December 5, 2014

After investigating the reports of an intoxicated, freshman girl performing a sex act on a senior at the Tiger Inn, one of Princeton University’s eating clubs, the Princeton Police Department has closed the matter. “After conducting a thorough investigation that included the interviewing of all involved parties, the police department found no evidence to support criminal wrongdoing and we have closed the investigation with no criminal charges,” reads a statement issued Friday afternoon. “The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was consulted in this matter.”

The police department had been investigating whether there was an invasion of privacy. Princeton University has not yet concluded its own investigation of the matter. Since the eating clubs are private property, they fall under the jurisdiction of the local police.

Last October, a photo taken of the act was circulated by email to club members by the club treasurer. New Jersey law dictates that it is a criminal offense to distribute a photo of a sexual act without the person’s consent. The club treasurer and another officer have since stepped down.

December 4, 2014

breaking news

Students, faculty, and members of the Princeton University community gathered Thursday afternoon for a “walk-out and die-in” a day after a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer on Staten Island for the “choke-hold” death of a black man, Eric Garner. Hundreds lay for 45 minutes — to symbolize the 4.5 hours that Michael Brown, the man gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year — on the ground in front of Frist Campus Center. Others stood silently along the sidelines. The protest was organized by students who are part of the “Post-Ferguson at Princeton” movement organized by the Black Leadership Coalition, made up of student leaders representing the Black Student Union, Princeton African Students Association, and other campus groups. (Photo by A. Levin)

December 3, 2014
DURHAM BOATS AWAY: General Washington’s Continental Army will again cross the Delaware River from Pennsylvania into New Jersey this Christmas Day. And if weather permits, there will be smooth passage as in this scene photographed a few years ago. But you don’t have to wait until Christmas Day to see the action. A full dress rehearsal of the reenactment is scheduled for this Sunday, December 7, at 1 p.m. Unlike the free event on Christmas Day, however, there is an admission charge for the dress rehearsal, with proceeds benefiting programs at Washington Crossing State Park, where the event takes place. For more information, visit: by L. Arntzenius)

DURHAM BOATS AWAY: General Washington’s Continental Army will again cross the Delaware River from Pennsylvania into New Jersey this Christmas Day. And if weather permits, there will be smooth passage as in this scene photographed a few years ago. But you don’t have to wait until Christmas Day to see the action. A full dress rehearsal of the reenactment is scheduled for this Sunday, December 7, at 1 p.m. Unlike the free event on Christmas Day, however, there is an admission charge for the dress rehearsal, with proceeds benefiting programs at Washington Crossing State Park, where the event takes place. For more information, visit: (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

Several hundred soldiers clad in Continental military dress will reenact George Washington’s daring crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas Day, and even more viewers will be there to see the event. For those who find the outing a daunting prospect on the day itself, the dress rehearsal scheduled for Sunday, December 7 at 1 p.m. provides a less crowded alternative.

Essentially identical to the Christmas Day reenactment, the full dress rehearsal boasts a few extra activities and demonstrations for the public at the historic village on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Unlike the Christmas Day reenactment, however, there is an admission fee for the dress rehearsal: $8 for adults, $4 for children age five to 11. The Christmas Day crossing is free and also takes place at 1 p.m., although it’s necessary to arrive well before that time to find parking and a good spot along the viewing line either on the New Jersey or the Pennsylvania side of the river.

The reenactment, which has been going on for some 60 years, celebrates Washington’s original crossing in 1776 and now has a history of its own since it was first attempted in the first half of the 19th century. After history enthusiast John Davis gave a speech about the importance of Washington’s crossing, reenactors were inspired to try their hands at the oars in 1844. According to newspaper reports of the day, the event descended into a “sham” with “rowdy, drunken behavior.” At the next attempt, in 1876, behavior was not much improved. About 100 participants marched from Philadelphia to Taylorsville, with the Civil War General W.S. Truex portraying Washington. They crossed the river — although it’s unknown whether they boated or walked across the ice — and continued on to Trenton to take on the Hessians. As in Washington’s time, the weather was brutally cold and the reenactors encouraged themselves with alcohol. One critic noted “too much conviviality” and it looked like the end of the event.

However, on January 23, 1947, the forerunner of today’s reenactment took place. A group of Rider College students recreated the feat for pledges wanting to join the Phi Sigma Nu fraternity (a non-hazing initiation back in the day). This time 40 pledges crossed the river in four rowboats and then, after refreshments, motored on to Trenton. An article about the event appeared in the February 17, 1947 issue of Life magazine and gained national attention.

In 1952, National Geographic Magazine featured a story about Washington Crossing Historic Park and the historic crossing. The story included a photograph of park superintendent Granville Stradling rowing six young people across the river — one held a flag and one portrayed General Washington.

Perhaps the most famous of the Washington impersonators was St. John “Sinjin” Terrell, a fire-eating circus man and actor with a penchant for showmanship. In a presentation to a women’s organization in 1953, Mr. Terrell expressed his hope of someday reenacting the General’s famous crossing. After a half-scale Durham boat costing $800 was constructed, Mr. Terrell and six others crossed the icy river in what would become the first dress rehearsal for the reenactment. That was on December 20, 1953. Five days later, on December 25, 1953, Mr. Terrell and his crew made their way across the river in about eight minutes. After the crossing, “George Washington” signed autographs before packing up the boat and heading home. More than 700 people came out to witness the event and an annual tradition was born.

This year, General Washington will again take a Durham boat across the river, weather permitting, from the Pennsylvania bank of the Delaware River to the New Jersey side, at Washington Crossing Historic Park, at Routes 532 and 32 (River Road).

For more information, visit:


BEHIND THE DRYWALL: What goes into the making of truly “green” home? Baxter Construction and DEC Architect David Cohen provide the details with tours of this house being built on Linden Lane. The home is a duplex, attached to the client’s existing dwelling.(Photo by A. Levin)

BEHIND THE DRYWALL: What goes into the making of truly “green” home? Baxter Construction and DEC Architect David Cohen provide the details with tours of this house being built on Linden Lane. The home is a duplex, attached to the client’s existing dwelling. (Photo by A. Levin)

With two LEED-certified houses located on the same side of Linden Lane, Princeton’s “tree streets” neighborhood is taking the lead, no pun intended, in the town’s efforts toward sustainability.

Architect Kirsten Thoft’s home at number 45 earned the coveted LEED platinum certification this past fall. Just down the street at number 85, a home designed by David Cohen of DEC Architect is being built by Baxter Construction, and platinum designation is anticipated.

“This neighborhood will become the hub of green building in Princeton by virtue of having these two projects,” said Mr. Cohen, who led several “Behind the Drywall” tours of the house under construction earlier this month. More tours are planned for this Saturday, December 6.

The house is being built as a duplex attached to the client’s existing home because the site is too small to subdivide and is zoned as a two-family dwelling. The project is participating in both the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification process and New Jersey’s Climate Choice Homes program, to make it so energy efficient that “you can heat it with a toaster,” said James E. Baxter of the construction company.

“The idea of the tours is to educate the public about green building,” he added. “I probably had four or five people who came up and thanked me for providing this to the folks in Princeton. They weren’t necessarily interested in a job, but just in learning about what is green, what is LEED, what is platinum, and so on. So it was a lot of fun.”

Mr. Cohen wasn’t surprised by the enthusiasm for the tours. “I had been involved a number of years ago when the Princeton Environmental Commission sponsored green home tours,” he said. “The turnout at that time was really amazing. My own home was on it. I know the level of interest in Princeton is really high.”

The tours of the Linden Lane home are more structured and specific than the earlier ones to which Mr. Cohen referred. On the November 22 tours, many people expressed interest in the basement system, a waste water heat recovery unit that reduces the piping diameters and conserves the energy used to heat water. “I had people coming up and asking if they could put one of these in their houses that were already built,” he said.

Another attention-getter has been the windows, which are triple-glazed Energy Star that maximize daylight on the north and south, and minimize heat gain on the east and west.

The goals of the project are to improve energy use, make use of recycled resources, and have a healthy impact on the building’s users and the larger environment by reducing pollution and the use of toxic materials. While the site had its challenges, its orientation was actually favorable, according to Mr. Cohen. “The existing trees were fine for solar considerations. And the location is considered desirable because it can support and encourage walking, mass transit, and biking.”

“Other advantages are that you’re using existing infrastructure rather than building new, which leads to resource efficiency,” said Mr. Cohen. “And then there is open space preservation, because you’re on a site that is already being used. There are points for all of these things.” The U.S. Green Buildings Council requires 80 or more points for platinum status.

Additional features of the house include a sleeping porch for the master bedroom, allowing outdoor sleeping during warm months; walls with more than twice the conventional insulation; a photovoltaic array for on-site energy production; and the use of LED bulbs in nearly all of the light fixtures.

“I love talking to people who are interested in this,” said Mr. Baxter, who added that his company’s project for the Whole Earth Center was the first commercial project in Princeton to get LEED silver designation. “It just makes sense.”

To register for this Saturday’s tours, call (609) 466-3655 or email


ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA: The cover of the new American edition of “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges from Princeton University Press makes much of the connection to the new feature film, “The Imitation Game,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. The book has been described as the definitive source on Alan Turing. Mr. Hodges will discuss his work on Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Princeton Public Library. For more information, visit:

ALAN TURING: THE ENIGMA: The cover of the new American edition of “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges from Princeton University Press makes much of the connection to the new feature film, “The Imitation Game,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. The book has been described as the definitive source on Alan Turing. Mr. Hodges will discuss his work on Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at the Princeton Public Library. For more information, visit:

Oxford mathematician Andrew Hodges will discuss his classic 1983 biography of the mathematical genius and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing (1912-1954) as part of the Thinking Allowed series co-sponsored by the Princeton Public Library and Princeton University Press in the Library’s Community Room this Thursday, December 4, at 7 p.m.

Currently on a U.S. book tour, Mr. Hodges is the authority on his subject. His 500-page biography, Alan Turing: The Enigma has been re-issued with a new preface and a foreword by Douglas Hofstadter, timed to coincide with the new British-American movie on Turing’s life that has just come out.

But don’t ask Mr. Hodges to comment on the movie. He’s in Princeton to talk about Alan Turing rather than Benedict Cumberbatch.

Nonetheless, the new film, which also stars Keira Knightley and Charles Dance, is causing quite a stir. Einstein biographer Walter Isaacson has interviewed the actors about their work. Titled The Imitation Game, the film combines elements of tortured genius, gender, and romance against the backdrop of World War II and the race to break the German Enigma code at Britain’s Bletchley Park.

Its unlikely hero is the British mathematician, codebreaker, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, the man Winston Churchill said had made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany. Given Mr. Turing’s accomplishments, one might wonder why he is not a household name.

Mr. Turing, who gained his PhD at Princeton University before the war, is considered the father of theoretical computer science for his model of a general purpose computer, known as the “Turing machine.” His ideas formed the basis for the pursuit of artificial intelligence (AI) which makes the film’s title especially apt, “imitation” being the key question in AI, as in “can a computer simulate human behavior?”

In addition to being a mathematical genius, Mr. Turing was also gay, at a time when homosexual acts were subject to criminal prosecution. In 1952, he was charged with “gross indecency.” Rather than go to prison, Mr. Turing agreed to be treated with estrogen injections, a chemical method of castration. He committed suicide two years later.

In 2013, Mr. Turing received a Royal Pardon for his 1952 conviction. According to Michael Saler, writing in The Times Literary Supplement, the pardon was largely the result of Mr. Hodges’s “superb biography.”

If the film sends people to Hodges’s richly detailed and carefully researched book they will discover “one of the best scientific biographies ever written.” Britain’s The Guardian newspaper has listed it as one of the essential 50 books of all time and John Nash biographer Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind, called it “one of the finest scientific biographies I’ve ever read: authoritative, superbly researched, deeply sympathetic, and beautifully told.”

Alan Turing: The Enigma has also been described as a “perfect match of biographer and subject.” Like Mr. Turing, Mr. Hodges is a mathematician; he is also gay. His book draws from primary sources and interviews with those who knew Turing. Hodges is able to explain Turing’s intellectual accomplishments in plain terms without recourse to heavy mathematical symbolism, explaining how Turing’s revolutionary idea of 1936 laid the foundation for the modern computer, realized in 1945 with his electronic design that helped to break the German Enigma ciphers. He also explores Turing’s sexual identity with understanding and compassion. In short, Hodges brings a mathematical genius to life, from his beginnings as a young man fascinated by science to his tragic end.

Besides the most recent movie, Alan Turing: the Enigma was the basis for the 1986 play Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore and starring Derek Jacobi, who reprised the role on British television in 1996.

Mr. Hodges’s book tour will include New York’s 92nd Street Y on Friday, December 5, before he travels to California and Washington. For more information, visit:



McCarter Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has become a welcome holiday treat for families across the region. This year’s child actors include (top row, left to right) Andrew Davis, Hope Blair, Russell Clark, Noah Hinsdale, Reyna Bae, Christopher Levine, Neha Kalra (bottom row, left to right) Madeline Fox, Aynisha McQuillar, Ivy Cordle, Jonas Hinsdale, Troy Vallery, Priyanka Nanayakkara, and Sophia Telegadis. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Princeton Public Library hosts a free screening of the documentary Girl Rising on December 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. The film is directed by Academy Award nominee Richard E. Robbins and features narration by Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Liam Neeson, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Moretz, Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys, and Kerry Washington. Girl Rising tells the story of nine girls from nine different countries (Sierra Leone, Haiti, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Peru, Egypt, Nepal, India, and Cambodia). The stories reflect their struggle to receive an education, which often violates local social and cultural barriers. Get involved in the Girl Rising community by visiting

On Tuesday, December 24, Santa will arrive at 11 a.m. at Princeton Airport. Parents are advised to bring the children prior to then, as the Princeton Airport Flying Tigers will be serving cocoa and cookies, and local folk singer Pat McKinley will be leading the audience in holiday songs during the wait for Santa.

Parents who would like to have a gift waiting for their child should bring a wrapped gift with the child’s name on it in large print to the Princeton Airport lobby. Gifts should be no larger than 12 inches to accommodate Santa. If parents have more than one child participating, the gifts should be wrapped in the same paper and tied together to speed up the distribution.

In order to have their child participate, parents need to bring a gift for the less fortunate as well. This is the most important feature of this event. These gifts must be new and unwrapped, and will be collected by the Mercer County Board of Social Services. Personal checks made out to the “FoodBank Network of Somerset County,” as well as canned or boxed food will also be collected at the airport. Donations from non-participants are accepted as well.

Once Santa’s plane lands, he will head into the hangar, along with all the participants, to distribute each gift individually.

There is no charge for this event. The Princeton Airport is located in Montgomery Township, 3.5 miles north of Princeton on Route 206. For further information, call (609) 921-3100 or visit


The gallery at Princeton Brain and Spine Care is showcasing portraiture by eight Princeton area artists. Shown here is Paul Matthews’s 24 by 32 inch oil on canvas painting, “Anne and Peter.” The exhibition, titled “Face to Face,” runs through next June and there will be a public reception on Friday, December 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. Curated by Madelaine Shellaby, the exhibition also features work by Mic Boekelmann, Johanna Furst, John Hayes, Jeannine Honstein, Judith Lavendar, Walter Roberts Jr., and Gill Stewart. The artwork is for sale with a portion benefitting the Spinal Research Foundation. “Face to Face” can be viewed by appointment at Gallery ArtTimesTwo located at the Princeton Brain and Spine Care Institute, 731 Alexander Road, suite 200, Princeton, N.J. 08540-6345. For more information, visit: (Image Courtesy of the Gallery).

There was more trouble at the Tiger Inn this week as the Princeton University eating club forced two officers to resign following the sending of inappropriate emails to members last month. The two men have resigned as vice president and treasurer of the club, one of several that line Prospect Street and the last of the clubs to admit women.

One email included a photo of an intoxicated freshman female, referred to as “an Asian chick,” performing a sex act on a senior on the dance floor. According to Planet Princeton, to which the story was first leaked, and The New York Times, the email was sent to all undergraduates who belong to the club.

Another email that went out to club members the same day referred to an October 13 talk on the campus by Sally Frank, who gained notoriety as a student when she sued the eating clubs to force the admission of women.

“Ever wonder who we have to thank for gender equality? Looking for someone to blame for the influx of girls? Come tomorrow and help boo Sally Frank,” the email read.

Last month, the words “Rape Haven” were sprayed on the stone wall in front of the eating club. They were quickly removed. According to University spokesman Martin Mbugua, an investigation by the school is underway.

“The safety of our students is our top priority and we take such cases very seriously,” he said in an email Tuesday. “When information is received, we investigate the matter thoroughly and carefully in accordance with our sex discrimination and sexual misconduct policy, after which we determine if and when action should be taken.”

Mr. Mbugua said the University began its investigation of the incident as soon as it received a report. “This is an unusually complex situation that involves multiple elements and participants,” he said. “The investigation is ongoing and we have made significant progress.” The Princeton Police Department is also looking into the photo incident.

The emails were made public one day before it was announced by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights that it had finished an investigation of Title IX complaints against the University in 2010 and 2011. According to the results of the investigation, the school violated Title IX by favoring the rights of the students accused of misconduct over those who made reports against them. The University revised its policies and came to an agreement with the agency on the concerns. Last week, the University hired a full-time Title IX Coordinator.

The incidents are not the first to put Tiger Inn in the news. Earlier this year, most members of the club’s undergraduate board resigned following a party at which proper security issues were not followed.


Visitors to the new Dinky station will have noticed the covered bike stand at the entrance from the campus side of the platform. A peek inside reveals ten shiny new white bikes available for rent courtesy of the bike sharing service Zagster.

In conjunction with Princeton University, Zagster has launched Princeton’s first bike sharing program. For an annual membership fee of $20, members of the University community and Princeton residents will be able to rent bikes by the hour. The bikes are free for the first two hours and then $2 per hour after that. They can be rented by the hour or by the day for up to $20 for a maximum 24-hour rental.

Zagster members must be at least 18 years old. Bikes can be accessed by creating a Zagster account via the Zagster Mobile App, (available for iPhone and Android), or online at:

Designed to offer a convenient and healthy way to get around town, the bike sharing program was inspired by similar programs in Europe. “When I was a student at Imperial College in London, I took a trip to Paris and saw the advent of the VЋlib’ program there; I wanted to do something similar in the states,” said Zagster co-founder and CEO Tim Ericson.

Launched in 2007, the Parisian system is now the world’s sixth-largest bike sharing program, second only to those in China.

Zagster was founded in Philadelphia in 2007 as CityRyde and is now headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Ericson began talking with Princeton University about the possibility of a program in Princeton. “We were one of the first bike share companies in the country and we helped bring the concept of bicycle sharing to the United States,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday. “We don’t normally launch a new program in November but the University wanted this to coincide with the opening of the new Dinky station and that made sense. We hope that by the spring, the bikes will be there and people will know about the program. This is a great first step in a broader campus and community-wide bike initiative.”

The new Arts and Transit neighborhood has been the draw. “With great new transit connectivity via rail and bus, and with students on campus who prefer two wheels to four, the Zagster program will enable sustainable, healthy, and convenient transportation options for all,” said Mr. Ericson.

To rent a bike, riders simply log in to their account, enter the unique ID number of the bike they wish to use and the app provides an access code for the lock box mounted on the back of the bike. Riders can use the code throughout the duration of their rental to lock and unlock the bike anywhere along their trip. Once the bike is returned to the Zagster location at Princeton Station, the touch of a button ends the rental and releases the bike for the next rider.

“At the moment there is just one pick up and drop off location and so a bike might sit around outside your office all day but we’ve priced the rental so as to take this into account. As the program grows, more stations will be added around town,” said Mr. Ericson. “That’s how it has worked in other cities — we started with 50 bikes in Detroit and now have three times that number with more locations for pick up and drop off. Lyon, France, a city that had no infrastructure for bicycles, now has one of the largest bike share programs and we are confident that bike sharing will take off in Princeton and you will see a lot more Zagster bikes in the coming year.”

The Breezer Uptown bikes are made in Taiwan and assembled in Philadelphia. They are known for being lightweight and of durable construction, specifically designed for city riding. All bikes come with carrying baskets and an attached flexible lock.

“The addition of Zagster to our transportation options will help us make progress in meeting the University’s sustainability goal of 500 fewer vehicles on campus by 2020,” said Kim Jackson, the University’s director of transportation and parking services, in a press announcement of the new program. “When people have options like Zagster, it makes it easier to leave a car at home, which reduces congestion, pollution, and emissions on and around campus. We’re pleased to offer the bike rental program and we hope to expand it in the future.”

Currently, Zagster has hundreds of bikes deployed in more than 30 cities/towns in more than 20 states. Zagster has partnered with leading brands, including General Motors, Hyatt, Novare Group, Quicken Loans, Yale University, Duke University and others. For more information, visit:


In a memorial service of music, readings, and recollections, Princeton philanthropist William Hurd Scheide was remembered last Saturday not only as a champion of civil rights and a patron of the arts, but also as a loving father who enjoyed making his children laugh and reading Dennis the Menace comic books.

Nassau Presbyterian Church was nearly full as friends, family, and colleagues came to pay their respects to Mr. Scheide, who died November 14 at the age of 100. Among those in attendance were Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber, Representative Rush Holt, and McCarter Theatre Artistic Director Emily Mann.

“He was a registered Republican but we all knew in his heart he was a classic liberal Democrat,” said Louise Marshall, Mr. Scheide’s daughter. She recalled her father’s appreciation not only of J.S. Bach but of jazz greats Bessie Smith, Bix Beiderbecke, and Benny Goodman. Ms. Marshall’s younger sister Barbara Scheide, who joked that her father referred to her as “opus two,” recalled a portrait of Bach that hung in the house.

“That is the man who writes my Daddy’s music,” she was known to say as a small child, a statement that amused Mr. Scheide. He used it, she said, when  promoting the Bach Aria Group, which he founded in 1946.

The Scheide house was filled with books “in every room,” Ms. Marshall said. And while her father was a strict grammarian, “he could always make up nonsensical syllables that always made us laugh,” she said, reciting a few to laughter from the audience. “As a father, we knew we had a very funny man in the house.” Among the favorite memories of Mr. Scheide mentioned by his children were his attempts to balance on two rafts at Lake Dunmore in Vermont, where the family had a summer home.

Mr. Scheide’s son John, who not only spoke but played the recorder during the service, was visibly moved as he thanked members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players for their performance of a movement from a Schubert string quintet. The service of readings and music, which was planned by Mr. Scheide some two decades ago, included music by Schubert and Bach, played by the NJSO ensemble and several other musicians.

The Rev. David A. Davis, pastor of the church, spoke of Mr. Scheide’s “stunningly generous and lasting philanthropic life” and quoted Mr. Scheide’s wife Judith as saying he was “Presbyterian in his bones.” Ms. Scheide’s brother, the Reverend William Dalglish, noted that the wealth Mr. Scheide inherited from his father and grandfather was used not to lead a privileged life, but to help others.

“He was created by God to be a faithful manager of everything that God had trusted to his care,” Rev. Dalglish said. “And Bill understood that his responsibility was to manage it — manage it responsibly.”

Mr. Scheide was a 1936 alumnus of Princeton University. The service included one verse of the school’s anthem, “Old Nassau.”

Mark Laycock, former conductor of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and a favorite of Mr. Scheide, spoke of him as “a courteous, honorable, and faithful man,” adding, “A great man never really dies, but always lives on. Thank you, Bill.”



The Palmer Square tiger sported a festive garland for the annual tree lighting ceremony on the green Friday, November 28. Captured for Town Topics by photographer Charles R. Plohn, Princeton’s iconic feline exudes quiet dignity against a backdrop of 32,000 colored lights on the 65-foot Norwegian spruce. Santa Claus and characters from American Repertory Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” were on hand to celebrate as members of The Princeton High School Choir sang. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

November 26, 2014

POLYMATH MINDS: British mathematician, code-breaker and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing (1912-1954) (left) was just 41 when he died. Widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science, he was cited Sunday at a conference on theoretical computation at the Institute for Advanced Study along with the Hungarian-born John von Neumann (1903-1957) who also died at the relatively young age of 53. While the conference speakers focused on current and future challenges, they paid homage to ground-breaking work of their predecessors.

In an age when four year-olds have their own handhelds and their grandparents are Facebooking and Tweeting, it’s astounding to think that the digital revolution has come about in just the last four decades. And it’s inconceivable to imagine future scientific progress without computers.

In the past few decades many natural processes in biology and physics have been viewed as “information processes.” Examples include the workings of the cell and the immune system, even the flocking of birds.

A day-long conference at the Institute for Advanced Study on Sunday took a look at the impact of computational methods on a range of scientific disciplines including economics and social science. Titled “Lens of Computation on the Sciences,” it was hosted by Avi Wigderson, the Herbert H. Maass Professor in the Institute’s School of Mathematics.

According to Mr. Wigderson’s introduction in the conference brochure, “Interactions with biologists, physicists, economists, and social scientists have found that this computational lens on processes and algorithms occurring in nature sheds new light on old scientific problems in understanding, e.g., evolution and markets.”

Top theorists in computation from Harvard and MIT joined their IAS peers in examining the impact of their youthful discipline and to discuss the challenges and benefits of interactions between computation and other fields of study.

In turn, each speaker first paid homage to the founding fathers whose work brought about the current revolution: the British mathematician, code-breaker, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing and the Hungarian born polymath John von Neumann.

Alan Turing (1912-1954) gained his PhD at Princeton University and is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science for his model of a general purpose computer, known as the “Turing machine.” During World War II, Mr. Turing worked at Britain’s code-breaking center, Bletchley Park. Winston Churchill said that Turing had made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in the war against Nazi Germany.

Prosecuted as a homosexual in 1952 and treated with estrogen injections as an alternative to prison (homosexual acts then being a crime in Britain), Mr. Turing committed suicide two years later. His life is the subject of a new film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

John von Neumann (1903-1957) needs little introduction in Princeton where he was one of the first faculty appointed to the Institute for Advanced Study. He is celebrated for his electronic computer project there, and the IAS Machine it developed. Mr. von Neumann was a principal member of the Manhattan Project and a key figure in the development of game theory and the concepts of cellular automata. His mathematical analysis of the structure of self-replication preceded the discovery of the structure of DNA.

“It all began with Turing’s 1936 paper ‘On Computable Numbers with an application to the entscheidungsproblem,’ said Mr. Wigderson. “Turing gave birth to the computer revolution but unlike physics, computer science was born with the knowledge of its own limitations,” he added before introducing guest speakers: Leslie Valiant, Tim Roughgarden, Jon Kleinberg, and Scott Aaronson.

Such scientists study the mathematical foundations of computer science and technology. But it wasn’t fancy devices that were being discussed at the conference, rather it was the power and the limits of solving natural computational problems in fields such as cryptography (the field that gives us the Internet and E-commerce) and machine learning (the science that enables “big data” applications).

According to Leslie Valiant, the author of Circuits of the Mind (Oxford University Press, 1994) and Probably Approximately Correct (Basic Books, 2013), the idea that computation has its own laws and limitations emerged in the 1930s. “Some of the early computing pioneers, most notably Turing and von Neumann, already understood that this idea had far reaching implications beyond technology. It offered a new way of looking at the world, in terms of computational processes.”

Speaking on “The Computational Universe,” Mr. Valiant said that since Turing and von Neumann had pursued this new way of looking at the world in such areas as genetics, biological development, cognition, and the brain, there has been much progress. “The question now is how to exploit this increasing knowledge to obtain insights into the natural world that cannot be obtained otherwise,” he said.

Addressing the connections between computer science and biology, Mr. Valiant said: “Some natural phenomena are actually computational,” and went on to describe ways in which computation can be used to understand natural phenomena in the same way as physics, and with its own laws too.

Referencing the 19th century question of how evolution, which Darwin described as a slow process, could have achieved so much in so short a time, Mr. Valiant described machine learning to explain how complex mechanisms can arise by a process of adaptation rather than by design.

Tim Roughgarden of Stanford University looked at points of contact between theoretical computer science and economics with details of the challenges of auction design. He cited a flawed example from New Zealand which had brought in just $36 million when it had been expected to yield $250 million.

Social media and the possibility of gaining insight in social science from studying collective behavior was discussed by Jon Kleinberg of Cornell University. “The emergence of cyberspace and the World Wide Web is like the discovery of a new continent,” said Mr. Kleinberg, quoting the late 1998 Turing Award Winner Jim Gray. “The online world is a phenomenon to be studied with new computational perspectives on social science questions; online social systems are partly organic, partly designed,” he said.

“The collective behavior and social interactions of hundreds of millions of people are being recorded at unprecedented levels of scale and resolution. Modeling and analyzing these phenomena computationally offers new insights into the design of online applications, as well as new perspectives on fundamental questions in the social sciences,” said Mr. Kleinberg.

Scott Aaronson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology amped up the fun in his talk titled, “Computational Phenomena in Physics.” A popular blogger (www.scottaaronson. com/blog) Mr. Aaronson has written about quantum computing for Scientific American and the New York Times. His quirky style captured the IAS audience, even if this reporter was not always “clued-in” on the insider humor.

“I am a theorist not an engineer and this is one of the few places where I don’t have to apologize for that,” said Mr. Aaronson as his first slide showed cartoon images of some scientific advances that are the stuff of science fiction. “Why don’t we have Warp Drive, the Perpetual Motion Machine, or the UberComputer? Well, we know why we don’t have the first two but why can’t we have the third?” he asked, and launched into the quest to understand the limits of efficient computation in the physical universe. The quest, he said, has been giving us new insights into physics over the last two decades.

And questions such as “Can quantum computers be built? Can they teach us anything new about physics? Is there some new physical principle that explains why they can’t be built? What would quantum computers be good for? Can quantum computing help us resolve which interpretation of quantum mechanics is the right one?,” he said, would yield further insight.

As the last speaker of the day, Mr. Aaronson ended with panache. Something about Alice (yes, Lewis Carroll’s Alice) and black holes that brought the house down. To know more, see Mr. Aaronson’s first book, Quantum Computing Since Democritus, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

The conference talks can be viewed on the IAS website at


With her thesis advisor, historian Sean Wilentz, seated only a few feet away from her spot on the Richardson Auditorium stage, Elena Kagan was nervous — or so she joked. Since graduating in 1981 from Princeton University, where she was a history major not necessarily planning a career in law, Ms. Kagan has amassed a stellar legal resume culminating with her appointment four years ago to the United States Supreme Court.

Last Thursday, Ms. Kagan took part in a conversation at Richardson with University president Christopher Eisgruber. “I’m nervous he’ll take out his red pen,” she said, eyeing Mr. Wilentz in the audience. This was Ms. Kagan’s first visit to the University since her 25th reunion. “Don’t worry,” Ms. Eisgruber responded. “We’ve repealed the grading process.”

So began a congenial discussion about justice, equality, and human rights that ended with a question-and-answer session between Ms. Kagan and students in the audience. “I loved Princeton,” she said. “I think all of you who go to Princeton are incredibly lucky, at least if it’s anything like it was then, and I suspect it’s better. I had fantastic professors.”

After graduating from the University, the native New Yorker earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford in 1983, and then graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986. She was Harvard Law School’s Dean from 2003 until 2009. Along the way, she served as Solicitor General of the United States, Associate White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

Ms. Kagan said her colleagues received her warmly when she joined the court, where she had clerked as a young lawyer for Justice Thurgood Marshall. At 54, she is the youngest of the nine Supreme Court justices. Writing skills are important in the job, which she called “a good gig,” and she attributes her proficiency to her Princeton education. Not surprisingly given the average age of 68, the court isn’t the most technically savvy group, she said.

Asked to characterize her judicial philosophy, Ms. Kagan said, “I don’t think of myself as a philosopher. The way it works is that it’s a very back and forth kind of thing. I’m a big precedent person. I think really hard about how due process has changed over time.”

Ms. Kagan said that despite their different political leanings, the Supreme Court justices actually agree more than people might think. “Last year, 60 percent of our opinions were unanimous,” she said. But the 10 or so high-profile cases of the approximately 80 they take on are split “on pretty predictable lines.”

Ms. Kagan is often part of the liberal end of the court, with opinions sometimes splitting 5-4 along conservative to liberal lines. “Four of us think one thing and then four of us think the other thing. And then we wait and see what Justice (Anthony) Kennedy does,” she said, to laughter from the audience. Mr. Kennedy has often been the swing vote in decisions.

When Mr. Eisgruber asked Ms. Kagan if justices think about how their decisions can create political backlash, she responded, “It’s super rare that justices do or that they should. For the most part, you have a job to do, and your job is to apply the law as best you can.” She added that judges do have to think about how their decisions will be taken and avoid making them too hastily.

Asked whether there is corruption in the Supreme Court, Ms. Kagan said, “There is not a day in my job when I have ever thought anybody was not doing everything that they do in utter, complete good faith. You can disagree with people, and you will disagree with people, but everybody is trying to get it right.”



HOLLYWOOD COMES TO PRINCETON: If the man on the left looks familiar, it might be because he is actor Charlie Bewley, who played a recurring role on TV’s “Nashville” as the love interest of Hayden Panetierre. If the woman on the right looks familiar, it’s because she is Cece King, who grew up in Princeton and has come back to town to shoot a film she has written and in which she co-stars. “The Broken Ones” has been filming around town, most recently at the Peacock Inn and an empty house on Cleveland Lane.

The circular driveway fronting 42 Cleveland Lane was clogged with vans on the unseasonably warm Monday of this week. Between the columns of the 194-year-old house’s graceful front porch, young cast and crew members of The Broken Ones, a movie being filmed at several locations in town, were carting in equipment as they prepared to shoot a scene.

Described by Cece King, who wrote and co-stars in the movie, as “a 24-hour love story,” the film tells the tale of two despondent, twenty-something strangers who meet one night and help each other overcome their near-suicidal fears. “It’s a coming of age drama, kind of like Blue Velvet meets Garden State,” said Ms. King, 27, the daughter of Princeton interior designer Judy King.

Co-starring with Ms. King in the film is Charlie Bewley, known to fans of the TV drama Nashville as Charlie Wentworth, a past, nasty lover of lead character Juliette Barnes; James Russo, who starred in Extremities and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, among other roles; Margaret Colin, of Gossip Girl and Chicago Hope, and Constance Shulman of Orange is the New Black. 

It is an impressive cast for someone who is something of a newcomer to filmmaking, but Ms. King had the right mix of talent and determination to get the project off the ground. She is a graduate of Princeton High School who started studying communications at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida but left at 20 to take courses in Italy. “I got very interested in doing something different once I went to Italy,” she said. “My mom had gone to school for set design, and I think it was always in my mind.”

During an ensuing summer in New York, Ms. King happened upon a book by Catherine Hardwicke, who was the production designer for the Twilight movies. Ms. Hardwicke’s writings inspired her to go to Los Angeles and pursue production design, which was followed by film school, where she learned about writing, editing, and reading scripts. She also had the opportunity to act.

“I really liked it,” said Ms. King, who had never played roles in school productions while growing up. “I knew it was something I wanted to pursue.” She found a manager and got a few small parts in films and on the television show All My Children. After spending part of last summer acting in a film shot in the Philippines (“I played a sociopath in the jungle,” she said), Ms. King started thinking about bringing together acting, writing, and design in a story that had been in her mind for some time.

“I shot a teaser that was directed by actor Martin Henderson, of the soon-to-be-released film Everest, and it got some attention,” she said. “I got the financing, and here we are. It’s kind of amazing.”

Local connections have come in handy. Marti Moseley, an agent with Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty, arranged for Ms. King to use the empty house on Cleveland Lane to shoot several scenes. “I didn’t realize how hard it is to get locations,” Ms. King says. “I called Marti, who is a friend, and this house happened to come through. Of course, if she needs to show it, we have to vacate, but that hasn’t happened yet.”

Other scenes have been shot in the woods near Education Testing Service, at the Peacock inn, at a barn at Digging Dog Farm on Rosedale Road, and at Ms. Moseley’s home. Future scenes are to be filmed in New York City. The crew will wrap up the Princeton portion of the shoot at the end of this month.

Some 35 to 40 people make up the cast and crew of the film, with producers locally and in Los Angeles. Elyse Niblett is making her directing debut. Among the principal members of the cast, “I definitely have the more minimal of the resumes,” Ms. King said. “I’m learning so much as an actor and a writer. Everyone is on board and everyone is trying to make this work. We have high hopes. We want to send this to Indie festivals.”

Spending a week shooting in her home town has been a pleasure in some respects, and a challenge in others. “I tend to go into the work and stay there,” Ms. King said. “So it can be hard because my family is around and I want to enjoy being with them. But I’m not complaining.”


a dejected PHS #7 sits on the field after the loss to South Plainfield.

Princeton High boys’ soccer player Nick Kapp sits dejectedly on the field at Kean University last Sunday after PHS fell 4-3 to South Plainfield in the Group 3 state championship game. For more details on the team’s state tournament run, see page 35. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)


Food service workers in Princeton’s public schools are threatening to strike, claiming that the new company hired by the district to provide food for students and staff has taken away their health insurance and sick day benefits.

Several food service workers appealed to Superintendent Stephen Cochrane and members of the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) at the November 18 public meeting, which was held at the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center in anticipation of a large number of attendees. The Board is in the middle of contract negotiations with the teachers’s union Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA).

Angela Clark who serves meals at Littlebrook Elementary School told the Board: “We do our best, we work hard, and this new company will not budge and doesn’t want to give us any benefits we had before. That is why 20 of us have voted to strike. We don’t want to do it, but it may come to that unfortunately. We are here to ask for your help.”

In June, the BOE unanimously approved a $61,245 food service contract with Nutri-Serve Food Management, Inc. for the 2014-15 school year; existing cafeteria staff were offered jobs with the new contractor, which replaced Chartwells School Dining Services. Chartwells had been serving Princeton’s schools for the previous 15 years.

Princeton Public Schools introduced the new food service provider as one that enables children to make good food choices and also promotes healthy eating for their parents.

According to a union representative, however, Nutri-Serve, which serves more than 80 other districts around the state, was unilaterally and unlawfully changing the terms of its contract with the employees.

“It’s a terrible thing,” commented Bridget Guarini, who has worked at John Witherspoon Middle School for over a decade. “We’re here working for the kids each and every day and I don’t think it’s fair that we have to come in to work even if we’re sick. We’re not asking for anything we didn’t have before, and we didn’t have too much before. We can’t make a living, and it’s not fair to us.”

Members of the Board sat in silence as workers expressed their feelings.

Princeton resident Dafna Kendal chided Board members for causing division between staff and administration, between teachers and parents. “Tonight I feel like I’m in a Dickens novel,” she said. “The lunch aides are asking you to help them, please have some humanity. They make $9 an hour and we’re not going to pay them for the day after Thanksgiving when school is closed? They are begging you to help them, please help them.”

At the end of the meeting, Superintendent Stephen Cochrane pointed out that Nutri-Serve and not the Board of Education is responsible for negotiating with its workers. “We care very deeply about our food service workers and we value very much the work that they do each day with our children, but we do want to clarify that the Board is not in negotiations with the union,” he said.

After the meeting, Mr. Cochrane sent the following message to parents: “This week we learned that the union representing our food service professionals is negotiating portions of its contract with Nutri-Serve, our food service provider. We care deeply about our food service workers, many of whom have been helping in our schools for years. As the men and women who work in our cafeterias are not employees of the district, the administration and Board of Education have no official involvement in the negotiations process. We are, however, hopeful that the contract will be settled quickly and in the best interest of all involved. In the meantime, Nutri-Serve has assured the district that there will be no interruption to the preparation and service of quality food to our children.”

Asked by email if there was anything the Board or he, as superintendent, could do in response to the plea from the food service workers, Mr. Cochrane said that he had “reached out personally to some of our food service professionals to get a better sense of their concerns. I have also been in touch with Nutri-Serve, and I remain hopeful that the issues of primary concern can be settled soon.”

Board member Patrick Sullivan expanded on Mr. Cochrane’s comments in a statement to Town Topics yesterday: “Nutri-Serve provides cafeteria services to the School District, and Nutri-Serve contracts with its employees through the 32 BJ Service Employees International Union. The Princeton Board of Education is not a party to that contract. While the negotiations between the 32 BJ SEIU and Nutri-Serve are ongoing, there is nothing that the Board of Education can lawfully do to influence the talks between those parties. We do care very much for our food service workers and are hopeful for a quick and fair resolution between their union leaders and the management of Nutri-Serve.

PREA representative John Baxter said that, while he wasn’t in a position to comment on the specifics of the dispute, he expressed support for the food service workers “in their right to a fair contract and a living wage.”

“If what I’ve heard is true, that the workers have lost their sick days, I am certainly very concerned about the health hazard this may present to students who are served by these dedicated workers,” said Mr. Baxter. “Fewer or no sick days certainly increases the likelihood that a food service worker will report to work when he or she is sick and should be home.”


Representatives of the teachers’ union, Princeton Regional Education Association (PREA) and the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education (BOE) sat down with state-appointed mediator Kathy Vogt, Esq. last Thursday.

Ms. Vogt helped bring both sides together in negotiations for the 2011-14 contract, which expired June 30 but continues in operation until the terms and conditions can be agreed upon. She met separately with each side.

The mediator was called in after a long series of bargaining sessions had failed to reach an agreement. Things got so bad that on October 2, the meeting was brought to a halt when members of the PREA negotiating team walked out.

Negotiations had stalled repeatedly over the issues of health care and salary increases, the most significant stumbling block to forward movement being a profound disagreement over the intent and impact of NJ 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.

The union has announced that as of December 1 its members will stop donating their time to non-paid extra-curricular activities and volunteer work. The action would affect some after-school student clubs and student trips, activities to which teachers contribute their own time as opposed to activities for which they get paid.

On its Facebook page, the union posted an open letter to parents explaining the action to not “perform or participate in activities, including their planning, for which we are not compensated and that extend beyond the school day.”

Princeton’s teachers will, however, continue to write letters of recommendation for students.

The mediation session came after parents had expressed disapproval of the BOE’s ongoing failure to come to an agreement at last week’s meeting, which took place in the Performing Arts Auditorium at Princeton High School because so many parents and teachers were expected to attend as had been the case at the meeting in October.

“I am dismayed by the contentious negotiations between the Board and PREA,” said resident Abigail Rose at the meeting. “This prolonged process has led to diminished morale among teachers and has had a direct impact on student learning and extra-curricular activities. I urge the Board to fairly prioritize, recognize, and compensate our outstanding teachers, both to keep those already here and to continue to attract the best.”

Resident Amy Goldstein expressed anger at the Board for jeopardizing children’s education. She suggested that such parental displeasure had resulted in the failure of the only incumbent to be elected in the recent election. Addressing the entire membership, she said “Princeton is not happy with you, you need to listen to your teachers and to your town.”

However, one local resident suggested a possible solution to the negotiation stalemate. “I don’t see the money to satisfy all the economic desires of the teachers,” said Rod Montgomery. “With costs going up while revenues do not, the only way to survive the squeeze is to make teachers more productive.” He asked whether technology might be used to make that possible through increasing class sizes and perhaps having students teach each other.

After Thursday’s mediated session, BOE negotiator Patrick Sullivan said “While we just began the process with the mediator, we were encouraged by the tone of discussions, and both sides were able to frankly exchange not only their views and positions, but also on the reasoning that underlies them.”

Chair of the PREA Negotiations Team John J. Baxter was less positive (see his letter in this week’s Mailbox). “There was no indication of any change in the Board’s positions at the meeting on the 20th,” he said. “The mediator, of course, needed to use that meeting largely to acquaint herself with the teams’ positions and the major issues.”

Two more mediated sessions are planned for December 9 and January 14. “We are confident that we will continue to make progress on the issues on which we still remain apart,” said Mr. Sullivan.

Mediator services are provided by the state at no cost to the district, but if no agreement is reached in mediation, a fact-finder would be called in at a cost of $1,500 per day. The cost of a fact-finder would be split between the two parties.


More discussion is in order on the future of the Witherspoon Street corridor, the mile-long thoroughfare between Valley Road and Nassau Street. At a meeting Monday night, Princeton Council decided to allow additional time for debating the merits of coming up with new zoning as opposed to leaving the current zoning of the street as is.

The consolidation of the former Borough and Township has allowed the opportunity for creating a new vision for the street, but the question is whether new rules are necessary. Planning director Lee Solow presented a comprehensive capacity study at the meeting, going zone-by-zone to explain the limits and opportunities associated with each section of the street. There are eight zoning districts in the corridor, most of which have been in place for more than 30 years. Some of the designations are complicated, with the floor-to-area (FAR) ratios not representative of how much square footage is actually allowed.

The capacity study included a look at individual lots to calculate the maximum building potential, using information from the tax assessor’s office. Parking requirements are controlling development possibilities, Mr. Solow said. The existing zoning allows for more density than is actually dictated by the requirements.

Witherspoon Street is home to the close-knit Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, several businesses, and the former Princeton Hospital, currently being demolished to make room for the 280-unit AvalonBay rental complex. The corridor was first discussed at a meeting last September, during which several area residents and business owners spoke out, some in favor of leaving the current zoning in place and others hoping for new designations that would be more restrictive to developers. Still others were interested in further development.

There were fewer members of the public taking the microphone at Monday’s meeting, a situation that caused some comment. “I’m concerned that there are not many members of the neighborhood here tonight,” said local resident Kip Cherry. Ms. Cherry added that the area is “going through an evolution,” and stressed the need for maintaining its character.

Former Borough Mayor Yina Moore summarized comments made about the issue at the most recent meeting of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood association. Calling the corridor a “very important spine of the community,” she said “There is a real concern about developers buying multiple properties.”

Ms. Moore mentioned the possibility of incompatible designs, absentee ownership, and increased gentrification, among other negative results. She urged Council to take a form-based approach when looking at the zoning “to really bring the neighborhood into conformity,” urging that the zoning limit financial institutions, encourage more owner occupancy, and limit businesses to the first floor of a building.

Marvin Reed, chair of the town’s master plan committee and former Township mayor, also weighed in, urging Council to be aware of the fact that properties are being purchased on Witherspoon Street with the idea of further development. The town should have solid policies in place before potential developers make applications. “The existing zoning, while confusing, isn’t so bad,” he said, expressing views of neighborhood residents, adding that there is a strong emphasis on saving the area’s historic character.

Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller asked Mr. Solow what the potential is for developers coming in and putting in large buildings out of scale with the neighborhood. “There’s a real threat there,” Mr. Solow said. “There’s also a real opportunity.” He added that while the current zoning is complicated, it has worked.

“We embarked on this because the current zoning is confusing to the lay person,” said Mayor Liz Lempert. “Does it work well enough for us to be okay with it, or do we go to the next step? We want to do this only if we’re putting something together that’s not already there, such as a form-based code.”

Council president Bernie Miller said he thinks there is a need for more dialogue and more input from residents. “I’d like to hear more before I say ‘Let’s get a visioning statement’ or go one way or the other,” he said.

Council decided to hold another public discussion of the situation at a future meeting, probably in early January. Councilwoman Jo Butler suggested inviting some of the architects of an original study of the corridor done by the organization Princeton Future when that meeting takes place.


November 25, 2014

A rally to protest Monday night’s decision not to indict the police officer who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri will take place this evening, Tuesday, at 6 p.m. A group of Princeton area residents are planning to gather at Tiger Park in front of Palmer Square.

The Coalition for Peace Action is co-sponsoring the rally, which was announced before the prosecutor revealed the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. Similar protests are planned in Newark, New York, and Philadelphia.

The protest is designed to be peaceful, according to an announcement made at Monday night’s meeting of Princeton Council by resident Daniel Harris. Participants are asked to bring candles and flashlights.

New Jersey’s mayors have elected Liz Lempert to serve on the Executive Board of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. As such, Mayor Lempert will represent the interests and needs of New Jersey’s local elected officials to county, state and federal governments. The League is a voluntary association created to assist communities do a better job of self-governing through pooling information and resources. All 565 mayors and 13,000 elected and appointed officials of member municipalities are entitled to all the services and privileges of the League.

November 24, 2014

Less than a week after the new Dinky station opened on Alexander Road, New Jersey Transit issued an alert Sunday morning around 6:30 a.m. notifying travelers that the Dinky train would be out of service because of mechanical issues. Early this morning another alert was issued informing travelers that the train would again be out of service for the day. Meanwhile buses will shuttle Dinky users to Princeton Junction. The glitch comes just one day before the the ribbon cutting for the new station is scheduled to take place.

November 21, 2014

breaking news  wawa

Members of Princeton’s fire and police departments faced off Friday morning in a fundraising contest to see which could turn out the most hoagies. The fire department just made it with 22 compared with the police department’s 21, but everyone was a winner in the good-natured battle that was part of the grand opening celebration of the new Wawa market next to the new Dinky train station on the Princeton University campus. Wawa donated $1,000 each to the charity of each department’s choice — for the police, programs of the PBA 130, and for the fire department, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Among the dignitaries on hand for the celebration were Mayor Liz Lempert, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Mercer County Freeholder John Cimino, and Princeton administrator Marc Dashield. Employees took part in a parade that detailed the company’s history, and longtime staff members Ari Shiner and Martin Maccarone, who are part of Wawa’s partnership with Eden Autism Services, were also recognized. The sleek, modern store, part of the University’s $330 million Arts & Transit project, was designed by architect Rick Joy. (Photo by Anne Levin)

November 19, 2014

United States Congressman Rush Holt will take the helm of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific organization, when he retires from the United States House of Representatives at the end of his eighth term. Mr. Holt will become chief executive officer and executive publisher of the AAAS’s Science family of journals.

Mr. Holt is a research physicist and former teacher who served as Assistant Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1989 until 1998. His research into alternative energy earned him a patent for an improved solar pond technology for harnessing energy from sunlight.

The 66-year-old has represented Central New Jersey’s 12th District since 1999. He had an AAAS fellowship in 1982-83 while teaching at Swarthmore College. Mr. Holt will be the 18th chief executive of the 166-year-old AAAS and will be formally named at the association’s annual meeting in San Jose, California in February, according to a release issued by the organization. He will succeed Alan I. Leshner, who is stepping down from the CEO position after 13 years.

“Rush Holt will be a great leader of AAAS and a powerful spokesman for science both nationally and internationally,” said Phillip A. Sharp, chair of the AAAS Board of Directors, who serves as an Institute Professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “His career as a scientist, educator, and public servant, uniquely prepares him to take the reins of AAAS from another great leader, Alan Leshner.”

Mr. Leshner commented, “Rush Holt is an ideal choice to lead AAAS and Science into the future. His expertise, experience, and commitment to science and public service are sure to greatly enhance the association’s impact in all domains.”