Montclair State University Singers, longtime NJSO partners, will join the musicians of the NJSO for a virtual world premiere on June 8. All performers will record their parts individually from home, and each part will be stitched together to create the finished work.

Gratias Tibi, which means “thank you” in Latin, offers a message of thanks to all frontline workers who have responded to this unprecedented emergency with bravery and compassion. more

“THE DEPTHS”: NJ Emerging Artist alum Ry An created this mixed recycled media work. The focus of the Emerging Artist 2020-2021 series, now open for submissions, is representing the underrepresented in the arts. For more information, visit

The Monmouth Museum’s well-established New Jersey Emerging Artist Series has announced an open call to welcome artists to apply to become a NJ Emerging Artist for the 2020-2021 series.

The focus of the Emerging Artists for the next series will be representing the underrepresented in the arts, as it applies to all fields and disciplines.

“We look to thoughtfully engage a broad group of artists and prioritize diversity in all areas, including gender, age, background, socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and the special needs community,” said said Donna Kessinger, executive director. “The focus is to encourage the artistic expression of those artists underrepresented in the art world, at their point of emerging in their next career level as an artist.”

By creating a platform and providing a voice to these diverse perspectives, the exhibits and their workshops can provide an inclusive and interactive space for artistic exploration and support a collaborative environment for attendees. more

BEST BIKES: “We want you to love your bike. That is the bottom line. Whatever you ride, let us make sure it is running smoothly, and giving you maximum cycling pleasure.” Mike Gray (right), owner of Sourland Cycles in Hopewell, and head mechanic Tom Cooper, look forward to introducing more customers to the store, which offers sales of new bikes, full service tune-ups and repair, bike fitting, supplies and equipment, and friendly, knowledgeable advice. They are shown with the all-around gravel adventure Giant Revolt Advanced 2 bike. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Jean Stratton

Do you remember when you got your first bike? The sheer excitement that almost took your breath away?

Mike Gray does. The owner of Sourland Cycles remembers it well.

“I was about 6 or 7, and it was a purple Schwinn Stingray. It was a thrill! I felt the way everyone does when they get that first bike — it was fun, exciting, the start of a new adventure.”

And the cycling memories linger. “I grew up in a biking family in St. Paul,” he recalls. “We rode all the time, and even now, my mom, who is 84, still rides nearly every day.”

Biking Memories

How many people really get to have a job that they love? It is special for Mike Gray to be able to work in a field that continues to build on those early biking memories.

Sourland Cycles at 53 East Broad Street in Hopewell is a dream come true. He opened it in 2014 with then partner Russ White. “I would not have opened the shop without Russ White, who was founder of the Trenton Bike Exchange, and also Tom Cooper, our head mechanic. They were essential.

“The idea was that we could fill a need in the Princeton area for good cycling. There’s a great variety of cycling paths, trails, and roads in our region. We encourage families to get outside and ride — especially during this time of the coronavirus. Getting a bike can be great exercise and a chance to get out of the house.
“We have bikes for everyone in the family — for kids, starting at 3 years old, and a great selection of men’s and women’s bikes.” more

CORY STORY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Annie Cory heads up the field in a game this spring. Senior midfielder and tri-captain Cory tallied four goals and picked up eight ground balls to help Princeton go 3-2 overall and 1-0 Ivy League before its season was canceled in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Annie Cory is putting the best spin she can on the cancellation of the Princeton University women’s lacrosse 2020 season.

It’s the second straight spring that the Tiger senior midfielder has had to deal with misfortune.

“For me personally, last year I wasn’t on the field and I think I experienced the greatest growth — maybe not as a lacrosse player — but as a person and as a leader even when I wasn’t on the field,” said Cory.

“That’s the mentality that I’m trying to bring to this. I can’t be on the field, but how can I use this time period to experience growth as a person, as a leader, as a teammate? Although it’s not ideal, and I think everyone would agree, whether it’s a high school sports player or a professional sports player, and all the college athletes, we’d much rather be on the field growing in that way, but if we can’t do that we have to figure out some other ways to be productive and be positive about this time. That’s the approach I’ve taken.”
Cory tore her ACL one week into preseason as Princeton was preparing for its first scrimmage. She did not play in a single scrimmage or game in 2019, but showed her true colors in a tough time.

“The thing I loved about Annie is regardless of whether she was on field or during the time she was injured and couldn’t play, she was all in,” said Princeton head coach Chris Sailer. more

LEAP OF FAITH: Stuart Country Day School track star Heather Kwafo displays her jumping form in a meet this past winter. Senior Kwafo placed first in the long jump (17’10 ½) and third in the triple jump (34’4 ½) at the Mercer County Indoor Championship meet in late January. The Vassar College-bound Kwafo helped Stuart win its third straight state Prep B indoor title on February 1, placing first in both the 55 dash and 200 dash and finishing second in the 55 hurdles.

By Bill Alden

For Heather Kwafo, joining the Stuart Country Day School track team as a freshman in 2016 was a family affair.

With her older sister, Michele, having emerged as a star for Stuart, Kwafo decided to give the sport a try.

“I started in the ninth grade, I hadn’t run in middle school or anything,” said Kwafo.

“I basically did it because my older sister did. She liked it and she was very passionate about it. That kind of let me know that it was something I could be passionate about too.”

While Kwafo admired her sister, who was a junior at the time, she was a bit intimidated by Michele’s success in piling up a number of state Prep B individual titles and school records on the way to heading to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and joining its women’s track program.

“She was really good at it, she was very talented right off the bat even though she put in a lot of hard work,” said Kwafo.  more

KEEPING SPIRITS UP: Hun School baseball head coach Tom Monfiletto enjoys the moment during a 2018 game. Monfiletto was enthusiastic about his team’s prospects this spring as several veterans were ready to step up with Hun coming off a 22-2 campaign in 2019 that saw the program win its fourth straight state Prep A title. In the wake of the 2020 campaign being canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Monfiletto has been keeping in frequent contact with his players, providing them with a practice plan and a workout on a daily basis. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Hun School baseball team, this spring was shaping up to be a season of opportunity.

Coming off a 22-2 campaign in 2019 that saw the program win its fourth straight state Prep A title led by a group of seniors, several veteran returnees who patiently waited their turn were primed to shine this year.

“It was never a sense of how do we figure this out; it was hey we have built the foundation and the sky is the limit,” said Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto.

“It was a different cast of characters, but it is the same show. Each one brings their own personality and strengths. It was a different feel but it was really, really exciting. I knew that we had talent across the board. I knew that we had guys that worked their butts off but we didn’t have the experience that we had last year. The guys that were going to be starting for us, some of them were starters last year and some of them definitely contributed last year, but not many were everyday guys and they were going to have to become everyday guys.”

Those guys showed they were ready by playing well in two scrimmages in Florida in early March as they faced the ELEV8 Baseball Academy (Fla.) and New Jersey prep powerhouse Delbarton.

“We came out and we won that scrimmage against ELEV8 and looked very good on the mound,” said Monfiletto. more

May 12, 2020

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May 11, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department reported today, May 11, a total of 159 positive confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 69 active positive cases and 68 recovered cases with isolation complete. The Health Department has reported 15 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths and seven additional  probable (not tested, but symptoms indicate COVID infection) COVID-19 deaths in Princeton.

There have been nine COVID-19-related deaths at the Princeton Care Center, with 36 confirmed cases, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), and Acorn Glen assisted living facility has reported five deaths with 18 confirmed cases.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in his press briefing today, reported 59 new deaths from COVID-19 for a total of 9,310 COVID-related deaths in New Jersey, with 1,453 new cases reported in the past 24 hours for a total of 139,945 cases.

Murphy continued to cite encouraging downward trends in numbers of new cases and numbers of COVID-19 patients in hospitals, as he emphasized continued slowing in the spread of coronavirus across the state.

The NJDOH reported today that 5,393 in Mercer County had tested positive for COVID-19 and that 340 Mercer County residents had died from COVID-19 complications.

There have recently been significant increases in testing in the state, but actual numbers of COVID-19 infections, locally and statewide, probably surpass confirmed case numbers because of testing backlogs.

For more information, visit or

May 8, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department was notified today, May 8, of three additional COVID-19 deaths, which were previously noted as probable coronavirus deaths, but now confirmed by laboratory testing. Two of the deaths were from Princeton Care Center and one from Acorn Glen. The total number of reported COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton is now 14. About half of New Jersey’s confirmed coronavirus cases have been in long-term care facilities.

Backlogged reports from diagnostic laboratories over the past 24 hours resulted in a large bump in the total COVID-19 case count. With 16 additional positives, according to the Princeton Health Department,  Princeton has 157 confirmed cases, with 73 active positive cases and 63 recovered with isolation complete.

In his press briefing today, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported another 162 COVID-19-related deaths in New Jersey  for a total of 8,952, and 1,985 new positive tests in the past 24 hours for a total of  at least 135,454 cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey overall.

Murphy emphasized that the number of coronavirus patients in New Jersey hospitals has dropped below 5,000 for the first time in five weeks. As of Thursday night there were 4,764 New Jersey hospital patients with COVID-19 or suspected of having the virus, 1,439 in critical or intensive care and 1,089 on ventilators, both also declining numbers.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Jersey is down 1,000 from last Friday and more than 40 percent less than at its peak in mid-April, according to Murphy.

Murphy continued to urge New Jersey residents to stay at home when possible and to practice vigilant social distancing, with face masks in public, in order to help continue to slow the spread of the virus. With Memorial Day weekend in just two weeks, Murphy is considering whether to lift further restrictions in the near lockdown of state businesses and facilities. more

May 6, 2020
Jillian, age 12

For week two of our Community Comes Together campaign, we invited local youths to design an ad for their favorite local business. Next week’s project will feature amateur nature photos.

By Anne Levin

Back before COVID-19, Patricia’s Hair Design washed, cut, colored, and set the hair styles of eight to 10 customers a day, five days a week. Now, the East Nassau Street salon is preparing to cater to half that number.

Pre-coronavirus, The Meetinghouse restaurant on Witherspoon Street was serving up to 180 people at a time, especially on weekends. Now, the owners are contemplating a future of smaller groups of diners, in revamped configurations.

As Princeton’s business community awaits the green light from Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen — not expected anytime soon — preparations are underway for what is sure to be an altered environment. The safety of customers and staff is everyone’s priority. But fewer guests means less revenue. For nonprofits, the challenge is how to accommodate a smaller number of visitors.

“We will have limits on the number of people we can have in the store at one time,” said Andrew Siegel, president of Hamilton Jewelers on Nassau Street. “Believe me, I hope that’s a problem we’re going to have. I hope the town will be busy and bustling. There’s no playbook for this.”

The jewelry store will still be “experience-based,” said Siegel. “Our goal through all of this is that we want people to feel the Hamilton experience, no matter how they choose to shop. It should feel unmistakably like our store, our company, our business. So the curbside pickup program will still be personable and understanding of the customers’ needs.”

The store will have special Hamilton Jewelers masks for customers who arrive without face coverings. Trying on jewelry will be a different experience. “If you want to try something on, every item in the case will have been pre-sanitized. And when we take it out, we’ll hand it to you. If you don’t want it, it will go straight back to one of our sanitizing stations and ready to go back in the case. That goes for our tools, too,” said Siegel. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported Tuesday a total of 133 COVID-19 cases in Princeton, with 61 active positive cases in isolation and 62 cases that have recovered. There have been 10 COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton, five of them at the Princeton Care Center (PCC) and two at Acorn Glen assisted living facility.

“We are continuing to see decreases where we want, hospitalizations and a decreasing percentage of new daily cases,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser. “This said, we need to continue to urge residents to stay vigilant. For the past seven weeks we have employed social distancing measures never seen before. After nearly six weeks of dedicated effort, just in the past several days we are seeing decreases in epidemiological metrics that demonstrate outbreak slow down.”

Princeton’s long-term care facilities, however, remain a major concern, with 31 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported at PCC and 14 positive tests at Acorn Glen, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

“Unfortunately, we are continuing to see older adults succumb to COVID-19, particularly in long-term care centers,” Grosser wrote in an email. “COVID-19 is tragically severe in older populations.”  more