March 17, 2021

END POINT: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Nia Melvin handles the ball in a game this winter. Senior star point guard Melvin capped her stellar career by scoring 12 points and grabbing four rebounds in a 71-55 loss to Saddle River Day on March 4 in the season finale. Stuart ended the season with a 7-6 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Justin Leith will tell you that the most important stats produced by his Stuart Country Day School basketball team this winter were 51, 13, and 0.

“We had 51 practices and we were able to get in 13 games all in the midst of the pandemic and not one of our kids got a case,” said Stuart head coach Leith.

“There were exposures that took place but there was never a case where one of our kids tested positive. It is wonderful that we were able to pull this off. I am certainly proud of them. They were able to accomplish something, as did all of the kids did in the state and country that pulled this off, that no one ever has. They should be celebrated.”

Leith was proud of the way his squad competed in the last week of the season, losing two battles to Saddle River Day (75-61 on February 26 and 71-55 on March 4) to finish with a 7-6 record.

“It takes time to cultivate consistency, that is something we were able to do last year,” said Leith, noting that Stuart started 5-6 in 2019-20 before catching fire to end up 21-7, winning its third straight state Prep B title and making its first Mercer County Tournament final along the way.

“The last week of this season is where we had begun to cultivate the consistency of our work ethic. That is why we go up and down with Saddle River Day. They take the lead, we take the lead. We went up 10 at one point and they fought their way back. That is what happens when two very good teams are playing. It is a game of runs. I wasn’t worried about the win or the loss. I told the girls that we were really starting to come into our own where we are consistently working our butts off and there are no lulls. In those last two games of the season, we were getting to that place which usually takes place in December.”

Facing a gauntlet of tough foes helped Stuart raise the level of its game. more

March 16, 2021

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March 10, 2021

Morven Museum & Garden Horticulturist Louise Senior points out witch hazel during a tour of Morven’s grounds on Sunday afternoon. Participants share their favorite early signs of spring and spring flowers in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

One year ago the Princeton Health Department announced Princeton’s first positive case of the new coronavirus, a 49-year-old resident who had attended a private party in Princeton where two people from the Boston area were later found to be infected.

Fourteen of the 47 people at the party were Princeton residents. They were all contacted by the Princeton Health Department, and nine of them reported one or more symptoms of COVID and were tested. On Sunday, March 15, 2020 the health department announced the second, third, and fourth COVID-19 cases in Princeton. Since then there have been more than 620 cases and 21 COVID-related deaths, with an additional 13 probable COVID-related deaths, reported in Princeton.

Noting that there has been little time for reflection over the past year, Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser wrote in an email on Tuesday, March 9, “Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of Princeton’s first confirmed case reported to the health department, although we had already been contact tracing prior to the first confirmed case because reporting was delayed in the beginning due to laboratories scrambling to deal with the influx of new specimens.”

Emphasizing the ongoing struggle with the pandemic, he added, “It’s hard to believe it has been a year. The health department has not had much reprieve in the last 12 months, with all of the changes and new things learned about COVID-19. It has put public health to the test, and reflection has not been an option, nor a priority.”

He continued, “The only priority the health department team is focused on right now is vaccine distribution to as many people as possible. And after that, time will tell but it will likely be the catching up of many preventative health services delayed due to the pandemic, along with the social and emotional repercussions we are just starting to skim the surface of.”

On Monday, March 8 the Princeton Health Department reported a continuing decline in cases, with just three new positive cases in Princeton in the past seven days, and 12 cases in the past 14 days.

As of Tuesday morning, March 9, New Jersey has administered 2,558,570 vaccine doses, including 1,688,812 first doses and 869,104 second doses. The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) received its first shipment of Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved one-shot vaccine last week to join the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage, which makes it transportable to homebound individuals and others who cannot get to vaccination sites.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced on Monday, March 8, that fully vaccinated individuals can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Public Schools (PPS) middle school students have chosen ten semifinalists in the process of renaming their school, and the next step is in the hands of the Princeton community, which is invited to vote for its preferred candidate.

Formerly John Witherspoon Middle School, now temporarily Princeton Unified Middle School (PUMS), the school on Walnut Lane will be renamed by June — maybe it will be Albert Einstein Middle School or Elizabeth Stockton Middle School. Or John Lewis or Michelle Obama or Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Nation or Paul Robeson or Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Shirley Satterfield Middle School.

Or, with a growing contingent eager to give the various middle school hallways names rather than the whole school, the middle school might become Princeton Community School or Walnut Lane Middle School, with future naming opportunities for the hallways.

The Board of Education (BOE) will make the final decision by June, but promises that that decision will be informed by the voting of PUMS students and community members.

“Our community’s commitment to our core values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all is at the foundation of the Princeton Unified Middle School’s process to determine its new name,” states the PPS website.

More than 600 PUMS students recently viewed video projects created by eighth grade civics students to promote possible new names. The community voting page is available at princetonk12.org and includes the students’ videos and further

background information on the process and the ten specific recommendations for names. more

By Anne Levin

At a meeting of Princeton Council Monday night, it was announced that former longtime municipal administrator Bob Bruschi will return as interim administrator beginning sometime next week. Bruschi, who was administrator of the former Borough and later of consolidated Princeton until his retirement in 2014, will temporarily replace his successor Marc Dashield, who announced last fall that he would be leaving this spring.

Bruschi will be in the post for anywhere from about six weeks to a few months, Councilwoman Eve Niedergang said. A decision on a permanent hire for the job is hoped for by the end of this month. Niedergang also announced that the town has hired a new sewer manager, and that interviews will begin soon for the position of open space manager.

Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton reported that she and members of other departments had met with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) regarding improving the safety of the traffic signal at Nassau and Witherspoon streets. “I think we made good progress

in getting consensus that safety is the primary goal,” she said, adding that the DOT has proposed adding bump-out curb extensions. “We continue to have discussions with them and they are looking forward to moving the project into the design phase for construction in 2022.”

Council heard a report by attorney Kevin Van Hise on the memo he issued last week regarding a recent realization that the 20 percent affordable housing set-aside was not in place, as previously assumed. Several members of the public commented, including attorney Virginia Kerr, who wondered if the town was getting additional opinions. more

FOUR-TIME CHAMPS: Princeton Charter School’s Science Bowl team will be going to the national competition in April for the fourth year in a row after winning last month’s U.S. Department of Energy’s New Jersey Regional Science Bowl hosted by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. (Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton Charter School (PCS) brought home the first-place trophy for the fourth consecutive year in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) New Jersey Regional Science Bowl middle school competition, hosted by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) on February 19 and 20.

With this year’s contests all virtual, PCS will be participating in the National Science Bowl preliminary rounds in April, and the top 32 middle and high school teams will move on to the final elimination tournaments in May. PCS made it to the final 16 round last year.

In the regional high school division finals, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South battled it out for the top prize with the North team emerging victorious to advance to the national competition this spring.

The PCS team of Justin Feder, Nitza Kahlon, Vihaan Jim, Reed Sacks, and Albert Zhu defeated William Annin Middle School from Basking Ridge in the finals, with Highland Park Middle School coming in third. The Noor-ul-Iman middle school team from Monmouth Junction received the Spirit Prize for displaying the best team spirit and sportsmanship.

In the high school division, the Princeton International School for Math and Science came in third behind the two West Windsor-Plainsboro schools.

With many students attending school from home this year or in a hybrid model of at-home and in-school classes, the coaches and students noted that the Science Bowl provided a sense of normalcy. “So many things are different this year. But at least we can do Science Bowl,” said PCS Coach Laura Celik. more

By Anne Levin

The fact that Princeton Public Library is still only open during limited hours was not about to stop staff from staging a significant observance of Women’s History Month.

Along the building’s spacious windows on Witherspoon Street, the library has mounted an exhibit of posters from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC., focused on the contributions of women inventors. The display, which is also available online, highlights the work of 19 women.

Among those featured is Kavita Shukla, who came up with a way to purify water to help end food spoilage and waste in areas where refrigeration isn’t available – patented when she was a high school senior.

Jogger Lisa Lindahl, who teamed up with costume designers Polly Palmer Smith and Hinda Miller to create a “Jogbra,” is represented. So is Marilyn Hamilton, who was paralyzed after a hang-gliding accident and worked with friends to invent a lightweight wheelchair that would allow her, and others in similar circumstances, to continue to be active. Hamilton’s many accomplishments as an athlete include two women’s wheelchair singles titles in the US Open tennis competition.

The list goes on. “We wanted to focus on Women’s History Month as the crux of programming this month, and we wanted a way to attract people even though we’ve been closed and are now open with limited hours,” said Public Programming Librarian Janie Hermann. “Right now, other than our E-newsletter, it’s hard to get news out.  We don’t have [in-house magazine] Connections, and we don’t have handbills right now.” more

By Anne Levin

During a meeting of Princeton Council on February 24, Councilman David Cohen read letters from parents who have lost children to tragic road accidents.

One woman wrote of her 24-year-old daughter, killed by the driver of a sanitation truck while cycling to her job in Philadelphia as a French pastry chef. A letter from the father of three young boys wrote of the loss of all of them – one to a negligent driver, another to a reckless driver, and the third to a drunk driver.

These shocking testimonies were written in support of a proposal to make Princeton a “Vision Zero” community, part of an international network of towns and cities dedicated to a philosophy of traffic management that lessens or eliminates deaths and serious injuries on local roadways.

Council voted unanimously in favor of the initiative. The town is currently putting together a Vision Zero task force, and is seeking volunteers from the community to join municipal staff from key departments, Mayor Mark Freda, and advisers in developing a Vision Zero action plan.

The idea was first introduced to Council at a presentation last year. The crux of the program, Cohen said this week, is the fact that it is data-driven.

“So instead of saying theoretically that lowering speed limits or having more officers on the streets is safer, this actually identifies locations around town where you have the most crashes,” he said. “It explores what is causing them and what we can do to prevent them. And that’s different from other traffic safety approaches.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

It is shuddersome and sinister. About it hovers the grisly something which we all fear in the dark but dare not define.

—James Huneker on Chopin’s Prelude No. 2

When a film is called Night of the Living Dead, you know what to expect. Same with The Walking Dead. Given the Hitchcock brand and half a century of shower-slaughter word of mouth, you know where you’re headed with Psycho.

Carnival of Souls is another matter. The film’s title alone has intriguing possibilities, with room for whatever or whoever you want to bring to the dance, if you don’t mind fox-trotting or waltzing to sinister organ music reminiscent of NBC’s Inner Sanctum, the old time radio precursor to The Twilight Zone. The horror movie genre it has been consigned to is less interesting to me than the title’s suggestion of a gathering of souls. In my preferred vision of the carnival, the doors are open to great souls like Kafka and Chopin, whose 211th birthday was March 1.

Keeping in mind the rhetoric Chopin’s sometimes “shuddersome and sinister” music has attracted — the “affinities with the darkling conceptions” of Poe and Coleridge in the Scherzo in C-sharp minor that James Huneker likens to “some fantastic, sombre pile of disordered farouche architecture” about which “hovers perpetual night and the unspeakable and despairing things that live in the night” — I’ve been thinking a lot about Carnival of Souls and its protagonist, Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss). Having survived an accident in which two friends drowned, Mary moves from Lawrence, Kansas, to Salt Lake City, where she has a job as a church organist. She’s in a department store buying a new dress when suddenly the world goes silent, sales people and other customers no longer see her, she can’t hear them, they can’t hear her, and after escaping outside she’s still in the silent spell until a bird’s song brings the real world back to life for her. 

Going directly from that nightmare to the church organ,  she begins to rehearse, but the sounds she’s producing soon veer into dissonance and discord that she’s helpless to control, it’s as if her hands have taken on a spasmodic life of their own, crawling and creeping over the keys, and when two large hands reach out of nowhere to cover hers, you think at first they belong to the ghoulish figure that’s been stalking her. But no, it’s the appalled minister putting a stop to the profane uproar before pompously firing her on the spot. A day ago he’d praised her playing, telling her to put her soul into it, and so she has but it’s not her soul.

The sequence takes only four of the film’s 80 minutes, and I’ve seen it several times on YouTube, trying to imagine the impact on the minister had certain portions of Chopin’s B flat minor sonata been translated into the language of the pipe organ, a sonata that Schumann says “begins and ends … with dissonances, through dissonances, and in dissonances,” not to mention “the brief, astonishing finale, a coda to the famous marche funebre suggesting that the departing mourners were swept away by a tornado.”    Scarily akin to the sight of Mary’s hands is a fellow pianist and composer’s account of Chopin at the piano: “It was an astonishing sight to see one of his little hands reach out and cover a third of the key-board. It was like the mouth of a serpent about to swallow a rabbit. In reality, Chopin was made of rubber.”

The first piece I associated with Mary’s trauma was the Polonaise fantasie in A flat major that Franz Liszt described in an 1852 monograph as “an elegiac tristesse … punctuated by startled movements, melancholic smiles, unexpected jolts, pauses full of tremors, like those felt by somebody caught in an ambush, surrounded on all sides.” To a critic of the period, “the piano speaks here in a language not previously known.” When he was working on the Polonaise, Chopin himself admitted he didn’t know what to title it until the end, confessing, “I’d like to finish something that I don’t yet know what to call.” He completed it in August 1846, three years before his death. more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra returned to its virtual classical concert series this past weekend with a performance highlighting music of the Italian masters for strings. Sunday afternoon’s program also featured Russian harpist Alexander Boldachev, who was scheduled to perform live in Princeton this season, in works of Bedrïch Smetana and Astor Piazzolla, as well as two of his own compositions.

Ottorino Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances was a set of three orchestral suites from the early 20th-century Italian composer, inspired by lute and guitar music of the 16th through 18th centuries. In a concert recorded last fall in Princeton’s Morven Museum and Garden, Princeton Symphony performed the third of these suites, which was comprised of four baroque musical dances and which was unusual in its scoring for strings alone. 

Led by Princeton Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov, the strings of the Orchestra began the opening dance of “Suite III” gracefully. The upper strings maintained a great deal of forward motion to the melodic lines, accompanied by delicate pizzicato playing from the lower strings. Throughout the “Suite,” one could easily hear the plucking of a 17th-century lute. The strings well handled the complex shifting of styles in the second movement “Aire di Corte,” well capturing a rustic dance atmosphere. An elegant lilt marked the third movement “Siciliana,” and the Orchestra closed the stylish work with a rich orchestral texture similar to a Baroque organ.   more

BAGPIPES AND MORE: Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato is among the “leading ladies” of classical music to be celebrated in a free concert stream by Princeton University Concerts on March 28.

Princeton University Concerts pays tribute to Women’s History Month by spotlighting four “leading ladies” of classical music who are pioneers of instruments often overlooked in the mainstream. Accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, bagpiper Cristina Pato, harpist Bridget Kibbey, and saxophonist Jess Gillam with pianist James Baillieu will present an international virtual concert streaming from London, Barcelona, and New York City on Sunday, March 28, at 3 p.m.

This free “Watch Party,” a continuation of Princeton University Concerts’ commitment to presenting world-class artistry at no charge to the public during the course of the pandemic, will showcase a varied program. The four musicians will follow their individual performances with a group discussion and live Q&A, in a discussion both amongst themselves and directly with viewers. These women all share the distinction of being pioneers in their field, being the first of their gender or instrument to accomplish milestones within the music industry — the first saxophonist to be signed to the Decca Classics record label; the first female Galician bagpipe player to ever release a solo album; the “Yo-Yo Ma of the harp” who has pushed the instrument into unchartered genres; and an accordionist who is as comfortable appearing at the Mostly Mozart Festival as she is performing alongside Sting.  more

“RESIST CONVENIENCE”: Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney Campus in Trenton showcases the photography of Heather Palecek through April 1. Gallery hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. at 137 North Broad Street by appointment. For reservations, visit JKCGallery.online. Photo courtesy of Heather Palecek)

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus (JKC) Gallery now presents its first in-person photography show in almost a year. The exhibit, “Resist Convenience,” showcases the photography of Heather Palecek and is available for viewing through April 1. The gallery is located at 137 North Broad Street in Trenton. Hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., by appointment.

“We are thrilled that we are finally able to physically open our doors with this fantastic show from Heather Palecek,” said Michael Chovan-Dalton, director of the JKC Gallery. “Heather has been an amazing partner with the JKC Gallery and has helped showcase many artists over the past year with the Third Thursdays Artist Talk program. It has been one year since we shut our doors and we are fortunate to have Heather’s work be the first work back on our walls.”  more

This work by Ze-Xin Koh is part of a virtual exhibition presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Visual Arts at Princeton University. On view through May 15, the show features poster designs and artists’ books by the seniors and juniors in the program, organized by faculty member Pam Lins. It is free and open to the public online at 185nassau.art. For more information, visit arts.princeton.edu.

“AUBERGINE WAVES”: This watercolor by Susan DeConcini is featured in “Textured Waters: Paintings by Léni Paquet-Morante & Susan DeConcini,” on view at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Taplin Gallery March 13 through April 3. DeConcini’s works reflect her interest in the movement and textures of water surfaces.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents “Textured Waters: Paintings by Léni Paquet-Morante & Susan DeConcini,” on view in the Taplin Gallery March 13 through April 3.

Artists Susan DeConcini and Léni Paquet-Morante share an interest in water as a subject matter. Susan’s watercolors on paper explore her interest in the movement and textures of ocean waves and other water surfaces in motion. Painted at a variety of water environments, Leni’s plein-air landscape interpretations inform her studio work. Together, these artists’ works provide a contemplation of water as both a familiar subject and intriguing metaphor.

“I paint landscapes that prompt a narrative about water as it engages its surrounding embankments, the detritus within it, and the bio-matter growing from it,” said Morante, who works in oil. “I am as interested in moving paint around as I am in these narratives and so use dynamic brushwork to drive a contemporary interpretation rather than a portrait of place. Working outdoors in a variety of settings over the last two years has inspired the work that I do in the studio, which tends to be more abstract. The landscape paintings in ‘Textured Waters’ reflect my commute through the world as I was drawn to vistas and intimate spaces alike.” more

KEEP MOVING!  These assisted living residents of Greenwood House Senior Healthcare are enjoying an energetic morning “Sittercise” chair exercise session. “Our residents keep moving,” says Greenwood House Executive Director Richard Goldstein. “Movement is very important. Our residents get up and out of bed, get dressed, and keep moving!”

By Jean Stratton

Since 1939, Greenwood House Senior Healthcare has been caring for elderly individuals, initially for those of the Jewish faith, and now for those of all faiths.

Established by the Trenton Ladies Sick Benefit Society, a charitable humanitarian organization, it offered people who required medical, nursing, and personal care a safe and secure environment.

Originally located on Greenwood Avenue in Trenton, it moved to its current home at 53 Walter Street in Ewing in 1974.

What started as a local home for the Jewish elderly with 25 residents is now a highly respected non-sectarian senior health care organization for 125 residents. It offers an entire continuum of care, including long term care, skilled nursing, respite care, home care, an assisted living facility for private residents, rehabilitation care programs for a variety of conditions, physical, occupational and speech therapy, home-delivered Kosher meals on wheels, and hospice care. more

GOODBYE HUG: Members of the Princeton University field hockey team celebrate after scoring a goal in a 2-1 win over Virginia in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA tournament. Players in the Class of 2021 who competed for the squad along with all other Ivy League senior student-athletes were recently granted a one-time waiver by the league to compete as grad students for the same college where they received their undergraduate degree. The excitement over the change in policy is tempered at Princeton, which has no known students who will take advantage of the provision. The Tiger field hockey team, for example, has seven seniors on its roster and six of them will play as graduate students next year at other schools while the other has a job lined up. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Displaying a flexibility prompted by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ivy League announced in mid-February that senior student-athletes would be eligible to compete in 2021-22 as graduate students at the same university from which they receive their undergraduate degree.

Any excitement over the drastic reversal in the longstanding Ivy policy that prevented graduate students from competing is tempered at Princeton University, which has no known students who will take advantage of the provision.

“We had a group text letting them know that this announcement was coming,” said Princeton field hockey head coach Carla Tagliente.

“I had some private conversations with some of them on the side about the possibility and what it meant. Most are committed to play their grad year somewhere else.”

The announcement came via email to senior students. The Ivy League Council of Presidents will allow the one-time waiver just for next year. Their message noted “this change is a direct result of the pandemic and will not be available in future years.”

The announcement came more than a month after Princeton admission to graduate programs closed. The latest graduate school admissions date was January 4 for the German and Architecture programs. Princeton student-athletes would already have had to apply – and be accepted – in order to be able to take advantage of the athletic policy change. Other Ivy institutions may have later graduate school deadlines.

“I think for one year if it helps a few students, I don’t know how many will do it, but great,” said Princeton football head coach Bob Surace. “I don’t think we’re in a time to nitpick about imbalances. If a student can do it and they can come back for a year, let’s do it.” more

By Bill Alden

It was a year ago this week that the sports world came to a skidding halt across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a harbinger of things to come, the Ivy League canceled its men’s and women’s postseason basketball tournaments on March 10. While that decision was seen as too hasty by many, when Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus a day later that became the tipping point for the cancellation of athletic competition worldwide.

In the dark days of late March, there was no certainty when the games would resume and in what form. As masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing became staples of daily life, coaches and athletes adapted.

The Zoom platform for video conferences became ubiquitous, helping to keep players and coaches in contact. NFL teams learned that they could install offenses and defenses virtually instead of on the practice field.

Athletes developed home workout routines, converting garages and basements into gyms across the country. Some Princeton University athletes did squats using backpacks jammed with books and performed strength training the old-fashioned way via sit-ups and push-ups.

In May, South Korea’s top baseball league, the Korean Baseball Organization, briefly became the focus of the sports world as ESPN started broadcasting its games in the wee hours of the morning to fill the void with U.S. pro leagues still being in hold.

The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary chronicling Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, became required viewing. Aired on ESPN in April and May, the show drew millions of viewers from sports-starved fans.

A charity golf match pitting Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in late May provided a form of live competition. Brady holing out from more than 100 yards out on the seventh hole after struggling early in proved to be a highlight. But the best moment of the rainy day in Florida came after the match when it was revealed that the competition raised $20 million for COVID-19-related organizations. more

FINAL DRIVE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Brynne Hennessy drives to the hoop in recent action. Senior guard Hennessy ended her career on a high note, helping PHS to a 39-29 win over Princeton Day School last Thursday on her Senior Day and a 39-29 victory over New Egypt last Saturday in the season finale. The Tigers ended the 2021 campaign with a 7-3 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Brynne Hennessy traveled a circuitous route to her Senior Day for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team.

Having played on the junior varsity team for the first two years of her PHS career, Hennessy got promoted to the varsity last year only to miss nine games due to injury.

This winter, Hennessy wasn’t sure if she should play due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I was even a little bit apprehensive to come out this season with everything that is going on right now,” said Hennessy.

But there was Hennessy smiling with her parents and her older brother at one end of the PHS gym as the lone senior standing for the ceremony last Thursday as the Tigers hosted Princeton Day School.

“It has been an interesting four years to say the least,” said Hennessy, who served as a captain of PHS in both of her varsity campaigns.

“I love to play with these girls, this year was very special to me. We have a lot of freshmen who are really great and bring a lot of energy. We all get along really well. I know they are going to be great without me. I am excited to see where they go.”

While Hennessy went scoreless in the contest, she was excited to see PHS pull out a 39-29 win over the Panthers, a day after the Tigers had fallen 30-29 to their crosstown rivals. more

DAME TIME: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Dameon Samuels looks to pass the ball last week as PDS hosted Princeton High in its season finale. Senior hard Samuels went out with a bang, tallying 10 points with six assists, six rebounds, and four steals to help the Panthers defeat PHS 78-50. The victory left PDS with a final record of 7-3 for the 2021 campaign. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With 3:19 left in the fourth quarter last Friday and the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team rolling to a lopsided win over Princeton High, Dameon Samuels left the court for the last time in his career, prompting a flood of emotions.

The PDS senior guard embraced his coaches and started sobbing as he exited the contest. He later buried his head in his hands, watching the final minutes of the Panthers’ 78-50 win over their crosstown rivals.

“It was this is playing basketball all of your career, you don’t really want to see that last game,” said a red-eyed Samuels, reflecting on his curtain call.

“You want to keep playing and playing. When I came out, I thought of all the moments at PDS from freshman year to now and all of that coming to the end.”

Samuels was feeling emotional long before the Senior Day ceremony that took place before the game.

“All day, I have just been thinking about my career,” said Samuels.

“I try to play hard every single game. It is tough knowing that this is my last game here. These are all my brothers. I just love it, I just love basketball.”

Battling hard against crosstown rival, Samuels contributed 10 points, six assists, six rebounds, and four steals to help the Panthers cruise to the victory and end the winter at 7-3. more

TOP MOMENT: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Caroline Topping surveys the situation last Wednesday as PDS hosted Princeton High and held its annual Senior Day ceremony. Senior guard Topping enjoyed a memorable home finale for the Panthers in the contest, sinking the game-winning shot as PDS edged the Tigers 30-29. A day later, the Panthers fell 39-29 at PHS in the rematch of locals to end the season with a 1-7 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Caroline Topping sensed that the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team was primed for a breakthrough as the program held its annual Senior Day celebration last Wednesday afternoon.

Even though PDS brought a winless record into the game against crosstown rival Princeton High, who was at 5-2, senior guard Topping was confident that the Panthers would be competitive.

“There was a lot of extra emotion, I have been waiting for this moment since I was a freshman,” said Topping.

“I have been so excited. We all just had good energy today. We had a psych, we all wore bucket hats. It was a lot of fun.”

In the second quarter, Topping had a lot of fun, tallying seven points as PDS outscored the Tigers 12-5 to build a 23-13 lead at halftime.

“We had the momentum, we had the right energy,” said Topping.

“We weren’t panicking. We had control of everything. I did feel in a groove, especially hitting that three. I am not usually a three-point shooter; it just really gave me the confidence. The speech earlier and the celebration gave me confidence and made me feel good about myself.”

That confidence wavered somewhat as PHS rallied in the second half and knotted the game at 26-26 early in the fourth quarter.

“At that point, we had a lot of energy but it wasn’t controllable,” said Topping. more

BIG FINISH: Hun School girls’ basketball player Kennedy Jardine dribbles around a foe in recent action. Senior guard Jardine ended her Hun career on a high note, tallying 24 points to help the Raiders defeat Princeton Day School 59-26 on March 1 and then adding 19 points a day later as Hun edged Peddie 47-44. The Raiders posted wins in their last four games of the season to end with a final record of 5-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kennedy Jardine struggled a bit going through her pregame routine for the Hun School girls’ basketball team as it played at Princeton Day School last week.

“When we were warming up, I wasn’t making a lot of my shots,” said Hun senior guard Jardine, getting used to the surroundings in the new PDS Athletic Center. “We haven’t played here before.”

With Hun trailing 4-3 early in the first quarter, Jardine got fouled on a three-point attempt and sank three straight free throws and started to feel a comfort level.

“That really got me going; we were moving the ball, I was getting really good looks,” said Jardine.

“We were swinging the ball and getting the floor open. Also when I got the ball and I couldn’t shoot the ball, I was able to drive around my opponent and score.”

Jardine started scoring in bunches, tallying 15 points in the first half as Hun jumped out to a 37-18 lead and never looked back the way to a 59-26 win in the March 1 contest.

The Raiders focused on defense as they closed the deal against PDS.

“Our coach [Bill Holup] told us we were going to switch into man because we have a big game coming up against Peddie,” said Jardine, who ended up with 24 points in the win.

“We needed to get some work playing man so we tested that in the third quarter.” more

March 9, 2021

It’s time to hop to it! Easter falls on April 4, 2021 this year and whether you’re hosting or missing loved ones across the country, The Fruit Company is pleased to present spectacular Easter gift baskets, bursting with fresh fruit, nuts, candies, and other delights.

 more

March 3, 2021

Despite the cold, a few children recently enjoyed some time in Marquand Park. Residents and visitors share what they are looking forward to this spring in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday, March 1 that the state will be expanding vaccination eligibility later this month to include educators and staff in Pre-K through 12th grade settings, child care workers, and transportation workers, among others.

Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Barry Galasso applauded the news that teachers would soon be eligible for vaccination. “We’ve been advocating for them to get vaccines since vaccines became available,” he said. “I’ve written to the governor and told him specifically that schools are an integral part of getting the economy going, and the only way that can happen is if teachers feel comfortable coming into the buildings.”

He continued, “Vaccines are not a silver bullet, but they will give a number of teachers a level of comfort and safety. We sent out communications asking the Princeton community for support on this, and a number of people in the community have taken up that banner and advocated for this. We appreciate their support. Teachers being vaccinated is a great thing.”

New Jersey expects to receive an initial shipment of about 70,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved, one-dose vaccine this week to supplement the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently in use.  And, on March 2, federal officials announced that Merck & Co. would be teaming up with Johnson & Johnson in helping to produce the vaccine.

In addition, CVS and Rite-Aid will be allotted 22,500 Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses this week through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Murphy added, though the supplies for subsequent weeks are not certain.

“As the federal government continues to make more vaccine doses available, we are confident in our ability to expand our vaccination program to reach more of our essential workers and vulnerable  populations,” Murphy said. more