May 9, 2018

By Donald Gilpin

Just three days after President Trump’s announcement that the United States will withdraw from the nuclear agreement with Iran, graduate students and other members of the Princeton University community have planned a rally to support Xiyue Wang, their colleague who has been imprisoned in Iran for almost two years.

The rally to urge Wang’s release and return to his country and family will take place on the north lawn in front of Frist Campus Center on Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m., with scheduled speakers including Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert, Wang’s wife Hua Qu, and other family and friends. more

“I AM INNOCENT”: Clarence Brandley is one of more than 60 wrongfully imprisoned men and women who were released through the efforts of Centurion, the Princeton-based organization devoted to vindication. “I Am Innocent: The Migration Back to Freedom for the Innocent in Prison” a talk at Princeton Public Library on Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m., will explore the work that Centurion has been doing since 1980. (Photo by Diane Bladecki)

By Anne Levin

It is probably safe to say that many people regard the American criminal justice system as non-discriminatory. Legal decisions are determined by fair-minded judges and juries who take their cue from the principles of the Constitution. Right? more

By Anne Levin

It was a long, cold winter, but we survived. So did an exotic tick species from Asia that was found last fall on a Hunterdon County farm.

No one knows for sure how the longhorned tick, also known as bush tick, made it from East Asia to the United States when it was found at the farm last November. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) recently announced that this species — never seen in this country before — had “overwintered and has possibly become established in the state.” more

SKILLET SKILLS: Brian Wagner, right, Aramark executive chef at the Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center, was named the 2018 IACC (International Association of Conference Centers) Global Copper Skillet winner. The Copper Skillet competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world and give recognition to their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference venue experience. After years of refining his culinary skills in the Vegas restaurant scene, Wagner returned to his home state to take on the executive chef role at the Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center in Princeton.

Brian Wagner, Aramark executive chef at the Chauncey Hotel & Conference Center, was named the 2018 IACC (International Association of Conference Centers) Global Copper Skillet winner. The Copper Skillet competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world. The 2018 event was conducted as a three-part competition held in phases around the world. The final winners representing IACC Americas, Australia/ Asia Pacific, and European member venues competed at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday April 17.  more

On Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m., the Delaware River Greenway Partnership (DRGP) will sponsor an illustrated lecture, “Trenton’s Other Canal — the Trenton Water Power” by Richard Hunter at the ACME Screening Room of the Pittore Justice Center in Lambertville.

Hunter is president of Hunter Research, Inc., a Trenton-based historic preservation consulting firm founded in 1986. A long-time resident of Hopewell Township, he currently serves as a Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commissioner, a trustee of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, and a board member of the Trenton Downtown Association. He has authored numerous articles on topics of New Jersey history and archaeology and he lectures frequently throughout the region. more

PHS Shore Bowl Team Wins Honors

The Princeton High School (PHS) Shore Bowl team recently won third place in Scientific Expert Briefing and seventh place in the overall competition among 22 other regional winners and 351 schools nationwide at the National Ocean Science Bowl (NOSB) in Boulder, Colo.

The PHS team of seniors Diane Li, Alexander Zhang, and Avi Zinder, and sophomores Alan Gu and Samuel Brandt tested their knowledge of ocean-related topics, including cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology, answering buzzer-style multiple-choice questions, and longer, critical thinking-based team calling questions.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

London burning. London blitzed. London embattled by the elements. It’s a subject that inspires bravura prose. Like the London at the opening of Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, where there’s so much mud in the streets it is “as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.” This is a city where the smoke from chimney-pots makes “a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snowflakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun.” more

GARDENING GUIDELINES: “I’ve enjoyed meeting all the people in the Master Gardeners Program, and I have made many friends. They are wonderful people, and It has been a pleasure to help people who have questions about their gardens.” Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer County horticulturist and Rutgers Master Gardener advisor, is shown admiring an oak leaf hydrangea bush.

By Jean Stratton

How does your garden grow?

Now that we have finally stopped shoveling the snow, many of us are looking ahead to getting the garden ready and dipping into spring planting.

For best results, proper soil preparation is crucial, and for those making their gardening debut, a bit of horticultural research will be very beneficial. more

FINANCIAL SERVICES: “Our goal is to help people improve their financial situation. We focus on financial inclusion and help people at all financial levels and means.” Sam Paulicelli, CE0 (left) and Kyle Jaremko, marketing manager of Princeton Federal Credit Union, are shown outside of the new branch office at 774 Alexander Road.

By Jean Stratton

Not everyone may know the benefits and services a credit union can provide. It is like — yet different from — a bank. Indeed, not every financial institution is the same.

For example, take a look at Princeton Federal Credit Union. It has a long history of financial excellence, and it is unique in several areas, notes CEO Sam Paulicelli. more

“THE CABIN, AHAB, AND STARBUCK”: “Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking,” at the Princeton University Art Museum from May 19 to September 23, focuses on the role of literature in Frank Stella’s innovative printmaking. The exhibit commemorates the 60th reunion of Stella, PU Class of 1958.

Between 1984 and 1999, American artist Frank Stella executed four groundbreaking print series — each taking its inspiration from a literary text: Had Gadya, Italian Folktales, Moby-Dick, and the Dictionary of Imaginary Places. In the process, his creative practice evolved to create prints of unprecedented scale and complexity, through which he both achieved a technical and expressive milestone in fine-art printmaking and transformed his visual language in all media. more

“FIRST DANCE”: This painting by Diane Greenberg has been accepted for the “Ellarslie Open 35,” annual juried exhibit at the Trenton City Museum. The exhibit runs through July 1, with a Gallery Talk with award-winning artists on Sunday, May 20 at 2 p.m.

The Trenton Museum Society has announced the works accepted for the “Ellarslie Open 35,” now on display at the Trenton City Museum through July 1. The “Ellarslie Open” annual juried exhibit continues a long tradition of supporting area artists and bringing the finest in visual art to patrons and visitors. more

“FANTASY”: The works of Gail Bracegirdle, shown here, and Alla Podolsky are featured in “Life as We See It,” an exhibit at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville running May 10 through June 3. An artists’ reception will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 4 to 8 p.m.

“Life as We See It,” a new exhibit of works by Gail Bracegirdle and Alla Podolsky, opens at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville on May 10 and runs through June 3. A reception will be held on Saturday, May 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. more

“CAGED” IN REHEARSAL: Performances are underway for “Caged.” Directed by Jerrell L. Henderson, the play runs through May 20 at Passage Theatre. From left: cast members Nicolette Lynch, Brandon Rubin, Monah Yancy, and Ural Grant are rehearsing their parts. (Photo by Damion Parran)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre Company is concluding its season with the world premiere of Caged. Written by the New Jersey Prison Cooperative, this play is the synthesis of experiences shared by current or former inmates in the New Jersey prison system. The result is a cohesive, engaging drama in which an African American man struggles to protect his family — and preserve his humanity — in the face of poverty and incarceration. more

By Kam Williams

On March 3, 1991, five LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) officers were caught on camera viciously beating an unarmed black man who had led them on a high-speed chase instead of pulling over as directed. When the police cornered him, the driver, Rodney King, suffered a broken ankle, a broken cheekbone, multiple skull fractures, and chipped teeth in the subsequent assault by the police with their billy clubs.

A year later, riots broke out all over South Central Los Angeles after a jury acquitted all the officers involved in the arrest. Six days later, 63 people had died and thousands of businesses had been looted and burned to the ground, with over a billion dollars in damages. more

TESS TIME: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Tess D’Orsi heads to goal in action last weekend at the Ivy League Tournament held at Class of 1952 Stadium. Sophomore attacker D’Orsi tallied four goals  and an assist as top-seeded Princeton defeated second-seeded Penn 13-10 in the championship game last Sunday. The Tigers, now 12-5, will face Syracuse (9-9) in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Boston College on May 11. The victor will face fourth seeded BC (19-1) is a second round contest on May 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With top-seeded Princeton University women’s lacrosse team locked in a 9-9 stalemate against second-seeded Penn in the second half of the Ivy League Tournament Championship game last Sunday, it became Tess D’Orsi time for the Tigers.

Princeton sophomore attacker D’Orsi scored a goal to put the Tigers ahead 10-9 and then after the visiting Quakers answered to make it 10-10, she tallied two unanswered goals to make the difference on the way to a 13-10 win. more

DOCKSIDER: Princeton University softball player Danielle Dockx makes a play in recent action. Senior infielder Dockx ended her career last weekend as the Tigers wrapped up the season by going 1-2 in a three-game set against visiting Cornell. Princeton finished the spring at 10-29 overall and 8-13 Ivy League. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University softball team having been eliminated from the Ivy League title race, there was pride on the line last weekend when the Tigers hosted Cornell in a season-ending three-game set.

Sparked by its trio of seniors Kylee Pierce, Danielle Dockx, and Ashley LaGuardia setting the tone, Princeton was determined to end the season by fighting to the last out. more

COOKING UP A WINNER: Princeton High baseball player Paul Cooke takes a swing in a game earlier this season. PHS senior star Cooke had a double and an RBI as seventh-seeded PHS defeated 10th-seeded Hightstown 4-0 in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament. The Little Tigers, now 11-7, play at second-seeded Allentown in the MCT quarters on May 9 with the victor advancing to the semis on May 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Paul Cooke’s uniform was caked with dirt, reflecting his role in the middle of the action as the Princeton High baseball team celebrated its Senior Day with a walk-off win over visiting Lawrence last Wednesday.

Senior outfielder Cooke slammed an RBI single to help ignite a two-run rally in the bottom of the first inning and legged out an infield single in the bottom of the fifth. He ended the day by lofting a sacrifice fly to drive in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give the Little Tigers a 4-3 triumph. more

ON TARGET: Hun School boys’ lacrosse player Devon Cowan celebrates after a goal last Monday as top-seeded Hun hosted third-seeded Lawrenceville in the state Prep A title game. Junior attackman Cowan scored three goals to help the Raiders prevail 9-6. Hun, now 9-2, will next be in action when it competes in the National Prep Championships from May 16-18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Devon Cowan’s left hand was partially covered by a cast, but that wasn’t about to slow him down as top-seeded Hun hosted third-seeded Lawrenceville in the state Prep A title game last Monday.

“I broke my hand a couple of games ago,” said junior attackman and co-captain Cowan, who had scored four goals when Hun fell 10-9 to Lawrenceville in a regular season meeting on April 7. more

GROWING THE GAME: Lefika Ragonste, right, coaches a junior player. Ragonste, a former Trinity College standout, recently started the New Jersey Squash Club in Lawrenceville, offering a number of playing options, both on a daily pay-to-play basis and for membership.

By Bill Alden

Lefika Ragonste has been into expanding the reach of squash since he was a grade schooler.

As a 10-year-old, he started playing squash in his native Botswana. By the time he was a teenager, he had won junior titles in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

After high school, he played in Canada and England. In 1998, he came to the U.S. to attend Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and join its powerhouse squash program. more

May 2, 2018


A cold, blustery day didn’t deter the thousands of visitors who came to downtown Princeton on Sunday to enjoy the Arts Council of Princeton’s 48th annual Communiversity ArtsFest. The festival featured more than 200 booths and a wide variety of art, food, and live entertainment. Participants share their favorite things about Communiversity in this week’s Town Talk on page 6 of this week’s Town Topics. (Photography by Erica Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

In the absence of action from Washington, seven governors have created a consortium of leaders and scholars, launching an “unprecedented” effort to study gun violence as a public health issue.

Princeton Council member Heather Howard, health policy expert and lecturer in public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, is one of a distinguished array of 34 scholars appointed to the consortium that will be pursuing the research agenda, “taking the best ideas from across the region” with a goal of “informing the policy agenda,” according to Howard. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remains alive after last week’s ruling by a federal judge that deportation protections for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants, DREAMers brought to this country as children, must stay in place and the government must resume accepting new applications and issuing renewals.

The April 24 ruling by U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia John D. Bates declared that the federal government’s decision to rescind the DACA program was “unlawful” and based on “virtually unexplained” grounds, but gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which administers the program, 90 days to provide a valid rationale for ending the program or win an appeal of the court’s ruling. more

By Anne Levin

When it comes to using public funds for experimental projects, small cities like Princeton tend to play it safe. So testing out an ambitious idea for radically decreasing the town’s carbon footprint, through reducing and recycling food waste, would likely remain just that — an idea.

But thanks to a $100,000 infusion from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Mayors Challenge, Princeton is being encouraged to pursue such a plan. In February, the town was among 35 cities to be selected from 350 applicants across the nation as a finalist in the annual competition, which will culminate in a grand prize of $5 million for the winning city, and $1 million each for five runners-up. Final applications will be submitted in August. more

HOME FOR GOOD: Cutting the ribbon when Good Grief first moved into its home on Mapleton Road in September 2015 were, from left: Plainsboro Deputy Mayor Neil J. Lewis, Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu, program participants Emma and Erin Legacki, and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. A major donation by the family of Margaret Anne Wilby on April 26, 2018, a decade after her death, makes the house a permanent home for the organization.

By Anne Levin

For children devastated by the death of a parent or sibling, Good Grief Princeton has provided comfort and support services since 2012. By 2015, the program had outgrown its rented space at Trinity Church and settled in to more spacious facilities at 5 Mapleton Road. more

Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center (PMC) has earned an “A” in patient safety from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization working to promote safety, quality, and affordability in health care.

PMC’s A grade was announced April 25 in the Spring 2018 edition of the Hospital Safety Grades, a multifaceted rating published twice annually to evaluate approximately 2,600 hospitals nationwide. Generally, only about one-third of those hospitals earn As. more