October 29, 2014

Members of the teachers’ union and Princeton Public School Board of Education (BOE) met October 22 for a last ditch attempt to thrash out a new teachers’ contract. It was the 11th time the two sides had met since April and the last before mediation sessions are scheduled to begin in November.

Their previous bargaining session on October 2 ended with a walk-out by union representatives. The talks are intended to form a new contract to replace the 2011-14 contract that expired June 30. Since that time, the district’s teachers have been working under the expired agreement.

The costs of healthcare and salaries continue to be the stumbling block to progress.

After the October 22 meeting the union’s chief negotiator, John Baxter, had this to say: “The Board has told us on numerous occasions, including last night, that they ‘hear us’ on salary and premium contributions. They may hear us, but last night they chose not to respond constructively. The Board has now changed its proposal to five years at Tier 4 premium contribution rates; the Board chose not to move towards a contract but rather moved us farther away. Rather than make concessions, rather than move towards a middle ground where agreements are reached, the Board requested even more from PPS educators.”

At the October 22 meeting, the Board proposed that the new contract run for five years, to expire June 30, 2019. According to Board member Andrea Spalla, it was hoped that by lengthening the parties’ collectively bargained agreement, a longer period of labor peace would ensue, with a concomitant reduction in disruption to the operations of the schools.

The Board proposed “aggregate annual salary increases as follows: 2 percent in year 1; 1.8 percent in year 2; 1.9 percent in year 3; 2 percent in year 4; and 2 percent in year 5.”

According to Mr. Baxter, this offer “continues to be a devalued salary guide. They increased from 1.8 to 2 percent in year one and from 1.86 to 1.9 percent in year three — a .2 and a .04 increase — if we accept all their other proposals,” he said.

According to PREA, the Board appeared to make concessions on some proposals such as the open-ended length of the workday at the high school. “But when asked for confirmation they said ‘no,’ all previous proposals, even those not in the document they presented [that] night, are not withdrawn but still on the table,” said Mr. Baxter, clearly frustrated.

“Despite the Board’s divisive proposals, the PREA offered a major concession on health care,” said, Mr. Baxter, adding that the PREA’s new proposal “will yield greater annual savings in health care premiums than the Board’s proposal. In addition to savings, the PREA proposal does much more to maintain the level of health care coverage whereas the Board’s proposal reduces coverage for PPS educators. The Board acknowledged the positive significance of the PREA’s proposal. They did not, however, counter-offer.”

In a statement to Town Topics, the Board said: “The Board proposed that in order to reduce PREA members’ healthcare premium costs, PREA members would pay a total annual deductible of $100 (for employees with single, parent/child or member/spouse coverage levels) or $200 (for employees with family coverage levels); and that PREA members’ co-payment amounts would increase from current levels of $10 per visit to $15 for doctor visits and $20 for specialist visits. Currently PREA members have no deductibles. All wellness visits, by law, would continue to be free and not subject to co-pays. For these modest increases in deductible and co-pay amounts, each employee would see meaningful reductions in their individual premium costs in each paycheck.”

“It appears that the parties remain at an impasse,” said Jennifer Lea Cohan of the new group Community for Princeton Public Schools. “This is disappointing news, and we hope that, with the help of mediation, they will find common ground for the good of all involved.”

A somewhat more optimistic member of the district’s BOE, Andrea Spalla, said, “Last week’s meeting may not have resulted in an agreement — yet — but we feel it marked some progress, from both teams, towards a shared solution.”

Further talks facilitated by state-appointed mediator Kathy Vogt, Esq. begin November 20.

Ms. Vogt is no stranger to the district. She assisted with negotiations for the 2011-14 contract.

The Board of Education held a public meeting last night after Town Topics press deadline.


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The Nassau Club at 6 Mercer Street presents an opportunity to view works such as “Parade of Lilies,” shown here, in an exhibition titled, “Color Windows: Paintings by Jane Adriance” from November 3 through January 4, 2015. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, November 9, from 3 to 5 p.m. The paintings can be seen at the club during the day except for dining hours. For more information, call (609) 452-7000, or visit: www.puretraits.com.

Every year at this time, HomeFront, a local nonprofit organization committed to helping local homeless and vulnerable families, begins making sure that these needy families will still have a full and festive Thanksgiving dinner. During the HomeFront Thanksgiving Drive, which has just been launched for 2014, local individuals, families, groups, houses of worship, and corporations donate baskets, filled with all the trimmings for a traditional home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. HomeFront’s goal for 2014 is to provide enough food for 2,000 families for Thanksgiving Day — and beyond. Participants in the Thanksgiving Drive are being urged to add a little “extra” to each basket — cans of tuna, soup, peanut butter and other essentials — to help these needy families when the leftovers are done.

All individuals and groups who want to participate in HomeFront’s Thanksgiving Drive should simply call (609) 989-9417, extension 133, for more information and a list of the food needed. The filled baskets can be dropped off at HomeFront’s 1880 Princeton Avenue offices in Lawrenceville from November 12 to 21, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 am until noon.

Every year homeless and low-income families face special challenges and the current economic crisis has had a huge impact on the working class. Over the years, HomeFront has seen an increase in the number of requests for assistance from families facing crisis. HomeFront is currently giving out 1,000 free bags of food per month and each day an increasing number of new clients are unable to feed their families.

“These families really need your help this year,” says Connie Mercer, executive director of HomeFront. “The days before Thanksgiving are always busy times at our offices, with lines winding out the door to pick up the makings for a traditional Thanksgiving week.”

HomeFront provides a comprehensive network of services for the poor and homeless in Central Jersey, with a particular focus on families. For more information, visit www.homefrontnj.org or call (609) 989-9417.

FOR THE DALAI LAMA: To show his respect and support for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Geshe Chogkhan Thubten Tandhar sported a placard in response to the protesters who had gathered outside Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym yesterday.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

FOR THE DALAI LAMA: To show his respect and support for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Geshe Chogkhan Thubten Tandhar sported a placard in response to the protesters who had gathered outside Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym yesterday. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Security was tight as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet visited Princeton University Tuesday.

According to University spokesperson Martin Mbugwa, some 4,200 people were in attendance at Jadwin Gymnasium to hear the Tibetan spiritual leader discuss the importance of compassion and kindness in academic life.

The venue began filling up around 8:30 a.m. with campus police and members of the Princeton Police Department on hand. Barriers had been erected to direct visitors as they entered the building. Inside, they were guided through airport-like security, asked to remove cellphones and metal objects, and pass through scanners.

Protesters and supporters of the Dalai Lama were separated and corralled by barriers into areas outside the gymnasium, which had been transformed into an auditorium for the occasion.

A gorgeously colored and richly embroidered silk hanging above the stage looked incongruous against the orange and black sports banners suspended from the domed roof of Jadwin Gym.

The Dalai Lama’s first appearance in Princeton was at the invitation of the University’s Office of Religious Life and The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation, which promotes Kalmyk tradition around the world. Originating in the Kalmyk Republic of Russia in the Northwest corner of the Caspian Sea area, the Kalmyks helped bring Tibetan Buddhism to the United States in 1951. There are members of the Kalmyk community in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

As the Tibetan leader came to the stage, shortly after 9:30 a.m., the entire audience, which had been waiting for the best part of an hour, rose to its feet. Dean of Religious Life Alison L. Boden accompanied the Dalai Lama, whose name is Tenzin Gyatso, and an interpreter to the stage.

The religious leader stood by the podium as Ms. Bowden introduced him and said that marshals would collect questions from the audience for His Holiness to answer. “We welcome the world’s most spiritual and compelling voice on a host of issues,” she said. “We are eager to receive his wisdom.”

Signaling his wish that the audience be seated, the Dalai Lama received immediate laughter and applause as he donned an orange Princeton baseball cap. Without an interpreter, he addressed the audience: “Brothers and sisters, I feel that it is a great opportunity to talk with many of you, students and faculty. Someone asked me if I had been to Princeton before. I told them no, I had never come because I had never been invited. I’m not here as a tourist, however, I am here as a Buddhist monk; my daily prayers, my body, speech, mind, is dedicated to serving others.”

He spoke about being almost 80-years-old. “At age 16, I lost my own freedom; at 24, I lost my own country through circumstances beyond my control.”

Addressing the importance of developing compassion and kindness, alongside the intellect, in an academic environment, he said: “The world has been made a lot easier because of science and technology, but along with progress has come problems, even here in America there is still a lot of poverty.”

AGAINST THE DALAI LAMA: Protesters, carrying placards against what some Tibetan Buddhists describe as the Dalai Lama’s persecution of religious groups, gathered outside Jadwin Gym yesterday during the visit of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to Princeton University.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

AGAINST THE DALAI LAMA: Protesters, carrying placards against what some Tibetan Buddhists describe as the Dalai Lama’s persecution of religious groups, gathered outside Jadwin Gym yesterday during the visit of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to Princeton University. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)


But while the affable scholar/monk shared his thoughts with the audience inside, protesters outside could be heard chanting “False Dalai Lama, Give Religious Freedom.”

Carrying banners that read “Dalai Lama Stop Lying,” the protestors claimed that the Dalai Lama discriminates against those who follow another form of Buddhism, as represented by Dorje Shugden.

Similar protests have accompanied appearances by the Dalai Lama in California and in Germany, so it was no surprise to the University or the municipality. The protestors had announced their intention beforehand.

Almost as many Tibetan supporters as protestors also made their feelings known by dancing, drumming and singing directly in front of the entrance to Jadwin Gym. One man Geshe Chogkhan Thubten Tandhar wore his support and respect for the Tibetan leader (see photograph) by way of a placard around his neck that read: “Long Live Dalai Lama, the Apostle of Compassion and The Soul of Tibet.”

The morning event was open to the University Community as well as members of the public with free tickets (two per applicant) made available in mid-September.

Later in the day, His Holiness met privately with a select group of students and faculty to discuss the meaning of service as expressed by the University’s informal motto, “In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of All Nations.” This event was by invitation only and was described as being an opportunity for “continued reflection.”

The event was covered extensively by some 30 media outlets and was simulcast to the Princeton community at the Princeton Public Library.


About 40 parents turned out Monday for a moderated Meet the Candidates panel discussion at John Witherspoon Middle School.

They had come to hear the four candidates, Justin Doran, Afsheen Shamsi, Fern Spruill, and Connie Witter, who are vying for three seats on the Board of Education, present their views and answer questions from the floor.

Only two of the four candidates showed, incumbent Ms. Shamsi and first time candidate Ms. Spruill. Mr. Doran had a business meeting and was unable to attend. He sent along his answers to a set of questions that had been distributed in advance of the meeting. Ms. Witter was a no show.

Ms. Shamsi is the only candidate already on the Board. She is seeking election for a second term. The two other vacancies stem from Dan Haughton and Tim Quinn, each of whom has served two full terms.

School Board Candidates’ Night has been sponsored by the the Princeton PTO Council and Special Education PTO for some 16 years.

Designed to offer the community a chance to listen to and ask questions of candidates before next week’s election, Tuesday, November 4, the event was moderated by former Board member Walter Bliss, who read Mr. Doran’s responses in his absence. After giving brief opening statements, each candidate read their responses to the pre-distributed questions and then took questions from the audience. Topics ranged from mainstreaming for special education students, Princeton’s achievement gap, the common core curriculum, to which Ms. Shamsi and Ms. Spruill read their previously written answers, and Mr. Bliss reading for Mr. Doran.

For Ms. Shamsi, one of the challenges facing the district is the pressure to get high grades and the effect that less than perfect grades have on students. . “We need to teach our children resiliency,” she said, citing a district study conducted by former Superintendent Judy Wilson showing that only 25 percent of students at PHS reported feeling happy with themselves.

Ms. Spruill spoke about inclusiveness and the need for electronic access for all students and their families.

The first question from parents concerned a perceived lack of communication between teachers and district administrators, found to be especially troubling given the current ongoing contract negotiations between the district and the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA). Ms. Shamsi agreed that a better job could be done by the district in this regard and commended new Superintendent Steve Cochrane for his “listening tours.”

One parent who had attended two recent meetings, asked why Board members seemed to ignore the people in the room. Ms. Shamsi, as the only member among the candidates, responded that the Board is “listening” and while she was unable to comment on current negotiations she reiterated budget constraints and a $1.6 million short fall.

This prompted a conversation on rising enrollment because of new construction in Princeton and the impact this might have on class sizes.

Malachi Wood, a teacher himself, asked Ms. Shamsi about her reported interest in raising funds for the district from public/private partnerships, which brought up the stellar work done by the Princeton Education Forum in raising hundreds of thousands for Princeton’s schools.

Parental frustration with the school Board over the recent contract negotiations was a constant undercurrent, which one parent expressed thus: “We have to settle this now and give teachers what they are asking for; as a board member it’s your job to get creative and find the money, whether through public/private partnership of whatever.”

The Candidates

An Institutional Equity Trader with the Royal Bank of Canada, Mr Doran has five children in the district. He describes himself as a sports enthusiast and was an active member on the Board of Princeton Little League for many years.

Ms. Shamsi, who has served on the Board of Education since May 2011, has a son at Princeton High School and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communications at Columbia University. She serves on several board committees including external affairs, personnel, facilities, and student achievement, and has helped develop the district’s communications plan and update its crisis communications plan.

Ms. Spruill, who has worked and volunteered in Princeton for many years, describes herself as a community volunteer. Her family has lived in the town for generations and she has served as chair and vice-chair of the district’s Minority Education Committee, from 2007-2011. “I have seen the schools evolve and I understand the district’s strengths and its weaknesses,” she said.

Ms. Witter, a mortgage underwriter working with first time homebuyers, has three children in the district.

For a Q&A with each of the candidates by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area, visit: www.lwvprinceton.org/voters-guides/archives/princeton-school-board-candidates-2014.


A serenade by an a cappella group and individual tributes from members of Princeton Council marked the final meeting that Bob Bruschi, longtime municipal administrator, attended before his last day of work this Friday. Mr. Bruschi is retiring after 15 years serving first Princeton Borough and most recently the consolidated Princeton.

Mr. Bruschi and new administrator Marc D. Dashield sat next to each other at Monday’s meeting. With such a lengthy agenda, Mr. Bruschi clearly had his work cut out for him. But first, there was a surprise performance by the coed a cappella group “Around Eight” from Princeton High School, doing an energetic version of the Pharrell Williams song “Happy” with lyrics specific to Mr. Bruschi and his career.

Following the song, Mayor Lempert and members of Council took turns expressing their wishes to the departing administrator. “I very much appreciate your dedication and professionalism as well as the heart you brought to the job,” said Patrick Simon. Jo Butler echoed Mr. Simon, adding, “particularly the incredible hours you dedicated during the transition to consolidation.” Lance Liverman commented to Mr. Bruschi, “A lot of the success of Princeton today has to do with you.” Jenny Crumiller said, “I’ve always admired your Council-wrangling skills. They’re supreme.”

Mr. Bruschi thanked them, adding, “It really has been a joy working with you. We all have our differences of opinion, but that’s what makes Princeton a great place.” He gave particular praise to the municipal staff.

Then it was down to business. Among the topics on the agenda was a new policy for events held in Princeton on Sundays, something that leaders of local clergy have voiced concerns about, particularly in relation to the annual Communiversity each April. The event was traditionally held on Saturdays but was switched to Sundays last year after a request from local merchants.

Mr. Bruschi said he has met with church leaders and the Arts Council of Princeton, which sponsors the event. Speaking for municipal staff, he said, “We preferred the Sunday date. It’s easier for staff to work and to get volunteers on Sundays, because there are so many other activities on Saturdays.” Since Communiversity is held late enough on Sundays to not affect church attendance and parking, clergy members are “on board” with holding the event on Sundays, he said.

Members of Council voiced concerns about the size of Communiversity and the crowds and traffic it produces. The event has been drawing about 40,000 each year. Arts Council director Jeff Nathanson said no one wants the event to grow bigger. Last year, clergy leaders and their members were frustrated with traffic and parking because of a breakdown in communications, he said, but this year an effort will be made to alert churchgoers a month ahead of the event.

Regarding other Sunday events such as the half-marathon sponsored by Hi-Tops, Mr. Bruschi recommended urging the organization to find a different route from the one that currently circuits through Princeton. “It’s very difficult for us to manage,” he said. “The problem is several crossings that come into the middle of town.” A route crossing over Route One into West Windsor, or to Lawrenceville, would be preferable.

A memo Mr. Bruschi sent to Council on October 10 detailed a Sunday events policy that would allow only community events sponsored or co-sponsored by the municipality to be held on Sundays, unless Council approves the event. No vote was taken on the proposed policy.

Also at the meeting, Council approved a resolution asking Mercer County to install safety improvements for the pedestrian crossing of the D&R Canal on Washington Road. A West Windsor man and his eight-year-old son were injured at the site earlier this month while walking their bikes across the road south of the Carnegie Lake Bridge. The improvements would include warning lights, a crosswalk, and signs.

The meeting included a public hearing for an ordinance that would create a board of parks and recreation commissioners to oversee the maintenance of the town’s open space, currently under the purview of the recreation board. The ordinance is part of the harmonizing of policies of the former Borough and Township into a new code for the consolidated municipality.

The new board would have seven members and two alternates, and would operate similarly to the commission that oversees the annual deer culling operation, Mr. Bruschi said. Council members Crumiller and Liverman spoke in favor of the ordinance. It will be voted on by Council at a future meeting.



Pre-K students in Ms. Vanderburg’s class at Johnson Park Elementary were treated to a seasonally-inspired science lesson by substitute science teacher and Princeton resident Ilene Levine. In the lesson, “Autumn Nature: Float or Sink,” students were shown an assortment of objects from nature, such as an apple, a cranberry, a twig, and a leaf and asked to predict whether each object would sink or float. Then they tested their predictions. The youngsters, having guessed that the pumpkin would sink, were surprised to see it floating.

October 27, 2014

The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) today announced a $2 million donation from Infosys, the business technology consulting firm. The funds will support a new endowment fund for visiting scientists and scholars at the world-renowned institute in Princeton. The Infosys Fund will support two scholars across the Institute’s four Schools each year. Infosys has a longstanding connection with the Institute through the Infosys Prize, which has recognized several of its former visiting scientists in the subject of Mathematical Sciences. The company has pledged $42 million in the current financial year towards corporate social responsibility through its philanthropic arm, the Infosys Foundation.

October 22, 2014

John Mulvey, the Princeton University professor accused of stealing 21 lawn signs advertising the Princeton Computer Repairs and Tutoring business owned by Ted Horodynsky, has been ordered to perform 120 hours of community service in exchange for the charges against him being dismissed. Mr. Horodynsky videotaped Mr. Mulvey driving off with the signs in July. Mr. Mulvey, who teaches operations research and financial engineering, must tutor Trenton area students in finance and computer science or prosecutors can reopen the case.

IN ELI’S MEMORY: Shown here with his two sisters, four-year-old Eli Waller died of Enterovirus D-68 on September 25. A fundraiser for the foundation Eli’s family has established in his memory is being held at The Peacock Inn, where Eli’s mother works, on Sunday, November 16.

IN ELI’S MEMORY: Shown here with his two sisters, four-year-old Eli Waller died of Enterovirus D-68 on September 25. A fundraiser for the foundation Eli’s family has established in his memory is being held at The Peacock Inn, where Eli’s mother works, on Sunday, November 16.

Ever since The Peacock Inn on Bayard Lane re-opened four years ago, Suzanne Waller has been a server at the boutique hotel and restaurant. Her colleagues were shocked and saddened when Ms. Waller’s four-year-old son Eli died in his sleep on September 25 of Enterovirus-D68. Now, they want to help.

An event to celebrate Eli’s memory and raise funds for the foundation the family has established in his memory will be held Sunday, November 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Inn. “We’re doing this because we know and love Suzie and her family,” said Scott Sussman, the hotel’s marketing director. “We’ve gotten to know Eli and his two sisters. It’s really been a hard, tough time.”

Mr. Sussman said customers who know Ms. Waller have been asking how they can assist the family. “This is really for anybody who wants to help them,” he said. “There will be food, wine, and a nice celebration of Eli, who was a triplet. Suzie will be here with her husband.”

The Waller family lives in Hamilton Township. Eli, a student at Yardville Elementary School, had one of nine cases confirmed in New Jersey and one of more than 500 cases across the nation. The virus has since been declared to be waning (see story on page 7). “He was a little guy. He just wasn’t able to fight it,” said Mr. Sussman. “They didn’t know he was sick. He just died in his sleep.”

Eli’s father Andy Waller announced earlier this month that the family is establishing The First Day of School Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing support for special education students. In a statement, Mr. Waller said, “Like so many kids his age, Eli was both nervous and excited about starting school, and it is our sincere hope that this foundation can work to help kids in a way that will make Eli proud of us all, in the same way that we were all so proud of him.”

A minimum donation of $100 is asked to attend the event in Eli’s memory. For further information, email Mr. Sussman at ssussman@thepeacockinn.com.

On October 18, at 3:03 p.m., a motor vehicle accident with injury occurred on Washington Road south of the Carnegie Lake Bridge. A vehicle driven by a 28-year-old male from Dayton was traveling south on Washington Road and passed a vehicle on the right that was stopped in the southbound lane. His vehicle struck a 54-year-old male from West Windsor and an 8-year-old male as they were standing on the shoulder of the roadway with their bicycles. Both pedestrians suffered serious injuries and were transported by the Princeton 1st Aid and Rescue Squad to Capital Health Systems at Fuld. Washington Road was closed between Faculty Road and Route 1 for three hours while the investigation was completed. The Mercer County Prosecutors Office Serious Collision Response Team responded to the accident scene and assisted with the investigation. No charges have been filed as the accident is still under investigation.


AWARD WINNING AUTHORS AT TCNJ: Floyd Cooper’s cover image for his 2013 children’s book Max and the Tag-Along Moon, published by Philomel Books, is included in The College of New Jersey’s fall exhibition, “Visual Voyage: Exploring the Media and Styles of Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrators.” Some 50 works by 20 renowned picture book artists will be on view through December 14. For more information, call (609) 771-2633, or visit tcnj.edu/artgallery.(Image Courtesy of the Artist)

AWARD WINNING AUTHORS AT TCNJ: Floyd Cooper’s cover image for his 2013 children’s book Max and the Tag-Along Moon, published by Philomel Books, is included in The College of New Jersey’s fall exhibition, “Visual Voyage: Exploring the Media and Styles of Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrators.” Some 50 works by 20 renowned picture book artists will be on view through December 14. For more information, call (609) 771-2633, or visit tcnj.edu/artgallery. (Image Courtesy of the Artist)

The College of New Jersey’s (TCNJ) fall exhibition from October 22 through December 14, “Visual Voyage: Exploring the Media and Styles of Award Winning Children’s Book Illustrators,” showcases more than 50 works of art by renowned picture book artists, including Mary Azarian, Eric Carle, Floyd Cooper, Gérard DuBois, Trina Schart Hyman, Steve Jenkins, Leo Lionni, Ted Lewin, E. B. Lewis, Emily Arnold McCully, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Peggy Rathmann, Jan Reynolds, Faith Ringgold, William Steig, Duncan Tonatiuh, Chris Van Allsburg, David Wisniewski, and Paul O. Zelinsky.

The exhibition and all related programs are free and open to the public.

All of the artists are internationally known and represent the highest caliber of children’s book illustrators reflected in the number of whom have been awarded Caldecott Medals and Honor Medals; Coretta Scott King Medals and Honor Medals, Pura Belpré Medals and Honor Medals, plus a myriad of other awards.

The exhibition presents the diversity of media and styles that these award-winning illustrators use in their picture book art. The guidelines for the Caldecott Medal, the top prize for an American illustrator, state that illustrations in a picture book must be appropriate, flow seamlessly, and work together with the text. An illustrator’s style and medium must complement the story, i.e., must complete the story and not fight it, overwhelm it, or denigrate it. The exhibition features illustrations that are realistic, surrealist, impressionist, expressionist, and naïve. Watercolors, oils, acrylics, collages, prints, drawings, and photographs are a few ways in which the illustrators in the exhibition bring stories to life.

Related programs include a lecture by Dr. Nick Clark, chief curator of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, who will speak about “Invention and Appropriation in 20th-century Picture Book Art,” Wednesday, October 22, at 4 p.m. in the Art and Interactive Multimedia (AIMM) Building, Room 125. His talk is immediately prior to the exhibition opening, from 5 to 7 p.m. Caldecott Award winner E. B. Lewis will talk about his career as an artist and illustrator on Friday, November 7, at 12:30 p.m.

TCNJ Art Gallery is located in the AIMM Building on the campus at 2000 Pennington Road in Ewing. Gallery hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (609) 771-2633, or visit tcnj.edu/artgallery.


The office of Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has released a statement offering support and coordination in response to infectious disease outbreaks such as the Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) that killed four-year-old Eli Waller.

In that instance, the Mercer County Division of Public Health (MCDPH) served as a resource to Hamilton health officials and its members are available to advise municipalities across the county.

The statement from Mr. Hughes assures residents that “county government is providing whatever resources it can to support the response to recent infectious disease outbreaks whose impacts have been felt locally.”

As one of 21 designated agencies for the New Jersey Local Information Network Communication System (LINCS), the MCDPH is “in regular communication with state and local health officials regarding Ebola, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), and any other public health threats that might occur. Information is shared on a daily basis.

“We’re concerned but we’re on top of it,” said Mr. Hughes. “Our public health officer and her staff are in daily contact with other jurisdictions to ensure that the flow of information is maintained, and that our municipalities receive the support they need in the form of human resources, materials, and supplies.”

As the statement points out, Mercer County does not have primary authority over public health matters. That authority lies with the State Department of Health under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The county’s main roles involve communication, support, and coordination,” Mr. Hughes clarified.

Representatives of local hospitals, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), municipal health offices, emergency management, emergency communications, and universities and colleges, as well as epidemiologists from the New Jersey Department of Health, met with the Mercer County health officer in late August to raise awareness and ensure countywide communication among first responders with respect to the Ebola virus.

As a result, EMS dispatch protocols were altered to screen for cases that fit the profile of someone infected with Ebola so first responders could take necessary precautions and the receiving emergency department could be notified. In addition, local police chiefs and emergency management coordinators were advised to meet directly with their health officers to discuss their response protocols.

In addition, said Mr. Hughes, there are plans to bring key stakeholders from throughout the county together again next week to share the most recent information and discuss future plans.

The release goes on to say that the Mercer County Office of Emergency Management is ready to support plans by local municipalities and other agencies through the coordination of additional resources, if necessary.

Princeton Public Schools

Health officials in Mercer County also have been focusing on EV-D68,confirmed in more than 40 states. As of Oct. 15, New Jersey had a total of 17 confirmed cases in nine counties, including Mercer.

According to the County Executive, Mercer County schools have cleaning protocols in place to provide safe environments.

Princeton’s Public Health Officer Jeffrey Grosser worked in coordination with Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Steve Cochrane and the District’s Director of Plant Operations Gary Weisman. “We talked about cleaning protocols already in place to make sure that they were up-to-date with the viruses that we are now hearing about in the national news such as EV-D68, said Mr. Grosser.

Mr. Cochrane sent a letter to parents to inform them of what was being done. “I take my hat off to Superintendent Cochrane for being pro-active on this,” said Mr. Grosser, who pointed out that school districts in the Northeast, which open for the fall semester in September, were at an advantage with respect to controlling the spread of the virus compared to districts in the Midwest, where schools open in mid-August.

“With any new infectious disease we want to check that the cleaning materials being uses are appropriate for such infectious diseases. It’s routine for the Health Department to monitor sickness in the schools and check for clusters. There haven’t been any such clusters in the Princeton Public Schools, so this letter to parents, on which the department was consulted, was a proactive step to inform parents about what is being done in the schools and to advise them as to what they can do,” he said.

Yesterday, Hamilton Township officials announced EV-D68 negative test results for a second student at the Yardville Elementary School attended by Eli Waller.

The CDControl reports that cases in New Jersey are decreasing.

For more information about Ebola and EV-D68, visit the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/ and the New Jersey Department of Health website: www.state.nj.us/health.


The Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) will present its 35th Annual Conference and Interfaith Service for Peace, titled, “Seal the Deal on the Iran Nuclear Issue” on Sunday November 9 in Princeton.

The event features Amy Goodman and Naomi Tutu, the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ms. Tutu has worked on race, gender, and peace issues around the world. Ms. Goodman is an award winning journalist, renowned author, and host and executive producer of Democracy Now!

“We are thrilled to have such an outstanding group of presenters for our 35th annual Conference and Interfaith Service for Peace,” said CFPA Executive Director, the Rev. Robert Moore. “Intense effort has been invested in resolving the Iran nuclear issue peacefully, and this may be our last chance to do so in a very long time. We encourage those who support diplomacy instead of war to come, become educated and empowered to advocate strongly as the November 24 deadline approaches for a negotiated settlement.”

Events begin with an individual sponsor reception and dinner with Ms. Tutu on Saturday, November 8, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Nassau Inn.

Ms. Tutu will preach during the Interfaith Service at Princeton University Chapel, on Sunday, November 9, at 11 a.m. Faith leaders from a wide range of traditions will co-lead the liturgy. The service is free and open to the public. A free will offering supports CFPA. Ms. Tutu will also lead the Conference for Peace at the Nassau Presbyterian Church, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., which includes Ms. Goodman and several young experts on nuclear diplomacy with Iran: Jamal Abdi, policy director of the National Iranian American Council, which is spearheading the Seal the Deal campaign, and Ariane Tabalabai, Stanton Nuclear Fellow, Harvard University who has published on the Iran negotiations. Doors will open for seating and at-the-door registration, if any seating remains, at 1 p.m.

To date, the event is co-sponsored by CFPA and 31 religious and civic groups in the region.

The deadline for discounted “Early Bird” reservation is October 24. Early Bird registration offers substantial savings to 2014 CFPA members. Costs are as follows: Individual Sponsor (includes November 8 reception and dinner with Ms. Tutu at the Nassau Inn, preferred seating and listing in program): $125 per CFPA member; $150 per non-member; Patron (includes preferred seating and listing in program): $50 per CFPA member; $75 per non-member; Regular Seating: $25 per CFPA member; $40 per non-member. Students are free, but must pre-register at CFPA’s web site, www.peacecoalition.org.

Attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register to ensure admission, and to avoid standing in line to register at the door.

Early Bird conference registration fees can be paid by credit card through CFPA’s secure web site, www.peacecoalition.org; or by telephone (609) 924-5022.

Robert Gregory, director of Princeton’s Office of Emergency Management, will give an hour-long overview of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program being developed in Princeton on Thursday, October 30, at 3 p.m. and again on Thursday, November 6, at 7 p.m. The program is being developed in cooperation with Mercer County.

The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

Upcoming training sessions for those interested in taking part in the CERT program are to be announced. The information sessions will be held in the library’s Community Room. The library is at 65 Witherspoon Street. Visit www.princetonlibrary.org or call (609) 924-9529 for information.

The Princeton Senior Resource Center will hold its tenth annual fall conference on Saturday, November 1, theme “Technology and Aging Independently.” The event will be held at the Suzanne Patterson Building, 45 Stockton Street, starting at 8:30 a.m.

The day includes a keynote speaker, a resource fair featuring representatives from area organizations, vendors with information about new products and services, and a series of topical workshops led by industry professionals.

In lockstep with Princeton’s recent designation by the World Health Organization as an “Age-Friendly Community,” this conference is designed to address both user-friendly and cutting-edge technology. PSRC Executive Director Susan Hoskins says, “We want to make people aware of emerging technologies that can help them stay active in our community. It’s exciting to learn about these modalities that can help us stay socially connected, engaged in lifelong learning, have unlimited information at our fingertips, stay healthier and have tools to help us manage our own lives as we age.”

The keynote speaker is Tobey Gordon Dichter, founder and CEO of Generations on Line, a national nonprofit company dedicated to simplifying the internet through special software available to more than 1800 facilities nationwide, including public libraries, senior centers, retirement communities, and low-income elder housing. She will address the many ways that technology is currently being used to help people maintain independence.

Workshop presenters and their guests will introduce numerous opportunities that are currently available or coming soon. The leaders include Barbara Lundy and Don Benjamin, PSRC’s Computer Lab facilitators, who will present “Getting Started,” an introduction to internet resources and online safety; Tom Callahan, of Answers for Issues Consulting, who will shed light on Social Media, Online Education and Entertainment; Barbara Vaning from Princeton HealthCare System Community Outreach, who will offer a workshop on electronic medical records, online consultations, hospital, and home technologies; Holly Hardaway from Independent Domain, who will describe the multiple ways technology can be implemented to support home safety; and Annette Murphy of Senior Care Management and Janet Hauge from the Princeton Public Library, who will show how to pay bills, shop, communicate, and learn through social media.

As our culture becomes ever more technology-oriented and dependent, PSRC is committed to helping our community stay connected. This conference is an opportunity for anyone interested in the latest, most practical technologies to learn which gadgets, devices, and apps are useful, and which to ignore or reject.

The conference is free; pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Call (609) 924-7108.

A continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

When the Spring Street Garage next to Princeton Public Library opened a decade ago, the technology used for payment was considered state-of-the-art. But not for long.

“We were at the cutting edge, we thought. But that cutting edge lasted about 30 minutes,” joked Bob Bruschi, the town’s administrator. Mr. Bruschi was speaking to members of the Princeton Merchants Association Tuesday morning about parking, a hot topic among those who patronize local establishments and those who run them.

Along with Mayor Liz Lempert and the town’s Assistant Engineer Deanna Stockton, Mr. Bruschi was at the meeting to get feedback from merchants about some parking innovations being considered for the garage and other locations in the central business district. The topic will be on the agenda at the next Princeton Council meeting on Monday, October 27.

“Technology has changed so much,” said Mr. Bruschi, who recalled that parking meters cost six cents an hour when he was growing up in Princeton. “We’re at the point now where we know we need to make some decisions. We’re very excited over the options, but we’re also nervous about them.”

Anyone who parks in the Spring Street Garage knows the frustration of getting caught behind a line of vehicles trying to exit when the gate malfunctions. Whether to upgrade the present post-pay infrastructure at the garage or switch to a pre-pay system is the main question, Ms. Stockton said in her presentation. “The post-pay infrastructure is a very easy system, as long as it works,” she said. “Pre-pay is more difficult, but there are advantages.”

Among the options with pre-paying are bulk coupons for merchants to offer customers, and the ability to make payments, validations, and adding time through cell phones and computers. While the pre-pay option would be cheapest for the municipality, keeping the post-payment option is “in the mid-range,” Ms. Stockton said. “It’s just a matter of switching out the technology.” The most costly option would be hiring people to take payments in booths, as in the Palmer Square garage.

Mr. Bruschi said the technical abilities of people who park in town are being considered. “Are they savvy enough? We do have an aging population,” he said. “Would we drive people away if it was too advanced?”

Joanne Farrugia, who owns Jazam’s in Palmer Square, said she has concerns about the more technologically advanced option. “We still have customers who don’t get it about getting their parking validated,” she said. “You just want to keep it as simple as possible.” Others in the audience expressed similar sentiments.

There are 1,100 single-head meters, seven surface lots, and three parking garages in Princeton. Multi-space meters have been installed on Alexander Street and at the temporary Dinky train station, and more will be added when the new Dinky station opens next month, Ms. Stockton said.

The Spring Street Garage is a priority because of its aging technology. Asked whether they would favor upgrading the post-payment system or switching to a pre-payment initiative, most at the meeting raised their hands for the former. A few more indicated they were undecided.

“I understand wanting to keep it simple,” said Mr. Bruschi. “But we also want to be able to grow this as people become more technologically savvy.”

At the close of the meeting, Mr. Bruschi, who is retiring at the end of the year after 15 years on the job, was presented with a gift from the Princeton Merchants Association for his service to the business community.


Prompted by the repeated failure of the Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) and the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) to negotiate a new contract for Princeton’s teachers and other staff, two concerned Princeton residents have formed a new group.

Attorney Nicole Soffin and public relations consultant Jennifer Lea Cohan created Community for Princeton Public Schools in an effort to “promote awareness, connection and support for the Princeton Public Schools.”

“[The group] was launched in response to the confusion and curiosity many people feel about the current negotiations between PREA and the Board of Education,” said Ms. Cohan, who is urging those interested to attend an inaugural community gathering in front of the School District’s Administration Building at 25 Valley Road, today, October 22, between 4 and 5 p.m.

The gathering is timed to take place prior to tonight’s second bargaining session between union representatives and members of the school board.

The first bargaining session, on October 2, had lasted less than an hour before members of the PREA negotiating team walked out. At that time, PREA Chief Negotiator John Baxter and PREA President Joanne Ryan cited the District’s failure to “put a counter proposal on the table.”

Negotiations have stalled repeatedly over the issues of health care, salary increases, and a profound disagreement over the intent and impact of N.J. law Chapter 78.

The crux of the issue is whether premium contributions are subject to collective bargaining under the Chapter 78 law. PREA contends that, after this year, premium contributions are subject to collective bargaining. But, according to the District, increases in healthcare costs have been “imposed by State Law Chapter 78” and the union’s demands are “simply unaffordable.”

Such entrenchment provided the impetus for Ms. Soffin and Ms. Cohan, who said that today’s Community for Princeton Public Schools gathering, which will take place without a speaker or a formal program, is intended in “support of a positive resolution to the negotiations.”

“Public education affects the vibrance, safety, property values and prosperity of a community,” the group said in an email to supporters. “[Princeton] has a legacy of respect for public education. Your show of support, either physical, virtual, or both (#comm4pps), is essential to continuing this legacy.”

Using email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter, the group is spreading word of today’s gathering to local media, PTO groups, School Board members, the Superintendent of Princeton Schools, as well as community organizations and others.

In anticipation of tonight’s bargaining session, Mr. Baxter said yesterday that he was hoping for progress. “We enter the session prepared with proposals to do our part should the Board agree to negotiate premium contributions or an equivalent proposal,” he said, adding that he was looking for answers from the Board in advance of the public meeting on October 28.

In an email, yesterday, District representative Patrick Sullivan commented: “The goals of the board’s negotiations team have not changed since these negotiations began. We want an agreement that 1) is fair to and affirming of our teachers, whom we value; 2) is affordable for the duration of the new agreement; and 3) ensures the sustainability of the high quality of programs, staffing levels and class sizes we all value for the children in our public schools. We hope the PREA will work with us to achieve that, within the limits of what is possible and compliant with the laws of our State.”

The Board of Education is due to meet Tuesday, October 28, at 8 p.m., at which time Princeton residents are expected to put some difficult questions with respect to Chapter 78, the schools budget, and other matters (See Letters to the Editor, page 14).

Following next week’s board meeting, the two sides will have the help of a state-appointed mediator in their search for common ground. Kathy Vogt, Esq. assisted with negotiations for the 2011-2014 contract which expired June 30 but continues in operation until the terms and conditions of a new contract can be agreed upon. She will work with both sides on November 20.

For more information on Community for Princeton Public Schools, contact: comm4pps@gmail.com, Facebook (comm4pps), Twitter & Instagram, @comm4PPS.

As the former Princeton Hospital building is steadily dismantled, officials are keeping a close eye С or ear С on decibel levels. AvalonBay, the developer building a rental complex on the Witherspoon Street site, has an acoustical consultant on hand, while engineering and health officers from the municipality and Mercer County continue to monitor the sounds of crunching concrete.

While complaints have been lodged by a number of area residents, acceptable noise levels have not been exceeded so far. But that could change once the largest of the buildings come down. “They’re sort of acting as a shield for the neighborhood right now,” said Bob Kiser, the town’s municipal engineer. “So it remains to be seen how things will work out once they get started on those buildings.”

Depending on the weather, that could happen within the next month. Excessively cold temperatures could halt the demolition because the misting operation being used to help control dust could freeze, Mr. Kiser said.

Princeton’s health officer Jeffrey Grosser said most of the noise issues reported by residents have had to do with work on the parking garage, where removal of the upper level concrete floor deck is being replaced with a new concrete deck. “That was addressed through some noise dampening walls they had purchased, which worked pretty effectively,” he said. “There were also some blankets in use. But obviously with the larger structure coming down, that will change.”

Council member Jo Butler said that she and fellow Council member Jenny Crumiller have been contacted on a number of occasions by residents bothered by the noise. “But Bob Kiser and [health officer] Jeff Grosser have been terrific, really getting out there and working with the county,” she said. “I really think they’re doing their best.”

Mr. Grosser, Mr. Kiser, the town’s construction official, and land use engineer Jack West have been meeting at the demolition site every Monday with representatives from AvalonBay and Yannuzzi Wrecking and Recycling to go over the progress, Mr. Grosser said. At the most recent meeting, the issue of an odor was raised.

“My initial evaluation was that it was due to some kind of exhaust from one of the machines,” Mr. Grosser said. “I haven’t heard anything else. There were no odors on Monday when we were out there.”

Demolition work on the former hospital site, to make room for the 280 unit rental property, began September 22. Three of eight buildings have already been razed, leaving another five to be taken down. The overall project is expected to take another six months, according to progress reports from the town.

Should noise levels become extreme once the larger buildings are dismantled, “we will take readings and appropriate action if we have to,” Mr. Kiser said. “We would have to document it and then go back and determine what can be done to reduce the noise. If necessary, I’m sure our attorneys will be dealing with it.”


Compared to certain past years, the scene appears calm and orderly during Friday’s opening preview of the Friends of the Princeton Public Library’s Annual Book Sale. Dealers like the man in the foreground came armed with price scanners. This year’s three-day sale was another record breaker. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

October 20, 2014

At a conference held at Princeton University this past weekend, University president Christopher L. Eisgruber announced that the papers of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, who taught at Princeton for 17 years, are now in the permanent library collection of the school.

Mr. Eisgruber made the announcement in Richardson Auditorium to those attending the conference, “Coming Back: Reconnection Princeton’s Black Alumni,” following a tribute to Ms. Morrison’s legacy at the University by trustee Ruth Simmons and before an onstage interview with Ms. Morrison by Claudia Brodsky, professor of comparative literature.

“Toni Morrison’s place among the giants of American literature is firmly entrenched, and I am overjoyed that we are adding her papers to the Princeton University Library’s collections,” Mr. Eisgruber said. “This extraordinary resource will provide scholars and students with unprecedented insights into Professor Morrison’s remarkable life and her magnificent, influential literary works. We at Princeton are fortunate that Professor Morrison brought her brilliant talents as a writer and teacher to our campus 25 years ago, and we are deeply honored to house her papers and to help preserve her inspiring legacy.”

Ms. Morrison was awarded an honorary doctorate from Princeton in 2013. She came to the University in 1989 and was a member of the creative writing program until retiring in 2006. In 1994, she founded the Princeton Atelier, bringing together undergraduates in interdisciplinary collaborations with acclaimed artists and performers.

Ms. Morrison’s papers include about 180 linear feet of research materials documenting the author’s life, work, and writing methods, according to Don Skemer, curator of manuscripts in the University Library’s Department of rare Books and Special Collections.

The papers have been gathered from many locations over time, beginning with manuscripts and other original materials that the library’s preservation office recovered and conserved after a fire in 1993 at Morrison’s home in Grandview, New York. Manuscripts, drafts and proofs for her most famous novels as well as materials for children’s literature, lyrics, lectures, non-fiction writing, and more are included.

Over the next year, archivists will focus on the arrangement, description, cataloging, preservation, and selective digitization of the papers to make them available for research. An exhibit of some of Ms. Morrison’s papers are on display through November 24 in the Main Gallery of Firestone Library.

October 16, 2014

A limited number of tickets remain for the Dalai Lama’s talk at Princeton University on Tuesday, October 28. The tickets will be made available to the public online from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 21. Tickets are free.

One ticket per person will be available. Those who obtain them will be notified by noon on Wednesday, October 22, by email. Tickets must then be picked up in person by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 24.

The Dalai Lama’s talk is entitled “Develop the Heart.” When his appearance was announced last month, the 1,000 tickets made available to the general public were taken within minutes. The remaining 3,000 went to University students, faculty and staff. The University will provide a live-streaming broadcast of the lecture at mediacentrallive.princeton.edu.

An event for a selected group of students and faculty will be held following the talk.The Dalai Lama will focus on the University’s motto, “In the Nation’s Service and in the Service of all Nations.”

October 15, 2014
GEORGIAN BRICK FOR TODAY: The style of the new Marion Buckelew Cullen Center at The Westminster Choir College of Rider University might echo the past but its construction is very much up to contemporary standards. The first new construction at the college in 39 years, the $8.5 million project, designed by KSS Architects, has received LEED Silver Certification. An open house offers a tour of new rehearsal and performance spaces as well as an afternoon of musical performances by faculty and students on Sunday, October 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

GEORGIAN BRICK FOR TODAY: The style of the new Marion Buckelew Cullen Center at The Westminster Choir College of Rider University might echo the past but its construction is very much up to contemporary standards. The first new construction at the college in 39 years, the $8.5 million project, designed by KSS Architects, has received LEED Silver Certification. An open house offers a tour of new rehearsal and performance spaces as well as an afternoon of musical performances by faculty and students on Sunday, October 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Westminster Choir College of Rider University, on Walnut Lane next door to Princeton High School, will treat members of the Princeton community to a look inside its new building on Sunday, October 26, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The Open House will showcase the The Marion Buckelew Cullen Center, with a tour of the building and afternoon of musical performances by faculty and students.

The new Center’s design, by the Princeton firm KSS Architects, was inspired by the Georgian style of the four original buildings surrounding the Morgan Quadrangle at the center of the college campus. The $8.5 million project was funded by pledges, gifts, and grants from various sources.

Named in honor of Marion Buckelew Cullen, a long time supporter of the Choir College, the building was erected in less than a year since ground broke in September of 2013.“It was finished in August and ready for students at the start of this school year,” said Anne Sears, Rider University’s director of external affairs, who led this reporter on a tour of the new facility Monday. “Some wonderful time lapse photography on our website [www.rider.edu/wcc/about-us/construction] shows the building taking shape through all of the snow storms we had last winter.”

The outcome has been LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified at the Silver level for construction focused on pollution prevention as well as its use of green power, low emitting materials, wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), recycled materials, low water use, and storm water management.

The first new construction on the campus in 39 years, the Center boasts a 3,000-square-foot performance and rehearsal hall, the Hillman Performance Hall, named in recognition of a $3 million grant in support of the project from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

The hall has acoustical panels that can be moved according to the varying sound requirements of symphony orchestra, choir, small ensembles. A peek inside reveals Director of Choir Activities Joe Miller at work with the Westminster Choir, rehearsing in the new space.

There’s also a green room and three flexibly configured classrooms that will accommodate a wide range of academic and choral uses. The Center and its restrooms are handicap-accessible.

The airy classrooms are all sound isolated, as is the entire building. “A lot of money, care, and attention went into the acoustics,” said Ms. Sears, pointing out the state-of-the-art audio/visual technology. “The quality of the acoustics is such that we can produce professional recordings here, as was demonstrated recently when we webcast to alumnae around the world. This new building and the technology we have will allow us to bring Westminster to the world in new ways that will raise the profile of the school.”

The large entry way and lobby is painted in a soft Williamsburg Blue and looks out onto a green lawn that forms a quadrangle between the new building and the existing campus. The courtyard in front of the Center and the as yet unnamed “quad” is expected to be a primary outdoor venue for Westminster student and alumni events.

Located next to and connecting to one of the College’s existing rehearsal and performance spaces, The Playhouse, the new Center creates much needed access for audiences who used to have to stand outside waiting to get inside. No more, said Ms. Sears. “Now we have a real box office, no more standing in the rain to get into The Playhouse,” she said, noting that an upgrade to The Playhouse will be the “next step.” The building where Leonard Bernstein once rehearsed could use some changing rooms, for example. “The Playhouse has phenomenal acoustics as Bernstein noted; he loved it.”

Having had a long association with the Choir College, Ms. Cullen could recall campus rehearsals “when some of the world’s greatest conductors, such as Leonard Bernstein and Riccardo Muti, came to prepare students for major orchestral performances.”

Ms. Cullen, who died in 2012, was one of the Westminster Choir College’s strongest supporters. She had no children and left her entire $5 million estate to the Westminster Choir College.

“I knew Marion very well,” said Ms. Sears, who has been with the Choir College since 1984. “She was not someone who would draw attention to herself and she would be surprised to see her name on the building, but I am sure she would be absolutely thrilled to see a building that was being used so thoughtfully and so well.”

Descended from three of New Jersey’s oldest families, the Buckelews, the Housels, and the Stouts. Ms. Cullen was a graduate of the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass College of Rutgers University, where she majored in English, history and the dramatic arts. From 1983 to 1989, she was a member of the Westminster Choir College Board of Trustees.

In 2003, when she received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the College, she said: “I’ve traveled extensively throughout my life. No matter where I’ve been in the world, whether it was attending services at a Presbyterian Church in Egypt or the chapel of West Point, I’ve encountered a Westminster graduate. They are undoubtedly the best.”

Ms. Cullen described the honorary degree as a “highlight of my life.”

Celebratory Events

As befits a music college, the Open House will include performances by ensembles, students, and faculty from Westminster Choir College and Westminster Conservatory, Westminster’s community music school.

Arrive at 1 p.m. to hear the Conservatory’s Suzuki Violin Ensemble performing favorite works by Vivaldi, Schumann, Bach, and Suzuki. At 1:30 p.m., students in the High School Honors Music Program: pianists Benjamin Qi, Richard Qi, and Charlie Liu, and violinist Dallas Noble will present violin and piano duets, with excerpts of Corigliano’s Gazebo Dances and Grieg’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 45.

Westminster Choir College student pianist Asher Severini will perform movements of Barber’s Piano Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 26, at 2 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m., the Westminster Community Orchestra, will present highlights from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, conducted by Ruth Ochs with narrator Lois Laverty.

Children will have an opportunity to “Meet the Instruments” at 3 p.m. followed by other performances by the Westminster Opera Theatre, the Westminster Chinese Instrument Orchestra, the Cantus Children’s Choir, conducted by Patricia Thel, and Westminster Harmonie, a chamber music ensemble composed of Westminster Conservatory faculty and advanced students.

Admission is free. For more information, visit: www.rider.edu/cullen.


Dogs and cats in need of loving homes will come to Palmer Square on Sunday, October 19 from noon to 3 p.m., when SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals and Palmer Square hosts “SAVE on the Square.”

In keeping with National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, this family-friendly event is designed to raise awareness about the “adoption option” for homeless dogs and cats and to showcase several of SAVE’s furry friends.

“We approached SAVE about hosting this event with us because we admire their work, as do many supporters in the community,” says Anita Fresolone, marketing director for Palmer Square Management. “We felt that coming up with a way to showcase them on the Green would be great exposure for their mission.”

The afternoon will include a visit from the Trenton Thunder mascot from noon to 1 p.m., a demonstration by the Princeton Dog Training Club from 1-2 p.m., local, pet-friendly vendors, and a veterinarian to answer pet-related questions.

Games and raffle prizes will be donated by Palmer Square stores and restaurants. There will be a 50/50 raffle (drawing to take place on November 15), and children can enter an art contest by submitting a drawing of “their perfect day with a pet.”

Since 1941, SAVE has been dedicated to strengthening the human-animal bond. The SAVE family works to make a difference in the lives of many deserving pets by cleaning cages, walking dogs, socializing the animals in residence, and assisting with special events. SAVE depends on the community at large to support the shelter’s dogs and cats in residence. For more information about SAVE or SAVE on the Square, call (609) 921-6122.

TIME FOR TEA: This image of perhaps the most famous tea kettle ever, is one that evokes the name of Princeton’s own Michael Graves, the internationally renowned architect and designer who has won numerous awards and distinctions including the National Medal of Arts. Mr. Graves’s work has been widely exhibited and published, and his drawings, paintings, and objects have found permanent homes in museums and private collections around the world. A retrospective of his work, “Michael Graves: Past as Prologue,” marks the 50th anniversary of his design firm, and opens at Grounds for Sculpture Saturday, October 18. For more information, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org. For more on Mr. Graves, visit www.michaelgraves.com.

TIME FOR TEA: This image of perhaps the most famous tea kettle ever, is one that evokes the name of Princeton’s own Michael Graves, the internationally renowned architect and designer who has won numerous awards and distinctions including the National Medal of Arts. Mr. Graves’s work has been widely exhibited and published, and his drawings, paintings, and objects have found permanent homes in museums and private collections around the world. A retrospective of his work, “Michael Graves: Past as Prologue,” marks the 50th anniversary of his design firm, and opens at Grounds for Sculpture Saturday, October 18. For more information, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org. For more on Mr. Graves, visit www.michaelgraves.com.

Grounds For Sculpture’s Fall/Winter exhibition season features an installation of work by internationally acclaimed artist and architect Michael Graves. The exhibition, “Michael Graves: Past as Prologue,” will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Graves’ design firm and its five decades of visionary work. It will run from October 18 through April 5, 2015.

The exhibition will feature a tour through seminal architecture and product design projects, and will display some of Graves’ original works of art, including sculpture and paintings. It will reflect the evolution of Mr. Graves’ core design principles and how the past influences the present, setting the stage for the future.

On view in the Museum, Domestic Arts Building, and Welcome Center, “Past as Prologue” will present projects ranging from rarely seen work from 1964 through current work “on the boards.” Some of Graves’ most influential architectural designs will be on display including the iconic Denver Central Library and the Team Disney Building in Burbank. Also featured will be everyday objects such as his celebrated ALESSI teakettle and a collection of bowls and vases for Steuben Glass.

The exhibition will reflect the breadth of the Princeton architect’s accomplishments at every scale. Visitors will have a rare glimpse at the early Linear City project on which Graves collaborated with architect Peter Eisenman. They will also have an opportunity to see the progression of Graves’s design philosophy and the core values he developed with his collaborators and gain insight into how such a broad spectrum of work produced across five decades is inter-connected.

“Reminiscing over 50 years of projects is wonderful for me, but I am most excited about how the future of our practice is evolving from the energetic collaboration of our disciplines,” commented Michael Graves. “I hope that visitors experience the many scales of our designs with the same joy that we feel in creating them.”

In addition to an extensive collection of Graves’ architectural models, products, furniture, paintings, sculptural pieces, and photos of built projects from around the world, some of his never-before-seen drawings will also be on view, providing a behind-the scenes glimpse into the design process from original concept to the final product or project.

“Michael is a true visionary,” said GFS Chief Curator Tom Moran. “This exhibition will feature many of his never-before-seen drawings created over five decades, which will enable visitors to experience his thought process in the same space as the finished product. He approaches every project with a human sensibility; whether it’s a hotel, office building, or product for home and health, he insists that it be intuitive and functional. And he is able to balance this requirement with streamlined design and a heightened aesthetic. He is a master at his craft, and we are so pleased to be able to share his work and celebrate the 50 years leading up to this momentous exhibition.”

Throughout the duration of “Michael Graves: Past as Prologue,” GFS will offer special events, talks, tours, and hands-on art-making workshops for families and adults, in addition to a film series and a Product Design Challenge, all inspired by the exhibition. This exhibition has been made possible in part through the generous support of its presenting sponsor, Kimberly-Clark, and by ALESSI, one of the leading “factories of Italian design.”

For more information, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org.