May 5, 2021

By Donald Gilpin

The Resources Committee of the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC) will recommend to the University’s Board of Trustees (BOT) that the University divest and dissociate from “the highest greenhouse gas-emitting sectors of the fossil fuel industry” as quickly as possible and “dissociate from fossil fuel companies that deny climate change and/or spread climate disinformation.”

Partnerships with and investments in fossil fuel companies by Princeton University, with its $26 billion endowment, have been the focus of considerable debate and concern for at least   the past decade. Divest Princeton — a coalition of Princeton University students, faculty, and alumni — has continuously called for the University’s divestment from fossil fuel companies and has gathered more than 2,200 signatures on an open letter to Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber pledging “No Donations Until Divestment.”

Concern and activism seem to have increased at Princeton along with increasing worldwide distress over climate change. Most recently, an April 24 Earth Day rally — “Earth Day No Delay, Princeton Must Divest Today” — brought more than 100 people to the lawn in front of the Nassau Hall steps to call for action toward divestment by the Resources Committee and the BOT.

In its May 3 report to the CPUC, Resources Committee Chair Blair Schoene, associate professor of geosciences at Princeton, noted that the committee also is recommending to the BOT that Princeton University “establish criteria for conditional dissociation from fossil fuel companies that have not undertaken an acceptable path towards carbon neutrality,” and that the University “establish, implement, and sustain actionable criteria for dissociation” that accord with the three previous recommendations and are based on companies’ “current and prospective actions,” not on past behavior. more

MAY DAY MARCHERS: Calling for solidarity and support for immigrants and workers, about 100 demonstrators, led by Unidad Latina en Accion New Jersey, marched through Palmer Square on Saturday, May 1, heading from Witherspoon Presbyterian Church through the downtown area and down John Street to Community Park.

By Donald Gilpin

More than 100 demonstrators, led by Unidad Latina en Accion New Jersey (ULA-NJ), gathered outside the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church on Saturday morning, May 1, to rally, then march up Witherspoon Street and through downtown to celebrate May Day and International Workers Day and to demand recognition and rights for all immigrants and workers.

The ULA-NJ, marking 12 years of work on behalf of Latinos in New Jersey, issued a 13-item list focusing on demands for the U.S. government to “recognize the humanity of all immigrant working people” and to take “immediate action to end the racist denial of working papers to working people.”

“I’m here to stand in solidarity with our Black and brown workers in Princeton,” said Newark Water Coalition Co-founder Anthony Diaz. “A lot of workers are suffering injustices in terms of workplace safety. Minimum wage, wage theft, health benefits, and time off are also issues, and so, even though we’re an environmental justice group, we believe that all issues are interconnected, so you can’t talk about climate justice or the water issues without talking about food insecurity, mental health, and definitely workplace safety.”

He continued, “I want to stand in solidarity with other people who are in the struggle and the movement. It’s important that we show up for one another.”  more

STILL COOKING: Former local residents Emily and Lyla Allen, known in the food world as The Kitchen Twins, will lead a streamed event to benefit the Arts Council of Princeton. Emily, left, and Lyla are co-authors of the book “Teen Kitchen.”

By Anne Levin

The last we checked in with Emily and Lyla Allen, better known as The Kitchen Twins, they were 13-year-old middle school students at Princeton Day School. Already veterans of such television programs as The Today show, Chopped Junior, and The Rachael Ray Show, they were getting ready to go to the International Housewares Show in Chicago, where they would demonstrate a line of pots and pans created by Michael Graves Architecture and Design.

That was four years ago. Now 17, the twins now live in Buffalo, New York, where they are high school juniors. On Tuesday, May 11 at 7 p.m., they will return to Princeton, virtually, with a streamed “cook-along” where they will take viewers through the steps to make a gnocchi dinner topped off with a chocolate dessert.

The event is “perfect for the whole family to enjoy together,” reads a release from the Arts Council. “Emily and Lyla are experts at creating healthy and delicious recipes from home.” more

By Anne Levin

Last week, Princeton Council approved a resolution designating the North Harrison Redevelopment Study Area, which includes Princeton Shopping Center, as an area in need of redevelopment.

Council’s unanimous vote on April 27 followed a recommendation the previous week from the Planning Board. The authorization by the governing body begins a multi-step process that includes several public meetings before a final determination is made.

Council approved a resolution last December asking the Planning Board to study the area for possible designation. Consultant Carlos Rodrigues was hired to prepare a report, in which he said the area meets the criteria and should be declared a “non-condemnation” area in need of redevelopment.

The option for condemnation by the government does not apply in this case, because all of the property owners are in agreement about the designation. In addition to the shopping center, the properties include Grover Park, the three buildings that were formerly owned by Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS) and are now owned by the town, and a vacant lot at 351 Terhune Road. more

By Stuart Mitchner

I loved them for what they entertain, and then later loved them for what they taught.

—Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), on American films

Sunday, May 2, marked the 100th birthday of the Indian film director Satyajit Ray, who was presented with an honorary Oscar at the 1992 Academy Awards “in recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures, and of his profound humanitarian outlook, which has had an indelible influence on filmmakers and audiences throughout the world.”

Videotaped as he lay in a Calcutta hospital three weeks before his death, the golden statuette clutched in one hand, Ray’s acceptance speech was direct, open, and down to earth, in contrast to the lofty rhetoric of the citation: “When I was a small, small school boy, I was terribly interested in the cinema. Became a film fan, wrote to Deanna Durbin. Got a reply, was delighted. Wrote to Ginger Rogers, didn’t get a reply. Then of course, I got interested in the cinema as an art form, and I wrote a twelve-page letter to Billy Wilder after seeing Double Indemnity. He didn’t reply either. Well, there you are. I have learned everything I’ve learned about the craft of cinema from the making of American films. I’ve been watching American films very carefully over the years and I loved them for what they entertain, and then later loved them for what they taught.”

The Only Truth 

Last week the New York Times brought images from India’s pandemic nightmare to the breakfast table, vistas of funeral pyres burning in New Delhi and headlines like “Death Is the Only Truth” over Aman Sethi’s April 30 account of the mass cremations in Ghazipur. At the same time, my wife and I were watching the life and death truths at the heart of Ray’s Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1957), and The World of Apu/Apur Sansa (1959), films of which Ray’s fellow director Akira Kurosawa has said, “Not to have seen the cinema of Satyajit Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.” more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra launched its penultimate online concert collaboration with South Africa’s Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble this past Friday with a virtual program of music for strings, harp, and solo voices. In a performance entitled “Curious Creatures and a Heavenly Harp,” the Soweto string orchestra, led by conductor Rosemary Nalden, performed music featuring both their own soloists and a well-known South African harpist. 

Seventeenth-century Italian composer Carlo Farina studied with some of the Baroque era’s leading composers. Considered one of the earliest violin virtuosos, Farina contributed significantly to violin pedagogy, especially through such works as the 1627 Capriccio Stravagante. This multi-section work called upon violins, violas, and cellos to mimic other instruments, as well as animals. These types of humorous works were not uncommon in the 17th century, and the Buskaid ensemble approached Farina’s piece with a refreshing playing style and easily finding the humor. In a rebroadcast from a 2018 concert, the musicians played triple meter sections especially gracefully, and the musical imitations of chickens clucking and cats yowling were particularly effective. 

French composer Claude Debussy came to the musical forefront as France was emerging from the 19th-century dominant Austro-German school. French composers of this era drew from art and their own language to infuse music with a wide range of instrumental colors, sinuous harmonies, and phrasing that mimicked the cadences of the native tongue. Debussy’s 1904 Danse sacrée et danse profane for solo harp and strings was commissioned by a French harp-building firm to showcase a newly-designed instrument. The sacrée portion of this work reflected ancient religious beliefs, with the second half of the piece inspired by the improvisatory style of Spanish dances. Featured in this performance by the Buskaid ensemble was harpist Jude Harpstar, whose performing career has crossed genres ranging from classical to pop. In a rebroadcast from a 2016 performance, Harpstar played with elegance, even when the music called for sharp and decisive harp passages. Conductor Nalden consistently maintained a subtle string accompaniment, with the second section of the piece particularly evoking spring in Paris. As with all of these expertly-recorded concerts, one could easily see the supple fingering of the soloist on the harp, as well as Harpstar’s expressive playing.  more

HANDS-ON TEACHING: Risa Kaplowitz, in purple, will leave the school and company she co-founded at the end of the summer. But Princeton Dance Theatre, shown here, and Princeton Youth Ballet will continue under the leadership of Talin Kenar. (Photo by Ashley Concannon)

By Anne Levin

After 18 years of teaching, choreographing, coaching, and running Princeton Dance Theatre (PDT) and Princeton Youth Ballet (PYB), Risa Kaplowitz is moving on.

Kaplowitz, who co-founded the Forrestal Village studio with former American Ballet Theatre (ABT) principal dancer Susan Jaffe, recently announced that she is moving to Sarasota, Florida, where she will join the faculty of the Sarasota Ballet’s Margaret Barbieri Conservatory.

PDT and PYB will continue under the leadership of Talin Kenar, currently the executive director of PYB. “Talin is perfectly poised to carry on what I started and will take it beyond,” Kaplowitz said this week. “I wouldn’t have left if I hadn’t been sure of that.”

While PDT is focused on training; PYB is centered on performing. Running them both eventually took a toll. “It was seven days a week for 18 years,” Kaplowitz said. “As gratifying as it was, I was beginning to feel my age. My husband has always wanted to live in Florida, but I never wanted to — until we discovered Sarasota. There is so much culture there, it’s just incredible.” more

The female trio Darnabee Jones kicks off LiLLiPiES’ Sunday Brunch Jazz series on May 9 at 11 a.m., in front of the bakery at Princeton Shopping Center. The series includes six concerts, all of which are free, through the summer. The lineup is a curated selection of local performers.

“The Spring Dance Festival: May” features performances by 13 seniors, in new solo and duet works choreographed for and with them by professional choreographers including an ensemble piece by Elisa Clark based on the movement language of Robert Battle. The virtual shows are May 13 and 14 at 8 p.m., and are free. Visit arts.princeton.edu to register. (Photo by Daniel Madoff)

“CANDID IN MAY”: Works by Princeton-based artist Makoto Fujimura are on view at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell through May 31. An artist reception, by appointment only, is Saturday, May 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Morpeth Contemporary, at 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell, now presents works by internationally-renowned, Princeton-based artist Makoto Fujimura. Entitled “Candid in May,” the exhibition contains Nihonga paintings and prints emblematic of the deep exploration that has made Fujimura a leader in a cultural movement that bridges art and faith.

Nihonga — literally meaning “Japanese painting”— was developed in about 1900 to differentiate Japanese works from Western style paintings. It is a water-based medium that is often characterized by its materials, including natural pigments derived from minerals, shells, corals, and even semi-precious stones; metals like gold and silver leaf; and the use of “sumi” ink, wood, silk, and paper. As described by Fujimura, it is also characterized by the time it takes to create — from pulverizing materials into millions of sand-like pigments to waiting for each of up to 100 layers to dry before painting the next.  more

“THE GREYSCALE ECONOMICS PROJECT”: Mercer County Community College’s James Kerney (JKC) Campus in Trenton will exhibit works by Brass Rabbit through May 22. Gallery hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. by appointment at 137 North Broad Street in Trenton. For reservations visit JKCGallery.online.

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus (JKC) Gallery kicks off its next in-person and virtual exhibit entitled “The Greyscale Economics Project” which showcases the works of Brass Rabbit through May 22.

Rabbit is a fine artist and documentary photographer living and working in Trenton. “The Greyscale Economics Project” highlights her stories of the individuals who work in non-traditional economies, with a focus on simple barter systems, under-the-table-payments, e-commerce and illicit industries.

“We are pleased to offer the public this exhibit that combines data journalism, storytelling, and photography from Brass Rabbit,” said Michael Chovan-Dalton, director of the JKC Gallery. “The Greyscale Economics Project brings a revealing and first-person perspective to the underground economy and its social structure.”  more

DISTINCTIVE DINING: “We are set apart by our overall approach and ability to achieve a special refinement. We emphasize quality and a unique and exciting ambiance.” Ben Sanford and his wife Katie, owners of BORO Market | Restaurant | Bar in Pennington, look forward to introducing more customers to their intriguing new restaurant and market. Shown is the elegant main dining room and bar.

By Jean Stratton

Something special is waiting for you at 147 West Delaware Avenue in Pennington!

Visitors to BORO Market | Restaurant | Bar will find an exciting dining experience in an intriguing setting, unlike anything else in the area.

Opened last December, it is the product of both the experience and imagination of owners and husband and wife team, Ben and Katie Sanford.

“My wife and I have been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years combined between us, including in Robbinsville, Bordentown, Charleston, S.C., and Pennington,” explains Ben Sanford. “We’ve had Cugino’s Italian Market in Pennington for years, including at this location for the past five years. Having our own restaurant has always been our dream.” more

HAMMER TIME: Princeton University men’s track performer Paul Brennan displays his hammer throwing form in recent action. Sophomore Brennan, a former Princeton High standout, made his college debut this spring after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic. He threw 189’4 in the Princeton Invitational on April 25 in his first collegiate competition. (Photo provided courtesy of PU’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

Paul Brennan did not have to travel far to get to Princeton University, but he did have to wait a long time to begin his outdoor track and field career.

Brennan, a 2019 graduate of Princeton High, was thrilled when the Tiger men’s track and field team was able to take advantage of reaching Phase 4 of the University’s COVID-19 protocols to return to play. Phase 4 allowed full competition, and Brennan and the PU men were able to compete in the Princeton Invitational on April 25 and at the Fast Times Before Finals at Rowan University on May 1.

“It’s definitely exciting for all of our guys,” said Brennan. “At least for my class, we haven’t had any outdoor competitions. Our first collegiate outdoor competition was last weekend. We’re almost like freshmen coming in. We’ve been training for over a year and a half trying to prepare for a season.”

The preparation paid off. At Rowan, sophomore Ibrahim Ayorinde ran 20.88 seconds to win the 200 meters in the second-fastest time in program history. Freshman Daniel Duncan was second in 21.06, the third-fastest time in school history. Duncan also recorded the third fastest time in program history in winning the 100 meters in 10.47 seconds after running a blazing 10.42 in the trials. Junior Taraje Whitfield won the 110 hurdles in 14.60 seconds and freshman William Doyle took the 400 in 48.05 seconds. Sophomore Ethan Reese set a new personal best of 1:51.69 for the 800 meters. Senior Kelton Chastulik won the shot put at 54’ 8½.

“It’s a real testimony to the desire our guys have,” said Princeton men’s head coach Fred Samara. “I think it’s what sets apart our team from other teams we compete against. These guys are so close to one another and the team spirit they have. They don’t care where they are, they’re going to train hard and compete and light it up, which they’re doing.”

Despite the topsy-turvy training over the last year, limited interaction on campus, and no outside competition ahead of time, the Tigers showed in a wave of performances just why the program is so excited to have its full team intact next year. Eighteen men took the year off from school and several others are training on their own while they take classes remotely. Those on campus like Brennan have gotten back into the swing of things after students were able to return to campus for the second semester and went through the phases of return to play. more

FULL-COURT PRESENCE: Hun School boys’ basketball player Kelvin Smith, right, pressures a foe in a game this past winter. Senior guard/forward Smith’s contribution at both ends of the court helped Hun post an 8-2 record this season. Smith, who is headed to Yale where he is planning to play both football and basketball, averaged 11.8 points a game along with 5.9 rebounds, a team-high 4.0 assists, a team-high 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals. (Photo by Lexi Thomas)

By Bill Alden

Kelvin Smith enjoyed a big season on both sides of the ball this past fall for the Hun School football team, utilizing his strength and speed to stand out at wide receiver and linebacker.

Moving to the basketball court this winter from the gridiron, Smith drew on his football experience in looking to make an impact for the Hun boys’ hoops team.

“Football has definitely helped my cutting in basketball,” said senior guard/forward Smith, a powerfully-built 6’4, 220-pounder, who has committed to attend Yale University and is planning to play both football and basketball for the Bulldogs.

“When I cut now, I am really good at faking out defenders and not letting them know which way I am going. It feels like running a route. Physical-wise, I feel like nobody on the court is too big to stop me. After playing football, the aggressiveness and tenacity I have is very different from everybody else. It helps me get to the basket easier. It definitely helps me in grabbing rebounds over people and getting loose balls.”

Playing at guard and forward for the Raiders, Smith displayed that tenacity, emerging as the squad’s top defender who could guard anyone from a guard to a center and as a jack-of-all-trades offensive catalyst.

Smith filled the stat sheet at both ends of the floor, averaging 11.8 points a game along with 5.9 rebounds, a team-high 4.0 assists, a team-high 1.2 blocks, and 1.2 steals in helping the Raiders post an impressive 8-2 final record.

When Smith hit the court this winter for the Raiders, he looked to do whatever the team needed at the time.

“As a senior captain, I feel like my role is to be a leader for the team,” said Smith.

“Sometimes we get rushed a little bit so I feel like it’s my job to keep the team under control and to find the open man when somebody is open and to take the open shot when I am open. It is a little bit of everything. I feel like if we need a basket, I can use a screen and get to the basket. If we need a jump shot, I can pass to one of my teammates or take a shot if I see it.”

Hun head coach Jon Stone credited Smith’s unselfish mentality as setting a positive tone for the Raiders.

“Kelvin’s leadership has been really good all year long,” said Stone.

“He is just so versatile for us. We play him on the ball a lot and yet we play him off the ball. He is such a good defender, he just gives us incredible versatility. He has been playing really well. He is a stat sheet stuffer. He just tends to have high numbers in points, rebounds, blocks, and assists every night. He has taken charges and different things like that. He is not always our leading scorer but he recognizes that there is so much more value to him. He gives us so much in every category.” more

END OF AN ERA: Pat Trombetta surveys the action in a 2019 game during his tenure as the head coach of the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team. Trombetta recently announced that he is stepping down from the helm of the program after 14 seasons. Over his time guiding the team, the Panthers went 177-62-19, winning eight state Prep B titles (2008, 2010, 2014-2019) and one Mercer County Tournament crown (2013) along the way. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In his day job as the chief operating officer for an accounting firm, Pat Trombetta prides himself on his attention to detail and ability to manage people.

When not in the office for the MSPC Certified Public Accountants and Advisors, Trombetta took a break from his world of numbers by indulging in his passion for soccer, guiding a number of club teams in West Windsor and coming to Princeton Day School to start coaching in its middle school program in 2004.

When Trombetta took the helm of the PDS varsity girls’ soccer team in 2007, he applied some accounting principles as he looked to take the program to a higher level.

“I just think that being in the position that I am in from a leadership standpoint helped me in coaching,” said Trombetta.

“There are a lot of things that I do at the corporate level that I actually implement with the soccer team. Organization and planning are two key things that are part of my daily life that I bring to the field.”

Combining his flair for organization and love of soccer, Trombetta transformed PDS into a powerhouse, guiding the program to eight state Prep B championships (2008, 2010, 2014-2019) and a Mercer County Tournament title (2013), the first in program history, over last 14 seasons.

But noting that his job responsibilities have increased through overseeing the firm’s offices in New York and New Jersey, Trombetta announced last month that his run at PDS will be ending as he is stepping down from the program.

“It is just the time commitment, and I am so proud of where this program is today,” said Trombetta, who posted a 177-62-19 record in his PDS tenure. more

By Bill Alden

Last spring, Dylan and Ethan Parker were primed to star again for the Princeton High boys’ tennis squad, having placed second at second doubles at the Mercer County Tournament in 2019.

But the twins never got the chance to team up again and build on their success as sophomores as the 2020 campaign was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had just finished the tryouts and then the season got canceled immediately,” said Dylan Parker.

“It was really devastating for a lot of the seniors especially. We kept our heads up and we kept on practicing.”

That practice paid off as the twins are getting the chance to play together at first doubles one last time as the 2021 spring season is up and running.

“It is amazing how everything has opened up and all that,” said Ethan.

“Everyone is really happy to be back, everyone was just really excited to play. Everyone was really positive with lots of energy.”

Last Wednesday, the Parker twins expended a lot of energy, pulling out a 7-5, 6-7 (7-5), 6-2 win over Lawrence High’s Suraj Kura and Rishi Kotamraju to help PHS edge the Cardinals 3-2. more

By Bill Alden

It was a perfect way to cap off a big week for the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team.

With the sun shining and soft breeze wafting across Natale Family Athletic Field last Saturday afternoon, the Hun players skipped through their pregame warmup, getting ready to host Moorestown Friends, looking for their third win in six days after beating Peddie 19-8 in the first round of the Prep A tourney on April 26 and then routing Stuart Country Day 15-1 on Wednesday.

“We had a really good warmup, Saturday games are the best because we are able to have that nice time in the beginning,” said Hun senior midfielder and captain Anna Hyson.

“It is a beautiful day. We took that, listened to some good music, got hyped, got together as a team and went out strong.”

Against Moorestown Friends, Hun got off to a very strong start, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first 12 minutes of the contest.

“In practice, we really focused on the feeds, not forcing it and spreading the ball,” said Hyson. “We were taking our time and waiting for the perfect shot.”

Hyson helped get things moving, picking up a goal and an assist as Hun built a 12-0 advantage by halftime and never looked back on the way to a 14-4 victory.

“I was feeling good, it was more of an offensive game for me,” said Hyson.

“I am normally more of a defensive player, I was taking a step up as an offensive player. Normally our team needs defense but we have some new girls coming back from quarantine and injuries and I was able to play more on the offensive side.” more

BIG KAT: Hun School softball player Kat Xiong makes contact in recent action. Sophomore outfielder Xiong has emerged as a catalyst for Hun at the leadoff spot with the Raiders having piled up 59 runs in winning their last four games. Hun, now 7-1, plays at Newark Academy on May 5, hosts Montgomery High on May 7, and then plays at Lawrenceville School on May 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming into this spring, Kathy Quirk feared that her Hun School softball team might be offensively challenged.

“I did not think this was going to be a hitting team,” said Hun head coach Quirk.

Quirk’s concerns seemed merited in mid-April when Hun edged Blair 1-0 and then fell 4-0 to Lawrenceville.

But after getting blanked by the Big Red, Hun has gone on a hitting spree since, piling up 59 runs in reeling off a four-game winning streak.

Hun’s offensive production has come as a pleasant surprise to Quirk.

“I knew there were going to be a few girls who hit the ball but I did not think that we were going to hit like we have been hitting,” said Quirk.

In Quirk’s view, a daily diligence has led to the batting barrage.

“We have just really been working hard on our batting every single day,” said Quirk. “We do a lot of tee work, we hit off the machine, and we flip toss.”

Sophomore outfielder Kat Xiong has emerged as a catalyst for the squad. more

April 28, 2021

Residents gathered at Princeton Shopping Center last Saturday to learn how to keep lawns and gardens in shape without harming the environment. Electric mowers, organic techniques, and using native plants were just some of the topics organized by Sustainable Princeton team members, from left: Eve Coulson, Molly Jones, Yamile Slebi, and Christine Symington. Read what participants learned in Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika  A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department on Monday, April 26, reported just one new case of COVID-19 in Princeton in the previous seven days (0.14 daily average), and just six cases in the previous 14 days (0.42 daily average).

“In the past two weeks, Princeton has seen a 60 percent decrease in the rate of confirmed cases,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser. “Much of what we continue to observe in new COVID-19 cases in town is in the 30-year-old range. Princeton’s average age of new cases over the past two months is 34 years of age.”

Grosser said that health officials expect the numbers to remain low and ultimately to decrease further as younger residents continue to get vaccinated.
 more

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department on Monday, April 26, reported just one new case of COVID-19 in Princeton in the previous seven days (0.14 daily average), and just six cases in the previous 14 days (0.42 daily average).

“In the past two weeks, Princeton has seen a 60 percent decrease in the rate of confirmed cases,” said Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser. “Much of what we continue to observe in new COVID-19 cases in town is in the 30-year-old range. Princeton’s average age of new cases over the past two months is 34 years of age.”

Grosser said that health officials expect the numbers to remain low and ultimately to decrease further as younger residents continue to get vaccinated.

The Princeton Health Department, which has so far vaccinated 1,000 individuals who work, go to school, or live in Princeton, is running vaccination clinics each week. The department continues to receive about 80 doses of vaccine per week and will continue to make vaccines available to the community.  Information and registration for upcoming clinics can be found on the health department website at princetonnj.gov.

The health department will be holding a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Princeton YMCA on Thursday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to noon for those who live, work, or study in Princeton. Individuals 18 and older are permitted to register at 2021covid19vaccine.as.me. The clinic will use Moderna vaccine and will accommodate first doses only, with registration closing after 80 doses have been scheduled. more

By Donald Gilpin

Frank Chmiel
(Photo by Marek Malkowski)

Frank Chmiel, selected last week as the next principal at Princeton High School (PHS), reflected on the school’s motto, “Live to Learn, Learn to Live.”

“When I first saw ‘Live to Learn, Learn to Live’ etched into PHS’s outer wall, I thought about how great it would be to work there. It has been many years since then, and I still embrace that motto, and now I have the chance to serve as Princeton High School’s principal. I am excited about becoming the learning leader of PHS’s phenomenal learning community,” he said.

A Princeton resident since coming to Princeton University as an undergraduate 26 years ago, Chmiel has been serving as principal of Franklin High School in Somerset for the past three years.

His selection as PHS principal culminated a “rigorous hiring process including four rounds of interviews,” according to Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso, who noted that the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) began its search in January, conducting extensive interviews with more than a dozen candidates. “We were fortunate to see many qualified candidates, Galasso said. “Frank Chmiel stood out for several reasons, including his excellent academic and leadership credentials, as well as his commitment to and knowledge of the Princeton community.”

Chmiel’s appointment was scheduled to be voted on by the Princeton Board of Education at a public meeting on April 27, and he will officially assume his role as principal on July 1, 2021. PHS Assistant Principal Jared Warren has served as acting principal since mid-January after taking over from former Principal Jessica Baxter.

Chmiel discussed what living to learn and learning to live might mean for him and for the future of PHS. “A lot of times when schools put out mission and vision statements, they’re very long and complicated. This one is very short and easy to remember as a reminder of everything we’re supposed to be trying to work for with our students.” more

By Donald Gilpin

At their Tuesday night, April 27, meeting, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) was expected to approve a $96.3 million operating budget for the 2021-22 school year, the lowest percentage tax increase in nine years, according to a PPS press release.

PPS Business Administrator Matthew Bouldin pointed out a tax increase of just one percent for the general fund and a 0.564 percent overall increase, including the general fund and debt service.

The operating budget is $700,000 more than the 2020-21 operating budget of $95.6 million. The total budget, including debt service and grants, Bouldin added, is $108.2 million, an increase of about $2 million over the previous year. He added that the proposed budget would most likely not necessitate any cuts in staff or programs.

“The district’s financial position is strong,” said Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso, “and Mr. Bouldin and the Board of Education have done excellent work in identifying savings and opportunities to reduce the growth rate in several expense categories.” Galasso noted that in controlling expenses and identifying alternate sources of revenue the BOE had helped to minimize tax increases.

He also mentioned that PPS would be proposing the most extensive summer programs ever offered in the district to promote learning opportunities, social and emotional health, and bonding activities.

The April 27 PPS press release reported that over the past two fiscal years there have been between $2 million and $2.5 million in pandemic-related cost savings and about an equal amount of extra costs. Savings were mostly realized during periods of remote-only instruction and included transportation costs (busing) and lower energy costs.  more

CLASHING IN FRONT OF THE COLONNADE: Dancers from Luminarium Dance Company portray warring soldiers in Merli V. Guerra’s production of “The Time Traveler’s Lens,” described as “an extended reality immersive performance illuminating the history of the Colonnade at Princeton Battlefield State Park.”

By Anne Levin

It would be an understatement to label Merli V. Guerra a Renaissance woman. The Lawrenceville-based choreographer, whose multi-disciplinary “The Time Traveler’s Lens” takes place in Princeton Battlefield State Park, has also been a graphic designer, a magazine art director, an interpreter at the Louisa May Alcott historic house in Concord, Mass., and a filmmaker.

She is currently a candidate for an interdisciplinary master’s of fine arts degree in dance at Rutgers University. “The Time Traveler’s Lens” debuted April 19, in celebration of Patriot’s Day, on the website of Luminarium Dance Company, the troupe Guerra co-founded and directs. It is a five-video series that is serving as her thesis.

“I’ve been creating these pieces since 2012 with my dance company,” said the 33-year-old native of Concord, Mass. “I find different historic sites and express those sites through dance, in a new way. This one uses 360-degree videography and interdisciplinary choreography to create this extended reality production.”

Viewers can see “The Time Traveler’s Lens” through mobile phones as “augmented reality,” either on the battlefield grounds or elsewhere. The videos are available for watching on smartphones or other devices.  more

YOGA SAVES THE DAY: Nitya Malik’s new children’s book, “Milton Finds His Way Home,” incorporates yoga poses into an adventure story.

By Anne Levin

Nitya Malik grew up in India, the country considered to be the home of yoga. But it wasn’t until she had moved to Minnesota to attend college,  and then pursue a career in finance and marketing, that yoga became her passion.

Now, following years of practicing and teaching yoga, Malik has added  “children’s book author” to her resume.  Milton Finds His Way Home is the title of a colorfully illustrated story that encourages young readers not only to read, but to get up and move. Malik has been a local resident since moving with her husband, a research fellow at Princeton University, a year ago.

Her own journey with yoga dates back to the day that she “stumbled upon” a yoga center in Minneapolis, she said. After trying a couple of sessions she felt an almost immediate sense of relief.

“About three classes in, I knew I wanted to be a yoga teacher,” she said. “I think it was the ability it gave me to get rid of stress and anxiety. I thought, gosh, if I could make an impact on people like this instructor is making on me, that would be so fulfilling.” more