April 3, 2019

NYCE AND SMOOTH: Princeton Day School baseball star Matt Nyce fires a pitch in a 2018 game. Senior standout Nyce figures to provide production with his arm and bat this spring for the Panthers. PDS, which opened its 2019 campaign by losing 10-4 to Pennington last Monday, plays at Monroe on April 3 before hosting Lawrenceville on April 4 and St. Joe’s Metuchen on April 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton Day School baseball team doesn’t feature a dominant mound ace or a powerful slugger, it does boast a versatile group of seniors who can do just about anything on the diamond.

“I don’t think we have a guy this year who can change things with one swing or maybe go out on the mound and shut people down, but we have five seniors and they all have plenty of experience,” said PDS head coach Brian Dudeck, referring to his Class of 2019 which includes Matt Nyce, Brendan Bucceri, Tommy Sarsfield, Kevin Flahive, and Vin Gasparro.

“It is just a question of them putting everything together and getting out on the field and executing all of the stuff we have been practicing.”

Dudeck is looking for two of those seniors, Nyce and Bucceri, to lead the Panther pitching staff. more

March 27, 2019

Mermaid Brizo read stories; explained what she does to keep water clean, safe, and healthy; and stamped the Water Passports of participants at Saturday’s World Water Day event at The Watershed Institute in Pennington. Exhibits, demonstrations, games, hikes, and tours were also featured. Participants share how they raised their “Water IQ” in this week’s Town Talk on Page 6. (Photos by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

Documents released last week by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office have revealed that Rider University’s proposed sale of Westminster Choir College, with which it merged in 1991, would allow the buyer to close the music school at any time after the sale.

This calls into question the University’s repeated assurances that the buyer, a Chinese company known as Kaiwen Education, would continue to operate Westminster for five years after the sale and maintain it for 10 years.

Since the sale of the renowned music school to Kaiwen was announced last year, Rider has declined to provide access to the terms of the contract. But the Westminster Foundation and Princeton Theological Seminary, both of which are suing Rider in opposition to the sale, recently filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request, and the documents were released. They contain language stating that Kaiwen would be allowed to close Westminster any time after it is sold, if it decides that operating the college is “impracticable” or “economically unfeasible.” more

“THE RIGHT PERSON AT THE RIGHT TIME”: Jessica Baxter, Princeton High School assistant principal, has been appointed the next principal at PHS, to succeed Gary Snyder, who is retiring at the end of this year. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton High School (PHS) Assistant Principal Jessica Baxter knows that her school is strong academically, but she also knows that PHS needs to continue its progress to become a more healthy school for all. Appointed last week as the next principal of PHS, Baxter will be leading the school as it grows and changes to meet the challenges of the coming years.

Baxter has been a leader over the past two years in implementing the Challenge Success student survey and following up on the results that showed PHS students experiencing high levels of stress, low levels of joyful engagement with learning, and serious sleep deprivation.

“We were a strong school academically, but we weren’t so healthy,” Baxter said. “We were trying to focus on wellness, and our kids were not feeling well. They were feeling over-scheduled, overworked, and stressed out. It was manifesting in different ways. We were seeing kids missing school, kids not enjoying classes, and lacking engagement in the learning process.” more

By Anne Levin

Princeton’s Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood is due to be spruced up and celebrated at a two-day festival planned for the weekend of May 18 and 19. Starting with a neighborhood-wide clean-up on Saturday, the town’s 20th historic district will hold a day of special events, and everyone is invited.

“We want to share the history and culture of our neighborhood,” said longtime resident Leighton Newlin, who chairs the Princeton Housing Authority. “But the most important thing is to generate enthusiasm throughout the neighborhood, so people can get to know each other. We’ll celebrate our history by taking the time to clean it up, making it look good, and taking pride in it.”

The Witherspoon-Jackson Welcome Weekend is co-sponsored by the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural
Society, the Witherspoon-Jackson Development Corporation, and the Witherspoon-Jackson Neighborhood Association. “Our initial planning meeting was attended by a cross-section of individuals from various backgrounds and cultures,” said Newlin. more

BUILDING A NEURON: Girls create models of a neuron using pipe cleaners and beads, under the supervision of Princeton High School junior Anisha Iyer, at the International Youth Neuroscience Association table at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s Young Women’s Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics last Friday.  (Photo by Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communication)

By Donald Gilpin

More than 750 seventh to 10th-grade girls from all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware operated robots, put on goggles for a 3-D view of the brain, learned about computer coding, and talked to FBI forensics investigators at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s (PPPL’s)Young Women’s Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) last Friday at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory on the Princeton University campus. 

“The girls are not shy about their curiosity and it shows,” said conference organizer and PPPL’s Science Education Program Manager Deedee Ortiz. “They are showing interest and enthusiastically asking all the right questions. You can almost see the spark in their eyes.” more

TRANSFORMATIVE MATHEMATICIAN: Karen Uhlenbeck, a visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study and a visiting senior research scholar at Princeton University, has won the 2019 Abel Prize in mathematics. She is the first woman ever to receive the Abel Prize. (Photo by Andrea Kane/Institute for Advanced Study)

By Donald Gilpin

Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck, current visitor in the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) School of Mathematics and a visiting senior research scholar at Princeton University, has been awarded the 2019 Abel Prize in mathematics “for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory, and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry, and mathematical physics,” according to the Abel Committee.

Uhlenbeck, professor emerita of mathematics and Sid W. Richardson regents chair at the University of Texas at Austin, is the first woman ever to receive the Abel Prize, which is considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematicians. more

“Do You Know What’s Hidden in Your Child’s Room?”

Corner House Behavioral Health, in conjunction with Princeton Public Schools, the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, and the Princeton Police Department, will host “Hidden In Plain Sight — Do You Know What’s Hidden in Your Child’s Room?” on Tuesday, April 9 from 7-9 p.m. in the John Witherspoon Middle School Auditorium.

Federal Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Timothy McMahon will help parents learn to locate and recognize methods of concealing drug use, guiding the audience through the many places teens hide substances and paraphernalia in their own bedrooms.

Also sharing information to help parents will be P.I.C.K. Awareness Prevention Strategies Founder Donna Di Stefano, who has coped with her own daughter’s substance abuse.

Members of Corner House’s Student Leadership programs will present the results of their survey on drug and alcohol perceptions and usage. More than 500 Princeton public and private high school students have completed this anonymous survey to date. more

The C-Change Team is comprised of local women from the Princeton area including, front row from left, Carrie Dyckman, Katy Kinsolving, Kathleen Biggins, and Pam Mount. Back row, Kathy Herring, Catherine Sidamon-Eristoff, Mary Bechler, Lorraine Sciarra, Kim Haren, Harriette Brainard, Margaret Sieck, and Sophie Glovier.

By Anne Levin

A nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about climate change has grown from local beginnings to a presence on the national stage. C-Change Conversations, founded in 2017 by Princeton area residents Kathleen Biggins, Carrie Dyckman, Pam Mount, and Katy Kinsolving, engages members of the public who might be resistant to the idea that the climate is in dangerous transition by keeping the conversation free of political leanings.

“There is no partisan battling,” said Biggins. “And we don’t present ourselves as environmentalists. We’re dealing with facts, not making issues.”

With 13 volunteers, the organization has presented to some 5,300 people in 25 states across the country. They are booked in private homes, Rotary clubs, church basements, and anywhere else they can pass along their message that the future of the planet holds serious challenges.

C-Change Conversations has been honored locally with the 2018 Centennial Award for Social Responsibility from the Princeton Family YMCA, and the Edwin W. Stiles Award for Environmental Leadership from The Watershed Institute. Last December, Biggins served on a panel with John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor, other leaders from the National Institute of Health, and a climate change reporter from The Washington Post. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Say you’re on a dream tour of literary capitals. Instead of London, you get off the train in the ramshackle world of Dickens. Instead of Paris, you disembark in the swarming, exciting metropolis of Balzac. Each time your expectations will be satsfied and exceeded by a variety of metropolitan possibilities. But if the train stops at Kafka, it’s another, darker story. The skies will be grey, if not drizzling, the wind will be stiff and harsh, the station will have a dreary, haunted look, and two men in overcoats will intercept you before you have a chance to get your bearings. They want your papers, only you have the wrong papers it seems. But who’s complaining? This is  the scene the guidebook promised. It’s only a dream, so enjoy your stay in Kafka, even if you don’t get out alive or in your right mind.

But imagine arriving in the sunlit splendor of another city with the same name, the station lined with smiling booksellers whose carts are stocked with volumes rich and strange. The station master not only shakes your hand, he gives you a hug. Everyone’s glad to see you. The girl driving the cab that takes you to your hotel is unthinkably charming, speaks English with an adorable accent, and offers to show you around town (by now the rain is gently falling), no strings attached, no design on your wallet. Would you be disappointed? Ask for your money back? Well, maybe.

Inspired by a Mistake

Just putting Kafka’s name at the top of this column is the equivalent of saying, “Close the curtains and prepare to be unnerved.” And it’s true that I’m returning to what might be called the scene of the crime, since a mistake is what set everything in motion. In my March 13 piece on Stanley Corngold’s new book Walter Kaufmann:Philosopher, Humanist, Heretic, I incorrectly attributed a quotation from Kafka to the “Letter to His Father” when in fact, the passage comes from Dearest Father (1953), a collection of writings centered on that famously unsent letter.

My atonement has been to read around in Kafka’s short fiction, sample some chapters from Amerika, his unfinished first novel (as are they all), and, in particular, plunge at random into The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1914-1923, edited by his close friend  and executor Max Brod. As with the diary entries, I found the quotation in question at random, as if by accident, in the notes at the back of Corngold’s book. Here it is again: “I feel too tightly constricted in everything that signifies Myself: even the eternity that I am is too tight for me. But if, for instance, I read a good book, say, an account of travels, it rouses me, satisfies me, suffices me….From a certain stage of knowledge on, weariness, insufficiency, constriction, self-contempt must all vanish: namely at the point where I have the strength to recognize as my own nature what previously was something alien to myself that refreshed me, satisfied, liberated, and exalted me.” more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra launched into spring this past weekend with a performance at Richardson Auditorium that was three-fold — presenting an audience favorite, a monumental cello concerto, and a work showing Music Director Xian Zhang’s development of the ensemble since taking the NJSO helm. Friday night’s concert of “Zhang Conducts Schubert and Dvorák” was heavy on concerto soloists, and their collective technical abilities were well appreciated by the Richardson audience. 

Ninteenth-century composer Robert Schumann’s Konzertstück for Four Horns in F Major had never been performed by the NJSO before this past weekend; this three-movement work placed the entire NJSO horn section front and center to showcase the capabilities and rich variety of colors available from the instrument. Horn players Chris Komer, Andrea Menousek, Lawrence DiBello, and Eric Reed played from the front of the stage, allowing the audience to hear Schumann’s motivic solo writing travel up and down the row of horns. Zhang began the first movement in a lively tempo, with a fanfare in well-tuned thirds from the horn soloists. Throughout the Konzertstück, Zhang kept the orchestral background clean, as horn solos were often answered by the Orchestra. Kathleen Nester’s piccolo playing added a sharply-defined color to the instrumental sound.

The darker second movement romanze was played in a more pensive style, with the four horn soloists providing a chorale-like texture.  Both Orchestra and soloists played uniform crescendi, and Zhang tapered the sections within the movement well. Komer, Menousek, DiBello, and Reed well handled the tricky fast-moving motives in the closing movement, emphasizing the hunting character of Schumann’s writing. The clean runs from the horns were complemented by lyrical melodies from the Orchestra, and the four players interacted well with each other. The trumpet section’s use of rotary trumpets enhanced the classical roots of this piece, adding a mellow color to the brass orchestration. more

Westminster Community Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will present a concert titled “Solos to Symphony” on Sunday, March 31 at 3 p.m. in Hillman Performance Hall on the campus of Westminster Choir College on Walnut Lane. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Featuring pianists Jian Kai Ang and Yi Zhang as well as students from Westminster Conservatory’s Suzuki violin program, the program includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D Minor, Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A Minor, and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3, “Scottish.” 

Jian Kai Ang has received recognition for his accomplishments in Singapore, Illinois, and New Jersey. Most recently, he was awarded the Grand Pix in the Music-Fest Rising Talents Festival and performed at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Yi Zhang is a PhD student in science at Princeton University, and she has been studying piano since she came to the United States in 2016.  Both pianists are students of Phyllis Alpert Lehrer at Westminster Conservatory. more

Virginia Rep’s musical “Jack and the Beanstalk” comes to Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre Saturday, April 13 at 2 and 4 p.m. The show centers on the famous exploits of young Jack, who decides to sell Bessie to a stranger for some purportedly magic beans — instead of selling her in town as his mother instructed. Tickets are $10 for children and seniors, and $12 for adults. Visit www.KelseyTheatre.net or call (609) 570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.

SPRING CABARET: On Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m., Katie Welsh performs “The Broadway Musical Heroine,” the first of her Spring Cabaret Concert Series at the Arts Council of Princeton.

Welsh, who is a graduate of Princeton University, takes the audience on a journey through the decades, from the 1940s to the 2010s, on a quest to understand how Broadway’s leading ladies have changed over time. What makes a Rodgers and Hammerstein heroine different from a Sondheim heroine? How do favorite female characters navigate the world of relationships in similar and different ways?

Welsh considers these questions as she sings songs from Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Bells Are Ringing, Sweet Charity, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Les Miserables, The Light in the Piazza, and more. more

“NAKASHIMA LOOKS”: Renowned artist Mira Nakashima is the curator of “Nakashima Looks: Studio Furniture,” on display through July 7 at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. The exhibit includes examples of Nakashima’s own work as well as that of her father, George Nakashima, presented alongside pieces by other craft furniture designers. (Photo by Woong Chul)

Rago Auctions of Lambertville is proud to sponsor “Nakashima Looks: Studio Furniture,” the latest exhibition of modern craft to come to the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.

On through July 7 and curated by renowned artist Mira Nakashima, “Nakashima Looks” presents an exploration of the Michener’s Studio Furniture collection that reveals the museum’s commitment to elevating and exhibiting modern and contemporary craft. Included in the exhibition are examples of Mira Nakashima’s own work as well as that of her father, George Nakashima, presented alongside designs by Paul Evans, Jack Larimore, Robert Whitley, and Mark Sfirri, among others. more

“ARNARSTAPI COAST”: This photograph by Robert Zurfluh is part of an exhibit by members of the Cranbury digital Camera Club, on display April 7 through April 26 at the Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury. An opening reception is Sunday, April 7, 1 to 3 p.m.

Photos from Cranbury digital Camera Club (CdCC) photographers will be on display April 7-26 at the Gourgaud Gallery, located at Cranbury Town Hall, 23-A North Main Street, Cranbury.  An opening reception with refreshments is Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.

The photos selected for the show depict various themes and subject matter. The photographers are from Cranbury, Hightstown, Monroe, West Windsor, and other communities in Central New Jersey. Their work has been on display at various galleries throughout New Jersey, and many of the photographers on display have had their work cited for awards by the NJFCC, PSA and other photography organizations. more

“GREEN PALACE”: Heemin Moon’s installation in the former bank vault at BSB Gallery in Trenton showcases three-dimensional shapes incorporating upcycled materials, including a whimsical view of man’s best friend. It is on display through April 13.

Heemin Moon, in collaboration with Dorothy McNee, has created the site-specific installation “Green Palace,” on display in the former bank vault at BSB Gallery at 143 East State Street in Trenton through April 13.

Heemin Moon’s “Green Palace” is an intimate world of exotic creatures, iridescent lighting, metallic finishes, and sustainable materials. This showcase of three-dimensional shapes, incorporating upcycled materials, is a result of Moon’s unique whimsical view of man’s best friend and unlikely wildlife in regal surroundings. His art and color vision were rendered for the special collaboration between BSB Gallery and TerraCycle, the exhibit “Scrapped.” more

“ADELINE AT THE WINDOW”: This work by Meta Dunkly Arnold was named Best in Show at the West Windsor Art Council’s “Fiction: The Art Show,” on view through May 17 at the West Windsor Arts Center.  An opening reception is Sunday, March 31 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Running now through May 17, the West Windsor Arts Council will showcase the work of many of its member artists in the exhibition “Fiction: The Art Show.” The theme was chosen in conjunction with the spring theatrical performance of Fiction by Steven Dietz and produced by the Pegasus Theatre Company, to be staged at the West Windsor Arts Center. The play blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction, life and the written word, and so members were likewise invited to submit artwork based on the concept of real vs. imaginary, the merging of visual arts and literary arts, and the image with the written word.

An opening reception will be held Sunday, March 31, 4 – 6 p.m. Artists will be on hand at the opening to discuss their work. more

HERO AT THE HOTEL: Dev Patel plays a waiter at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel who tries to save as many guests as possible from radical terrorists in “Hotel Mumbai.” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

By Kam Williams

On November 26, 2008, radical Islamists from Pakistan launched a series of coordinated attacks around the city of Mumbai, India, which would claim 174 lives and leave hundreds more wounded. Within hours of the raid, the authorities were able to secure all of the sites except for the legendary Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

The jihadists ostensibly picked the legendary five-star resort as the location for a final showdown because of its image as a getaway spot for rich and famous Westerners. The siege there would last four days, since the local police were outgunned by the terrorists who were heavily armed with bombs, hand grenades, and automatic weapons. more

CATFIGHT: Princeton University women’s basketball player Sydney Jordan heads to the hoop in a game this season. Last Saturday, senior guard/forward Jordan scored a career-best 17 points but it wasn’t enough as 11th-seeded Princeton fell 82-77 to sixth-seeded Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Raleigh, N.C. The defeat to the Wildcats left the Tigers with a final record of 22-10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Courtney Banghart wasn’t surprised that her Princeton University women’s basketball team fought to the finish in the NCAA tournament opener.

The Tigers have been fighters from the very beginning of a season that started with myriad challenges, and they were battling to the end of an 82-77 loss to Kentucky in the first-round of the NCAA tournament in Raleigh, N.C. last Saturday.

“This year that we’ve had, that game kind of categorizes our season with the resilience that we showed,” said Banghart. “The competitive leadership of our seniors was on full display. The talent of Bella (Alarie) was on full display. And the grittiness of Carlie (Littlefield) was on full display.” more

CENTURY CLUB: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Elizabeth George looks to unload the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior attacker George tallied six points on two goals and four assists, including the 100th goal of her career, but it wasn’t enough as Princeton lost 12-11 to Brown. The 16th-ranked Tigers, now 5-2 overall and 1-1 Ivy League,  play at No. 2 Maryland (10-0) on March 27 and at Villanova (5-5) on April 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Elizabeth George came into last Saturday needing two goals to hit the contrary mark in her career with the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team.

As Princeton hosted Brown, George scored 7:36 into the contest to hit 99 and then 1:40 later notched her 100th as the Tigers jumped out to an 8-2 lead.

“We started out hot which was good, we saw a lot of looks there,” said George.

Minutes later, Princeton stretched its advantage to 9-2 as George assisted on a tally by Kyla Sears but that ended up being the high water mark for the Tigers. Brown proceeded to score 10 unanswered goals over the rest of the first half and into the second and held off a late Princeton rally to pull out a 12-11 victory. more

By Bill Alden

Coming off a 19-10 loss to Penn and hosting defending national champion Yale last Saturday, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team looked like it might be getting routed again as it fell behind the Bulldogs 3-1 in the second quarter.

But showing pluck, Princeton reeled off four unanswered goals to pull ahead 5-3 at halftime.

“We sunk into our game plan at that point,” said Princeton head coach Matt Madalon. “They got a couple of good ones and once we got possession of the ball, we had an opportunity to capitalize and the guys hit some shots.”

In the second half, the Tigers led 7-6 midway through the third quarter but saw the game slip away as Yale, ranked No. 1 in the USILA Coaches Poll, reeled off five unanswered goals on the way to a 15-10 victory before a crowd on 1,843 at Class of ‘52 Stadium. more

ALEC THE GREAT: Princeton High senior wrestling star Alec Bobchin, top, battles a foe in a bout this season. Bobchin produced a memorable final campaign, placing fourth in the NJSIAA Championships at 138 pounds, winning his second straight Region crown, and fourth consecutive Mercer County Tournament title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Alec Bobchin didn’t achieve the ultimate goal of winning a state championship in his senior season for the Princeton High wrestling team.

But what he did accomplish this winter marks him as one of the greatest, if not greatest, wrestlers to ever hit the mat for PHS.

Competing at 138 pounds, Bobchin won his fourth straight Mercer County Tournament title, won his second straight Region title, getting named as the Most Outstanding Wrester at the competition, and then culminated his season by heading to Atlantic City and taking fourth the NJSIAA Championships.

“I definitely felt like I could have wrestled and placed higher than I was seeded,” said Bobchin in reflecting ion his performance at the state tournament. more

UP TO SPEED: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Mariana Lopez-Ona races to goal in a 2018 game. Senior star and Michigan-bound Lopez-Ona’s intensity all over the field is a key asset for PHS. The Tigers open up their 2019 season by hosting WW/P-South on March 27.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Meg Reilly caught the coaching bug as a teenager.

The 2010 Princeton High alumna started working with grade schoolers in the PGLax program in high school and then coached with Tri-State club in the summers while attending Muhlenberg College.

“I definitely fell in love with coaching early on,” said Reilly. “I played at Tri-State for Sue Montegary; she was my big coaching idol. She got me into it and continuing to want to pursue it.” more

BIG THREAT: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Gwen Allen heads upfield in a game last season. PDS will be looking for senior star and Amherst College-bound Allen to provide plenty of offense in her final campaign. The Panthers start the 2019 season by playing at the Hill School (Pa.) on March 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Saying goodbye to a core of seniors that helped the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team win three state Prep B titles in the last four years, the program is going to have a new look this spring.

While PDS head coach Jill Thomas acknowledges that team is undergoing a transition, she is seeing a lot of positives so far from a group that features a mix of veteran leaders and promising freshmen.

“You graduate nine and you have got to rebuild a little but things are going well, ” said Thomas, whose squad includes five freshmen and two transfers and worked on getting in synch with its annual preseason trip to Florida earlier this month. more