December 5, 2018

Courtney’s Carolers entertained visitors and shoppers around Palmer Square in downtown Princeton on Saturday afternoon. Strolling Holiday Music is featured every Saturday and Sunday in December leading up to Christmas. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

Voters will face just one question, requiring a “yes’ or “no” response, on December 11, when they vote on the Princeton Public Schools’ proposal for a $26.9 million bond referendum. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. next Tuesday, with just four consolidated polling locations at the elementary schools: Community Park, Riverside, Johnson Park, and Littlebrook. 

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert noted that most people would not be voting at their usual voting spots because of the reduced number of polling locations, and she urged  everyone to check the sample ballots that were mailed out to all residents for information on voting districts and polling locations. Information is also posted on the Princeton municipal website and on the PPS website.

Lempert also pointed out that in the December 11 referendum vote new voting machines with a verifiable paper trail will be piloted at the Johnson Park polling location. As part of a statewide effort to enhance voter security, the pilot program will use voting machines on loan from Dominion Voting Systems at no cost to the county. The technology allows voters to fill out an oval marking the vote and then feed the ballot into a scanner, with the paper ballot retained for verification. more

By Donald Gilpin

Gary Snyder, Princeton High School (PHS) principal for more than 15 years, has announced that he will retire in June 2019, at the end of this school year.

When Snyder came to PHS in 2003 at the age of 40, the school had been led by seven different principals in the previous decade. “I hope to bring some stability in the leadership position, and to create a vision for what we do,” he said at the time of his hiring, and over the past decade and a half he has displayed that successful staying power.

“This time of year, the steamy days of June are probably only in the thoughts of high school seniors and retiring principals,” he wrote in a letter to PHS students, parents, and community yesterday, “but we will each keep focus on the work and learning before us in the coming months.” more

By Anne Levin

Responding to concerns from the public, Princeton will allow people who have balances on their smart cards to transfer them to the new Park Princeton app after April 30. Mayor Liz Lempert announced the revised plan, part of the municipality’s revamping of the parking system, at the Princeton Council meeting on Monday night, December 3.

“Sometimes Council makes a decision and it’s the wrong decision, and we reverse course,” she said. “That is what happened with this. At one point we said we weren’t going to refund the smart card balances. We changed course when we heard feedback from the community. We are working on a plan to transfer the balances.”

Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton said those with balances on their smart cards are still urged to spend them in the Spring Street Garage, next to Princeton Public Library, by April 30. But those who still have balances on their cards after that date will be permitted to transfer the amount to the new app. A 10 percent administrative fee will be charged. more

As of December 6, Bernadette has been found and is now safe at home.


BREAKING GROUND: The shovels came out November 30 to officially begin construction of new headquarters for Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad. From left are Brenda Stewart, Martin Chooljian, Edward Matthews, PFARS Chief Frank Setnicky, PFARS President Mark Freda, Mayor Liz Lempert, Barry Rabner, Betty Wold Johnson, and Campaign Chair Martha Sword. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

After 15 years of planning and fundraising, the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS) broke ground Friday, November 30, for its new headquarters on a site bordered by Valley Road, Witherspoon Street, Route 206, and Cherry Hill Road. The land was formerly home to the Princeton Township Public Works facility.

“Today marks the bridge between our past and our future,” said Mark Freda, president of the 78-year-old nonprofit that long ago outgrew its headquarters on Harrison Street. Addressing a crowd of community members, elected officials, and PFARS volunteers past and present, Freda recalled the decision “to solve the problem of our too small, too tight, too old building.” more

AMBASSADORIAL EXCHANGE: Russian Ambassador Anatoly Ivanovich Antonov  defended Russia’s position in Ukraine and on the world scene, responded to sharp questioning from two Princeton panelists, and called for “respectful dialogue” between Russian and U.S. leaders, in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Arthur Lewis Auditorium of Robertson Hall last Thursday afternoon.

By Donald Gilpin

Speaking to an overflow crowd of about 200 at Woodrow Wilson School’s (WWS) Arthur Lewis Auditorium of Robertson Hall last Thursday, on a day of significant tension in Russian-United States relations, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Ivanovich Antonov called for increased dialogue between the two nations on a range of urgent topics.

“Russian-United States relations cannot stay on the decline forever,” said Antonov, combining a demeanor at times conciliatory and at times steely tough. Questioning Antonov on a range of contentious issues were nuclear security expert Bruce Blair of the WWS Program on Science and Global Security, and visiting WWS Lecturer of Public and International Affairs Anna Makanju. more

By Nancy Plum

Venezuela-born conducting wunderkind Gustavo Dudamel is known to audiences in the United States primarily as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a position he has held for 10 years. However, Dudamel’s reach and effect on musical performance and education worldwide has been much more, and Princeton is now part of this impact through an artist-in-residency collaboration between Dudamel and Princeton University Concerts, as part of the University Concerts’ 125th Anniversary year-long celebration. In a three-part residency entitled “Uniting Our World Through Music,” beginning this past weekend and continuing into the spring of 2019, Dudamel will be in residency at the University, coaching both campus and off-campus ensembles, conducting the University Orchestra and Glee Cub, and participating in panel discussions on the impact of music on social change. The first of these concerts took place this past Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Richardson Auditorium. more

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In The Luck of the Irish, an African American woman discovers that a transaction, necessitated by racial injustice, may prevent her from owning the house she has inherited from her grandparents. Written by Kirsten Greenidge, this play derives its central conflict from the determination of parents to provide a space — and a future — in which their children belong. more

AN ANNUAL TRADITION: Katie Welsh ends her Fall Cabaret Series at the Arts Council of Princeton with a special program on December 8.

Singer Katie Welsh will end her Fall Cabaret Series at the Arts Council of Princeton with “Happy Holidays! From Broadway & Hollywood” on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Welsh’s “informative cabaret” approach provides some insights between songs. As she describes it, “So many great seasonal songs, from ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ to ‘Silver Bells’ became famous as standalone standards but originated in musicals on stage and screen. This concert is a fun opportunity to not only enjoy your favorite holiday tunes, but also learn a bit more about their original contexts and backstories.” more

November 28, 2018

Friday evening’s annual tree lighting on Palmer Square Green featured music by Swingadelic and the Princeton High School Choir, a special performance by the American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker and Clara, and a visit from Santa. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

The Princeton Health Department has achieved national accreditation, the municipality announced Monday. The ranking comes through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB)  and puts Princeton in a category with about 200 local health departments across the nation.

“It’s a pretty huge deal,” said Jeffrey Grosser, Princeton’s health officer. “It basically says we’re a top performer and we’re meeting the public’s health needs as effectively as possible. It also demonstrates accountability to everybody.” more

By Anne Levin

Sayu Bhojwani

In her book People Like Us: The New Wave of Candidates Knocking at Democracy’s Door, author Sayu Bhojwani recounts stories of immigrants who serve in American politics and the stumbling blocks they have had to overcome in their governmental careers.

Princeton Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, who is of Mexican descent, can relate to these stories. She read the recently published book after agreeing to engage Bhojwani in a discussion of the book at an Author Talk at Princeton Public Library tonight, Wednesday, November 28, at 6:30 p.m.

“It resonated with me immediately,” said Fraga, who was sworn in last January as the first Latin American to serve on Princeton Council and is the former chair of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “Reading it was almost empowering, because I could see that it wasn’t just me who had been having this experience.” more

TEN CRUCIAL DAYS: Princeton Battlefield Society will be hosting three different events relating to the Battle of Princeton beginning on Sunday, December 2 with presentations at Morven Museum and Garden by four Revolutionary War historians, continuing on December 8 with Young Patriot’s Day at Princeton Friends School, and culminating on December 30 with a Battle of Princeton real time tour. (Photo courtesy of the Princeton Battlefield Society)

By Donald Gilpin

“Soldiers and Civilians in Princeton During the Ten Crucial Days: Winter 1776-1777” will be the subject for four Revolutionary War historians on Sunday, December 2 from 1:30 to 5 p.m. at Morven Museum and Garden on Stockton Street.

Sponsored by Morven and the Princeton Battlefield Society, the four authors, whose books will be for sale during the event, will discuss the people and the military actions of Princeton during a pivotal time in America’s War for Independence. more

“MOTHER OF BOARDERS”: Hun School ESL teacher and counselor Dianne Somers is the 2018 recipient of the School’s Distinguished Endowed Faculty Chair. As director of the Arthur Rozas International Student Program for more than 20 years, she oversees the students who come to Hun from 26 different countries.  (Photo courtesy of The Hun School)

By Donald Gilpin

For most of the past 40 years, for students boarding at The Hun School of Princeton, the go-to teacher for advice, information, and encouragement on matters personal, academic, and otherwise has been English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and counselor Dianne Somers.

“We call Ms. Somers the ‘Mother of Boarders,’” said Henry Lazarev, a junior from Russia.  “She is the first person you go to with any kind of problem, whether you broke up with someone or you got a C on a physics exam. You can feel safe your conversation will remain between you two.” more

Since its founding in 1920, the Westminster Choir has served as an American Choral Ambassador through its tours and performances in 29 countries. In October, they added one more nation to that list: China.

Westminster Choir was the only ensemble from the U.S. invited to participate in the 2018 Beijing International Students Chorus Festival. The trip was supported by Kaiwen Education, the company to which Rider University wants to sell Westminster Choir College. more

NEW LOOK: “I absolutely love my clients. Every person who comes to my office is like my sister, my mother, my brother, my best friend. I want them to feel good about themselves, to have healthy skin, and to have a feeling of well-being.” Skin care specialist and permanent cosmetic artist Marguerite Hellwich, owner of The Skin Medic, is shown performing a microblading procedure to rebuild thinning eyebrows.

By Jean Stratton

Whether it is the inexorable passage of time, injuries, scarring, or other physical conditions, many factors come into play regarding appearance. All can affect how one looks — and ultimately — how one feels.   

Fortunately, a variety of treatments and technologies are available today to help improve many types of skin conditions.

Skin care specialist and permanent cosmetic artist Marguerite Hellwich opened The Skin Medic at 102 Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown last July. Her office treats people of all ages, from teens to clients over 80. Both men and women benefit from her treatments. more

GETTING A LEG UP: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Wesley Leggett flies up to boot the ball in game this fall. Senior striker and UConn-bound Leggett led the area with 22 goals, helping PDS advance to the state Prep B final as it went 8-7-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski).

Charlotte Bednar was an unknown quantity as she toed the starting line for the Hun School cross country team at the Mercer County girls’ varsity meet in mid-October.

The petite blonde freshman had won some races in smaller prep meets for Hun but hadn’t competed against the runners from the county’s public school programs.

It didn’t take long for the runners from the bigger schools to notice Bednar as she shot to the front of the pack in the first half mile of the race at Washington Crossing Park. more

November 21, 2018

Members of the Princeton University football team celebrate after they defeated Penn 42-14 last Saturday at Princeton Stadium to end the fall at 10-0 overall and 7-0 Ivy League. It marked the program’s first undefeated season since the 1964 team went 9-0 and its first outright Ivy title since 1995. For more details on the game, see page 35. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Donald Gilpin

With significant tension remaining between the needs of the schools and the financial concerns of the residents, the town of Princeton will vote on December 11 on a $26.9 million scaled down bond referendum to provide upgrades to the Princeton Public Schools (PPS).

Following almost two years of planning and more than 40 public forums, the Board of Education (BOE) in early October decided to postpone some of its plans for a facilities referendum that would have cost taxpayers almost $130 million, and instead voted 10-0 to place on the ballot a single question “addressing the district’s most urgent needs in its aging schools, including safety, security, and HVAC upgrades,” according to a PPS press release from last week.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Three Princeton University seniors were among 32 United States Rhodes Scholars chosen for 2019, including a record 21 women. A fourth Princeton senior is one of five recipients  from India.

Nicolette D’Angelo, John Hoffmeyer, Katharine (Kate) Reed, and Samvida Sudheesh Venkatesh, who was named last month as a winner from India, will all begin their studies at Oxford University in October 2019. 

Almost half of the U.S. recipients, named Sunday, are either immigrants or first-generation Americans, according to the Rhodes Trust. Recipients are chosen not only for their scholarly achievements, but also for their character, commitment to others and to the common good, and for their potential for leadership in their chosen careers.  more

By Anne Levin

On Monday night, Princeton Council voted unanimously, with modifications, in favor of an ordinance establishing new neighborhood residential zoning standards. The final ordinance requires review by the Zoning Board of Adjustment for houses being torn down on non-conforming lots. Tear-downs on conforming lots that meet all other bulk requirements for the zone in which they are located are not required to obtain variance relief.

The vote came after significant public comment and discussion among Council members, who worked to reword the section of the ordinance that was in question. Originally introduced by Council last month, the measure went to the Planning Board for review before coming back for a final vote. more

ACTIVISTS FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE:Andre Biehl, Princeton High School junior and reporter for the Latino Migrant Teen Journal, met iconic farmworker and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in person last month at an event celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month at Rutgers University-Camden. Biehl, who had researched Huerta’s long career on the barricades, interviewed her over the phone last summer, and was excited to finally meet her. (Photo courtesy of Andre Biehl)

By Donald Gilpin

When legendary farmworker and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta addressed a large crowd at Rutgers University-Camden last month, in an event celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, Princeton High School junior Andre Biehl was more than just a casual spectator. 

Before she delivered her speech, Biehl, youth editor and contributing reporter for Latino Migrant Teen Journal, had met Huerta in person to follow up on a phone interview he conducted with her over the summer. A version of that interview will be published soon on the American Anthropological Association blog in advance of its upcoming meeting, where Huerta is giving the keynote speech, and another version of the interview will be published in Latino Migrant Teen Journal. more

Morven Museum & Garden’s 2018 Festival of Trees showcases “Holidays at Morven Through the Centuries,” with juried trees on display November 21 through January 6 in Morven Museum’s newly reimagined galleries.

“Morven’s annual Festival of Trees has been a holiday highlight for years, and this year we’re enhancing it by presenting ‘Holidays at Morven Through the Centuries,’” says Morven Executive Director Jill Barry.

Morven’s Festival of Trees is a juried collection of trees and mantles displayed throughout the museum’s galleries, upstairs and down. This year’s theme invites visitors to tour the newly reimagined first floor galleries, featuring trees inspired by 18th- through 20th-century décor; and the second floor galleries, where imagination runs free. more

HEADING INTO HISTORY: Princeton University football player Jesper Horsted races past Penn defenders last Saturday. Senior star wide receiver Horsted made eight catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns to help Princeton defeat the Quakers 42-14 and put the finishing touches on a perfect season for the Tigers. Princeton ended the fall at 10-0 overall and 7-0 Ivy League. It marked the program’s first undefeated season since the 1964 team went 9-0 and its first outright Ivy title since 1995. Horsted, for his part, passed Kevin Guthrie to grab the Princeton record for career receptions, ending his career with 196 catches and 2,703 receiving yards, the second most in program history. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With no Princeton University football team having posted an undefeated season since 1964 when the Tigers went 9-0, this year’s squad set its sights set on perfection.

“Before the season we got together and talked about our goals for the year were and that was the biggest stated one that we were all working toward,” said Princeton senior receiver Jesper Horsted. “The way to be the best we could be was to go 10-0.” more