January 29, 2014

The eighth annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival (PEFF) opens this Thursday, January 30 at 7 p.m. with Thin Ice: The Inside Story of Climate Science, a film that was prompted by recent attacks on climate science. Filmmakers Simon Lamb and David Sington set out to discover the truth of the matter. They followed scientific researchers in the Arctic, Antarctic, Southern Ocean, New Zealand, Europe, and the United States for over three years to produce a portrait of a global community striving to understand the planet’s changing climate.

As with many of the festival screenings, Thin Ice will be followed by a discussion informed by local scientists, in this case, Elisabeth Sikes of the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers, Anthony Broccoli of the Rutgers Climate Institute, and others.

This year’s festival features more than 25 films, including several shorts by students. Programs for children and other special events are designed to bring people together on issues that are both local and global.

“Everyone who attends is excited to be a part of it and it’s wonderful to see audiences so engaged, leaning forward, and really paying attention. Sometimes there is utter silence, sometimes audible gasps, and each screening usually ends in loud applause,” said library programming assistant Kim Dorman.

None of this, of course, comes about by accident. The films are carefully selected. Ms. Dorman and Festival Director Susan Conlon have viewed the films many times over.

“This year’s theme is ‘risk,’ with stories of individual acts of courage,” said Ms. Conlon, who founded the festival in 2006 (the first event took place in January 2007).

“And what all of us ‘risk’ by not taking action,” added Ms. Dorman.

One title to explore action and inaction is Bidder 70, which screens Friday, January 31, at 7 p.m. It chronicles a University of Utah student’s effort to save 22,000 acres of pristine land at the risk of imprisonment for his act of civil disobedience. Beth and George Gage, who produced and directed the film, will be on hand to discuss their work.

The “risk” theme is also evident in The Crash Reel, by Lucy Walker, Friday, February 7, at 7 p.m., about U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and the irresistible appeal of extreme sports. During the run up to the 2010 Olympics, Mr. Pearce went into a coma. Nonetheless, he was drawn back to the sport. The film is shortlisted for an Academy Award this year.

“It’s not that we pick a theme and then search for films,” explained Ms. Conlon. “In fact, the opposite is true, we pick exceptional films and often find that there’s some common theme that develops. There are so many good films out there, and The Crash Reel is one of them.”

According to Ms Dorman, the festival’s staff “ups the ante” every year in an effort to make each festival better than the one before. The most challenging and indeed the most crucial part, according to Ms. Conlon, is finding films that people want to see.

Bringing filmmakers in to enrich the experience is another aspect that draws people back year after year. This year, more filmmakers will participate in question and answer sessions than ever before. “Watching the film with the people who made it right there in the room with you, engages you in a deeper way,” said Ms. Conlon. “And this community has a real appreciation for good filmmaking and good storytelling, so the filmmakers get a lot out of being here as well.”

Last year, the event was attended by over 4,000 people; about 5,000 are expected this year. For those concerned about the environment, it has become a tradition, a pilgrimage of sorts, at the very start of the New Year, generally a time of assessment and resolution.

“We’re pleased that the event has become a winter tradition,” said Library Director Leslie Burger, who thanked sponsors Church & Dwight Co. Inc., The Whole Earth Center of Princeton, the Friends of the Princeton Public Library, the Princeton Education Foundation and the Terra Momo Restaurant Group, in her weekly email letter, for helping to keep all PEFF screenings free.

As in past years, the event will be held over two consecutive four-day weekends, Thursday through Monday, January 30 to February 2 and February 6 to 9.

In between screenings there will be related events such as Sustainable Princeton’s Great Ideas Breakfast Friday, January 31, from 8:30 to 10 a.m., with “lightning talks” on “Sustainability in the Princeton Community, 2020 and a free, zero-waste breakfast with Fair Trade foods and beverages. The perennially popular Wallaby Tales brings wildlife educator Travis Gale and his live animals back to the library on Saturday, February 1, at 10 a.m.

Other highlights include Allison Argo’s Parrot Confidential on Friday, January 31, at 4 p.m. and Jeremy Seifert’s GMO OMG on Saturday, February 1, at 7 p.m. In the first of these, a parrot named Lou is abandoned in a foreclosed home, one of thousands of these quirky and highly intelligent birds in need of rescue. Local environmentalist Charles Leck, a retired professor of ecological sciences at Rutgers University will speak in conjunction with this film.

GMO OMG explores the corporate takeover of plant seeds. For gardeners and anyone interested in the source of their food and the global food system, this film’s examination of unknown health and environmental risks, chemical toxins, and food monopoly is a must-see.

One other film that is sure to incite discussion, is Tiny: A Story About Living Small on Friday, February 7, at 4 p.m. Produced and directed by Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith, it documents the movement for tiny homes that would fit into an average parking space and are often built on wheels to bypass building codes and zoning laws. The average size of new homes in America almost doubled from 1970 to 2010, and this film looks at six tiny homes and will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.

Screeings will be held in the Community Room of the Princeton Public Library unless noted otherwise. For more information, visit: http://community.princeton
library.org/peff/schedule/.

 

Just after midnight on February 2, 1946, Princeton Borough policeman Walter B. Harris was leaving a social club near his John Street home to get ready for his shift when he heard the sound of gunfire. According to newspaper accounts at the time, the 31-year-old did what any good officer would do С he ran back to the club. Attempting to stop three men, one of whom had fired a shot during an altercation, Mr. Harris was hit in the head with the butt of a gun, and then shot in the abdomen. He died at Princeton Hospital 30 minutes later.

It has taken 68 years, but Officer Harris’s valiant efforts have been officially recognized. At the meeting of Princeton Council Monday night, Mr. Harris’s two daughters and other family members were on hand to hear Mayor Liz Lempert read a proclamation naming February 2, 2014 as Officer Walter Harris Day. On Sunday, flags at the Municipal Building will fly at half-mast, and all police personnel on duty will drape their badges with black tape.

“We’re hoping to honor him every year, and we hope to get a monument to honor him in the municipal complex,” said Sergeant Geoff Maurer, earlier in the day. Mr. Maurer and Officer Chris King were instrumental in gaining recognition for Mr. Harris. Mr. Maurer began researching the late officer after consolidation of the Borough and Township police departments last year. There is a monument to fallen Township policeman Billie Ellis, who died in the line of duty in 1955, outside the Municipal Building. Mr. Maurer, knowing of Mr. Harris’s actions, thought the Borough officer deserved the same recognition.

Newspaper accounts reveal that three men from the Bronx, in Princeton to visit a relative, were involved in the incident after one of them, 19-year-old Norman L. Cross, made unwelcome advances to a woman in the club. Mr. Cross threatened to kill the woman and shoot up the club when Mr. Harris intervened and was killed. The case was tried in Mercer County court, and Mr. Cross was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. His brother Milton Cross, 20, was convicted of manslaughter and got eight to ten years. The third man, Earl Patterson, was acquitted.

Mr. Harris had been on the Princeton Auxiliary Police before joining the Borough force, serving just over two years as an officer before his death. He left behind a wife, Florence, and two small daughters, three-year-old Florence and six-year-old Monetta. Both were on hand, along with children, grandchildren, a sister, a cousin, and other relatives, to hear Mayor Lempert read the proclamation.

“Whereas, Officer Harris has been honored by having his name placed on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. among the names of officers from all over the United States who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and well-being of others,” a section of the proclamation reads, “Now, therefore, I, Liz Lempert, Mayor of Princeton, and on behalf of Princeton Council, do hereby proclaim February 2, 2014 as Officer Walter Harris Day.”

“We felt it was important as we came together as one agency to honor any officers who fell in the line of duty,” Mr. Maurer said earlier in the day. “Fortunately, we have had only two, and they both deserve to be recognized.”

Mr. Maurer and Mr. King are planning to honor Mr. Harris further, along with Billie Ellis, when they ride in the Police Unity Tour to Washington, D.C. in May.

 

January 22, 2014
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FROM KILN TO KITCHEN: The artistry of potter John Shedd, left, and Mistral restaurant chef Ben Nerenhausen come together when dishes prepared by Mr. Nerenhausen are served on hand-crafted ceramics by Mr. Shedd, whose unique designs have been specially created for use in the Witherspoon Street restaurant. The full range of Mr. Shedd’s work can be viewed at www.johnshedddesigns.com. (Photo by Steven Haase, GrowthAgents, Hopewell)

Art potter John Shedd has found a perfect niche working in collaboration with restauranteurs and chefs specializing in locally sourced artisanal fare. It’s an arrangement that brings together hand-crafted ceramics with culinary creations.

Restaurants Mistral, elements, and Tre Piani are among those using Mr. Shedd’s unique serving pieces for their customers.

“Scott Anderson [who owns both Mistral and elements] came by my studio about three years ago and commissioned some sushi trays. We had known each other since Scott’s days at the Ryland Inn and when he opened elements in Princeton he commissioned work from me. It all developed from there,” said Mr. Shedd last week at Mistral.

“It’s tremendous working with Scott and with other local chefs,” said Mr. Shedd, who clearly relishes the challenge of fulfilling a demand for small editions of unique items designed to compliment rather than compete with a chef’s culinary
creations.

Sometimes a request will take the potter in new directions as when Mr. Anderson asked for a bowl that would look like a rock. “I had three weeks to come up with a design, carve a model from soapstone and then make about 120 pieces,” recalled Mr. Shedd. “It was for an event and each of the 80 dinner guests took a bowl home with them, that was a very nice touch.”

Mistral offers small plates using fresh local fare. Chef Ben Nerenhausen’s menu has been described as “varied and inventive.”

“I’ve been working with Mistral for some time now and I love working with Ben,” said the potter of the restaurant where the dishes are inspired by many cultures including Mediterranean, Asian and regional American. “Our style is organic and distinctive and as far from cookie cutter as you can get,” said Mr. Nerenhausen. “We prepare unique dishes and, since people eat first with their eyes, we recognize the importance of presentation. John is able to provide us with serving plates, platters, and bowls in the different shapes and sizes we need. The pieces he creates evoke dishes such as these red and yellow beets on this earthern plate that is perfectly rustic, almost torn from the earth,” he said, referencing a rectangular platter with a deep brown red glaze on which rested a selection of beets and spoonfuls of creme fraiche. The presentation made the humble root vegetable look ravishing as well as scrumptious.

“It’s fun to have someone with a definite idea of what they want,” said Mr. Shedd. “The reciprocal feedback forms a loop which is very satisfying and it’s wonderful to see an application for what I do.”

Working for chefs is not new to the potter who has, in the past, produced items for the then chef at Jasna Polana. In addition to dinnerware, he creates serving pieces and does decorative tile work (including Mistral’s signature design of a wind-blown tree). “I much prefer this to anything else that I do,” he said, adding that there is also “something special about working with a small enterprise, not too big, not too small, hands-on and personal. People who have eaten in the restaurants notice the way their food is served. They often ask about the plates and then come to the gallery to purchase items for their own tables.”

The potter’s wife Sloane Browning is a decorative painter who shares her husband’s interest in glazes. The couple live in Griggstown not far from the gallery/studio.

Born in Rockford, Illinois, Mr. Shedd came to New Jersey by way of New Mexico and South Carolina. He settled in the Princeton area in 1979 and opened his Rocky Hill studio that year in a 200-year-old converted mill near the Delaware and Raritan Canal. The building was once a gristmill and dates back to the early 1700s. It is now part of the Rocky Hill Historic Preservation District.

Having grown up on a farm, Mr. Shedd has always felt close to the earth. But he broke from family tradition and discovered a talent for working with the earth in a different way when he took a ceramics class as a student at Rockford College. After receiving a BFA in ceramics, he went onto graduate work at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, receiving an MFA in ceramics in 1977. Since then, his work has been featured in many individual and group shows and exhibited in shops and galleries nationwide

The potter/artist believes that art and culture should be accessible to all in everyday life. Exploring glazes and ceramic surface decoration has captivated his
interest for more than 30 years. It is work that rewards in terms of artistic honesty, or as Mr. Shedd puts it: “the honest embodiment of the beauty inherent in a natural material.”

John Shedd Designs, located at 200 Washington St Rocky Hill, showcases the range of Mr. Shedd’s creations, from platters pitchers, vases, backsplashes and candlesticks to lamps and tilework. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call (609) 924-6394, or visit: www.johnshedddesigns.com. For more on Mistral at 66 Witherspoon Street, call (609) 688-8808, or visit: www.mistralprinceton.com; for more on elements at 163 Bayard Lane, call (609) 924.0078, or visit: www.elementsprinceton.com.

 

The Princeton Police Department will undergo the final step in the process of accreditation by the State of New Jersey when it is visited by a team of assessors from the New Jersey State Association of Police Chiefs (NJSACOP) on Sunday and Monday, January 26 and 27. Members of the public are invited to offer comments on the Department’s ability to comply with those standards by means of five minute long telephone calls to (609) 924 0026 on the 26th between 9 and 11 a.m.

This will be the first accreditation following consolidation of the police departments of Princeton Township and Princeton Borough and all aspects of the new Princeton Police Department policies and procedures, management, operations, and support services will be examined during the two-day review.

“Each year we must show documentary proof that we are conforming to the standards of the Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission and every three years the State conducts a re-accreditation process,” explained Lt. Chris Morgan.

“When the NJSACOP team first arrives we will provide a display of personnel and equipment and give them a tour of the station. They will inspect cells and files and review general orders. They are also expected to go on a ride-along with officers and to interview officers. Ultimately, a report will be sent to the state chiefs of police, and a decision will be made on whether accredited status will be granted” said Mr. Morgan.

“Verification by the team that the Princeton Police Department meets the Commission’s ‘best practice’ standards is part of a voluntary process to achieve accreditation, a highly prized recognition of law enforcement professional excellence,” commented Captain Nick Sutter, in a press release. “Accreditation results in greater accountability within the agency, reduced risk and liability exposure, stronger defense against civil lawsuits, increased community advocacy, and more confidence in the agency’s ability to operate efficiently and respond to community needs.”

Accreditation is valid for a three-year period during which time the police department must submit annual reports showing their continued compliance with the standards under which it was initially accredited by NJSACOP’s Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

According to Mr. Morgan, the standards address in detail the following five functions: Administrative, Personnel, Operations, Investigative, and Arrestee and Prisoner Handling. Among the items under scrutiny will be the handling of complaints; the recruitment and selection of personnel; procedures of arrest, search and seizure; crime scene processing such as the storage of property and evidence; and prisoner processing.

“This assessment is the last step in a lengthy process,” said Mr. Morgan of the review of the department’s compliance with 100 standards and the requirements of each.”

Members of the public can view a copy of the NJSACOP standards at the Princeton Police Department, 1 Valley Road. Besides telephoning comments on Monday, the public may also email them to cmorgan@prince
tonnj.gov, and written comments may be mailed to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission at 11,000 Lincoln Drive West, Suite 12 Marlton, N.J. 08053. Comments must address the Princeton police department’s ability to comply with the NJSACOP standards.

For more information, contact Lt. Christopher Morgan at (609) 921-2100 ext.1831.

 

The Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission’s rejection last week of the Institute for Advanced Study’s plan for faculty housing marks “a major, major setback” for the organization, according to the attorney representing the Princeton Battlefield Area Preservation Society, which opposes the plan.

But a spokesperson for the Institute, which seeks to build eight townhouses and seven single family homes on land the Battlefield Society believes was pivotal during the Revolutionary War, said the ruling will be overcome. “We’re considering all of our options,” said Senior Public Affairs Officer Christine Ferrara, last Friday. “I don’t have an answer yet, but we’re looking at everything. We indeed do believe that this won’t be an obstacle.”

The Institute’s plan for faculty housing was the subject of much controversy before it was unanimously approved in March 2012 by the Princeton Regional Planning Board with one condition С approval by the D&R Canal Commission, which protects the park by reviewing development proposals.

“At the moment, this leaves them with no approval to build on the Battlefield,” said Bruce Afran, the Society’s attorney. “At present, the plan is dead. They have very few appeal prospects. They can appeal in theory, but the courts don’t set aside expert agencies’s decisions.”

The Commission, which voted 4-3 last Thursday against the plan, administers a land-use regulatory program within the area where new development could have drainage, visual or other ecological impact on the Canal Park. The area within which there could be a drainage impact is almost 400 square miles, including parts of Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Monmouth counties, according to the Commission’s website.

Projects that involve an acre or more of impervious surface as of 1980 must meet the Commission’s standards for managing storm water runoff.

“The Planning Board’s approval for this is now void,” Mr. Afran said. “If they have any chance of doing this they have to start over from scratch.”

Responding to a story on the website Planet Princeton in which Ms. Ferrara was quoted as calling the vote a technical issue, Mr. Afran said, “It’s not a technical  issue. The approval was an essential part of the Planning Board’s decision. Without that, they can’t go forward because they intrude into a state protected stream corridor. The plan is actually invalid, because it intrudes into a protected environmental zone and the state says they can’t do it.”

 

Next week on the opening night of the Princeton Environmental Film Festival (PEFF), an eclectic group of ten local leaders will be honored by Sustainable Princeton for varied contributions to the economic health and well-being of the Princeton community.

Chosen from 18 nominations by a volunteer review team, the award winners were selected for activities such as protecting and improving the natural environment; reducing waste and/or increasing recycling; educating others about sustainable practices and conserving energy or using it more efficiently.

Nominations were made earlier this month for individuals, organizations and/or businesses that are “catalysts and models within our community and have preserved and improved the natural, social or economic fabric of our town.”

Sustainable Princeton’s goals are to reduce the town’s fossil fuels energy use by 20 percent between now and 2020 and to reduce waste by 50 percent by 2016.

Sponsored by Sustainable Princeton with support from the Princeton Environmental Commission, the annual awards identify and reward Princeton’s best, brightest, and greenest in their efforts to create a sustainable environment. As well as individual citizens (teachers, school administrators, government employees, and religious leaders, among others) the awards recognize businesses.

“This year’s winners really stood out in each of our categories: resident, business, schools and individuals,” commented Sustainable Princeton’s Executive Director Diane Landis. “It is so very heartening to see the diverse types of environmental efforts going on in our community.”

“We want to hold up the winners as role models and show how many different ways a person can get involved in sustainability, from building compost bins by hand to serving on environmental commissions and boards to clearing trails,” said Ms. Landis.

The 2013 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award winners include Christopher Albrecht, executive chef at Terra Momo, who is known for sharing his passion for food and sustainability with students, teachers and parents in Princeton’s public schools.

Bill Cirullo, principal of Riverside Elementary School, will receive Sustainable Princeton’s Distinguished Service Award for creating and sustaining a school community that is “a model for schools across New Jersey through its gardening education program and other sustainable initiatives.”

A Distinguished Service Award goes to Gail Ullman of the Princeton Environmental Commission in recognition of her long-term role as a liaison between the Princeton Environmental Commission and the Planning Board.

At Community Park School, the efforts of Sandy Moskovitz have been marked. Co-Chair of the School’s Go Green Committee, Ms. Moskovitz has consistently modelled sustainable practices in her own life and is being honored for “inspiring students, parents, staff and teachers to do the same.”

In addition to teachers, students Lauren Gully and Anthony Teng will receive awards: Ms. Gully, a student at the Princeton Theological Seminary, for initiating and coordinating sustainability efforts there and Mr. Teng, a student at Princeton High School and an advocate of the municipal compost program, for his leading effort in building compost bins and “for being a student ambassador for sustainability.”

For her efforts on climate change, Callie Hancock of the Princeton Chapter of The Citizens Climate Lobby joins two local residents who have done stellar work in clearing trails in two local nature preserves: Kurt Tazelaar and Sally Curtis are both Friends of Herrontown Woods, where their work provides improved access for walkers.

Organizations receiving awards are: Mountain Lakes Holding Corporation, for its stewardship of Princeton’s open space and natural resources and Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart for converting to geothermal energy in 100 percent of its academic spaces and other energy efficient practices.

Mayor Lempert and Sustainable Princeton Board Member Wendy Kaczerski, who founded the leadership awards in 2008, will conduct the ceremony on Wednesday, January 29 at 7 p.m. in the Princeton Public Library as a kick off to the Film Festival.

“Each of these winners show an exceptional dedication to their particular efforts and the [awards ceremony] will be especially inspiring because of this diversity,” said Ms. Landis. “Each winner is asked to speak about why they have undertaken their work! It’s a great event.”

Both awards ceremony and the PEFF Film Festival are free and open to the public. For more information, call (609) 454-4757 or visit: www.sustainableprinceton.org.

 

January 15, 2014
FIRST IN A SERIES: Merry White, noted cookbook author and anthropologist, kicks off this season of Princeton Public Library’s “Evenings With Friends” lineup on January 23.

FIRST IN A SERIES: Merry White, noted cookbook author and anthropologist, kicks off this season of Princeton Public Library’s “Evenings With Friends” lineup on January 23.

When the Friends of Princeton Public Library launched a new series called “Evenings With Friends” last year, they weren’t sure what to expect. But the program pairing author talks, drinks, and dinner was an immediate hit with patrons. The “Evenings” will resume Thursday, January 23, when Boston University anthropology professor Merry “Corky” White, author of the cookbook Cooking for Crowds, comes to the Library’s Community Room.

“The series has done so much better than we expected it to,” said Sherri Garber, president of Friends of the Princeton Public Library. “It’s a formula that seems to work, and it has brought a lot of new people into the library, which of course is good for fundraising.”

The Library’s Community Room is set up like a café for each event. Seated at tables set with tablecloths, patrons have drinks and a buffet dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Speakers begin their talks at 7:30, and the evenings are over by 9 p.m. These gatherings are designed to be intimate, allowing patrons to not only listen, but also join in discussions with the authors. Afterward, Labyrinth Books sells books that the authors sign.

“What’s nice is that we limit the events to about 50 people,” Ms. Garber said. “Everyone can feel like they are part of the conversation.”

Ms. Garber has had help choosing the authors for the program from the Library’s Public Programming Librarian Janie Hermann. “Janie helps me decide. Then I just read, and write to people,” Ms. Garber said. “No one is paid. We basically run on a shoestring. The authors do it out of their love for public libraries. And if they happen to have a new book out, it’s good for publicity.”

Ms. White first published Cooking for Crowds in 1974. The book is back in print in a special 40th anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Ms. White and illustrations by frequent New Yorker cartoonist Edward Koren. The multi-faceted Ms. White has been a caterer and food journalist while teaching anthropology courses at Boston University, and is currently researching contemporary Japanese urban social spaces and focusing on the history of the cafe.

“She has some wonderful anecdotes she’ll be sharing with us,” Ms. Garber said. “Julia Child was her neighbor. Corky can tell us how she once catered a Roman orgy for Harvard professors. Her specialty is Japanese cultural anthropology, so there’s that, too.”

Booked for February 20 is Robert Wilson, author of Mathew Brady: Portraits of a Nation. This biography of the 19th century American photographer, famous for his graphic images of the American Civil War, captures Brady as a businessman, portrait artist, promoter, and historian whose images provided the first detailed photographic record of a war. Mr. Wilson teaches at Johns Hopkins, American, and George Mason universities, and has taught at the University of Virginia. He has been editor of The American Scholar since 2004 and previously edited Preservation magazine, among other publications.

Author William Helmreich comes to the Library March 26 to talk about his recent book The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. A Manhattan native, he has walked every block of all five boroughs — 6,000 miles — in an effort to get to know the city and its inhabitants. The journey took four years and included talks with everyday citizens as well as former mayors Koch, Dinkins, Giuliani, and Bloomberg. Mr. Helmreich is a professor of sociology at the City University Graduate Center and City College of New York. His previous books include What Was I Thinking? The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them.

Princeton University professor Gary Bass, author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide, comes to the “Conversations” series on April 29. The book details the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh that led to war between India and Pakistan and shaped the fate of Asia. Mr. Bass, who teaches politics and international affairs, is a former reporter for The Economist and has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Republic. He is the author of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. 

Tickets to individual events are $50; the series of four costs $175. The series is first open to members of Friends of the Library, and then to all library cardholders.

“These are interesting evenings,” Ms. Garber said. “You learn things about these people you might not learn otherwise. And it’s all in a friendly, intimate setting that everyone seems to like.”

 

FOOD FOR FOOTBALL: D’Angelo’s Market on Spring Street, home of produce like this as well as prepared foods, has been chosen as one of the caterers for the VIP Tailgate party inside the Meadowlands Complex before the kickoff of the Superbowl next month.

FOOD FOR FOOTBALL: D’Angelo’s Market on Spring Street, home of produce like this as well as prepared foods, has been chosen as one of the caterers for the VIP Tailgate party inside the Meadowlands Complex before the kickoff of the Superbowl next month.

There will be no tailgate parties in the parking lot of East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium before Super Bowl XLVIII. on February 2. Much to the consternation of fans, the traditional celebrations have been banned for this event due to security concerns. 

But inside the Meadowlands complex, a “VIP Tailgate” celebration will be in full swing for four hours leading up to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff. NFL professionals, their coaches, families, and guests will be in attendance, sampling delicacies from, among other caterers, Princeton’s D’Angelo’s Market.

“We’re super excited,” said Danielle D’Angelo, one of five family members who run the Spring Street market and another store in Ocean County. “We were shocked, because we really weren’t expecting it. It’s a big honor to be able to represent Princeton at this national event.”

Ms. D’Angelo said once the family knew the Super Bowl would be held in New Jersey, they made several attempts to reach the NFL Host Committee in California. Finally, they were able to schedule a sampling of their menu in October 2012.

“There was a selection process held by the host committee. We’re not the sole caterer, but we were one of the top chosen,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “We sent samples and they were interested in some of our menu items.”

As of last week, the family was asked not to disclose just what they’ll be sending until the menu was finalized. “But we have had a series of run-throughs,” Ms. D’Angelo said. “And I can tell you that they requested 2,500 servings of the menu items. We’ve never done anything of this magnitude.”

D’Angelo’s is no stranger to large-scale events. The market has catered for Princeton University Athletics, the FBI, and the New York Police Department. But the Super Bowl, where some 2,500 guests are expected, is in another category.

“The most we’ve served is about 1,000,” said Ms. D’Angelo. “And we’re only allowed to send six people. They have a very tight security system. We had to do background checks and screenings. We have special uniforms, photo ID’s and special passes. We had requested more staff members, but they said six is the maximum.”

D’Angelo’s opened its Spring Street location in 2011. The family’s other business, Tuscany Italian Specialty Foods, has been in Jackson since 2000. Ms. D’Angelo, one of five family members involved in the business, said that while her brother is a big football fan, she doesn’t know much about the sport.

“I’m not sure what to expect, but I know this is a really big deal and a big honor for us,” she said. “We’re ready to go.”

 

SMALL WORLD TEAMS WITH WALDORF SCHOOL: Students at the Waldorf School of Princeton created a series of artworks inspired by the connections between geometry, mathematics, and the humanities. Several pieces are based on the rose window concepts of the Renaissance. “Sacred Works of Geometry” is on view at Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street through February 4.

SMALL WORLD TEAMS WITH WALDORF SCHOOL: Students at the Waldorf School of Princeton created a series of artworks inspired by the connections between geometry, mathematics, and the humanities. Several pieces are based on the rose window concepts of the Renaissance. “Sacred Works of Geometry” is on view at Small World Coffee on Witherspoon Street through February 4.

Rainbow-colored works of art created by students at the Waldorf School of Princeton are on display at Small World Coffee, located on Witherspoon Street, now through February 4. The exhibit entitled, “Sacred Works of Geometry” is inspired by the students’ interdisciplinary arts curriculum. 

The colorful geometric pieces illustrate the connection between geometry, mathematics, and the humanities. Included in the show are several pieces based on the rose window concepts of the Renaissance and the mandala designs of various ancient cultures. The students used a variety of techniques to create these works including block printing, theories of shape and color balance, and even cross-stitching geometric patterns to create unique star patterns.

Through the arts, students at Waldorf are able to explore academic subjects that are not usually incorporated into such a curriculum. To learn more about “Sacred Works of Geometry,” visit www.princetonwaldorf.org.

 

FROM MAINE TO ALASKA: The Gallery at Chapin will exhibit works by Charles McVicker in an exhibit entitled, “Patterns of Nature,” from February 3 through February 28. The focus of the exhibit is on natural landscapes and seaport scenes from his time spent in Maine and Alaska. McVicker currently lives and works at his studio in Princeton.

FROM MAINE TO ALASKA: The Gallery at Chapin will exhibit works by Charles McVicker in an exhibit entitled, “Patterns of Nature,” from February 3 through February 28. The focus of the exhibit is on natural landscapes and seaport scenes from his time spent in Maine and Alaska. McVicker currently lives and works at his studio in Princeton.

From February 3 to February 28, The Gallery at Chapin will exhibit works by Charles McVicker in an exhibit entitled, “Patterns of Nature.” A reception for the artist will be held on Wednesday, February 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit can also be viewed during school hours by calling (609) 924-7206 and scheduling an appointment. 

Charles McVicker works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. He enjoys painting the complexities of nature in landscapes, which is the main focus of this exhibit. McVicker recently spent time in Alaska and Maine painting seaport scenes. He states, “I have searched for quiet moments of beauty or drama that might be overlooked by most to depict in my paintings; those scenes that hopefully can bring satisfaction or thoughtful stimulation to the viewer. Also, I am still concerned with the traditional values of form and light, particularly the excitement of light on natural and man-made forms …”

McVicker studied at the Art Center College of Design with Lorser Feitelson and others. He maintained a personal studio in New York for the past 25 years where he was active with the Society of Illustrators, being president for two years. He is a retired professor of art from The College of New Jersey, having taught there for 18 years. McVicker now works and lives in Princeton. His idea of a cooperative art group led to the founding of the Princeton Artists Alliance. He is in the Watercolor USA Hall of Fame and has received over 30 awards from local institutions such as the Zimmerli Museum of Rutgers University and Ellarslie at the Trenton City Museum.

Chapin School is located at 4101 Princeton Pike in Princeton.

Princeton Council was given a status report Monday night on preparations to demolish the former Princeton hospital site on Witherspoon Street. At the meeting, which drew several neighborhood residents and a group of labor union representatives concerned about safety, a representative from the developer under contract to build a rental complex at the site said a meeting with residents will be scheduled soon.

AvalonBay, the developer, has yet to close on the property. “Hopefully, that will happen this month,” said Jon Vogel, the company’s vice president for development. “We will have a neighborhood meeting after the demolition plan is approved so people understand what will happen over the next few months.”

Mr. Vogel turned the microphone over to John Mucha of Yannuzi Wrecking and Recycling Corporation of Hillsborough, the company that will handle the demolition. Mr. Yanuzzi told Council members that work will begin with the removal of underground tanks and other items, as well as asbestos, which will be removed by a separate company.

The demolition will start on the Harris Road side of the site, and continue across the property. The eight-story hospital building will be taken down by a 95-foot-high hydraulic excavator, requiring the portion of Witherspoon Street in front to be closed for one day.

“There is no wrecking ball involved,” Mr. Mucha assured Council member Jenny Crumiller when she asked how the demolition would be done. “This is state of the art wetting technology,” he said, explaining that the building’s walls will be taken down in pieces.

Most materials will be recycled at Yanuzzi’s licensed facility in Hillsborough. Masonry will be crushed, with some used as backfill. Dust will be monitored throughout the project, and the data will be turned over to AvalonBay, which in turn will turn it over to Princeton’s construction department before the site is graded, Mr. Mucha said.

Council members Lance Liverman and Jo Butler questioned Mr. Mucha about noise levels. “Will they do the masonry crushing on site? That’s really noisy,” Ms. Butler said. After questioning Mr. Mucha about the routes the trucks carrying the materials will take out of town, Council president Bernie Miller suggested that the center of Princeton be avoided.

Mr. Vogel estimated that the demolition will begin in the spring and take a few months to complete. Crews will work weekdays starting at 8 a.m., and on weekends only if necessary.

The AvalonBay project will bring 280 rental units to the former hospital site. Fifty-six units are to be designated affordable, with 13 devoted to those of very low income. The developer’s first plan for the site was turned down by the municipality’s Planning Board, but a revised plan was approved last year. Instead of one large structure, the complex will be divided into five buildings, with a park at the corner of Witherspoon and Franklin streets.

At Monday’s meeting, resident Sam Bunting told Council members that he hopes the park will be transferred to the municipality. “As long as it remains a private park, there is always the chance that it could be locked away from citizens,” he said. “It should be a fully public park, as opposed to a private park.”

Mayor Liz Lempert said that matter could be included in discussion at the Council’s next meeting January 27, when a work session on the developer’s agreement is likely to be scheduled.

 

The next stage of construction for Princeton University’s $330 million Arts & Transit project will begin in two weeks with the opening of the traffic circle at University Place and Alexander Road. Kristin Appelget, the University’s Director of Community and Regional Affairs, told Princeton Council on Monday night that the soft opening for the roundabout is scheduled for Sunday, January 26. The site will be ready for rush hour the following morning, barring a blizzard or other significant weather event.

The temporary traffic signal at College Avenue and University Place will continue for a time, as the University monitors how motorists adjust to the new vehicular pattern. A new pedestrian route will open in the area, Ms. Appelget said, and some parking that has been closed will also be reopened. The temporary road will close.

The Wawa market will remain at its current site at Alexander Street and University Place until the new Dinky train station opens, projected for this summer. No changes are planned at this time for the parking lot of the temporary train station. The schedules for the train and the Tiger Paw bus will continue, as will the shuttle bus that has been running between the parking lot and McCarter Theatre on the nights McCarter has performances. During the next two weeks, sidewalks along Alexander Place will be completed and new street lighting will be put in place.

The 21-acre complex of arts buildings designed by Steven Holl will include a new Wawa and train station designed by architect Rick Joy. The old Dinky train station is being converted into a restaurant and cafe.

Last month, a state Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit by the citizens’ group Save the Dinky, which was seeking to block the relocation of the train terminus. The suit claimed that the University needed NJ Transit’s approval for the move, due to a contract signed when the University purchased the land from NJ Transit in 1984. But Judge Paul Innes ruled against the group because NJ Transit has sanctioned the move.

Save the Dinky has until February 6 to appeal. Several other lawsuits challenge the move of the Dinky train station. Meanwhile, construction of the Arts & Transit complex continues and is expected to be completed in 2017.

 

Eric D. Maltz pleaded not guilty last week to causing the death of Rabbi James Diamond when his speeding car struck Mr. Diamond and another man on Riverside Drive on March 29, 2013. Mr. Maltz, 21, was arraigned January 7 in Superior Court in Trenton. He has been charged in a three-count indictment that he recklessly caused the rabbi’s death.

The indictments include one count of first degree aggravated manslaughter, one of second-degree death by auto, and one of fourth-degree assault by auto. Mr. Maltz, who lives on Braeburn Drive, is currently free on $100,000 bail and is scheduled for a status conference in court on March 6, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office.

It was around 9:40 a.m. on March 29 that Rabbi Diamond, 74, and Rabbi Robert Freedman, 63, a former cantor at the Jewish Center of Princeton, were leaving a Talmud study group at a home on Riverside Drive. Rabbi Diamond was getting into the passenger side of a parked Toyota Prius when a BMW driven by Mr. Maltz crashed into the front of an unoccupied Toyota Camry parked in front of the Prius. The impact pushed the Camry into the Prius, where Rabbi Freedman was in the driver’s seat.

Rabbi Diamond was thrown from the car and died at the scene. Rabbi Freedman was taken to the trauma center at Capital Health Medical Center and later released. Mr. Maltz, who was traveling at a rate of speed between 60 and 80 miles per hour, was also taken to the trauma center and released. He was later transferred to Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

Mr. Maltz had struggled with mood swings and depression and had previously been treated at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. He was driving with a propane tank in his vehicle, according to witnesses at the scene.

If convicted of the first-degree offense, Mr. Maltz could face a maximum sentence of 30 years in state prison, according to Mercer County Prosecutor’s office spokesperson Casey diBlasio.

 

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Until the news about another bridge and another town, the subject of this caption would be nothing more than an atmospheric picture of Trenton’s famously lettered span as a winter fog creeps in. But these days, with a cloud hanging over the governor’s office, it’s hard not to read other meanings into the image. For comments on the Fort Lee Gridlock Crisis, see this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

 

January 8, 2014

bookslocalsRichard D. Smith’s Legendary Locals of Princeton (LL/Arcadia $21.99), which goes on sale this week, contains pictures and stories of unique individuals and groups, past and present, who have had a lasting impact on the Princeton community throughout its history. 

Mr. Smith acknowledges the impossible task of including everyone worthy of admission in the book. ”Like a coach with a deep bench, the problem was not finding players, but deciding who to put on the field,” he said. Among the more illustrious omissions are diplomat, historian and longtime resident George F. Kennan and novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The book’s range covers celebrities like Christopher Reeve, Peter Benchley, and George Gallup Sr., as well as lesser known individuals such as country store owner Mary Watts and Mayor Barbara Boggs Sigmund. Shown on the cover along with Sigmund, Reeve, Benchley, and Gallup are Albert Einstein, George Washington, Paul Robeson, aviation pioneer Francis Callery, and students at Evelyn College.

Asked in an interview which of the legends he most enjoyed researching, Mr. Smith mentioned Einstein and Robeson, “giants respectively in science and the arts, who actually knew each other, were good friends, and worked together on a civil rights initiative. In fact, the very first photo in my book is a rare image of Einstein and Robeson. Where else but in Princeton could such a marvelous image have been made?”

Mr. Smith also mentioned the book’s account of the last time Paul Robeson sang in Princeton, “a true story that illustrates the great actor/vocalist’s abiding love for the community in which he had been born.”

An active member of the Historical Society of Princeton, Richard D. Smith, is a past contributor to New Jersey Network News, Princeton Packet, US 1, and The New York Times.

Since he grew up in neighboring Montgomery Township in the 1950s, going into Princeton was always “going into town.” He has chronicled the town in the previous Arcadia Publishing books, Images of America: Princeton, Princeton University, and Princeton Then & Now. He graduated from the Hun School of Princeton, and then attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and the New School for Social Research in New York City before graduating from Emerson College in Boston with a BA in Mass Communications in 1975. He became actively involved in bluegrass music during the folk revival of the 1960s and is today a featured staff writer and reviewer for Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. His award-winning book Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe Father of Bluegrass is currently in development as a major motion picture, with the working title Blue Moon of Kentucky.

The book will be available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online retailer, and through the publisher at www.legendarylocals.com or (888) 313-2665.

HEALTHY EATING: The Terra Learning Kitchen at the Princeton YMCA does double duty as a café and an instructional kitchen. Showing off a colander of kale and some gluten-free muffins and scones are Raoul Momo of Terra Momo Group, and kitchen staff Margo Allen and Tiffany Baldino.(Photo by A. Levine

HEALTHY EATING: The Terra Learning Kitchen at the Princeton YMCA does double duty as a café and an instructional kitchen. Showing off a colander of kale and some gluten-free muffins and scones are Raoul Momo of Terra Momo Group, and kitchen staff Margo Allen and Tiffany Baldino. (Photo by A. Levine

When Princeton’s Terra Momo Group of restaurants decided to take over the café at Princeton’s YMCA, the idea was to build upon the organization’s theme of healthy living. Instead of chicken nuggets and fries, current customers might find kale salads and gluten-free pastries in the light-filled eatery now known as Terra Learning Kitchen, where a roster of cooking classes for adults and children is available.

But the focus on freshness and nutrition doesn’t mean a restrictive menu of sprouts, nuts, and berries. “We’re trying to bridge the gap,” said kitchen manager Tiffany Baldino one morning this week. A group of women chatted and sipped coffee at one table, while another customer nibbled a gluten-free muffin at another. “We want to serve people who have special dietary concerns but who still want a burger now and then,” Ms. Baldino continued. “It’s that middle ground. I think our small victory is that in this café that used to do pizza and nuggets and French fries, people are open to trying kale salad. You have to make healthy food taste good, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Terra Learning Kitchen, or TLK, is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ms. Baldino and the Momo brothers are hoping that members of the local community, as well as patrons of the Y’s classes and programs, will be stopping by for meals or picking up take-out dinners after work.

“No pun intended, but why not?,” Raoul Momo said of the café in the Y facility. “What a great resource this kitchen is. And since the town allowed us to put a walk-in cooler outside, signing off on it quickly, that gave us the opportunity to bring in the concept of fresh food.”

Mr. Momo noted that none of the kitchens in the other Terra Momo Group restaurants — Eno Terra, Teresa Kaffe and Mediterra — have windows. “Just to have this light coming in is wonderful, he said. “With the cooking classes, the concept is interactive. We’re getting people from the community to understand what a resource we have here. We want to welcome everyone.”

The small café has been open for years, in various guises such as the Orchard Café and Da’s Thai. “The Momos wanted to do something different,” said Ms. Baldino. “They wanted to create more business in this location, and they wanted to make people learn to eat better. The idea was to do a lot of classes as well as run the café, and this fit in with the Y’s mission.”

Educational offerings at TLK include a Mini Chef School for children, a Parent/Child Chef School, and sessions led by Dorothy Mullen’s Suppers Program on seasonings from throughout the world. As part of a week-long Open House, Ms. Mullen will give a free short version of her classes tomorrow (January 9) at 2 p.m. On Friday, Tracy Sipprelle will lead a workshop on healthy eating.

Ms. Baldino has been testing various recipes during recent weeks, using Y staff members as tasters. Before taking the job at TLK, she owned a small meal delivery service, preparing healthy dinners in conjunction with Griggstown Farm. She heard about the concept of TLK from Carlo Momo, whom she knew from the gym.

Ms. Baldino is interested in partnering with a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which would allow fresh fruits and vegetables to be delivered to TLK, to be picked up by members. The kitchen is already preparing take-out dinners, including recipes of Ms. Mullen’s. “There’s a lot going on,” Ms. Baldino said. “For the price of a pizza and a bottle of soda, people can get a roast chicken and side dishes that have been freshly prepared.”

A grand opening celebration for TLK is Friday, January 17 in conjunction with a salsa dance party in the studio next door. Hors d’oeuvres with a salsa theme will be served starting at 7 p.m., followed by dancing and instruction by Hot Salsa Hot at 8 p.m. Visit www.princetonymca.org for more information.

 

“Mindfulness Meditation Goes To School — A Natural Intervention for ADHD” is the topic of a lecture sponsored by Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) on Wednesday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the gym of Riverside School, 58 Riverside Drive.

The speaker is Trish Miele, former West Windsor Plainsboro teacher, who is now an educator on Mindfulness Meditation. A bonus topic, “Indigo Kids — What Parents can do to promote their children’s unique gifts and help them deal with rigid systems,” will be addressed by Roberto Schiraldi.

Mr. Schiraldi is a counselor in private practice who recently retired from the Princeton University Counseling and Psychological Services, where he was a Staff Counselor and Coordinator of the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Team.

For more information, call (609) 683-8787 or email adhdcoachjane@gmail.com.

 

DEXTERITY AND ATHLETIC PROWESS: New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will stage a special performance at McCarter Theatre on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787. Learn more about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet by visiting www.cedarlakedance.com.

DEXTERITY AND ATHLETIC PROWESS: New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will stage a special performance at McCarter Theatre on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787. Learn more about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet by visiting www.cedarlakedance.com.

McCarter Theatre welcomes New York-based Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet to Princeton on Friday, January 17 at 8 p.m. Through their daring athletic movement and integration of ballet into contemporary and popular forms, the dancers of Cedar Lake take audiences on a choreographic journey that explores the varied possibilities of movement and multimedia. Since its founding in 2003, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet has been recognized internationally for its collaborations with diverse choreographers including Alexander Ekman, Crystal Pite, Hofesh Shechter, Jo Strømgren, Andonis Foniadakis, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Ohad Naharin and Jirí Kylián. The performance on January 17 will include a dance and multimedia program with performances of Jirí Kylian’s Indigo Rose and Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue. The 16-member troupe celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year with performances of Rain Dogs by Johan Inger and a new work by Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat. 

To purchase tickets, visit www.mccarter.org or call (609) 258-2787. Learn more about Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet by visiting www.cedarlakedance.com.

 

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is actively seeking volunteers in Mercer County. The non-profit organization speaks up in court for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect.

These children live in foster homes, group homes or residential facilities. CASA trains community volunteers who ensure that these children receive needed services and help in moving into safe and permanent homes. CASA Advocates receive 32 hours of comprehensive training and ongoing supervision.

Volunteers, who come from all walks of life and need no special background, must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, a desire to help these at risk children and commit at least 18 months to a child’s case. One hour information sessions are offered on a regular basis.

Information sessions will be held at 1450 Parkside Avenue, Suite 22, Ewing, on January 14 at 5:30 p.m., January 23 at 9:30 a.m., February 12 at 5:30 p.m., February 13 at 9:30 a.m., March 11 at 9:30 a.m. and March 13 at 5:30 p.m. Call (609) 434-0050 or email Anne Callahan, Volunteer Coordinator, at acallahan@casamercer.org for more information or to register. To find out more about CASA for Children or register on-line, visit www.casamercer.org.

 

Princeton Council president Bernie Miller and former Princeton Township Committeewoman Sue Nemeth announced Monday that they plan to run together for Council in the June Democratic primary. This means three people will be vying for the seats currently held by Mr. Miller and Councilwoman Jo Butler.

Mr. Miller and Ms. Nemeth, who served on Township Committee, have the official backing of Mayor Liz Lempert and Council members Lance Liverman, both of whom also served on Township Committee; and former Borough Councilwoman Heather Howard. Ms. Butler, who was a member of Borough Council before consolidation, has been known for being outspoken and pressing for further discussion on several issues.

“There is some discord on Council. Everyone is aware of it,” Ms. Nemeth said on Tuesday. “But I respect everyone’s service. People work hard and mean well. What I bring to the table is a little bit of a different kind of sensibility. I’m an organizer from way back. I like working with people. I have a long record of successes. People will sit down with me, as they have in the past.”

Ms. Butler confirmed Tuesday that she will run again in the next election. “I think we’re a fortunate community in that we have a number of people willing to commit themselves to public service,” she said. “Anyone is free to run for office if they want to.”

Ms. Butler cited her record as an advocate for further transparency in government, fiscal responsibility, and accountability as evidence of her success in office during the past year on Council and the previous two years on Borough Council. “I’ve been a watchdog on these issues and will continue to be,” she said. “We have had a zero tax increase as long as I have served. The tax rate in the new municipality has decreased. I pushed to have an oversight committee on legal expenses, which saved us thousands of dollars.”

A public relations specialist at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, Ms. Nemeth ran for New Jersey State Assembly last year instead of seeking reelection to the consolidated Council. She lost the primary to Marie Corfield. Mr. Miller was a business executive for many years, and served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force. He has been a member of Princeton’s governing bodies for over ten years.

“I’ve worked with Sue to consolidate Princeton, create the Princeton Ridge Preserve, rebuild the Community Park pool complex, and negotiate productively with Princeton University,” Mr. Miller said in a press release. “She’s an effective leader who delivers.”

Ms. Nemeth and Mr. Miller will seek the formal endorsement of the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) and support of the Princeton Democratic Municipal Committee in March. Ms. Nemeth said they will hold a series of coffees for members of the public this month and next, at locations to be announced. “These are not fundraisers,” she said. “They are for people to talk about their concerns, and more importantly, their hopes and dreams. Princeton has become a powerhouse economically in the region, and we have to manage that role.”

Praising Mr. Miller, Ms. Nemeth said, “We have complementary skills. We were a good team before and will be a good team again. We work well together. He has a very sharp intellect and has been an amazing mentor of mine for years.”

The press release announcing the Miller/Nemeth campaign lists several other supporters from the community, including former Princeton Township Mayor Chad Goerner, Princeton Planning Board member Gail Ullman, Princeton Environmental Commission member Wendy Kaczerski, and Scott Sillars, who ran for Council last year.

Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller, who served with Ms. Butler on Borough Council before the two were elected to Princeton Council, said she will back Ms. Butler’s quest for re-election. “I’m fully behind her,” she said. “I support Sue and Bernie’s right to run, and I think competition is healthy. But I was surprised by the support of the other Council members for ousting Jo, and so will vigorously support her. I think we need her on the Council, because she is independent and speaks truthfully, and always in the best interests of the town.”

 

Following a celebration honoring Princeton municipal staff for their efforts during the first year of consolidation, Mayor Liz Lempert and Princeton Council got down to business last Thursday evening at the first Council meeting of the year. By the time the gathering drew to a close, just as snow began blanketing the parking lot of Witherspoon Hall, the governing body had sworn in incumbents Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon and re-elected Bernie Miller to the post of Council president. 

Addressing the crowd of staff members, officials, and municipal workers during the party, which included a large cake donated by McCaffrey’s market, Ms. Lempert described the consolidation of the Borough and Township as “a little like throwing together two rival football teams.” She added, “This year has been a challenge as we’ve had to adjust to new roles and responsibilities, and to new faces.”

Ms. Lempert also thanked volunteers from the community and acknowledged honors and awards given to Princeton during the year, from such organizations as the League of American Bicyclists, the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, and the American Library Association. She concluded by mentioning the town’s earning of a AAA bond rating, which recognizes good fiscal management.

At the Council meeting, each member was given an opportunity to speak. Ms. Crumiller noted that 2014 will include the replacement of administrator Bob Bruschi, who will retire at the end of the year.

“We will have to decide whether to finally build a cold storage garage for our heavy machinery or continue to allow expensive equipment to rust and deteriorate ahead of its time from exposure to the elements,” she said. “It looks like we’ll face a controversial request from the University for rezoning lower Alexander Road.”

Councilwoman Jo Butler noted that almost all of the municipal staff has experienced significant change during the year. She thanked Princeton University, the State, Mercer County, and the Department of Community Affairs for their financial contributions to consolidation. Councilman Lance Liverman praised Princeton Police Captain Nick Sutter and Corner House director Gary DiBlasio for their efforts during the year.

Councilwoman Heather Howard cited savings and improved services in public safety as a positive result of consolidation, but recognized difficulties that were encountered. “Let’s be clear — there’s no doubt that the police department faced challenges earlier in the year, but it has responded under Captain Sutter’s leadership and worked tirelessly to strengthen relations with the community,” she said.

Ms. Lempert’s remarks at the meeting focused on the successes of consolidation, both direct and indirect. “Consolidation has also jolted us out of autopilot and forced us to re-examine all our practices and develop a fresh set of operating procedures,” she said. “This year saw us adopt a new personnel manual and a new conflict of interest policy. We adopted a police ordinance, and laid the groundwork for accreditation of the new department. We negotiated a three year contract with the police union, and we balanced fairness to employees and consideration of the taxpayers while harmonizing salaries.”

Among other highlights of the year cited by the mayor were better collaboration among agencies that provide public and affordable housing, a formal agreement between the police department and the University’s public safety department, and a revised plan for a rental community at the old hospital site by the developer AvalonBay. Ms. Lempert acknowledged the grass roots groups Princeton Citizens for Sustainable Neighborhoods and the Princeton Ridge Coalition for their advocacy regarding AvalonBay and the expansion of the Transco pipeline, respectively.

She cited Assemblyman Jack Ciatterelli, who was present at the meeting, and the New Jersey League of Municipalities for work in opposing Assembly Bill 2586, which would have exempted Princeton University and other educational institutions from the town’s land use regulations.

The mayor praised Councilwoman Howard and her work with the town’s Health Department for making it possible for same sex couples to wed within hours of the legalization of same sex marriage. “That allowed our residents to not wait a second longer for their equal rights, and allowed Princeton to be the first town in Mercer County and among the first in New Jersey to host a same sex marriage,” said Ms. Lempert, who performed the weddings.

She concluded her remarks by comparing consolidation to a marriage saying, “Now that we’re hitched, after decades of dating, I’m happy to say we’re enjoying the fruits of our union.”

 

In late December of last year, a civil suit by the non-profit Save the Dinky (SDKY) group championed by local residents Anne Waldron Neumann, Peter Marks, Rodney Fisk, Walter Neumann, Christopher Hedges, and others, was heard in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County Chancery Division. 

The lawsuit claimed that Princeton University and New Jersey Transit lacked “the power and authority to move the Princeton branch terminus of the Dinky train,” citing a 1984 contract in which NJ Transit sold the station land and buildings to Princeton University, retaining an easement over the property for public transportation purposes.

Judge Paul Innes dismissed the suit on the grounds that nothing in the 1984 agreement or in a 1996 amendment prohibited the station move. “Princeton University is permitted to propose, and NJ Transit is permitted to approve, a plan to relocate the train station and rail terminus 460 feet south within the Dinky Station property,” stated his December 23 decision.

Although their suit was dismissed, opponents of the Dinky move have been heartened by at least one of Judge Innes’s pronouncements, his statement that approval of any Dinky station move resides with NJ Transit and not Princeton University.

According to Judge Innes, the easement granted to NJ Transit in 1984 means that “NJ Transit has the sole power ‘to expand, reduce, terminate or alter the type of passenger-related services within or serving the station parcel,’ if in its opinion, conditions warrant it. The easement expressly reserves the right of NJ Transit to approve any alterations to the improvements located or constructed in the station property.”

“Judge Innes agreed with our assertion that the 1984 contract did not give the University the right to move the terminus. Instead, he said that that NJ Transit retained the power to approve or not approve plans. Basically, the judge said the buck stops with NJ Transit on the plans to move the Dinky,” said Save the Dinky President Anita Garoniak.

NJ Transit has not objected to the University’s plan to relocate the station. Its representatives have said that the move is within the scope of the 1984 contract.

Save the Dinky, which describes itself as a “rail passenger advocacy group,” claimed in a recent press advisory that “NJ Transit has said again and again that the contract obligated it to agree to the University plan to move the terminus, and the University has said again and again that the contract gave it the ‘right’ to make [the move].” According to Ms. Garoniak, the court ruling is clear. “The judge said that the buck stops with NJ Transit,” she said.

According to Save the Dinky, Judge Innes made it clear that NJ transit did not have to agree to the station move, as it has claimed. Nor did NJ Transit delegate its power to the University.

The aforementioned SDKY press advisory also states that Judge Innes’s ruling was important because “it affirms that the cutback of rail service to Princeton to benefit Princeton University was in fact a decision by New Jersey Transit. “The Judge may not have agreed with the entirety of our position, but he put to rest the pretense that NJ Transit had a contractual obligation to agree to the University’s plan to shorten the Dinky line to facilitate an additional road to a campus parking garage,” said Ms. Garoniak, citing the court’s statement that “Princeton University has no authority to act unilaterally” and “no right to alter the service to the Dinky in any way without the express approval of NJ Transit.”

The SDKY group hopes to make a decision on whether or not to appeal Judge Innes’s decision by the end of this month after consultation with their attorney.

Meanwhile, the group is pursuing another line of offense against the Dinky move. Today, in Trenton, one of their attorneys will present an appeal based on the Dinky Station status as a historic site and as an operating railroad, one of two pending state appellate court challenges by SDKY to the station relocation.

The Princeton Railroad Station on University Place was added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places in 1984 as an “Operating Passenger Railroad Station.” As such, permission for any change would have been needed from state authorities. Did the Department of Environmental Protection do its job in protecting the historic integrity of the site? This lawsuit is one of several filed by residents opposing the station move as part of the University’s $300 million Arts & Transit project.

 

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With the Graduate College’s Cleveland Tower in the background, the snowy scene of kids and sleds might be taking place in England. In fact, it’s happening on the Springdale Golf Course. See this week’s Town Talk for some first-hand reports. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

 

January 2, 2014
BOOKS WORTH SHARING: Students at Princeton Charter School (PCS) box up books donated for a project that will culminate on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, January 20. The books will be passed along to another school where they will provide mini classroom-libraries for students. The project is a new initiative this year and may become an annual event.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

BOOKS WORTH SHARING: Students at Princeton Charter School (PCS) box up books donated for a project that will culminate on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day, January 20. The books will be passed along to another school where they will provide mini classroom-libraries for students. The project is a new initiative this year and may become an annual event. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

Princeton Charter School (PCS) starts the New Year with a Day of Service project that will culminate on Martin Luther King Jr. Day later this month. Students, parents, and faculty are “paying it forward” with a unique project that aims to build independent reading libraries for classrooms in need.

Starting the week of January 13, the school will be collecting new and used books from its students. The donated books will be sorted by reading level, labeled by genre, and then packed into boxes for delivery to eligible faculty for use in their classrooms. When opened, the boxes will provide mini classroom libraries and instant access to “kid-read and approved” books.

This unique approach to sharing is the brainchild of PCS English teacher Laurie Ludgin who realized that there was a need for in-classroom libraries while attending a professional development conference offered by The Reading and Writing Project of Teachers College, Columbia University.

During one conference session, recalled Ms. Ludgin, a fellow participant asked Presenter Lucy Calkins, director of The Reading and Writing Project, “What do I do if I don’t have a classroom library?”

Ms. Calkins’s response was simple, bold and to the point. She said: “You change schools. You can’t teach students to read, if you don’t have books in your classroom.” The effect of Ms. Calkins’s words on the PCS teacher was immediate. Ms. Ludgin was inspired to begin the work of getting independent reading libraries into the hands of dedicated teachers so that they can open the world of reading for their students.

“Not every school has a library and this is a way for children to share books that they love with others,” said Ms. Ludgin. “I know from my own classroom that students love to pass along books to younger students. They will often write notes in the front of the book for future readers. This effort is a way to build a community of readers and we are collecting books from pre-K through 6th grade.” According to Ms. Ludgin, now in her fourth year at PCS, favorite authors include Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret), Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House series), Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Dan Gutman (My Weird School series) and Patricia MacLachlan (Sarah Plain and Tall).”

“Laurie Ludgin is such an inspiration, a fantastic English teacher and someone who models the ideal qualities one wants in a teacher: commitment to her discipline, compassion for students, and the organizational skills to put a project like this in motion,” commented Assistant Head of School Lisa Eckstrom.

“We hope that [this] will become an annual event and that it will grow and grow,” she said. “We’ll be collecting, sorting, and then donating books for young readers to a school with very few resources. The idea is to sort books by categories and reading level to make it very simple for our sister school to put the books to use.”

“Princeton is such a book loving town and this project says a lot about who we are. It involves a direct teacher to teacher transfer so that nothing is going to get lost or sit in a warehouse. We’re very excited about it,” said Ms. Eckstrom.

The Princeton Charter School is located at 100 Bunn Drive in Princeton. Registration for the entrance lottery ends on Monday, January 6, at noon.

For more information, call (609) 924-0575, or visit: www.princetoncharter.org.

 

Between Small World Coffee, Rojo’s Roasters, Chez Alice, Infini T, and Starbucks, Princeton has its share of convivial coffee and tea houses. But a café preparing to join the lineup by early next month will add a new dimension to the coffee shop experience, according to its proprietor.

Café Vienna, under construction at the Nassau Street storefront previously occupied by The Piccadilly, is being designed to fill a previously untapped niche. “This will be a totally different experience, a European café,” said Anita Waldenberger, who has spent four years preparing to open the coffee house based on those in her native Austria. “The products we will offer are unique. I want to bring the best quality and consistency to town. That is very important to me.”

Most anyone who has visited Vienna knows about the rich Sacher tortes, marzipan cakes, apple strudels and other authentic Viennese desserts served in the city’s cafés. Those delicacies will be on the menu, Ms. Waldenberger said, and some of them will be lower in calories than customers might expect. “We are very calorie conscious,” she said. “We worked with a pastry chef for more than six months to make lower calorie cakes that are good.”

Also planned are organic teas, breakfast sandwiches, and other items. “We’re still working on the menu,” Ms. Waldenberger said.

The concept of a Viennese café occurred to Ms. Waldenberger after moving to Princeton with her husband in 2004. She had first visited a few years earlier. “I fell in love with the town,” she said. “The coziness, the atmosphere — it reminded me so much of home.”

The idea began to take shape during a visit from her family. “My brother said to me, ‘You need to open a Viennese café in Princeton,” she recalled. “And that has been my goal since then, about four years ago.”

After going to school in Vienna, Ms. Waldenberger worked in a five-star hotel called Warmbad Villach, learning several aspects of the business. She moved to the United States in 1978 to learn English, and decided to stay. Work with a German bank followed before Ms. Waldenberger switched to commercial real estate, which she still practices on a limited basis.

The hotel business has stuck with her. “I always enjoyed helping the guests,” she said. “And I want to bring that level of service to the café.”

Ms. Waldenberger credits the retired professionals at Princeton SCORE, especially Bill Lichtman, with helping her get the business on track. The town was also open to the idea. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity they have given me,” she said. “The idea was very well received.”

Construction on the café began in October. Ms. Waldenberger’s concept is for a modern, yet cozy, interior. At 870 square feet, the café will accommodate seating for 15 inside, and more outside during the warmer months. There will be an exposed brick chimney and mirrors.

Most crucial is the coffee, which will be “world class, served using a state of the art coffee machine,” Ms. Waldenberger said. “It will be totally different from every other coffee in town. I won’t tell you how; that’s our secret.”

Ms. Waldenberger will be the café’s manager. She is anxious to put her experience in the service industry to work. “I know I have something very different,” she said. “I’ll be serving the community and their guests at a higher level, while also appealing to the young in a style that’s modern and hip. This is an international community and I look forward to serving, bringing the uptown and downtown together.”