February 1, 2021

By Anne Levin

With the winter storm projected to get worse, bringing snow, sleet, and strong winds to New Jersey and the Northeast, Gov. Phil Murphy is urging people to stay home and keep off the roads. As of this afternoon, February 1, New Jersey State Police had already responded to 340 crashes and assisted another nearly 300 drivers across the state. Snow is expected to linger through Tuesday and could hit 24 inches in some areas.

In Princeton, police are asking all residents to remove their vehicles from the roadway to allow the Public Works Department to clear the streets. Drivers are encouraged to park at the Spring Street garage or any of the public parking lots, but not in either municipal lot at Monument Hall and Witherspoon Hall.

Recycling pickup that was canceled today will be done on Saturday, February 6. Trash collection is canceled for Tuesday, February 2. The hauler will begin collection again on Wednesday, February 3, and will likely be collecting through Saturday.

January 27, 2021

A pair of joggers didn’t let the chilly weather stop them as they got some exercise alongside the D&R Canal in Princeton on Sunday afternoon. Residents and visitors share the healthy habits are that carrying them through the winter season in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Many frustrated residents of Princeton and elsewhere in New Jersey are eager to get the COVID-19 vaccination, and government officials, health care workers, and businesses are possibly even more frustrated and anxious to see the state’s residents vaccinated. But the state’s vaccination clinics cannot get enough doses, and most individuals trying to schedule appointments by phone or online are told to wait.

“Please be patient with this process and do not call or email asking about appointments,” Princeton Mayor Mark Freda and the Princeton Council wrote in their Monday, January 25, newsletter. “Currently, there is a severe vaccine shortage. The Princeton Health Department has the resources to hold clinics and vaccinate residents as soon as the vaccine is available.” The local health department receives vaccines through Mercer County, which receives vaccines from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

In a Tuesday, January 26 email, Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams added, “We are all still grappling with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines. We are just as disappointed in the rollout as anybody. But without a supply of vaccines, we must focus on limiting exposure to the disease by continuing to message the benefits of COVID-19 safety measures while being prepared to participate in the distribution efforts when more vaccines arrive.”

As of the morning of January 26, the NJDOH reported 605,397 doses administered in New Jersey (523,008 of those were the first of two necessary doses), 15,072 doses administered in Mercer County. The goal is for New Jersey to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population, about 4.7 million people, by the end of June. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Theological Seminary is under contract to sell its Tennent Roberts campus to Princeton-based development firm Herring Properties. Founder James Herring said that while plans are still in the early stages, he is leaning toward the construction of apartments, or possibly condominiums, the majority of which would be market rate but a percentage of which would be affordable housing.

The Seminary spent more than a year considering a project to build new student apartments on the campus. After extensive planning, proposals, and meetings with neighborhood residents, the school announced in November 2019 that it would not proceed with the project. As part of the plan, the campus was designated a redevelopment zone, which proponents said provides for more control over design specifics than the traditional zoning process. But during neighborhood meetings, there was pushback from some residents who were concerned about density and increased traffic.

“When the Seminary decided to no longer seek construction of new student apartments on its Tennent Roberts campus last fall, we then reassessed our campus master plan and made adjustments in keeping with the priorities and vision for our community,” said Executive Vice President Shane A. Berg in a statement. “The Seminary will continue to house students on its main campus in Princeton and at the Charlotte Rachel Wilson apartments in West Windsor for the foreseeable future, as well as lease and sell excess real estate. The Tennent Roberts complex is under contract with Herring Properties, a potential project in the very early planning stages. The Seminary’s focus is on continued efforts to restore and renew other buildings on our main campus to enhance our life together and foster spaces where a sense of community can flourish.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Kristina Donovan

As Princeton Public Schools (PPS) continue to navigate the challenges of hybrid education in the COVID era, renovation and construction projects, funded by a 2018 facilities referendum, are moving forward with a focus on the post-pandemic return in person of all students and staff.

With extensive renovations in the works, Princeton High School (PHS) will see four new classrooms, an educational commons area, a new grab-and-go dining option, and reimagined counseling and athletics spaces.

Counseling in many schools throughout the country has been changing significantly in recent years, said PPS School Counseling Supervisor Kristina Donovan in a January 25 phone interview, and the pandemic has created additional challenges as well as opportunities.

Donovan sees the new construction with its carefully planned design as an important tool in meeting those challenges. “What really excites me is that student wellness is one of our core values here, and now we’re going to see that in the architectural design,” she said.

She described how the counseling area, which now stands completely gutted, had been put together piecemeal over the years with “little fixes,” temporary walls constructed,  and offices cut in half to make more offices. “It’s what happens in many older buildings,” she said, “but it kind of lost the mission and value of ‘students first.’ So we have worked with a team of architects and stakeholders since 2018 to put my vision of a students-first counseling center into reality.” more

HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES: The Gothic Revival Lyndhurst Castle is the first estate to be profiled in Morven Museum’s “Grand Homes & Gardens Distinguished Speakers Series,” starting February 23. The Zoom talks continue through March 23.

By Anne Levin

If there was ever a time for armchair travel, this is it. The pandemic has turned Morven Museum & Garden’s “Grand Homes & Gardens Distinguished Speakers Series” into watch-from-home Zoom events. That makes ogling the opulent estates and learning their distinctive histories, from a favorite couch or, yes — armchair — an actual reality.

Now in its third year, the four-part series will take viewers to mansions on Long Island’s Gold Coast; Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Massachusetts; and the 18th century Glebe House in Connecticut with a garden created by famed horticultural designer Gertrude Jekyll. The theme is “The Woman of the House.”

“The women we’re talking about weren’t necessarily the people who bought the houses, or were their primary owners,” said Morven Executive Director Jill Barry. “But they were the ones who made the biggest impact. When you think about Morven, for instance, it was Helen Hamilton Shields Stockton [credited for writing and speaking extensively to promote Morven’s significance] who was very much the one who did so much, in her era. Even though the boys always seem to get the credit.”

The illustrated series begins with Lyndhurst Castle, which overlooks the Hudson River in Tarrytown, New York. Howard Zar, executive director, will speak. Designed in 1838, Lyndhurst is considered one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. Noteworthy occupants include railroad tycoon Jay Gould and New York City Mayor William Paulding.

“The interesting thing about the women at Lyndhurst is that in many ways, they ruled the roost,” reads a press release about the series. “The initial mansion was funded by Maria Rheinlander, William Paulding’s wife. In an unusual turn of roles, she provided the money and her husband and son did the design and furnishing work.” more

By Donald Gilpin

When he was a Princeton University undergraduate in the early 1950s, Ralph Nader would always hitchhike down Washington Road to Route 1 on his way back home to Connecticut for vacations.

“I wanted the adventure of meeting new people and listening to them,” he said in a recent telephone interview. “Almost everyone who picked me up was an expert in something. I loved that.”

Nader has sustained that curiosity, intellectual energy, and affinity for expertise in the seven decades since that time, as an indomitable consumer advocate, author of more than 20 books and numerous articles, and regular syndicated columnist over the past 50 years. He currently issues daily tweets, and hosts a podcast and radio program. 

Acclaimed by Life, Time, and The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential Americans, he has run for president of the United States in four different elections. His 1965 best-selling Unsafe at Any Speed: the Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile prompted increased automobile safety standards that “have averted 4.2 million auto deaths over the past 55 years,” according to Nader’s website, nader.org.

On January 30 at 11 a.m., Nader will be featured in a virtual brunch and talk via Zoom, “Restoring Civility and Bringing Social Justice to American Life,” sponsored by the Friends of the Princeton Public Library. Sharing their vision of a more just, egalitarian, and united America along with Nader will be Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama; Princeton author, lawyer, and consumer advocate Carl Mayer; and Andy Shallal, artist, activist, and founder of the cafe and cultural events venue Busboys and Poets. more

By Anne Levin

At its meeting on Tuesday evening, January 19, Princeton Council approved several contracts for consultants, but voted against a proposed contract for a community Wi-Fi project. The governing body also heard a report from the executive director of Princeton Senior Resource Center about how the organization has coped during the pandemic, and its hopes for expansion and renovations in the near future. A report from Enterprise Fleet Management about a comprehensive program proposed for the town was also delivered.

The bid for the Wi-Fi project, which would provide coverage to residents of affordable housing, was rejected because the paperwork provided by the company, Andrena, was incomplete. Marc Dashield, the town’s administrator, said the bid was the only one received. “They didn’t have the certificate we need, so we have to reject it by law,” he said. “We are looking to rebid the project, and will be reaching out to this firm again to make sure they’re available.”

Council voted to add a third alternate to the affordable housing board, which has seven regular members. It was noted that alternates only vote when there isn’t a full quorum, but they can participate in discussions. The governing body approved a contract for a consultant to write the weekly newsletters put out by the mayor and Council, at $75 an hour. The newsletters are distributed by Access Princeton. more

By Stuart Mitchner

You cannot imagine how enchanting the music sounds from a box close to the orchestra!

—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) to his wife

If we are not together now, it isn’t you who are to blame, but the demon that filled me with bacilli and you with love for art.

—Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) to his future wife

Besides listening to Mozart and reading Chekhov this week — both born in January, the composer on the 27th, the writer on the 29th — I’ve been reading their letters, which are enlivened by the same buoyant spirit, along with a shared understanding of the human comedy in relation to life and love and nature, the joys, temptations, and excesses of existence.

As I read, I kept imagining how two such sympathetic spirits might have viewed one another in the context of their work, the music Mozart might have discovered in Chekhov and the literature Chekhov might have drawn from Mozart. So I decided to compare some letters from their middle twenties as well as letters to their wives later in life. Chekhov was 27 when he wrote the letter below, dated April 25, 1887.

A Cossack Wedding

Writing to his sister Maria after revisiting his birthplace, Taganrog, on the Black Sea, Chekhov sorts through “many discordant impressions” as he recalls the events of the previous day, “a real Cossack wedding, with music, women caterwauling, and a loathsome drinking bout. … I acted as best man, and was dressed in a borrowed frock coat, with fearfully wide trousers, and not a single stud on my shirt. In Moscow such a best man would have been kicked out, but here I looked smarter than anyone. … I saw a lot of wealthy marriageable girls, but I was so drunk the whole time that I took bottles for girls and girls for bottles. Probably owing to my drunken condition the local maidens found me witty and satirical!” Meanwhile, “apparently in obedience to a local custom, the newlyweds kissed every minute, kissing so vehemently that every time their lips made an explosive noise, I had a taste of oversweet raisins in my mouth, and got a spasm in my left calf. … I can’t tell you how much fresh caviar I ate and how much local red wine I drank. It’s a wonder I didn’t burst.”

If Mozart were scoring it, the wedding feast would be a scherzo followed by the moody andante of an overnight wait between trains at a place called Zvyerevo: “I had to sleep in a second-class railway-carriage on the siding. I left the car to relieve myself and it was miraculous out there: the moon, the boundless steppe — a desert with ancient grave-mounds — the silence of the tomb, and the cars and rails standing out boldly against the dim sky — a dead world. It was a picture one would not forget for ages and ages.”  more

“UNBECOMING”: The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater is presenting “Unbecoming.” Directed by Eliana Cohen-Orth, the video will be available online, to view for free, through January 31. Above: Lady Charlotte Guest (Paige Elizabeth Allen, center) is torn between Victorian societal expectations personified by the Wife of England (Eliana Cohen-Orth, left) and ambitions to complete a translation of the “Mabinogion,” which includes the tale of Blodeuwedd (Nora Aguiar, right). (Photo by Cathy Watkins, for the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The Lewis Center for the Arts is presenting the first full production of Unbecoming, a new play by Princeton University alumna Emma Catherine Watkins. The play is inspired by the true story of Lady Charlotte Guest (1812-1895), the Victorian aristocrat who became the first person to translate the Mabinogion — a Medieval collection of Welsh stories that originated from oral traditions — into English.

Unbecoming, which employs a play-within-a-play format, has two protagonists: Guest, and Blodeuwedd, a central character in the last of the “Four Branches” of the Mabinogion. The legend of the “fairest, and most graceful” woman — whom the magician and warrior Lleu Llaw Gyffes conjures out of flowers to be his wife, but transforms into an owl as punishment for infidelity — is juxtaposed against a somewhat fictionalized depiction of Guest, whose husband tries to mold her to Victorian conceptions of an ideal wife.

Guest is given a strong portrayal by Paige Elizabeth Allen, who also is the production’s dramaturg. After Allen discovered Unbecoming through a development workshop hosted by Princeton University in January 2020, she and director (and cast member) Eliana Cohen-Orth proposed the project to the Program in Theater, as their senior theses. The production was developed in collaboration with Watkins. more

LUTENIST AND MORE: Daniel Swenberg plays rarely heard early music on January 31, in a concert presented by The Dryden Ensemble. The group is doing three virtual performances this season.

The Dryden Ensemble presents three virtual concerts in the coming weeks. Named in honor of John Dryden, the English poet laureate whose words inspired Baroque composers including Purcell and Handel, the Dryden Ensemble specializes in performing music of the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. 

On Sunday, January 31 at 4 p.m., lutenist Daniel Swenberg will be featured in Extraordinary Tunings, a recital of rarely heard works from 1620-1650. On Sunday, February 14 at 4 p.m., Lisa Terry will present a lecture-recital entitled “Leycester Lyra Viol Lessons.” The ensemble will celebrate Bach’s birthday on Sunday, March 21 at 3 p.m. with a streaming of their live concert of Bach’s St. John Passion, recorded on March 13, 2020.  more

VIRTUAL VIRTUOSITY: Aleisha Walker, a member of American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, will perform in “Escapades” as part of a two-night festival on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel. (Photo by Jojo Mamangun)

World premieres by Hope Boykin and Lauren Lovette will be presented over two evenings during the ABT Studio Company Winter Festival on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 9 and 10, at 7 p.m., on American Ballet Theatre’s YouTube channel.

The virtual event features 14 dancers from the company, which is affiliated with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and often serves as a feeder into the main troupe. It is hosted by ABT Studio Company alumni Isabella Boylston and Calvin Royal III, and also includes works by Amy Hall Garner, Marius Petipa, Alexei Ratmansky, Brendan Saye, Antony Tudor, and Rostislav Zakharov.

Company members gathered last fall for a “ballet bubble” at Goodspeed Musicals in East Haddam, CT, and at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in Tivoli, New York, following protocol to protect against the pandemic. The performances were filmed at Kaatsbaan. They highlight the studio company’s mission to develop the next generation of ballet dancers, choreographers, and audiences. more

Landscape paintings by Joe Kazimierczyk are on exhibit at Bell’s Tavern, 183 North Union Street, Lambertville, through the end of February. The artist’s work, in the style of traditional realism, captures the beauty, color, and texture of the woods and streams throughout the countryside in the Sourland Mountains and beyond. Bell’s Tavern is open daily from 5 to 9 p.m.

“1951 CHEVY COUPE”: This watercolor by Richard Harrington is featured in “Looking Forward,” his dual exhibit with Alla Podolsky, on view February 4 through February 28 at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville.

Artists Richard Harrington and Alla Podolsky have announced the opening of their joint show, “Looking Forward,” on Thursday, February 4, at the Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street, Lambertville. The exhibit, which runs through February 28, features watercolor, acrylic, gouache, and oil paintings by the two artists. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be no opening reception for this exhibition.

‘“Looking Forward” refers to the sense of optimism that the new year and approaching season of spring provides for us,” said Harrington.

A native of Kiev, Ukraine, Podolsky creates work that can seem dreamlike. “If I were to distill what I do as an artist, I would say I paint experiences. We have collectively gone through a lot this past year, and I feel the need to impart past experiences of shared warmth, of joyful moments that ground us in difficult times. I like to think of my work as hopeful. Bright settings, vibrant colors, warm undertones. It’s my way of trying to lift some of the burden for my audience.” more

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers has announced virtual programs for the new year while the museum building remains closed to the public and in-person events are suspended until further notice.

The free film series The History of Russian Design continues on Thursday, January 28. The 20-minute episode on Zoom will be followed by a live Q&A with Julia Tulovsky, curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art at the Zimmerli, and Alexandra Sankova, director of the Moscow Design Museum, the co-curators of the Zimmerli exhibition “Everyday Soviet: Soviet Industrial Design and Nonconformist Art (1959-1989),” which is now a virtual exhibition on Zimmerli at Home. Learn more and register at zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.

Express your creativity and fight off cabin fever with Saturday Sparks Adult Art Workshops. Tom Rutledge returns with watercolors on January 30 and April 17 (each session has a different theme), and Wes Sherman introduces a new medium, oil pastels, on March 13. Each workshop costs $30; discounts are available for Zimmerli members or multiple sessions. No experience is necessary, but seating is limited. Visit go.rutgers.edu/artclasses for details and to register. more

HELPING HANDS: “People can come and get something really nice for a very reasonable price, and all the funds go to HomeFront to benefit their clients.” Shown from left are volunteers and curators at the HomeFront Pop-Up Shop in Hopewell. Also pictured is Jim Baxter, owner of the building. Front row: Betty Smith, Anita Trullinger; Back row: Ruthann Traylor, Baxter, and Anne Battle.

By Jean Stratton

Hope and love are on display at the HomeFront Pop-Up Shop at 31 West Broad Street in Hopewell.

This is truly an example of looking out for others and helping them in times of need. Located in the storefront belonging to Jim Baxter of Baxter Construction, the new shop has a story to tell.

Since founding his company in 1981, Baxter has helped clients enjoy the comfort of their homes for nearly 40 years. He understands the importance of family and relationships, and how COVID-19, with its accompanying struggle and suffering, has intensified the focus of the home as a safe haven.

He was shocked when he watched a TV news broadcast before Thanksgiving, and saw a very long line of cars all waiting at a food pantry in northern New Jersey. more

STICKING WITH THE PROGRAM: Tommy Davis, right, battles for the puck in a 2017 game during his senior season for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. Over the last two years, Davis has been teaching and coaching at Princeton Day School and also serving as the director of operations and then volunteer assistant coach for the Tiger men’s hockey team. In late December, Davis was promoted to the role of full-time assistant coach for the Tigers. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tommy Davis helped the Princeton University men’s hockey team turn the corner during his senior season with the Tigers in 2016-17.

After Princeton went a combined 9-46-6 in the previous two years, defenseman Davis starred as the Tigers improved to 15-16-3 and won a first-round ECAC Hockey playoff series in his final campaign.

“I am proud about a lot of things and a lot of teams that I played with but I think what always stands out to me is my senior year and how we sort of finally found our rhythm,” said Davis, a 6’2, 185-pound defenseman from Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., who ended up with six goals and 15 assists in 96 appearances for Princeton.

“It was a really tough first year with Ron (head coach Ron Fogarty), Dex (assistant coach Brad Dexter), and Stavs (assistant coach Stavros Paskaris). The second year, we were a lot better but it didn’t really get reflected in the win column. Then that last year we were a respectable team. We were .500 or thereabouts, we won a playoff series, and we came really close to winning another one. I felt like we set the stage for the next year.”

The next winter, Princeton went on to win the ECACH tournament while Davis headed north and starred at Providence College in his remaining year of college eligibility, tallying a goal and 10 assists as the Friars advanced to the finals of both the Hockey East tourney and NCAA East Regional. more

OPENING SALVO: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Cooper Zullo, right, battles in the crease against the Hamilton combined team last Friday at the Mercer County Park rink. Sophomore forward Zullo tallied a goal and two assists to help PHS pull away to an 8-3 win in its season opener and first game under new head coach Dave Hansen. In upcoming action, the Tigers are slated to face Lawrence High on January 27 at the MCP rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Cooper Zullo and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ hockey squad were frustrated early on as they faced the Hamilton combined team last Friday at Mercer County Park rink in their season opener.

PHS fell behind 1-0 as Hamilton goalie Trevor Malik repeatedly thwarted the Tigers.

“That was kind of a slow start for us; we hope to get the first goal but their goalie was really standing on his head today,” said sophomore forward Zullo.

“We were talking on the bench and we were saying once we get a few, they will keep coming in.”

With 9:05 left in the first period, Zullo got the first goal for PHS in the contest against Hamilton which includes players from Hamilton North, Nottingham, and Steinert. more

FAST EDDIE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eddie Evaldi races up the ice in a game last winter. Senior defenseman Evaldi will be depended on to spark Hun at both ends of the ice again this year. The Raiders are slated to start their 2021 season by hosting the Pingry School at the Ice Land Rink on February 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Hun School boys’ hockey team finally hit the ice last week to start training for an abbreviated 2021 season, the players weren’t just looking to sharpen their skills.

“You come to school on your alternating days, you have a mask on, you stay away from everybody, you go home and there is no social interaction,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally.

“It has taken a toll on that part. I think they are just happy to be in a place where they are the hockey program, whether they are playing in a league or not.”

With Hun playing a limited schedule with no Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) action, McNally is ruing the lack of postseason play.

“We only graduated a handful of kids; it comes and goes in waves when you are good and when you are average,” said McNally, who guided the Raiders to a 9-14-2 record last year, advancing to the Mercer County Tournament final and the MAHL semis. more

APPLYING PRESSURE: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey, right, puts on the defensive pressure in a game last winter. Guard Vessey emerged as a shooting star last year for Hun and is primed for a big junior season. The Raiders are slated to start their 2021 season this week by hosting Christian Brothers Academy on January 26 and Princeton Day School on January 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Starting in early December, the sound of squeaking sneakers, bouncing basketballs, and whistles could be heard emanating from the Hun School tennis courts on weekday afternoons.

With indoor sports banned in New Jersey for the last four weeks of December due to COVID-19 concerns, the Hun boys’ basketball team took its preseason training outside.

While braving the elements was challenging, Raider head coach Jon Stone credited his players with pushing through the situation.

“For all of us coaches and for all of these sports this year, we are starting with a lot of firsts,” said Stone.

“That was certainly a first, practicing outside, socially distant with masks on the tennis courts. I can’t say I have done that before. We made the best out of a tough situation; we tried to get done what we could get done.”

Getting back into the gym on January 16 proved to be a joyful moment for the Raiders. more

A-GAME: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Aleah James heads to the hoop in action last season. Senior guard James figures to be a key performer this winter as Stuart looks to build on a superb 2019-20 season that saw it win its third straight state Prep B title and advance to the Mercer County Tournament final for the first time ever. Last Friday, James scored 12 points as Stuart topped Life Center Academy 57-44 in its 2021 season opener. In upcoming action, Stuart hosts Sinai Christian Academy on January 27, plays at Life Center on January 29, hosts Paul VI on January 30, plays at Trenton Catholic on February 1, and hosts Princeton Day School on February 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last winter, the Stuart Country Day School basketball team produced an historic campaign, winning its third straight state Prep B title and advancing to the Mercer County Tournament final for the first time ever.

Having posting a 21-7 record and emerging as one of the top teams in the state despite having an upper school enrollment of approximately 160 students, tiny Stuart won’t be able to sneak up on anybody this season.

“The girls are on alert that we have a target on our back so the way to counteract that is to outwork them and to treat it the right way,” said Stuart head coach Justin Leith.

“That is part of the learning curve, it is not like we are an established New Jersey powerhouse for the last 15-20 years where there is a knowing there. We are in the infancy of being established so we have to come out every single game like it is the championship because that is how people are going to be playing us. That is a good thing, that is how you get better.”

Stuart features a very good point guard in senior Nia Melvin. “Nia has been our MVP the last three years and, of course, she looks great,” said Leith of Melvin who tallied 12 points and had five rebounds to help Stuart defeat Life Center Academy 57-44 last Friday in its 2021 season opener. more

January 20, 2021

The Princeton University campus was quiet prior to the return of undergraduates. The students who have chosen to come back began moving in, with specific time slots, last weekend. The process continues in the coming weekend. (Photo by Weronkia A. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

The first phase of undergraduates returning to the Princeton University campus is underway. As of Tuesday morning, about 1,140 on-campus residents, sent home last March due to the pandemic, had arrived, completed their first COVID-19 test, and entered the University’s arrival quarantine process.

Of the more than 1,300 tests given to arriving students as of Tuesday morning, six have been positive — a positivity rate of about 0.4 percent, according to Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss.

Nearly 3,000 of the more than 5,400 undergraduates enrolled at the University have chosen to move back to campus. In doing so, they had to sign a strict “social contract” outlining expectations for behavior, and participate in a COVID-19 testing program. Students will have their own sleeping spaces.

“Requirements of the social contract include wearing a face covering, maintaining a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance from others indoors and outdoors, and completing a daily symptom check,” Hotchkiss said in an email. “Students remain in strict quarantine — leaving their rooms only to use the restroom — until they receive the results of their first test. If negative, they continue the arrival quarantine protocol that concludes after at least seven days and two additional negative tests. Students who test positive are moved to separate spaces for isolation.”

The return of the students was a key topic at a Zoom meeting of the Princeton Merchants Association last Thursday. The University’s Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appelget, and Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety Robin Izzo, reported to the merchants on what was required of the undergraduates. Merchants can expect to see students around town by February 1, which is when classes begin. “They can go into town, but they can’t leave Mercer County or Plainsboro without permission,” said Appelget. more

By Donald Gilpin

With last week’s expansion of eligibility to millions of additional New Jersey residents, including smokers, anyone from 16 to 64 with a qualifying medical condition, and all people over 65, there are now millions of people waiting to be vaccinated. The vaccine supply, however, continues to be severely limited.

New Jersey has the capacity to administer 470,000 vaccine doses per week, health officials report, but the states depend on delivery from the federal government, and New Jersey received only about 100,000 doses per week last month and anticipates the same number —50,000 doses per week from Pfizer, 50,000 from Moderna — in the coming month.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) COVID-19 website states: “Due to supply limitations, vaccination appointment availability is extremely limited at this time.”  A number of vaccination sites have reported overwhelming demand and a shortage of doses, and some overbooked sites are currently unable to schedule appointments. The NJDOH states that “there will be more vaccine with each coming week and month. We urge everyone to be patient, understanding everyone’s desire to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The Princeton Health Department has reported an unusually high volume of calls and emails about the availability of the vaccine, coinciding with the federal government’s acknowledgement that there is a shortage of doses.

“This unfortunate news comes at a time when our state has ramped up efforts to get shots into people’s arms by creating over 300 clinics, mobilizing a substantial vaccination force of volunteers and paid personnel to staff them, only to have those efforts impeded by this unexpected turn of events,” Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams wrote in an email. more

By Donald Gilpin

A group of local parents has initiated the Princeton Parents for Black Children (PPBC), a nonprofit organization to support and advocate for Black students in Princeton Public Schools (PPS).

Citing “unique challenges faced by Black students in Princeton Public Schools,” a January 14 press release from the organization stated, “The PPBC is the outgrowth of decades of advocacy by families and allies seeking to improve educational opportunities and conditions for Black children.”

Co-president Rhinold Ponder pointed out that PPBC is well underway in pursuing a full slate of goals as it works with the district and its Black students. Student achievement, fundraising, community building, and political action are the focus of several PPBC working committees, he said.

“We have already been aggressive in establishing collaborative relationships and permanent lines of communication with the district office to address issues which impact all of our children, including racial literacy, the unconscionable fact that 50 percent of Black children in the district have IEPs [independent education programs], and diversity in hiring and promotions,” he wrote in a January 19 email.

In addition to Ponder, executive committee officers, who were elected at a recent organizational meeting, include Veronica Foreman as co-president; Lanniece Hall, secretary; Teri Boyd, treasurer; Raphael Aryeetey as Princeton Community Village representative; and Valerie Henry as Griggs Farm representative.

“We are proud that we have leaders representing communities in Princeton Community Village, the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, and Griggs Farm, in addition to the community at large,” Ponder said. “We have a large, diverse membership with many concerns and needs which we plan to address strategically.” more