December 26, 2012

After a five-hour meeting that began December 19 and ended in the wee hours of December 20, Princeton’s Regional Planning Board voted against developer AvalonBay’s plan for a rental community on the former site of the University Medical Center of Princeton. The vote was 7-3, with those who voted in favor saying they did so because they feared the legal repercussions of rejecting the plan. Residents in the audience who were against the proposed development rose to their feet to give the Board a standing ovation when the vote was finally cast.

The developer’s proposal for 280 apartments, 56 of which would be affordable housing, has drawn criticism from residents of the neighborhood about a design they repeatedly called “monolithic,” and concerns about environmental issues. The group Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods was represented by two lawyers during the process. The December 19 meeting of the Planning Board was the sixth devoted to the proposal.

While one member of the public expressed support for the complex because of its percentage of affordable housing units, the comments at the meeting were overwhelmingly negative. “It’s completely out of scale with the adjacent neighborhoods,” said Joseph Weiss during a power point presentation, calling the design “a fortress.”

Princeton Borough resident Helmut Schwab said he had spoken to many people in town, most of whom were against the plan. “I plead with you. Do what is good for the citizens and vote against it or recuse yourself,” he said to the Board. Julie Roth, the rabbi for Princeton University, said there have been inconsistencies in AvalonBay’s plan. “The question is whether we have a good faith partner in AvalonBay,” she said.

Zoning for the hospital site was approved several years ago. The original developer for the site, Lubert Adler, had planned to turn the existing hospital building into condominiums with retail underneath. But the company withdrew during the 2008 recession. Planning Board member Marvin Reed, who was in the negotiations from the beginning, said the Board owed it to the neighborhood residents to reject AvalonBay’s plan because of their concerns about the design for a newly constructed complex, among other issues.

Weighing in before the vote, Planning Board member Peter Madison, a lawyer, explained his decision to vote in favor of the plan. “I have a serious concern that the applicant is in a very strong legal position,” he said. “I believe if they appeal, the case will be overturned.”

Board member Bernie Miller commented, “The question isn’t really whether there could be something better on the site, but whether we want what is proposed on the site. I have heard a lot that troubles me. It leaves me with a kind of queasy feeling of having been taken advantage of with a bait and switch here.”

During the process that began more than a year ago, AvalonBay senior vice president Ron Ladell met with an ad hoc committee to try and work out problems that neighborhood residents had with the plan. But those meetings were not successful, according to Jenny Crumiller, a member of the Planning Board who served on the committee. “It was their intent to do things the AvalonBay way, not the Princeton way,” she said. “They tweaked a bit, but they did not change it much. They are refusing to stray from their brand and realize Princeton’s uniqueness. We have standards to protect our old-fashioned neighborhoods. The overriding theme was that AvalonBay is a brand, and that’s what you get.”

The proposal called for one, two, and three bedroom apartments in a building that would reach 48 feet at its highest point. Mr. Ladell said he was offended by suggestions that he was hiding something. In his closing speech to the Board before the vote, he said that planning and zoning staff agree that the project met all local zoning requirements. “If you don’t believe me, believe your staff,” he said.

Mr. Ladell left the meeting without commenting. Efforts to reach his attorney, Anne Studholme, in the days following the meeting were unsuccessful. The University Medical Center of Princeton issued a general statement: “Princeton HealthCare System has been watching the site plan process closely. We have always advocated that the process should be allowed to occur. This part of the process is now finished. AvalonBay will need to make a decision on how it intends to proceed. We have confidence that in the end, the process will result in an appropriate outcome for the community.”

December 19, 2012

UP ON THE ROOF: Photographer, pilot, and architect Alex MacLean has made a career of viewing landscapes from above. Shown here shooting an angle of New York City’s rooftops, he was the most recent speaker at the Princeton Public Library’s “Spotlight on the Humanities” architecture series.

Last Wednesday, people attending a lunchtime lecture at Princeton Public Library were given a rare glimpse of New York City. A bird’s eye view of Manhattan and Brooklyn rooftops, provided by pilot and photographer Alex MacLean, revealed surprising “roofscapes” containing lush gardens and geometric, agricultural patterns. The audience, clearly engaged by Mr. MacLean’s commentary as he projected views from his book Up on the Roof: New York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces, murmured repeatedly in surprise.

The gathering was the most recent in the library’s Spotlight on the Humanities Series focused on architecture. Begun earlier this year with talks by Princeton architecture professor Esther da Costa Meyer, the library’s designer Nicholas Garrison, and architect and dean emeritus of the Princeton University School of Architecture Robert Geddes, the series will continue with University Architect Ronald McCoy on January 17, Princeton based architect Michael Graves on February 13, and author Siobhan Roberts, whose book Wind Wizard is about Alan Davenport, considered the father of modern wind engineering, on February 26.

“It’s a wonderful series,” says Janie Hermann, the library’s programming director, following Mr. MacLean’s presentation. “People were just thrilled. And Alex sold almost a whole box of his books.”

The series is funded by contributions the library receives from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “I came up with the Spotlight on the Humanities because we had been getting requests for more daytime programming,” Ms. Hermann continues. “That’s challenging. But I realized that we would probably attract a crowd if we did scholarly lectures. I thought a lot of people in this town, some of whom are retired and some of whom are working, would hopefully come during their lunch break. And we’ve had a minimum of 40 or 50 people each time.”

Mr. MacLean is an architect who has flown his plane over most of the United States to document the landscape. His talk last week followed one the previous day at New York’s Mid-Manhattan Library. The latest book, published by Princeton Architectural Press, shows how changes to the city’s diverse rooftops are making the city more livable and sustainable. Photographs show not only green spaces but also water towers, swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants, and sweeping works of art meant to be seen from above.

A committee including Ms. Hermann, Princeton University professor Stanley Katz, and Princeton University Art Museum Curator of Education Caroline Harris helps decide about programming for the series. Ms. Hermann found Mr. MacLean after reading a review of Up on the Roof. “I looked at his website and saw that he did public speaking,” she says. “So I reached out to him and he was happy to come.”

Next up is Mr. McCoy, whose talk is titled “Creating Place at Princeton.” The presentation will focus on “place-making” in architecture and landscape design, and how the Princeton campus balances innovation with a lasting sense of place. Mr. Graves, an internationally known architect whose most prominent local building is the Arts Council of Princeton across the street from the library, will discuss his work when he is featured in the series. Ms. Roberts will talk about her book, which investigates how wind navigates the obstacle course of the earth’s natural and built environments, and how when not properly heeded, causes damage — particularly appropriate considering the recent devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

Audiences meet in the library’s Community Room, where coffee and cookies are served, and attendees are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. “The idea is to do this once or twice a year, depending on topics and availability,” says Ms. Hermann. “We’re very excited about it and the response has been very positive so far.”

News that actors Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck would be filming scenes for the crime thriller Runner, Runner at several sites in Princeton drew hordes of people to town last Friday. The streets, already clogged with holiday shoppers, got even more crowded as visitors anxious for a glimpse of the movie stars quickly filled up parking garages and side streets.

While there were no sightings of Mr. Affleck, Mr. Timberlake was spotted at numerous locations. Chief among them was the 100 block of Nassau Street, where a section of the sidewalk was closed off for approximately an hour while New Regency Productions shot scenes for the film. While some local business owners reached this week said they welcomed the attention, others were angered by the interruption of what they consider a crucial holiday shopping day.

“At 2:45 they closed the sidewalk until 4 p.m.,” complained Henry Landau of the Landau store at 102 Nassau. “We were having a great day, and all of a sudden there’s nobody in the store. It’s ridiculous. One customer had driven from a distance and couldn’t get in. It just shows a total lack of consideration of the merchants.”

Next door to the Landau store at Forest Jewelers, owner Mitch Forest concurred. “Whoever gave permission to do the filming didn’t take into consideration, other than receiving a fee, how it would affect shopping,” he said. “Did they talk to any Borough merchants? If nobody did, then it’s just another indication of how little perhaps those who gave permission understand how business works in the community. It’s almost a disrespect. It killed us for that period of time.”

Borough administrator Bob Bruschi said merchants received hand-delivered notifications about the planned filming. “Clearly there is an impact,” he said. “We tried to make that impact as small as possible. We felt that since they were kind of hop, skipping, and jumping around town at three and a half locations that it wouldn’t be that much of an interruption. We try to be flexible and we feel that in the long term, it’s a good thing. It’s a tough time of year and I know that they want to make their nut, and we want them to do that. But we have to weigh the decision.”

One merchant saw business improve as a result of the filming. “I thought it was great,” said Sal Mazzella, owner of Massimo’s Express at 124 Nassau. “A lot of kids, especially high school girls, who were on the street, came in and got slices, and the movie company ordered 10 pizzas. We had an extra 100 people who came in. This kind of thing brings people to town who usually don’t come. If you live half an hour away and you want to see JT, then you’ll come to town.”

Mr. Mazzella has souvenirs in his store from the making of the film Transformers in 2008. A scene from the movie was shot on the Princeton University campus, and actors Shia LeBoeuf and Megan Fox were among the cast and crew who came in for pizza. “I locked the doors when they came in, and as a thank you they gave me a copy of the Bumblebee [action figure], an autographed script, and a picture of them, which are up on my wall,” he said. “It’s great when that kind of thing happens.”

Brian Harris, manager at Princeton Running Company at 108 Nassau, said he had no complaints about loss of business due to the filming. “There was one period where we didn’t have many customers, but generally we got the business we were going to get for that day,” he said. “A lot of customers said they had a problem parking, though.”

Parking is a constant concern for Dorothea von Moltke, owner of Labyrinth Books at 122 Nassau. While the sidewalk in front of that store was not closed for the filming, the lack of parking added to her worries. “The big thing that was a problem was the traffic snarl,” she said. “As bad as it is on Friday afternoons, and with parking such an issue during the holidays, this made it more of a concern. We are always worried about that because our competition is the malls, which have easy parking. So anything that compounds that is an issue. But we were busy, and because the weather was good it was a fine day for us anyway.”

Mr. Forest said that while he did receive the flyer informing him of the filming, the news came as a last-minute surprise. “They just popped it on us,” he said. “This is a time of year when we need nothing but momentum, and we lost some momentum. Did it tick clients off? Absolutely.”

Life on Nassau Street was back to normal Saturday following Friday’s closing of a portion of this block to permit Justin Timberlake and a film crew to do location filming for the crime thriller “Runner, Runner.” Not all local merchants were happy. See story on page 7. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

“I spent the weekend, as did many fellow heads of schools, listening to the news for any details of the story that could shed a light on how we might better protect our students from such violence,” said Stuart Country Day School Head Patricia Fagin in the aftermath of the December 14 tragedy at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut.

“Our hearts are broken for our neighbors in Newtown,” wrote Community Park Elementary School Principal Dineen Gruchacz on that school’s website. “We will be prepared on Monday morning to handle our children with love and care.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, teachers, and families of Newtown, Connecticut,” said Principal Gary R. Snyder on the Princeton High School website.

In remarks to be delivered at Tuesday evening’s School Board meeting (after Town Topics went to press), President Tim Quinn plans to say that “while this heinous act will continue to spur many substantive discussions about violence in our society and about school safety, speaking personally, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the principal and school psychologist who ran toward gunfire, and the teachers who shielded their students from bullets. Their actions were brave, selfless, and student-focused.”

In a letter to the Princeton Community, Superintendent Judy Wilson advised parents and teachers to “model calm and control; reassure children that they are safe; remind them that trustworthy people are in charge,” and “let children know that it is okay to feel upset.” In similar letters to parents and teachers, school officials like Ms. Fagin expressed their condolences to the Newtown community, described the availability of school psychologists and counselors ready to work with children distressed by the images, descriptions, and conversations going on around them, and listed additional resources that provide coping strategies.

They also reassured parents about the safety precautions in place — and now, not surprisingly, being reviewed — at each school.

“Inevitably, events like this stimulate review of our own safety procedures,” said Headmaster Jonathan G. Brougham in a letter to the Hun School community. “As the details of the Sandy Hook events unfold further, I assure you we will consider them carefully, and, if necessary, apply what we learn.”

“As you know, we have made security a priority at Stuart and have brought on board highly trained and experienced security professionals with extensive law enforcement backgrounds,” wrote Ms. Fagin in her letter to parents. “As part of our protocol, we regularly conduct various safety drills. Today we had a prescheduled lockdown drill during which faculty and staff secured the students in classrooms.

“Under normal circumstances, lockdown drills may create uneasiness, and in light of today’s tragedy, children may feel particularly ill at ease,” she added.

A message on the Johnson Park Elementary School website reported on the availability of Ms. Wilson’s district website message, adding that “we will be marshalling resources to help parents and staff members deal with inevitable questions that our children may ask (or may be too frightened to ask).”

Community-wide responses include an “Interfaith Gathering of Remembrance, Unity, and Hope” sponsored by the Princeton Clergy Association on Thursday, December 20, from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. on the Palmer Square Green in front of the Nassau Inn. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as they try to cope with their unimaginable losses,” said Clergy Association Treasurer Robert Moore, who is also head of the Princeton-based Coalition for Peace Action. “But let us do more than think and pray for them,” he added. “Let us remind our neighbors, friends, and families that gun violence in this nation is an epidemic and we must fight.”

Mercer County administration has also posted an online message about the shooting, noting that those who are “feeling particularly affected by this tragedy and would like to speak to someone about it ”may call Mercer County Human Services professionals Michele Madiou or Ann Dorocki, at (609) 989-6897.

At its final official meeting, Township Committee honored employees and volunteers for their help during this last year, and for their years of cumulated service.

Recognizing employees first, Mayor Chad Goerner observed that it had been a “challenging” year for them. “They underwent a certain amount of stress, and they stepped up to the challenge,” he said, referring to the unusual demands posed by the consolidation process.

Princeton University was also among the awardees on Monday evening, as Mayor Goerner presented Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristen Appleget with a “special proclamation” that recognized the University’s role in helping to supply emergency services during Hurricane Sandy. The proclamation also noted the University’s willingness to open Jadwin Gym to voters from seven districts on Election Day, when other polling places became unavailable due to the storm. The University was cited for providing “critically needed assistance that helped return normalcy to the Princeton community.”

Members of the Consolidation Commission and the Transition Task Force were also honored for their contributions. Reviewing the history of consolidation efforts in Princeton, Mr. Goerner said that a report prepared by the League of Women Voters in 1952 anticipated much of the language used in the most recent С and ultimately successful С effort. The 1952 report described how the Borough and the Township were no longer distinctly urban versus suburban communities, and how consolidation would achieve “first rate municipal services.”

Both Consolidation Commission Chair Anton Lahnston and Mayor-elect Liz Lempert thanked Mr. Goerner for his early and sustained support for consolidation.

Making a point of saying that they were not paid for with taxpayer dollars, Mr. Goerner presented gifts to each member of Township Committee.

Township Committee will gather once more on Thursday, December 27, at 10 a.m. to do some “housekeeping.”

The continuing saga of whether to establish a historic district in Princeton’s Morven neighborhood got no closer to a decision last week at a meeting of Borough Council. At the outset, Mayor Yina Moore said that, on the advice of the Borough’s legal counsel, no action would be taken. The matter will be taken up by the newly consolidated Council next year.

Previous to the December 11 meeting, neighborhood residents opposed to designating 51 properties bordered by Library Place, Hodge Road, and Bayard Lane as historic filed an injunction, which stopped the Council from voting on the matter. According to John Heilner, a resident in favor of the designation, the injunction was filed without informing proponents of the district or their attorney.

“The only people present at the injunction hearing were opponents’ attorney and the assistant Borough Attorney,” he wrote in an email following the meeting. “Proponents of the District were not informed when it was to be held, nor was our attorney invited to participate.”

Despite the lack of a vote, Mayor Moore invited the attorneys for both sides, as well as residents who live outside the perimeter of the proposed district, to offer comment. Lawyer Mark Solomon, representing the opponents, said that the proposed ordinance was defective because under National Register of Historic Places guidelines, a historic district designation should not proceed over the objection of a majority of the property owners within the district. But Frederick Raffeto, the attorney for the residents in favor of the designation, countered that National and State criteria are not relevant at the local level.

“National and State regulations are not the same as at the local level, so they don’t apply here,” he said. “The Federal and State register process is not part of the MLUL [Municipal Land Use Law].”

The battle over whether to designate the architecturally diverse neighborhood of grand homes in Princeton’s western section has been ongoing for more than six years. Those in favor say designation would protect the neighborhood’s architectural heritage and prevent existing houses from being torn down and replaced by those that do not blend into the existing fabric. Those opposed fear that designation would impose restrictions on making changes to the exteriors of their homes. Princeton currently has four historic districts.

Mr. Solomon called the situation “a wound in this neighborhood for six years” and “a sad story of missteps.” He also said that the move is opposed “by a strong majority of the residents.” Those in favor of the designation have argued that the number is actually evenly split among those for the designation and those against it.

Among the residents from outside the district who spoke at the meeting, most were in favor of the proposal. “Historic designation provides protection from the indiscriminate destruction of existing homes,” said Alexi Assmus. “This isn’t about politics,” said Claire Jacobus. “We are talking about the history of the community. We need stewardship, not ownership.”

Scott Sipprelle, who lives just outside the proposed district in the house once owned by Grover Cleveland, spoke against the designation. “Laws don’t make and preserve history. Laws don’t make and preserve homes,” he said. “People do. There is no debate that we want preservation. It’s a question of what is the best mechanism.”

December 12, 2012

A report by an environmental consulting firm concluding that the Witherspoon Street site vacated by the University Medical Center of Princeton shows no evidence of soil or groundwater contamination was challenged Monday night at a special meeting of the Regional Planning Board. The study, carried out by Sovereign Consulting of Cherry Hill, also says that underground storage tanks at the former hospital site are not a major concern.

But an expert witness for the group Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Development, questioned by attorney Aaron Kleinbaum, said that the “due diligence” study carried out by Sovereign was not sufficient. The report examined records of underground storage tanks and the possibility of a septic system located under the parking garage, as well as asbestos in the empty building and hazardous materials on the site.

Allowing the developer AvalonBay to go ahead with its plan for a 280-unit apartment complex on the site without determining whether a septic system lies beneath the garage С which the Sovereign firm believes was either removed during construction of the garage or, if it exists, is now dormant С would not be the safest way to proceed, said James Peterson, who is president of Princeton Geoscience. “Septic issues still concern me,” he said. “Due diligence and a comprehensive site remediation report are two different things, with a very different approach.”

Mr. Peterson said that while the best time to have determined the existence of the septic tank was during the first phase of the investigation, it is still possible to delve further into the issue using hospital drawings and records that might show where septic tanks lie. “The lack of knowledge of the location of septic systems seems to me important,” he said. “If they’re unable to find it, it’s not as if there’s no recourse. It’s very easy to conduct, and I would do that.”

The lengthy discussion, which included much comment and cross-examinations by AvalonBay senior vice president Ron Ladell, was the latest in a series that has the Planning Board trying to meet the December 15 deadline. Mr. Ladell has said the company is not willing to extend that deadline.

The next and final scheduled meeting on the proposal is tomorrow night. Should the Board decide it is not prepared to vote on the issue, it could be carried into 2013, which is when the current Board will be dissolved due to consolidation and a new one will be appointed. The Board’s attorney Gerald Muller has said that the Board can reject the proposal should AvalonBay refuse to grant an extension.

Board chair Wanda Gunning made time for members of the public who cannot attend tomorrow’s meeting to comment at Monday’s gathering. While much of the focus was on environmental issues, local residents also expressed their concerns about sustainability and design standards.

Architect Areta Pawlynsky drew enthusiastic applause for her brief power point presentation about the scope of the project. Showing the scale of the buildings as compared to existing houses in the neighborhood, she likened approval of the project as it stands to the famous and much maligned demolition of New York’s Penn Station in 1963. “This is not just an ordinary application,” she said. “This is our Penn Station moment.”

Harris Road resident Marco Gottardis, who has worked in hospital research laboratories, told the Board that standards today are much improved from those of the 1960’s and 1970’s. “There may be a contamination field that goes beyond the septic system,” he said, referring to waste from the hospital before stricter standards were in place.

Borough Council member Barbara Trelstad was the only citizen to speak in favor of the AvalonBay plan. “The hospital needs to sell the site now,” she said. “The chosen developer is before the Planning Board with a pliant application. It is smart growth. The questions raised tonight apply to any developer, and I think you need to bear that in mind,” adding that the project “provides affordable rental housing in our community.”

The Sovereign firm was hired last month to do an independent report on environmental documents related to the proposed complex. Kenneth Paul, a principal with the firm EcolScience, which AvalonBay hired to do its Phase 1 environmental report, testified that he is in full agreement with Sovereign’s conclusions. “Is there any evidence that the site is not suited [for the development]?,” Mr. Ladell asked him. Mr. Paul replied that there was not. “Are there any outstanding issues from an environmental point of view?,” Mr. Ladell continued. “There are not,” Mr. Paul said.

While the meeting was contentious at times, some who have issues with the AvalonBay plan came away feeling that some recognition of environmental concerns had been taken into account.

“Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods was pleased to see a thorough discussion at last night’s Planning Board meeting of what is the proper environmental remediation of the former hospital site before homes are built on it,” said Alexi Assmus, a member of the group, in an email. “We appreciate the public being given time to ask questions of the expert witnesses and applaud residents’ persistence in determining what testing has been performed to date, and their careful questioning of what the process will be to find possible contamination during construction. We thank AvalonBay for bringing their environmental experts to the evening meeting.”

Tomorrow night’s Planning Board meeting, at the Municipal Complex, begins at 7:30 p.m.

MEDICINE AND MEMORABILIA: Surrounded by a small section of his Brooklyn Dodgers collection, Dr. Carl C. Hoyler is preparing to pack it all up as he retires. The Princeton native, an internist, also counts the University of Pennsylvania and aviation among his varied interests, and both are represented on the walls of his soon to be vacated office on Witherspoon Street. (Photo by Lewis Bloom)

Carl C. Hoyler remembers when Route 1 had a speed limit of 35 and drivers sometimes had to stop to let cows from a dairy farm cross the road. That was back in the days when Princeton Medical Center was a small-town hospital and Dr. Hoyler, an internist, was one of the 120 or so physicians on staff.

“It was a small, county hospital, which was what I wanted,” he says, recalling his decision to practice in Princeton, his hometown, some 44 years ago. “Bigger is not better, at least in terms of a hospital. I’m sorry that it’s come to this — a big, mega-hospital. And that’s one of the reasons I’m retiring.”

Once the University Medical Center of Princeton added “at Plainsboro” to its name last May following its move to much expanded headquarters on Route 1, Dr. Hoyler knew it was time to close up shop. The 253 Witherspoon Street office building, which has housed his practice since 1969, is scheduled for demolition. His suite of offices, lined with photographs and memorabilia of his beloved Brooklyn Dodgers and his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, is slowly being dismantled.

“It actually feels very good,” Dr. Hoyler says of his pending retirement. “We have two grandchildren and one on the way, and there will be more time to visit them in California. But I’m really going to miss the patients. We’ve been sort of a family, and I’ve tried to make a supreme effort to get them to the right doctors. It’s very important.”

Most of Dr. Hoyler’s patients are senior citizens, some of whom have been with him since he started. “That was when Medicare just began,” he says. “Now close to 90 percent of them are on Medicare. They are very dear people. We’ve had a good run.”

Dr. Hoyler was five years old when his father, a physics professor at Lehigh University, accepted a job at RCA Labs and moved the family to Princeton. He went to elementary school in the building on Nassau Street that now houses Princeton University’s arts programs, and junior high at the old Quarry Street School, now the Waxwood Apartments. “That was a very important time in Princeton because of the integration that took place there in 1948,” he recalls. “Some of the best teachers I had were at that school.”

After graduating from Princeton High, Dr. Hoyler enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). He attended New York Medical College before returning to Penn for his residency, which he finished in 1969. He is currently the proud president of the class of 1959.

Dr. Hoyler knew, when he finished his training, that he wanted to come home to Princeton. “I always liked this town,” he says. “I was a townie. A lot of people on staff may have gone to Princeton University, but not many grew up here.” His first two associates were Marvin Blumenthal and Joel Feldscher [“another townie,” he says], and he remembers them fondly. “They were among the most brilliant men I ever met in my life,” he says.

As Dr. Hoyler’s  practice grew, so did his collection of Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia. “There’s nothing here after 1957,” he says of his walls of photographs, magazine covers, and other relics of the famed baseball team. The year 1957, when the Dodgers abandoned Brooklyn for Los Angeles, “was a dark period in my life,” he continues. “I lived and died with that team. I can remember every game the Dodgers played between 1947 and 1957. I began collecting as a kid, and this is only a small part of what I have. I’ll probably give it to [the Baseball Hall of Fame at] Cooperstown. It’s really one of a kind. I could spend hours discussing every picture in here.”

While he won’t be making his daily trips to the office anymore, Dr. Hoyler, who lives with his wife near Drumthwacket, will still be using his bicycle with bright yellow fenders to travel around town. “I got this at a hospital rummage sale several years ago,” he says. “If you’re riding around Princeton, you don’t need a fancy 25-speed. Mine is a three-speed and it’s fine. I don’t wear a helmet because I actually think it’s dangerous. You lose your peripheral
vision. But I have the yellow fenders as a concession to my wife, who was worried about my safety. So everyone can spot me.”

Dr. Hoyler leaves 253 Witherspoon Street with mixed feelings. “This building probably should have been torn down years ago,” he says. “It’s archaic. So I’ll shed no tears when it comes down. I refer to it as the dungeon. But there have been good times here. It’s been a nice scene for many years. I think I’ve seen the good of medicine in this town.”

AT THE UPDIKE FARMSTEAD: Celebrants at the recent dedication of the Sipprelle Unity Garden included (from left): Scott Sipprelle, Sonja Michaluk, Kristin Appleget, and Dudley Sipprelle

The reinstallation of a windmill at the Updike Farmstead was cause for celebration at a recent party hosted by The Historical Society of Princeton. Guests admired the handiwork of E&R Pumps and Windmills, a Bethel, Pennsylvania-based restorer, and viewed three new exhibitions in the farmhouse galleries, including early photographs of the windmill.

The Historical Society of Princeton purchased the six-acre Updike Farmstead from the estate of Stanley Updike in 2004. The original windmill was taken down in 2006 for safety reasons. Its recent restoration was underwritten by contributions from Steve and Treby Williams and Ann Lee Saunders Brown, and managed by architect Ronnie Bregenzer, who donated her time and services. Other contributors included Baxter Construction, and project engineer Harrison Hamnett. The pump house was refurbished by Sam Pirone.

“The windmill, which retains the original tank structure, is an iconic feature of the farmstead that will be the centerpiece for new environmental programs on site,” said Curator of Education Eve Mandel. These include the newly-dedicated Sipprelle Unity Garden.

The Unity Garden, which was made possible by a grant from Scott and Tracy Sipprelle, is now “at the core of education programs on health and wellness,” said Ms. Mandel. Some of the produce grown there is donated to area organizations; in October, for example, student volunteers from the Princeton Friends School harvested spring mix lettuce that was used in a Cornerstone Community Kitchen (CCK) dinner at the Princeton Methodist Church. More recently, guests at the windmill party pitched in with juice boxes and paper products that were donated to the CCK, which works in partnership with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.

“The Windmill Turns Slowly,” a 2005-2006 exhibition at the Society’s Bainbridge House location, featured photographs of the Homestead’s last working years, taken during the 1990s by Updike descendent Michael Johnson,

The history of the Updike farmstead dates back to 1890, when George Furman Updike and Mary Hartwick Updike settled on the site, which is located off Quaker Road.

Descending in the family line with George Furman Updike, Jr. and his wife Dora Drake Updike and their eight children, the farm was actively tilled until 1969, when grandsons Stanley and Sewell, sold the cropland to the Institute for Advanced Study with the understanding that the acreage would remain farmland. The Updike family retained six acres which included the farmhouse, barn, chicken coop, woodshed, corn crib, and orchard.

Through the 1990s, Stanley Updike and his sister, Sarah, maintained their farm routines. Stanley gathered eggs from the chicken coop, sprayed the peach trees, and split firewood. Sarah canned fruit, tended to the garden, and prepared their daily meals. The Historical Society of Princeton purchased the farm’s six acres from the family upon the deaths of Stanley and Sarah.

Updike Farmstead, which is currently open to the public one Saturday each month, will be open on December 15, from 12 to 4 p.m., when children will be invited to create a holiday card while parents browse the farmhouse galleries.

Quaker Road is open to Farmstead visitors from the Mercer Street side during open hours.

Other upcoming events at Bainbridge House include a December 28 commemoration of Woodrow Wilson’s birthday, 100 years after his election as president of the United States; a December 29 celebration of the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides) and her captain, William Bainbridge; and a “Battle of Princeton Walk” on January 5.

Bainbridge House is located at 158 Nassau Street. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. To register for a program, call (609) 921-6748 ext. 102, or email Visitors to Bainbridge House through December 14 are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy that will help a child celebrate the season.

For more information, visit, or call (609) 921-6748 x102.

A report by an environmental consulting firm concluding that the Witherspoon Street site vacated by the University Medical Center of Princeton shows no evidence of soil or groundwater contamination was challenged Monday night at a special meeting of the Regional Planning Board. The study, carried out by Sovereign Consulting of Cherry Hill, also says that underground storage tanks at the former hospital site are not a major concern.

But an expert witness for the group Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Development, questioned by attorney Aaron Kleinbaum, said that the “due diligence” study carried out by Sovereign was not sufficient. The report examined records of underground storage tanks and the possibility of a septic system located under the parking garage, as well as asbestos in the empty building and hazardous materials on the site.

Allowing the developer AvalonBay to go ahead with its plan for a 280-unit apartment complex on the site without determining whether a septic system lies beneath the garage — which the Sovereign firm believes was either removed during construction of the garage or, if it exists, is now dormant — would not be the safest way to proceed, said James Peterson, who is president of Princeton Geoscience. “Septic issues still concern me,” he said. “Due diligence and a comprehensive site remediation report are two different things, with a very different approach.”

Mr. Peterson said that while the best time to have determined the existence of the septic tank was during the first phase of the investigation, it is still possible to delve further into the issue using hospital drawings and records that might show where septic tanks lie. “The lack of knowledge of the location of septic systems seems to me important,” he said. “If they’re unable to   find it, it’s not as if there’s no recourse. It’s very easy to conduct, and I would do that.”

The lengthy discussion, which included much comment and cross-examinations by AvalonBay senior vice president Ron Ladell, was the latest in a series that has the Planning Board trying to meet the December 15 deadline. Mr. Ladell has said the company is not willing to extend that deadline.

The next and final scheduled meeting on the proposal is tomorrow night. Should the Board decide it is not prepared to vote on the issue, it could be carried into 2013, which is when the current Board will be dissolved due to consolidation and a new one will be appointed. The Board’s attorney Gerald Muller has said that the Board can reject the proposal should AvalonBay refuse to grant an extension.

Board chair Wanda Gunning made time for members of the public who cannot attend tomorrow’s meeting to comment at Monday’s gathering. While much of the focus was on environmental issues, local residents also expressed their concerns about sustainability and design standards.

Architect Areta Pawlynsky drew enthusiastic applause for her brief power point presentation about the scope of the project. Showing the scale of the buildings as compared to existing houses in the neighborhood, she likened approval of the project as it stands to the famous and much maligned demolition of New York’s Penn Station in 1963. “This is not just an ordinary application,” she said. “This is our Penn Station moment.”

Harris Road resident Marco Gottardis, who has worked in hospital research laboratories, told the Board that standards today are much improved from those of the 1960’s and 1970’s. “There may be a contamination field that goes beyond the septic system,” he said, referring to waste from the hospital before stricter standards were in place.

Borough Council member Barbara Trelstad was the only citizen to speak in favor of the AvalonBay plan. “The hospital needs to sell the site now,” she said. “The chosen developer is before the Planning Board with a pliant application. It is smart growth. The questions raised tonight apply to any developer, and I think you need to bear that in mind,” adding that the project “provides affordable rental housing in our community.”

The Sovereign firm was hired last month to do an independent report on environmental documents related to the proposed complex. Kenneth Paul, a principal with the firm EcolScience, which AvalonBay hired to do its Phase 1 environmental report, testified that he is in full agreement with Sovereign’s conclusions. “Is there any evidence that the site is not suited [for the development]?,” Mr. Ladell asked him. Mr. Paul replied that there was not. “Are there any outstanding issues from an environmental point of view?,” Mr. Ladell continued. “There are not,” Mr. Paul said.

While the meeting was contentious at times, some who have issues with the AvalonBay plan came away feeling that some recognition of environmental concerns had been taken into account.

“Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods was pleased to see a thorough discussion at last night’s Planning Board meeting of what is the proper environmental remediation of the former hospital site before homes are built on it,” said Alexi Assmus, a member of the group, in an email. “We appreciate the public being given time to ask questions of the expert witnesses and applaud residents’ persistence in determining what testing has been performed to date, and their careful questioning of what the process will be to find possible contamination during construction. We thank AvalonBay for bringing their environmental experts to the evening meeting.”

Tomorrow night’s Planning Board meeting, at the Municipal Complex, begins at 7:30 p.m.

Mayor-elect Liz Lempert and members of the new Princeton Council met on Friday morning in a closed session to discuss, Ms. Lempert said, “personnel matters.” Selecting a president for the governing body was presumably among the items on the agenda, though no final decision has been announced.

Ms. Lempert also reported that a “training meeting” was scheduled to take place this week. Transition Task Force attorney Bill Kearns would be present, she said, to “make sure everybody knows what all the details are in a borough form of government.”

Council members include current Township Committee members Bernie Miller and Lance Liverman; current Borough Council members Heather Howard, Jo Butler and Jenny Crumiller; and newcomer Patrick Simon, who has not held office before, but served on the Princeton Joint Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission; and the Information and Technology, and Finance Subcommittees of the Transition Task Force. Ms. Lempert is a Township resident. All seven are Democrats.

Speculation about who the Council president will be has included Mr. Miller, perhaps the most seasoned member of the newly created Council, and Ms. Howard. There has also been some suggestion that the president should be someone from Borough Council who has had experience with that form of government.

The new Princeton municipality will consist of a council governing body of six representatives and a mayor, all of whom are elected at-large. The mayor will serve a term of four years while the council members will be elected for three year terms. The mayor will not vote, but will preside over the body and break tie votes.

Because the mayor and Council have not officially assumed their respective offices, no voting can occur at any of these meetings.

In the new year, the new mayor, with the consent of Council, will be selecting members to serve on the municipality’s successor Boards, Committees, and Commissions (BCCs), with the highest priority placed on those BCCs governed by state law. In the meantime, the Transition Task Force’s Committees and Commissions Subcommittee has asked those interested in being on a committee to use the volunteer form available online at the Borough and Township websites, or to mail print copies that can be obtained at the Princeton Public Library or municipal clerks’ offices.

The next meeting of the mayor-elect and Council open to the public will be on Wednesday, December 12, at 5 p.m. in the main meeting room of Township Hall. Another open meeting will follow, in the same place, on Thursday, December 20, at 7 p.m.

The Center for Governmental Research (CGR), the Rochester-based, independent, nonprofit management consulting organization that helped guide Princeton’s consolidation and transition processes, has been retained by Hopewell Township in Mercer County to “conduct a strategic review of efficiency opportunities in its administrative functions and service delivery,” according to CGR spokesperson Vicki Brown. The project is expected to be completed mid-2013, and will cost approximately $70,400.

“I think their work is terrific, and they’re terrific to work with,” said Princeton Consolidation Commission Chair Anton Lahnston of his experiences working with CGR.

CGR President Joseph Stefko is project director and a senior consultant to the new project team, and CGR Senior Associate Scott Sittig is serving as project manager for the Hopewell initiative. Both Mr. Stefko and Mr. Sittig participated in the Princeton engagement.

Although no specific requests for recommendations were made, Mr. Lahnston recalled speaking with at least one elected official from Hopewell when he attended a Princeton Public Library open meeting on consolidation. He also remembered talking with Mr. Stefko about Hopewell.

“As I understand it, their work is focused on how to create some better opportunities for shared services,” Mr. Lahnston said. “It makes perfectly good sense to me. There are some obvious similarities with Princeton, and CGR has become familiar with this geographic area and some of the ‘inuenendos’ of the State’s Department of Community Affairs.”

“The Hopewell project is a different type of study from Princeton, in that it seeks to identify internal efficiency opportunities,” confirmed Ms. Brown. “It does not concern consolidation, but, in a general sense, the objectives are similar: reviewing operations, service and governance options in an effort to enhance quality, generate cost savings and/or improve the overall effectiveness of the Township’s operations and services to the community.”

The CGR/Hopewell project will involve a “comprehensive” review of existing municipal services and processes as a baseline for developing “a range of options for enhancing efficiency, both town-wide and within individual departments,” said Ms. Brown. Particular attention will paid to finding opportunities to reduce costs to the Township and taxpayers; free up resources that can be reallocated to other municipal and community priorities; and “enable service-level enhancements within the existing cost structure.”

Hopewell Township serves a growing population of 17,300 in a 58-square-mile area 40 miles northeast of Philadelphia. It is a full-service municipality, providing a range of services including police, public works, tax collection, court, and tax assessment. It was incorporated by the New Jersey Legislature in 1798.

Santa’s listening to the sweet nothings offered by Caroline Kinney, whose charms could melt a thousand snowmen. Children under 12 were invited to whisper holiday wishes in Santa’s ear at Morven Museum’s Cookies and Milk with Santa gathering. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

December 5, 2012

SUCCESS STORY: After participating in the Greater Donnelly Neighborhood Initiative, this smiling alumnus of the program was admitted to a selective high school military academy where he is class president. Shown with him are (from left) last years Service Auction Co-Chair Katie DeSalvo and GDI Board of Trustees members Joe Woodby and Princeton student Phil Hannam.

Most weekdays during the school year, a group of graduate students from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School spend late afternoons in Trenton with teenagers at a local church. As part of the Greater Donnelly Neighborhood Initiative, they help with homework, assist with recreational activities, and foster relationships with young urban residents whose lives are a far cry from those of their mentors on the leafy Princeton campus.

On Thursday, December 13 from 4:30 to 7 p.m., members of the Princeton community will have a chance to aid the program by attending an auction in its support. Held at the Wilson School’s Robertson Hall, the fundraiser is open to the public, with refreshments, entertainment, a silent auction, and a live auction.

“This is our biggest annual event, and the culmination of a year’s worth of service,” said Logan Clark, a second-year graduate student and the co-chair of the Graduate Student Government’s Community Service Committee at the Wilson School. “For years, the program relied on federal funding, but that has been phased out. So they really depend, in large part, on proceeds that come out of this auction for their annual operating budget.”

Last year, the auction raised $15,700. The non-profit Greater Donnelly Neighborhood Initiative grew out of a U.S. Department of Justice “weed and seed” anti-crime program begun in 2007. Students from the Wilson School have volunteered with the program since its inception.

Mr. Clark said he and his colleagues work on combating gang influences, helping students with reading and writing skills, and building relationships. “There is a core group of about 30 to 40 students who come in every day after school, and we’re their main support system,” he said. “We provide a safe haven for them, where they might otherwise be drawn into negative things.”

The Wilson School students are currently canvassing shopkeepers in Princeton and at local malls for donations of auction items. The students also offer their own services as auction items, ranging from cooking lessons and dance instruction to architectural tours of the campus. Last year, several stores donated goods, and students provided such prizes as catering, chauffeuring, and private language lessons.

Students and alumni from the Donnelly program will be on hand at the event. “They’ll be there to speak and perform,” said Mr. Clark, “and mostly to express their thanks.”

Robertson Hall is on the Princeton University campus at the corner of Washington Road and Prospect Street. Call Logan Clark at (609) 954-8614 for information.

Princeton public school children will be attending three additional days of school in 2013 — February 15, April 1, and June 20 — to make up for days lost during Hurricane Sandy.

In the event of more cancelled school days, the Board of Education has identified May 24, June 21, and June 24 as potential make up days.

In addition to approval of these dates, last week’s meeting of the Board of Education included a discussion of annual election dates. Offered the choice once before, the school board opted, by a five to four vote, to keep elections for new and returning school board members and budget approval in April. The Board’s discussion last week anticipated voting once again on the April-or-November question at its next meeting, on December 18. As they did before, members of the Board spoke to both sides of the issue.

Superintendent Judy Wilson offered some background on the question, noting that, for many decades, every public school district in New Jersey was required to hold April elections. Princeton was joined by about 70 other districts that kept April elections in 2012; she suggested that this year, “we may be the only district staying in April.”

By opting to move to the November general election Princeton would save about $40,000. The downside of that, according to some, is loss of the municipality’s ability to vote on the year’s proposed budget, and an overshadowing of educational concerns by other elections occurring at the same time. Ms. Wilson noted that only between nine and eleven percent of Princeton’s potential voters usually participate in the April election, and that the coming election will be the first time that Princeton voters will be voting as one entity, rather than electing Borough and Township representatives.

“I still believe that the public has a right to vote on any part of their tax bill, since we are up to 50 percent of the local property tax,” said Board President Tim Quinn, defending April elections. “It’s an exercise in democracy.”

Mr. Quinn pointed out that a particularly well-qualified candidate for the Montgomery school board was defeated in November because the excitement of the presidential election overshadowed an opportunity for the community to get to know her. Giving Perth Amboy as an example, Mr. Quinn also expressed concern about “the presence of outside groups” and “outside money” that have “tried to undo the action of duly elected board members.”

Noting that she is the last school board member to have been elected by the Borough, nine-year board veteran Rebecca Cox said that she would like to see the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) “look at each and every ballot and determine whether quality vs. quantity informs who is elected.” She suggested that being in a minority of districts still holding elections in April may make it difficult for Princeton to get the NJEA’s attention. Typically, she reported, the NJEA responds to arguments that November elections become “too political” by saying that most school boards are already “heavily political,” and being run by local machines. She said that NJEA regards the practice of staying in April as “quaint.”

Citing the cost savings and the fact that more voters turn out for the general election, Board member Dan Haughton spoke in favor of moving the election to November, “if we really want to encourage democracy,” while Afsheen Shamsi, spoke in favor of April elections, and focusing “solely on education issues.”

Mr. Haughton said that since recent budgets have been limited by a two-percent cap, the loss of the community’s ability to vote on the budget “won’t make a lot of difference; it’s pretty much a given what the budget is going to be.” Ms. Wilson and Ms. Cox countered by saying that maintaining the public budget vote (i.e., keeping the April election) is “risky,” because when a budget is voted down, it goes to the governing body. Dorothy Bedford seemed to support keeping an April election by suggesting that the Board wouldn’t “want the public to have the impression” that the Board is “cavalier” and budgets all the way up to the two percent cap. “We’re usually somewhat below,” she observed.

Ms. Cox worried, however,
that time spent promoting each year’s budget takes school officials away from time spent educating students.

Community input on the election question is encouraged, and comments can be made on school district’s website,

In other business at the Board meeting, Student Achievement Committee Chair Andrea Spall reported on Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder’s request that asterisks indicating levels of achievement be removed from students’ names on graduation programs.

With “day one” of consolidation fast approaching, the Princeton Transition Task Force hosted an informational “town hall” meeting on Monday evening at the Princeton Public Library.

Center for Governmental Research (CGR) President Joe Stefko presented an overview of the 100-plus page document described by Chairman Mark Freda as the Task Force’s “almost final” report. The current version, in its entirety, is available online at; a final report is due to be completed by the end of this year.

Mr. Stefko has been a project manager and consultant on consolidation and transition since 2010 (“I still love to come to Princeton,” he joked on Monday). The report, he noted, includes “a process overview” detailing the identification of priority tasks and subsequent recommendations by Task Force subcommittees.

The report will serve as “an informational resource” for residents, other stakeholders, and the new governing body as they go forward with consolidation, observed Mr. Stefko. “So much of Task Force’s work was focused on the immediate, but January 1 is just day one of a new era.” By detailing each subcommittee’s responsibilities, recommendations, and the processes through which they reached their recommendations, the report provides a basis for “what should be on participants’ radar screens” after January 1. Transition Task Force subcommittees included Boards, Commissions and Committees; Communications; Facilities and other Assets; Infrastructure and Operations; Informational Technology; Personnel; and Public Safety.

Future consolidation efforts by other communities also stand to profit from the report, suggested Mr. Tefko. “When they go through this process, there’s a lot that they can learn.”

A “Guide to Municipal Offices” distributed at the Monday meeting listed the offices that are, or will be, situated in both municipal buildings. Township Hall, which is identified in the brochure as “400 Witherspoon Street,” will house the mayor and Council; Clerk’s Office; Administrator’s Office; Finance Department; Police Department; Court and Violations Bureau; and Department of Engineering. Borough Hall, or “One Monument Drive,” will be home to the Health Department; Human Services; Affordable Housing; Department of Public Works and Infrastructure; Parking Operations; and an additional office for the mayor and Administration.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Administrator Bob Bruschi describing the move. “Most of the offices have been relocated and we’re a little ahead of where we anticipated we’d be. I have to say it’s gone amazingly well.” Updates on office locations are also available at the consolidation website.

The Township and Borough voted in favor on consolidation on November 8, 2011. The Transition Task Force was established by the two municipalities’ governing bodies in January, 2012. Consolidation will officially begin on January 1, 2013. A party marking this historic occasion, will follow an organizational meeting. Details of the day’s events have not yet been announced.

There will be a joint meeting of the Consolidation Commission and the Transition Task Force on Monday, December 17, at 7 p.m. in Township Hall.

It didn’t look like Chase Ealy was going to be able to help the Princeton High boys’ soccer team last week as it pursued the Group III state title.

The sophomore midfielder’s temperature spiked to 104 as he was hit with a viral illness and woke up in the hospital on Wednesday, the day PHS was facing Moorestown in the Group III state semis.

Ealy did get released and was a spectator that evening as PHS topped Moorestown 2-0 to earn its first trip to the state championship game since winning the title in 2009.

On Saturday afternoon, Ealy was in uniform as PHS took on defending state champion and undefeated Ramapo in the championship game at The College of New Jersey.

Looking pale and wan as he warmed up, Ealy was hoping to come off the bench. “I came into the game with the expectation of playing as much as coach would play me,” said Ealy.

“I couldn’t handle as much as I normally could but I was going to give it my all. I just did what I could. I couldn’t run as much as I usually do.”

With PHS trailing Ramapo 1-0 early in the second half, Ealy was subbed into the game and made an immediate impact. Using his speed and guile, Ealy corralled several balls in the offensive end for PHS.

Then with just under 18 minutes left in the half, Ealy danced the ball around a Ramapo defender and launched a cross that Scott Bechler headed home to knot the game at 1-1.

“I knew that I had boys in the box that I can always look for,” recalled Ealy. “As long as I toss up an accurate ball, I know I will have someone on the post and they were there for me.”

At the other end of the cross, senior defender Bechler finally converted on a move he has been trying for a while.

“All year I have been crashing back post hoping that one is going to slip through and finally it did,” said Bechler.

The Little Tigers kept up the heat after the tally, generating several chances, including a rocket by Bechler that was just fisted over the crossbar by Ramapo goalie Will Shiel, as the game escalated into a pulsating hand-to-hand battle with the Raiders hanging on for dear life as PHS threw everything it could at them.

The combatants ended up knotted at 1-1 after regulation play and 20 minutes of overtime with the teams being crowned as co-champions under NJSIAA rules.

While Bechler and his teammates desperately wanted the title for themselves, they were proud of their achievement as they ended the season at 18-3-1.

“No one likes to share;” Zach [Halliday] said before overtime, “I never liked sharing since I was a kid and I am not about to start sharing now,” said Bechler with a laugh.

“Looking back on it, we are kind of sorry right now because we thought we could have won it. I guess they could have won it too so sharing is alright.”

Early on it looked like Ramapo was going to make it two straight titles as it took a 1-0 lead with 23:09 left in the first half, displaying some imperious form in the process.

Even though PHS trailed 1-0 at intermission, the team was confident it could pull out the title.

“I think we were really confident coming off halftime,” said Ealy. “We have come back from being down before. We know if we get our heads in it, we can win every game. After working all season, we really weren’t going to let this game go.”

Ealy provided some sparkling work once he was inserted into the contest. “I just knew I could really help the guys,” said Ealy.

“I love to push the ball forward and that’s what we strive to do on attack. I came in and I just tried to morally pick everybody up as much as I could. They were already there, physically and mentally.”

PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe thought his team gave its all, mentally and physically.

“It was two good teams, I thought we really had the better in terms of possession, a higher percentage of possession, and certainly a lot more quality chances during the run of play,” said Sutcliffe, whose team outshot Ramapo 17-4 on the day.

“Ramapo had one goal off of a restart, I think most of their top chances came from restarts. I just thought that our urgency and our experience and our quality just came through in the second half.”

Sutcliffe lauded the special urgency that Ealy displayed as he made the most of his limited minutes.

“He was in the hospital for three days and he found a way to recover,” said Sut-cliffe.

“He was with us at the state semifinal on Wednesday evening with none of us ever thinking he would be back on this season. He turned up at practice the other day and he felt pretty good. We inserted him into training yesterday, kept a close eye on him, and he was fantastic. So we felt if we can get him on for 10-to-15 minutes, he could make a difference and he did. What a contribution with his commitment and his quality.”

Senior defender Bechler displayed his special qualities all day long. “Throughout the 100 minutes, Scott didn’t make a mistake,” maintained Sutcliffe.

“Certainly to tie the game with a header is fantastic. Just having the  wherewithal to be on the other end of that delivery from Chase and he hit it with such authority. And then he could have won the game with that volley, credit to Ramapo’s keeper for just pulling one out of his pocket.”

Although PHS didn’t win the game, Sutcliffe is happy to have a piece of the title in his pocket.

“My brother’s team Moorestown High had a share in 2000 and in 1997 they won it; it was just a little different but it is still a state championship,” said Sutcliffe, whose team topped brother Mike Sutcliffe and his Moorestown side 2-0 in the Group III semis on Wednesday evening to punch its ticket to the title game.

“It is still a state championship and I am so proud of our guys. It has been a really demanding season with the hurricane and the injuries and the postseason. The postseason tournament was very demanding on all of us. I am so proud of them. There are 12 seniors and they gave us everything we had.”

Sutcliffe is not surprised that his players were able to meet those demands.

“First of all, the whole team is basically full-time soccer players,” said Sutcliffe, who has been guiding the PHS program for 17 years.

“It is in their blood, they love it. They are fortunate enough to grow up in a great soccer environment. They are so passionate about the Princeton shirt. These seniors when they were freshmen, they were here and we won it too. With that said, they tried to just make their mark. Beyond that, off the field, they are all very close. I think that goes a long way for them.”

Bechler, who didn’t have a shirt for the title game in 2009 as a freshman,     enjoyed making his way back to the championship summit.

“I am playing with all of my best friends; I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out,” said Bechler.

“I was on the team as a freshman. I was rostered but I didn’t have a jersey so I was over in the corner playing some juggling with the other kids who weren’t playing. I was wearing Princeton warm-ups. Ever since that year, I was thinking if I was a little bit better I could have had that ring. It has always been about getting one of my own and now I finally have the chance.”

For Ealy, who moved to the area from South Carolina this summer, getting the chance to be part of the PHS team has been special.

“I would tell you that it is the legacy; it is the history in the school and the soccer,” said Ealy, reflecting on the qualities that set the program apart. “You want to represent it and make every last wearer of the shirt proud.”

And by overcoming illness to help PHS earn a title, Ealy certainly did his shirt proud.

Arguments for and against Princeton University’s plan to move the Dinky station as part of its $300 million Arts and Transit plan continued at a meeting of the Regional Planning Board last Thursday. The board is hoping to wrap up discussions of the final site plan for the project before consolidation goes into effect on January 1.

Opposition has been expressed not so much for the plan itself, which would bring a complex of performance, rehearsal, and other spaces to the campus, but for the relocation of the train station some 480 feet south of its present location. The Lewis Center for the Arts project would turn the existing station buildings, opposite McCarter Theatre, into a restaurant and cafe.

Attorney Bruce Afran, who represents a group of citizens opposed to the move, spent much of the meeting questioning officials about such issues as pedestrian safety and traffic impact. The opposition maintains that the University does not have the legal right to move the station because of an easement that allows public transportation access over its land, and that the plans for pedestrian crossings in the area are unsafe.

But Board member Peter Madison said it was not the Board’s job to rule on those points. “We have an application here that is in full compliance with the legal zoning,” he said. “If it is, I don’t see that I have an alternative to turning this application down.” Mr. Afran disagreed, saying the Board was not limited to the question of zoning compliance, and could deny approval if they feel public safety is at risk.

Among those testifying against the proposal were planner and University transportation professor Alain Kornhauser and local architect Michael Landau. Mr. Kornhauser delivered a power point presentation in which he said the project could proceed without moving the Dinky terminus. “Princeton University can even extend Blair Walk without moving the Dinky station or the tracks,” he said, adding that traffic flow and pedestrian safety would be compromised by the proposed plan.

Mr. Landau said that the design for the new Dinky station by architect Rick Joy keeps it “hidden from the public.” He cited New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to give in to public pressure and cancel the New York Marathon after Hurricane Sandy as an example to be followed. “Why can’t we accommodate the public?” he asked, saying it wasn’t too late for changes to be made to the Lewis Center plan.

Earlier in the meeting, University Secretary and Vice-President Bob Durkee took issue with statements made at the previous Planning Board meeting by a member of the public. “We were chastised for not listening to the community,” he said. “I can tell you that we have listened … and the design reflects that.” Mr. Durkee added that other proposals were studied in detail, and that the project is consistent with the master plan.

Members of the public testifying in favor of the project included Peter Crowley, president and CEO of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce; David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management; and former Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand. “The plan you have before you complies with recently adopted zoning,” she said. “I think it is your obligation to move ahead.”

There will be further opportunity for public comment at the Planning Board meeting scheduled for December 19, at which there is expected to be a vote on whether to approve the plan.

Members of the Princeton High boys’ soccer team celebrate after tying Ramapo 1-1 in the Group III state championship game last Saturday at The College of New Jersey to earn a share of the title. PHS ended the season with an 18-3-1 record as it earned its first state crown since 2009. For more details on the game, see the front page story as well as pages 40 and 41. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

November 28, 2012

EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION: Saint Paul Catholic School was among the winners of this year’s National Blue Ribbon award. At a recent celebration, Principal Ryen Killeen (left) accepted the award from New Jersey Department of Education representative Emily MacKinnon. (Photo by Frank DiGiovanni.)

Saint Paul Catholic School (SPS) of Princeton boasts several distinctions. It is the oldest Catholic school in Mercer County, and the oldest private elementary school in Princeton. Founded in 1880 by the Sisters of Mercy of Watchung, it is Princeton’s first and only coed Catholic school.

The 350-student, K-9 grade school recently distinguished itself in another way, by winning a 2012 “Blue Ribbon of Excellence” award from the Department of Education.

The Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Program was created in 1982 to “identify and recognize outstanding public and private schools across the United States of America.” The award is the highest prize the Department of Education can confer. To qualify, private schools like St. Paul’s, must rank in the top ten percent of the nation; public schools must rank in the top ten percent in the state. In Princeton, the only other school to have won the award was the Princeton Charter School, in 2004. Nationwide, this year’s winners include 216 public schools, and 50 private schools. All of the schools were recognized by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at a recent ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” said Mr. Duncan at the ceremony. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

At a joyful ceremony of its own last week, the Saint Paul’s community, which welcomes students of all faiths, gathered to celebrate its success. A bagpiper played as everyone filed into Saint Paul’s Church.

In his opening remarks, Reverend Monsignor Joseph N. Rosie noted that all the learning that goes on at SPS — not just the religious training — are means of “learning about God’s wonder.” A video presentation showed SPS students at work, at play, and at prayer. Most recently, students participated in a collection that sent five vans filled with supplies to aid Hurricane Sandy victims.

In addition to the Blue Ribbon award, SPS has had first- and second-place wins for the last 12 years in an area-wide “scholarly olympics.”

“From whom much is given, much is expected,” observed Superintendent of Catholic Schools JoAnn Tier, invoking Matthew 20: 1-16. Mr. Duncan’s observation that “exemplary schools don’t just happen; they happen by design,” was also cited that morning.

DANCING WITH A PRO: Tristan MacManus, shown here with fellow “Dancing With the Stars” cast member Chelsie Hightower, chose the Princeton Dance and Theatre Studio in Forrestal Village as the location for an upcoming fundraiser appearance for his favorite charity, Grassroot Soccer.

Local fans of the hit TV show Dancing With the Stars will soon have a chance to spend an evening with one of the show’s professional dancers. Tristan MacManus, the handsome Irishman who has waltzed with such “stars” as Gladys

Knight, Nancy Grace, and Pamela Anderson, will appear on January 26 at Princeton Dance and Theatre Studio (PDT) in Forrestal Village.

The one-night-only event, which is limited to 90 participants, is a fundraiser for Mr. MacManus’s charity Grassroot Soccer, which uses a soccer-based curriculum to educate children in Africa about AIDS. The choice of PDT as a venue came about by chance. The studio, which emphasizes ballet but also offers Broadway dance, hip hop, and other forms, has no connection to Mr. MacManus or Dancing With the Stars, a show that pairs professional dancers with celebrities in a competition; the current season ended last night.

But the mother of two former PDT students happened to be involved with DublinDown330, an organization that works with Grassroot Soccer to raise money and awareness. Donor Jeanne Richman was approached by the charity to help find a location for Mr. MacManus’s fundraiser, and she immediately thought of PDT.

“They were looking for a place on the east coast where Tristan could have a night to meet some of the people who have donated to the charity,” she said. “They asked me about Princeton, and I told them about PDT. It was a logical place. Tristan was interested when he looked at the faculty, because of its diversity. It’s not just ballet, it’s also about Broadway dance, and he loves anything that has to do with Broadway.”

Growing up in Ireland, Mr. MacManus, now 30, divided his energies between his two passions: soccer and dancing. “At one point he gave up dance for soccer,” said Ms. Richman, who has gotten to know the dancer through interviews she has done with him for his website. “He went back to dance, but he loves soccer and he has devoted a lot of time to raising money for the charity, which supports children in Africa and AIDS-prevention by using soccer in the curriculum.”

The initial goal was to raise $10,000 for a tournament
to be played in Los Angeles, where Mr. MacManus spends time while working on Dancing With the Stars. Some $19,000 has been raised so far, and the bar has been reset at $100,000, according to the website

Among the biggest fundraisers so far was a raffle for a dance lesson with Mr. MacManus. Some 800 people entered. The Princeton event is a way for the dancer to meet some of his supporters — the 799 who didn’t win the raffle, and then some. “He wanted to find a way to thank his fans,” said Ms. Richman, “not just for the charity project, but also for everything through his career, including Dancing With the Stars. He wants people to feel included.”

PDT’s size limits the number of participants in the event, but that’s part of the plan. “We wanted small,” Ms. Richman said. “It’s a meet and greet, with a lot of personal interaction. He won’t perform, but we’re trying to talk him into maybe doing a dance lesson earlier in the day.”

Ms. Richman is expecting a full house. Already, one “huge fan” of Mr. MacManus is flying in from
Finland for the event. Others, from Ohio, North Carolina, and other locations, have expressed an interest. “He’s very popular and has huge support on social media, but he wants everyone, including people who don’t use websites or Twitter, to be included,” she said.

“I am very excited about my January 26 Dublin-Down330 fundraiser that is being hosted by the very kind and gracious people at Princeton Dance and Theater,” Mr. MacManus said in a printed statement. “For nearly a year, I have worked diligently to raise awareness and support for Grassroot Soccer, a charity whose vision is ‘A world mobilized through soccer to create an AIDS-free generation.’ …. I am as passionate about football [soccer] as I am about dance …. This event is a chance for me to meet many of my very generous fans while continuing the next phase of our fund-raising. I am looking forward to being in Princeton and meeting many of you.“

Tickets are available at For more information, visit

Edher Osrio of Princeton, an emergency room worker at the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, has been accused of forcing a female patient to improperly touch him and, in a separate incident, of sexually assaulting another female patient. The alleged contact happened on November 23 with a 60-year-old female patient, while the alleged assault occurred with a 36-year-old female patient in June 2012.

The following statements from Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) are in response to questions about the ongoing investigation involving PHCS employee, Edher Osorio, and about Mr. Osorio’s return to work after he was the subject of a criminal investigation that was conducted earlier this year. We are providing these statements in response to those inquiries. In June of 2012, a patient complained that a PHCS employee had inappropriate sexual contact with her. The Plainsboro police and the Middlesex County Sex Crimes Unit conducted a thorough investigation and did not find a reason to charge the employee with a crime. The employee was an employee in good standing at that time. As is our practice, we had conducted a thorough pre-employment reference check and criminal background check, and he had passed both. At the time of the investigation, the employee had no record of criminal conduct or of patient complaints and had not been charged with a crime. He was allowed to return to work when the investigation was completed. PHCS is fully cooperating with the police investigation, and are unable to comment on the case.

Mr. Osorio is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Anyone with information that may be relevant is asked to call Investigator Terpanick of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3600, or Detective McElrath of the Plainsboro Police Department at (609) 799-2333.

They are forbidden by law to take official action until January 1. But the new Princeton Council, headed by Mayor-elect Liz Lempert, held its first preliminary meeting Monday to get a head start on what is sure to be a busy schedule once consolidation takes effect January 1.

“What we’re doing here is getting organized so we can hit the ground running on January 1,” said Ms. Lempert. While no voting was permitted, there was “a lot of housekeeping” to attend to, she added. The six members of the newly elected Council, all Democrats, were in attendance. Seated around a table, instead of on the dais, were Jenny Crumiller, Jo Butler, and Heather Howard, who are part of the current Borough Council, along with Lance Liverman and Bernie Miller, who come from Township Committee. The two governing bodies officially become one on the first day of 2013.

Chief among the topics at this preliminary meeting was trash and food waste collection. Borough residents currently have their trash picked up once a week, while Township residents use other services. Once consolidation takes effect, Township residents can either have their refuse picked up by the municipality or continue to contract privately.

The Borough’s current contract expires February 1, and bids are due in by December 6. But there will be no lapse in services. “We will be ready for residential pickup,” said Bob Bruschi, the consolidated government administrator. “We will do two mass mailings [with information] and some of it is already on the website. But we will hold the details, like when specific trash days are going to be, until we see who the vendor is going to be.”

Ms. Lempert added that Township residents who want to participate in the program must cancel their private services, if they have them, as of January 1. There will be no change in the Borough’s refuse collection.

The residential Curbside Food Waste Program currently counts about 430 Township and Borough residents as participants. The program sends food waste to a compost pile instead of a landfill and costs $240 per year per household. A new two-year proposal would continue the program at about $37 to $59 per household.

Mr. Miller asked Janet Pellichero, who is Princeton Township’s Recycling Coordinator, why more people aren’t participating in the current program. “The main issue is cost,” she said, citing the $20 a month required. The topic was to be taken up in more detail at last night’s meeting of Borough Council.

Other topics at the meeting included training and goal-setting. Ms. Lempert said she hopes to have at least one goal-setting session that would be open to members of the public. Ms. Lempert intends to hold a few more of these unofficial gatherings of the new Council before the year’s end. The next one is December 3 at 5 p.m., in the municipal complex.

The Transition Task Force’s Committees and Commissions Subcommittee met on Monday morning to discuss “filling out the complement” of committee members who will serve when consolidation becomes official on January 1, 2013.

All Boards, Commissions, and Committees for both Princeton Borough and Township will cease to exist as of December 31. In practical terms, this means all terms of office will end on that day. In the new year, the new mayor, with the consent of Council, will be selecting new members to serve on the successor Boards, Committees, and Commissions (BCCs), with the highest priority placed on those BCCs governed by state law.

“I’m encouraged,” said subcommittee member Hendricks Davis of the number of responses to the initial call for volunteers. He added, however, that “not every single seat in every single committee will be filled on January 1. The door to the stable has not been closed, and there is a continued need to reach out to people and encourage participation.”

Approximately 180 people have come forward so far; over 200 positions need to be filled. Mr. Hendricks and the other subcommittee members in attendance at Monday’s meeting, Wanda Gunning, Bernie Miller, and Gary Patteson, agreed that it is considered good practice to have a larger cadre of potential volunteers than will be needed. It was also agreed that municipal lawyers will offer guidance to committees that have not yet reached their full complement.

Mayor-elect Liz Lempert has reportedly suggested that there be “a table” offering BCC applications and information at the January 1 organizational meeting. The subcommittee is hoping that the historic nature of the meeting that day will draw a large audience, and that those who haven’t already volunteered will be moved to do so.

Until then, the volunteer form for serving is on both the Borough and Township websites and can be completed online. Hard copies of the application form are available in the Clerk’s Office at either the Borough or Township, and the Public Library. These should be submitted to Township Municipal Clerk Linda McDermott, 400 Witherspoon Street, Princeton, N.J. 08540. Questions may also be directed to Ms. McDermott at (609) 924-5704.

Volunteering for a committee does not in any way ensure that a person will become a member. Qualifications are important, and, in some instances, committee members are required to specialize or have certification in areas like engineering, medicine, or architecture. This is particularly true of some of the state-mandated BCCs, which include the Planning Board, the Construction Board of Appeals, the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Historic Preservation, the Board of Health, Human Services, and the Library Board. It was noted that Princeton-based architects are sometimes reluctant to serve on the Planning Board because of the need to recuse themselves from certain cases.

In their applications, prospective volunteers may indicate their first, second, and third choice of committees, boards, or commissions, and may serve on more than one.

Mr. Patteson suggested that there was “no conclusion to be drawn” from the response so far, except that “we have to go back and ask people.” Ms. Gunning and Mr. Miller agreed that it would be good to remind current committee members about this opportunity to continue serving the community.