January 8, 2020

By Bill Alden

Brynne Hennessy has leapt up the ranks for the Princeton High girls’ basketball program this winter.

After having played for the junior varsity squad last year as a sophomore, Hennessy was not only promoted to the varsity this season, she is serving as a tri-captain for the team.

“I love playing on varsity; everyday, I look forward to going to practice,” said Hennessy.

“I love all of the girls, it is so much fun being captain with Molly [Brown] and Ashley [Tumpowski]. We are really starting to get into the groove of working as a team; that is what we really need to do.”

Last Friday evening against visiting Ewing, PHS found its groove early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead.

“Coming back from two losses, we really wanted to win today,” said Hennessy. “Being up 7-0 was awesome.” more

ABBIE ROAD: Hun School girls’ swimmer Abbie Danko shows her form in a meet last year. Senior star Danko is leading the way for Hun as it looks to build on the success it experienced last winter when it won the program’s first-ever team title at the Mercer County Championships. Hun, which defeated the George School (Pa.) 89-78 on December 10 in its first meet of the season, returns to action on January 8 with a meet at the Blair Academy. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Flying under the radar, the Hun School girls’ swimming squad pulled off a major surprise last winter as it won the program’s first-ever team title at the Mercer County Championships.

Reflecting on the 2019-20 campaign, Hun head coach Joan Nuse realizes it will be tough to match that success.

“It was awesome last year; it is going to be a challenge to live up to that,” said Nuse, noting that a talented group of six swimmers scored all the points for Hun at the county meet. “We will do the best we can.”

Starting the season by defeating George School (Pa.) 89-78 on December 10, Hun showed that it can still be formidable.  more

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School boys’ swimming team opened the season by losing 88-76 to the George School (Pa.) last month, the program is maintaining its upward trend.

“It was a pretty close meet, they are continuing to improve,” said Hun head coach Joan Nuse reflecting on the December 10 competition.

“We have kids in the first meet of the year who were swimming times that were better than their time in the previous year. We have some freshmen who came in and made an impact right off the bat. That is great and really sets things up for the season.”

Nuse is looking for a great season from senior standout Josh Nguyen. “Josh came in the first meet and goes out and won both the 50 and the 100 free,” said Nuse.

“He bettered his time from his best time ever right off the bat and he is not a club swimmer. That is just him putting in the effort in practice. He is one of our captains and he has been doing a great job of helping out everyone. He is definitely a sprinter but he can do backstroke.” more

STEADY EDDIE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eddie Evaldi heads up ice in a recent game. Last week, senior star Evaldi helped Hun reach the semifinals of the Purple Puck National Capital Hockey Tournament outside of Washington, D.C. Hun, now 3-5-1, hosts Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) on January 8 and Seton Hall Prep on January 10 at the Ice Land Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Hun School boys’ hockey team, its trip to compete in the Purple Puck National Capital Hockey Tournament outside of Washington, D.C. has proven to be an annual highlight for the program.

Having won the Purple Puck competition in 2018, Hun was primed to defend its title as it headed down to D.C. in late December.

“That trip is always fun for us. People like it for different reasons,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally.

“If you are returning, you like it because you look forward to it. We have a lot of new guys this year so it was new again for them.”

While Hun failed to make it two straight crowns as it lost 5-3 to Loyola Academy (Ill.) in the semis on December 30, McNally believes his team will benefit from the experience. more

January 1, 2020

The Princeton Battlefield Society presented its annual “Experience the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777” on Sunday morning, commemorating one of the most pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War. The event included the re-creation of the battle at Battlefield State Park by re-enactors representing the Continental and British units involved. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With overcrowding and increasing enrollments throughout the district, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) have been looking for room to grow and paying attention to the changing plans of their neighbor just across Walnut Lane, the Westminster Choir College campus of Rider University.

When Rider University recently announced plans to close the Westminster site in Princeton and relocate the school to its Lawrenceville campus, protests ensued, and two pending lawsuit may prevent the University from moving the school.

At last month’s PPS Board of Education (BOE) meeting, Superintendent Steve Cochrane cited growth projections of several hundred students for the district over the next five years and emphasized the challenges of managing and finding space for that growth.

“We need to plan for that growth in ways that consider numerous factors, including facility and play area expansion, land use throughout the community, sustainability, potential redistricting, educational vision, and, of course, affordability and diversity,” he said.

Speaking specifically about the possible availability of the property currently occupied by Westminster, Cochrane continued, “As stewards for the Princeton Public Schools, we have a responsibility to be prepared for that possibility and for the implications of having potentially 23 acres of land become available immediately next door to our middle school and high school. Consequently, we have been doing our homework.” more

VEBLEN HOUSE: Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) plans to lease from the town of Princeton the house and surrounding properties where the mathematician Oscar Veblen lived, took walks in the woods, and met with Albert Einstein. FOHW looks forward to ongoing stewardship of the land and restoration work on the buildings. (Photo courtesy of Friends of Herrontown Woods)

By Donald Gilpin

Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW), a nonprofit dedicated to restoring the trails, history, and flora of Herrontown Woods and to honoring the legacy of Oswald and Elizabeth Veblen, is looking forward to early 2020 ratification of a lease agreement negotiated with the town of Princeton.

Since 2013 FOHW has been caring for about 220 acres of public land at Herrontown Woods and Autumn Hill Reservation, the first dedicated nature preserve in Princeton “and apparently in Mercer County as well,” according to FOHW president Steve Hiltner, who is a botanist and naturalist.

With a formal lease, Hiltner said, FOHW will be able to apply for grants, broaden its contributor base, and hire workers to complete needed repairs on the Veblen House and Cottage. “The cottage is envisioned as a nature center,” Hiltner said. “That’s where Einstein and Veblen would have hung out on a Saturday afternoon.” Other structures on the property include a barn, a corn crib, and a garage.

Hiltner continued, “The house and cottage, in addition to being the only infrastructure available to serve open space in eastern Princeton, provide a broad profile of cultural history from the early 20th century, from the hardscrabble farmers who built the cottage to the economic and intellectual elite of the Whiton-Stuarts and the Veblens. Tying it all together is Oswald Veblen, the founding faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study, who loved both intellectual endeavors and outdoor work.” more

By Anne Levin

Rabbi Adam S. Feldman

The sudden death of Rabbi Adam S. Feldman, who has been senior rabbi of The Jewish Center for nearly 15 years, shocked not only members of the congregation, but people from throughout the local community.

Feldman, 55, suffered a heart attack on December 24 while rappelling down a mountain in Hawaii, where he was vacationing with his family. Funeral services were held Sunday at The Jewish Center, and observance of shiva is continuing through Friday, January 3 at the Feldmans’ home and at the synagogue.

“He was a very compassionate individual. If there is one word to describe him, that’s it,” said Randy Brett, president of The Jewish Center. “His pastoral skills were excellent. Since I’ve been president of the congregation, people communicate with me about whether they’re happy with the rabbi or not. And I have heard, repeatedly, how well he has dealt with families going through tragedies. I have received many letters from people about how warm and compassionate he was. I think that, universally, people would say that about him.”

Princeton Police Chief Nicholas Sutter said Feldman was a trusted friend of the department and a personal friend to him. The rabbi was a founding member of the Princeton Police Department’s Chaplain Program. more

PERFORMING AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Members of two local youth choirs, Vox Amicus and the Trenton Children’s Chorus, joined forces to sing for groups touring the residence in Washington, D.C. last month.

By Anne Levin

For the young singers who make up the Vox Amicus choir and the Trenton Children’s Chorus, performing at the White House is nothing new. Both ensembles have visited the presidential residence during past winter holiday seasons. But the trip the two groups made to Washington on December 20 marked the first time they had sung at the White House together.

Vox Amicus (which translates to “choir of friends”) is made up of high school students who, when younger, were members of a choir at Westminster Conservatory. The group from Trenton Children’s Chorus, also composed of high school students, is one of several choirs at the Trenton-based nonprofit.

“Going to the White House is always a wonderful experience, and this time with both choirs was very special,” said Patricia Thel, who conducts both groups. “The children, who are walked through the building, get to see all of the portraits of the presidents over the years, and there is a lot of history.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Jennifer Podolsky

Appointed last month as the new executive director of the Princeton Public Library (PPL), Jennifer Podolsky will begin her duties in mid-February.

Currently executive director of the East Brunswick Public Library (EBPL), Podolsky is excited to be taking on the challenges of running the PPL, which Wikipedia cites as the most visited municipal public library in New Jersey, with the PPL Annual Report noting more than 500,000 print and digital materials checked out in 2019, more than 57,000 people attending library programs, and more than 660,000 visitors last year.

“Princeton Public Library is a vibrant, respected library that is vitally important to the community it serves,” Podolsky wrote in an email. “The idea of being part of a team that elicits such devotion and esteem, both locally and throughout the state, was an exciting prospect for me. I knew of Princeton’s reputation and I was eager to help shape its future.”

Podolsky expressed her interest in embarking on a strategic planning process for the library. “I will be looking to assess our role as a trusted source of information in the community, examining the accessibility of our services both within and outside the library building, and looking at removing any barriers to utilizing those services,” she said. I am eager to get the community’s input about our programs and services as I develop my vision.” more

Hun Alumna Crowned Miss America 2020

Camille Schrier, a 2013 Hun School of Princeton graduate, defeated 50 other competitors and was crowned Miss America 2020 last month.

Schrier, a biochemist who is studying for a doctor of pharmacy degree at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, won over the judges with a science experiment in the talent portion of the competition. She received a $50,000 scholarship and has already begun her role as Miss America, traveling around the country to promote her social impact initiative focusing on medication safety and abuse prevention.

Dressed a in lab coat and pink-rimmed protective goggles, Schrier performed her experiment demonstrating the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide onstage at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The experiment, “complete with colorful foam spouting from beakers,” according to a Hun School press release, “is significant because it marks a sea change for the Miss America competition and is the first time a contestant has won for a science experiment.” more

By Anne Levin

When the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County (JFCS) first held a pop-up food pantry at Better Beginnings, a preschool in Hightstown, they were told to expect about 35 families to show up. But three days before the event, that estimate was changed.

“They called and said that 74 families had signed up,” said Michelle Napell, executive director of JFCS. “A lot of people don’t realize that this is a crisis. They feel, ‘We live in New Jersey. We live in Mercer County. And people aren’t hungry here.’ Which couldn’t be further from the truth.”

According to the JFCS, nearly 40,000 people in Mercer County lack consistent access to enough food to lead healthy, active lives, and often don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Responding to the statistics, the organization is taking its existing, brick-and-mortar “healthy choice pantry” on the road. Starting at the end of this month, the pantry offering fresh and frozen produce, meats, dairy products, and standard shelf staples will be traveling to distribution stops to be announced.

“We’ve been speaking to a lot of our community partners to establish where we’ll start the initial voyages,” said Napell. “We’re having a soft launch, which we can’t announce yet. But we do know that Better Beginnings is our first stop.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Only connect…
— E.M. Forster (1879-1970)

In the “only connect” spirit of my approach to these weekly columns, this being the first day of an election year when the stakes are historically high, I’m launching my retrospective sampling of the 2010s with a September 21, 2011, piece on Ginger Rogers (“Pick Yourself Up for a White House Screening”) headed with a quote from then-President Obama’s Inaugural Address: “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Given the liberties already taken (did I mention that the same column has Ginger Rogers quoting Dickens?), the stage is set for a 21st-century update of the familiar Depression era scenario wherein someone in distress walks into a movie theater looking for a respite from reality and walks out an hour and a half later ready to face the challenges and fight the good fight:

“In 1936, the year Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were dancing across the screens of the nation in Swing Time, the unemployment rate was 16.9 percent. In 2011, when the country is once again struggling economically, the rate’s 9.1, and if anyone is in need of a respite, it’s our beleaguered president. So let’s imagine that after exhausting himself trying to get us out of the hole we’re in, the commander in chief sets about lifting his own morale with a White House showing of Swing Time. At first, he’s yawning, having been awake half the night trying to devise a way to dance his jobs bill around a ‘loyal opposition’ as ruthless as the crippled banker Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. He’s still yawning even as Fred Astaire does pratfalls pretending to be a hapless neophyte dancer goofing a lesson from the pretty dancing teacher played by Ginger. But as soon as she starts singing, the prez comes to attention. She’s telling him to pick himself up, dust himself off, and start all over again. It’s his Inauguration Day pep talk, same words, same idea. How cool is that! All this time he’d thought the line had come to him out of nowhere, and here’s plucky Ginger delivering the same message back when FDR was dealing with the same issues.” more

CRUCIAL VERDICT: Nicholas Pecht (Juror No. 7), Bill Kamps (Juror No. 8), and William Walters (Juror No. 9) in the upcoming production of “12 Angry Men,” January 17-26 at Kelsey Theatre.

The life of a young man hangs in the balance and rests in the hands of 12 jurors in a seemingly open-and-shut case. But, can they set aside personal prejudices and preconceptions in the name of justice? That is the question for 12 Angry Men, presented by Forté Dramatic Productions January 17-26 at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre.

Dates and show times are Friday, January 17 and 24 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, January 18 and 25 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, January 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The community is invited to an opening night reception with the cast and crew following the January 17 performance. more

“MAGICAL COPSE”: This polymer clay work by Emily Squires Levine is featured in “Embracing Color/Polymer Clay,” her solo exhibit on view at the Hunterdon Art Museum January 12 through March 1. An opening reception with an artist talk is January 12, 2 to 4 p.m. (Photo by John Carlano)

Artist Emily Squires Levine says that small colorful boxes and bowls have attracted her for as long as she can remember.

One of her first memories is of a colorfully embroidered fabric oval box, a gift from an aunt who traveled to the shores of the Algarve in Portugal. She has kept this memento her entire life. Other recollections include a mother-of-pearl box and a small bowl from Turkey which held tiny seashells.

This lifelong love for colorful vessels has deeply influenced her art. Levine works with polymer clay, creating bowls, vases, and other items that entice the eye with their vibrant colors and diverse patterns. more

“ENDLESS JUNKMAIL SCROLL”: This piece by Vernita Nemec is part of “Doom and Bloom,” on view at the West Windsor Arts Center January 6 through February 28. The exhibition features the work of 25 artists using recycled and reused materials. An opening reception with the artists is Sunday, January 12 from 4 to 6 p.m.

The West Windsor Arts Council presents “Doom and Bloom” — an art show calling attention to the crisis of trash on earth and how artists can have a positive impact on the environment. This exhibition, featuring the work of 25 artists using recycled and reused materials, will be on view January 6 through February 28 at the West Windsor Arts Center.

The juror was Vernita Nemec, artist and director of the Viridian Artists art gallery in Chelsea, New York City. An opening reception with the juror and artists will be held Sunday, January 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. Artists will be at the opening to discuss their work.

Artwork featured in the show transforms common discarded materials into inspiring works of art. It was a requirement of the prospectus that at least 80 percent of the materials in each work would otherwise be trash, if not saved from the landfill in this manner. more

“IF THESE QUILTS COULD TALK”: The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park will host a juried exhibition of quilts by the Friendly Quilters of Bucks County and the Sankofa Stitchers January 19 through April 19. An opening reception is Sunday, January 19 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion has announced a juried exhibition of quilts by the Friendly Quilters of Bucks County and the Sankofa Stitchers. Featuring nearly 30 quilts across a range of sizes, styles, and color schemes, the exhibition’s display of artistry, creativity, and story-telling will fill Ellarslie’s first floor galleries from January 19 to April 19.

There will be an opening reception on Sunday, January 19, from 2 to 4 p.m., as well as a closing reception and Quilters Walk and Talk on Sunday, April 19, from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Friendly Quilters and Sankofa Stitchers work to keep the traditions of quilt making alive by creating works of art that tell stories and strengthen historical and community bonds. The members of both groups are experienced quilters and have quilted individually and together for many years, bringing a wide range of styles to this exhibition. more

FAMILY TIES: “We have thousands of different tiles in the showroom, and we also have exclusive lines that are available to us in the area. Tile is very durable, and its easy maintenance is another advantage.” Jack (left) and Darlene Flood, owners of A Step in Stone, are shown with their son Brian, who is operations manager. A display of glass and stone mosaic tiles is featured in the background.

Tile can be a wonderful addition to your home. It is handsome, durable, and versatile. Appropriate for many rooms in the house — from bathroom to foyer to kitchen and beyond, it is both eye-catching and functional.

Enhancing both floors and walls, its myriad designs and styles offer choices for everyone’s taste. For sure, tile is a winning decorative choice.

No one knows this better than A Step In Stone. Recently marking its 15th anniversary, this special tile emporium, with its spacious showroom, is known both for its superior selection of tile from all over the world and its exceptional customer service.

Every style, size, design, color, and texture is on display. Ceramic tile, stone, glass, mosaic, porcelain, and metal are among the categories available, all conveniently arranged for customer accessibility.

 more

COMPREHENSIVE CARE: “People are smarter about dental care today and good oral hygiene. If they are careful about this, they will have a better outcome and better luck with their teeth.” The specialists at Prosthodontics of Princeton include, from left, Alexander S. Drew, DMD, MS; Steven C. Isaacson, DMD; and Suzanne B. Reinhardt, DMD; who are all skilled in helping patients achieve the best oral health.

By Jean Stratton

The first step is to make an appointment. Whether it’s a toothache, missing tooth (or teeth), or just time for a checkup, Prosthodontics of Princeton is there to make sure the treatment is appropriate, timely, and thorough.

Located at 601 Ewing Street, Suite B-4, the practice, owned by Steven C. Isaacson, DMD, was originally founded by his father George Isaacson, DMD.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Steven Isaacson went on to obtain a specialty degree in prosthodontics at Temple University School of Dentistry, with emphasis on reconstructive dentistry, including implants and cosmetic dentistry.

The opportunity to work with his father has continued to inform his practice, and, as he says, has given him a chance “to continue the tradition of integrity, detail, and thoughtfulness that my father instilled in me.” more

ON GUARD: Princeton University women’s basketball player Maggie Connolly guards a foe in recent action. Last Sunday, against visiting University of New Hampshire, sophomore guard Connolly got the second start of her career and came up big, scoring a career-high 17 points to help the Tigers rout the Wildcats 77-37. Princeton, now 12-1, is next in action when it plays at Penn on January 11 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With star point guard Carlie Littlefield sidelined for the Princeton University women’s basketball team as it hosted the University of New Hampshire last Sunday, Maggie Connolly got the second start of her career and was ready to shine.

“We miss Carlie always,” said sophomore guard Connolly. “I hope she will be back as soon as possible, but it was exciting to play and get the opportunity get out there with my teammates and make some plays.”

Connolly ended up making a lot of plays, scoring a career-high 17 points as Princeton routed UNH 77-37 before 989 at Jadwin Gym.

In reflecting on her big day, Connolly said she is feeling more of a comfort level on the court with her teammates. more

INSIDE STUFF: Princeton University men’s basketball player Richmond Aririguzoh goes up for a hoop in recent action. Last Sunday senior star Aririguzoh scored a game-high 23 points to help Princeton defeat Lehigh 71-62. The Tigers, now 4-8, play at Penn on January 4 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After suffering an 87-72 defeat to Hofstra in its last action before Christmas, the Princeton University men’s basketball team did some soul-searching over the holidays.

“We all just recognized that it was a really bad game,” said Princeton senior star Richmond Aririguzoh, reflecting on the loss to the Pride on December 19.

“We put up a bad performance for us and our fans.  We just came back to basics and competing and doing the little things right.”

Last Sunday against visiting Lehigh, Aririguzoh did a lot of things right, scoring 23 points to help Princeton defeat the Mountain Hawks 71-62 before a crowd of 1,927 at Jadwin Gym. more

GETTING IT DONE: Princeton University men’s hockey goalie Jeremie Forget tracks the puck last Saturday against Quinnipiac. Sophomore Forget made 33 saves in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-1 to the Bobcats. The Tigers, who lost 4-3 to Quinnipiac on Sunday as they fell to 2-10-3 overall and 0-6-2 ECAC Hockey, host Dartmouth on January 3 and Harvard on January 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though Jeremie Forget had only seen 31 minutes of action at goalie in the first 11 games this season for the Princeton University men’s hockey team, he maintained an upbeat attitude.

“I have always tried to stay positive in practice,” said sophomore Forget. “I knew eventually I would get my chance and once I got it, I wanted to make sure I would seize it to make sure I would give myself more playing time.”

Forget started game 12 as Princeton hosted Colorado College on December 7 and seized opportunity, making 25 saves as the Tigers fell 2-1 in overtime. Three days later, Forget had 26 stops as Princeton edged AIC 2-1 to snap a 10-game winless streak. more

DOUBLE DUTY: Princeton High hockey player Victoria Zammit controls the puck in a game last season. Senior forward Zammit has been doing double duty this winter, playing for both the PHS boys’ and girls’ hockey teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was already a busy day for Victoria Zammit by the time she arrived at Baker Rink to play for the Princeton High girls’ hockey team when it hosted Summit in mid-December.

“I was in the boys’ game against Hopewell, this was a doubleheader,” said PHS senior forward Zammit, who is culminating her high school career by playing for both programs this winter.

“I was pretty tired; I downed a Red Bull in the car on the way here. The boys was a good warmup.” more

GRADE A: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Stephen Avis brings the puck up the ice in a game earlier this season. Senior defensemen Avis has provided strong work on the blue line as PHS has started 5-0-1. The Tigers begin the 2020 portion of their schedule by facing Steinert on January 3 at Mercer County Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having won its first five games this season, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team faced its first defeat as it trailed Notre Dame 3-2 in the waning seconds in its final game of 2019.

But with sophomore forward John O’Donnell finding the back of the net with eight seconds remaining in the third period of the December 20 contest, PHS pulled out a 3-3 tie to remain undefeated.

First-year Tiger head coach Joe Bensky sensed that his players were going to do whatever necessary to remain undefeated.

“They kept fighting and you could see in their eyes that their weren’t going to give up until the final buzzer went off,” said Bensky. more

TOPPING IT OFF: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Caroline Topping looks to pass the ball in a game last season. Junior guard Topping scored four points in a losing cause as PDS fell 26-15 to Willingboro on December 19 in their last game before the holiday break. The Panthers, now 1-6, start the 2020 portion of their schedule by hosting Steinert on January 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Looking to end 2019 on a high note, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team jumped out to a 9-3 second quarter lead over Willingboro in its last action before the holiday break.

“We definitely came in ready to play,” said PDS head coach Liz Loughlin.

“Once we felt a little settled I think we took our foot off the gas and allowed the other team to come back onto the game.”

Willingboro came back all the way, outscoring PDS 15-2 over the rest of the first half and the third quarter as it went on to earn a 26-15 win over the Panthers in the December 19 contest. more