October 28, 2020

FARM STYLE: “We are set apart because of our focus on Central European food, our special burgers, and our unique recipes. We grow most of the ingredients for everything we make right here on our farm — including our purple beets!” Maria and Otto Zizak, owners of the new Ottoburger restaurant in Hopewell, are shown on their farm. (Photo by Jeffrey E. Tryon)

By Jean Stratton

We offer healthy comfort food. It is delicious food that tastes good and is good for you.”

Otto and Maria Zizak are enthusiastic about their new Ottoburger restaurant, which has just opened at 21 East Broad Street in Hopewell. And in the short time it has been open, the customers are equally enthusiastic, lining up to enjoy the indoor and outdoor dining or taking home a special burger.

Growing up in what was formerly Czechoslovakia, Otto and Maria have known each other since the second grade. The importance of eating good food, with healthy ingredients was always emphasized.

“My family were food people,” says Otto. “We enjoyed cooking, and eating good food.” more

DREAM JOB: Blake Dietrick puts up a shot in a 2015 game during her senior season with the Princeton University women’s basketball team. Signing with the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA, point guard Dietrick emerged as a key reserve for the squad as it played in a pandemic-shortened 22-game season that was held in a bubble in Bradenton, Fla. She had career highs with 5.9 points per game and 3.4 assists per game. Showing her outside shooting prowess, Dietrick finished eighth in the league in three-point shooting at 44.8 percent from beyond the arc, setting a franchise record for three-point shooting percentage. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Blake Dietrick has few chances to attend the Princeton University women’s basketball games.

The former Tiger point guard made one last year, and it may have launched a breakout year in the WNBA.

Dietrick flew to Boston on her break from Lointek Gernika Bizkaia in Spain and went directly to see Princeton play at Harvard. She texted Nicki Collen, the head coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, on the way to the game and when she arrived Collen was already there to scout Princeton senior Bella Alarie among others.

“It almost felt like a sign,” said Dietrick, a 2015 Princeton graduate who ended her Tiger career fourth in three-pointers made (210), fourth in three-point shooting percentage (.395), fourth in assists (346), and 12th in scoring (1,233 points).

“I sent that message and the next minute she’s there, and we’re talking and hanging out and catching up. She’s an incredible person as well. I wanted to hear about her family and her girls play lacrosse and about things that matter to me. It all really aligned perfectly.”

While Dietrick didn’t try to oversell herself, she did make it known that she wanted to return to Atlanta, where she played sparingly for Collen in 2018. When the WNBA had to adjust its plans for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Atlanta lost two of its guards Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes, the Dream reached out to bring in Dietrick.

“Seattle did offer me a spot at training camp,” said Dietrick. “I turned it down because I didn’t think there was a place on their roster.”

Signing with Atlanta, the 5’10 Dietrick went on to enjoy her finest of four seasons in the WNBA. In their pandemic shortened 22-game season, she played more minutes than ever – triple her highest previous average, even started four games, and she finished eighth in the league in three-point shooting at 44.8 percent from beyond the arc, setting a franchise record for three-point shooting percentage. She had career highs with 5.9 points per game and 3.4 assists per game. Dietrick explained that the improvements came with the new chances. more

LEADING FROM THE BACK: Princeton High field hockey player Grace Rebak, right, fights for the ball in a game earlier this fall. Junior star defender and co-captain Rebak has helped PHS produce a 7-0 start. The Tigers host Hightstown on October 29 before playing at Lawrence High on November 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Grace Rebak moved to the middle of the defense for the Princeton High field hockey team last fall and has now assumed a central role for the squad.

“I played left back my freshman year and then I started playing center back my sophomore year,” said PHS junior star and co-captain Rebak.

“Now junior year, I am just having a voice back there along with my goalie [Frankie deFaria]. We are talking really well this year and we are communicating really well.”

Last week, PHS talked the talk and walked the walk, edging Allentown 1-0 in a tense encounter on October 20.

“They are our rival so we get really pumped for this game every year,” said Rebak.

“Our team is coming out really strong this year. Last year we lost to them so we just wanted to come back and fight against them. It was definitely a tough battle today. Our defensive line was getting a lot of action; we actually haven’t had a lot of action in these past few games.”

Rebak got into the action at the offensive end, making several forays into the circle. more

BORN TO RUN: Princeton High boys’ cross country runner Jacob Bornstein displays his form in a recent race. Senior star Bornstein is setting the pace for PHS this fall as runner and a leader. The Tigers are next in action when they compete on October 30 at the Reed/Byrne Farm in Ewing. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Jacob Bornstein’s high school career began as the fifth finisher on the Princeton High School boys’ cross country squad that won the 2017 New Jersey freshman state championship race at Thompson Park.

It is ending with the PHS senior at the top of the Tigers varsity lineup, assuming a leadership role, competing among the best in the county and sectional, and trying to leave a legacy after four years of growth.

“We all worked really hard together that year as freshmen,” said Bornstein.

“We were very fortunate to win the title. I’ve just been putting in the same effort each year. Things have been going really well for me. Unfortunately with some of my other teammates from my freshman crew, they haven’t been doing so well with their health because some of them have injuries. It happens. I haven’t been injured recently – some minor knee issues earlier this summer. I’m doing what I’ve always done and running as best that I can.”

Over the years, Bornstein has made steady progress. He jumped from fifth on the freshman team to fifth on the varsity as a sophomore after the team graduated some key runners, becoming a dependable runner who emerged over the season.

“We nicknamed him ‘Wubby’ and it was an idea that no matter how bad it got, he would be there,” said PHS head coach Jim Smirk. “That’s where it started and all of a sudden he started doing things like winning races and we were saying, where did that come from? You’re supposed to be the security blanket and you’re setting the tone. Last year, coming out of cross country and going into winter, that’s when we really started to see him evolve.” more

IN SYNC: Hayden Masia, left, and Hannah Van Dusen encourage each other during a recent match at first doubles for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team. The pair of seniors, who won the state Prep B title at first doubles in 2019, have helped PDS produce an 8-0 start this fall in their final campaign. The Panthers play at Pennington on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Familiarity is breeding success for Hayden Masia and Hannah Van Dusen as they play their final season at first doubles for the Princeton Day School girls’ tennis team.

Having won the state Prep B title at first doubles in 2019, the pair has helped PDS produce an 8-0 start this fall in their senior campaign.

Last Friday, Masia and Van Dusen displayed their cohesiveness, posting a 6-2, 6-2 win over Amelie Halgan and Gia Villegas of Pennington as the Panthers prevailed 4-1.

“Throughout the season, one of our main focuses has been making sure our points are structured to our advantage,” said Masia, noting that the pair also played a few matches together as freshmen.

“For example, Hannah is really really good at putting balls away at the net and I am more of a baseliner. So especially on my serve, it is a good set up. We have been working on that throughout the season. I think it really showed today that you set up the point in such a way that you know Hannah can finish the point and be done with it. It works well as a pair better than individually.”

Van Dusen enjoys closing the deal on volleys. “We try to finish points at the net,” said Van Dusen. more

GETTING AFTER IT: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Catherine Martin, right, goes after the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior star and co-captain Martin scored three goals to power Stuart to a 4-1 win over Princeton Day School. The Tartans, who fell 1-0 to South Hunterdon last Saturday to move 4-1-1, are next in action when they host Bordentown on November 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Catherine Martin and her teammates on the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team brought a special sense of urgency as they hosted Princeton Day School last Wednesday.

Having not defeated PDS in years and seeing their 2019 season end with a 1-0 loss to the Panthers in the state Prep B semifinals, the Tartans were primed to turn the tables on their neighbors across the Great Road.

“It has been so long since we beat them, it has been about seven years,” said senior forward and co-captain Martin.

“I remember four years ago when we just scored our first goal on them. We have improved so much. We were ready, we brought it all.”

Martin set the tone, scoring two goals in the first quarter as the Tartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

“I was so determined, I knew we had to score,” said Martin. “It did feel good. It is like a runner’s high; the game is good, everyone is playing well.”

Stuart kept playing well, pulling away to a 4-1 victory over the Panthers.

“There was great energy the whole game,” said Martin. “I remember one time in the second half where we were getting a little messy. We came together and started controlling the game again with our possession.”

Martin achieved a hat trick, slotting the ball into the goal with 8:52 left in the third quarter, moments after tumbling to the turf on a collision in the circle.

“I was a little bit woozy, I hit my head,” recalled Martin. “The ball was next to me so I shot it.”

Keeping their heads, the Stuart players used their possession game to hold off PDS in the fourth quarter and break their losing streak to the Panthers. more

GROWING THE GAME: Keith Stewart, left, presides over a youth event at the Springdale Golf Club. Stewart, the head golf professional at Springdale since 2009, recently won the NJPGA’s Bill Strausbaugh Award, which recognizes a golf pro who displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of PGA professionals. Stewart is known around the club as the “Director of Fun.” (Photo provided by Keith Stewart)

By Bill Alden

Before taking over as the head golf professional at the Springdale Golf Club in 2009, Keith Stewart was steeped in the traditions of the game with broad experience in managing prestigious venues.

Upon arriving in Princeton, Stewart’s resume included stops at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Mass., Brae Burn Country Club in Newton, Mass., Isleworth Country Club in Windermere, Fla., and the Warwick Country Club in Warwick, R.I.

But it was a stint working part-time at Walt Disney World in Orlando that had a major impact on his approach as he took the helm at Springdale.

“I needed money to make ends meet when I was working at Isleworth so I moonlighted by working at Disney World and I had to go through all of their training,” said Stewart.

“It is so brilliant in how you handle things. They have no members, they have to make everyone come back. Mine will come back, they have paid for the year. We have always tried to have a mindset here that we want to treat people such that we know that they are not guaranteed to come back. We will get to know them and treat their families the best we can.”

Treating people well over the last 11 years has led Stewart to earn a number of honors, including four NJPGA Section Awards and being named the NJPGA Golf Professional of the Year in 2019.

Earlier this year, Stewart added another accolade, getting chosen as the winner of the NJPGA’s Bill Strausbaugh Award, which honors a golf pro who displays outstanding integrity, character, and leadership through a commitment to mentoring and making significant impacts on the careers of PGA professionals. more

October 21, 2020

The Polish Nannies performed Sunday afternoon on the green at Palmer Square in downtown Princeton. The free concert series continues with Duo: Kindred Spirit on October 24 and School of Rock on October 31. The concerts are from 12 to 2 p.m. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With case numbers on the rise, winter weather and the holiday season approaching, and more activities taking place indoors, the COVID-19 pandemic is entering its second phase, says Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser.

The Princeton Health Department reported 18 active positive cases in town on Monday, October 19, a favorable number compared to other parts of the state and the nation at large, but nonetheless a significant increase in the past two months.  There have been 11 cases reported in the past seven days in Princeton and 19 over the past two weeks.

New Jersey health officials reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Tuesday, October 20, with the largest number linked to private indoor gatherings. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy declined to announce any expansion of the 25 percent capacity restriction for restaurant dining.

“Winter with COVID-19 was anticipated to be a difficult one,” wrote Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams in an October 20 email. “Our region and our county in particular have benefited from the low transmission rates achieved over the summer months, but winter will always be a time of year when infection rates for airborne viruses proliferate.”

Williams emphasized the importance of following established COVID-19 guidelines — mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and opting for the outdoors — as cooler temperatures and lower humidity combine with increased travel, indoor family gatherings, and holiday social events to raise risk levels.

Grosser noted that early in the pandemic the incidence was highest among older adults, but since June, 18- to 29-year-olds have been the most infected demographic. This is also the age group that is most likely to have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. “What is concerning about this age group is the fact that this group is more likely to continue to increase community transmission of COVID-19,” said Grosser. “We have seen these circumstances arise particularly with college/university students returning home and spreading COVID-19 through their household.” more

By Anne Levin

Presentations on initiatives related to transportation were the focus of a special Princeton Council meeting held Monday evening, October 19. Mayor Liz Lempert began the meeting with a moment of silence in memory of Marvin Reed, a former mayor of Princeton Borough, who died on October 12 at age 89.

“One of Marvin’s major passions was transportation, so I think he’d be glad we’re continuing his legacy tonight,” she said. “Both of the FreeB buses are named after him because of his dedication and advocacy to public transit.”

Councilwoman Mia Sacks reported that the two existing FreeB vehicles have been retired due to wear and tear and excessive needs for maintenance. Going forward, the town is looking to a lease option instead of ownership, hopefully with a focus on hybrid and/or electric vehicles. “We’re also finalizing a proposal to the Transit Trust Fund to expand existing FreeB routes, to better connect the new Affordable Housing sites that will be coming on line,” she said.

Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton told Council that the Engineering Department has been working with the Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Police Department to determine the best type of pavement markings and signage along the Bike Boulevard routes. The aim is to have consistent, clear markings that will be put in place in the spring once budgets have been approved.

Council President David Cohen updated Council on the Bike Map Project, reporting that a third printing of the map that was created about a decade ago shows not only bike routes but locations for bike parking. Copies are available at bike shops, and will be placed in the lower lobby of the police department headquarters in the municipal building. They are also available on the municipal website.

Council voted to introduce an ordinance on bike parking. Cohen said the ordinance was important because of residential developments that are planned in conjunction with the town’s Affordable Housing obligation. “It’s a topic that comes up at every single Planning meeting,” he said. “The Planning Board will be in a much better place, being able to point to actual requirements rather than asking [developers] to do us a favor.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Marvin Reed, who died on October 12 at age 89, had an immense variety of interests and accomplishments, and a lifelong commitment to public service during his careers in education, public relations, and local government.

The focal point of his energy and attention was the town of Princeton. He was Princeton Borough mayor from 1990 to 2003 and councilman for a total of 19 years, in addition to the many other positions he held.

“His most important legacy was his compassion and passion for making Princeton a better place,” said his daughter Liza O’Reilly in a phone conversation from Massachusetts, where she lives with her family. “He always wanted to make it better.”

She described his ability to work productively with others and to persevere in pursuit of what he believed in. She mentioned particularly the redevelopment of the Princeton Public Library and the surrounding downtown area. “He got a lot of opposition going into that,” she said, “but he just worked at things that he had a passion for and believed in making better.”

She added, “He listened to people, but he kept moving forward. And it turned out that many of the things that he focused on and believed in did turn out to be the right things despite opposition.” more

TO THE MOON AND BACK: The Lawrence Hopewell Trail’s annual moonlight ride has been transformed this year, thanks to the pandemic, into a virtual trip to the moon. Participants have multiple options that include more than biking.

By Anne Levin

Yet another organization has turned a casualty of the pandemic into a positive opportunity. Administrators of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) have transformed the annual Full Moon Bike Ride, a popular event since 2013, into something much bigger, longer, and more informal.

The 2020-2021 Journey to the Moon invites cyclists, runners, dog walkers, skaters, and even treadmill users to log as many of the 238,000 miles it would take to travel to the moon, on or off the trail. The initiative was launched on October 2, the first of this month’s two full moons, and the night the event would have been held if not for COVID-19. It runs through March 1, 2021.

Allowing that the 238,000-mile journey might be a big daunting to accomplish, distance will be recorded in “LHT miles” — equaling 22 miles each, or the actual length of the trail. That makes the virtual journey 10,818 LHT miles.

“We’re not sure you can cover 238,000 miles by walking your dog,” said Ruth Markoe, LHT board member. “So we’ve made this adjustment. But having said that, since we announced this a week ago on social media, people have already racked up 1,400 miles.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Alice Feng

Undaunted by the limitations of youth and inexperience or a seven-month pandemic lockdown, three Princeton High School students are looking to implement their original plans to make a difference in the local community — in health care, in youth engagement, and in the relationship between police and the young people of Princeton.

Participants in the Social Pioneers Program of the NJ Youth Civics Coalition (NJYCC), formerly the Princeton Youth Program for Civic Engagement — senior Alice Feng, junior Jimmy Weinstein, and sophomore Han Li — were ready to present their proposals to community and government leaders at a pitch event in April. The event was canceled because of the pandemic, however, and the students have had to find other ways to advance their ideas.

Weinstein, whose goal is to help build the relationship between the Police Department and the young people of Princeton, explained why he got involved in the Social Pioneers Program. “I have spent too many years complaining and listening to others complain, so I figured it is time to try and fix something that is terribly important in our community,” he wrote in an email. “I am opinionated, but I never act. This issue has always been important and a bit controversial, and I thought the least I could do was find a simple solution, even if it doesn’t create world peace.” more

VIRTUAL VIEWING: This year’s Lambertville House Tour takes participants inside historic properties not seen on previous tours, with a series of videos produced by documentarian and local resident Gary P. Cohen. Aerial views of the town are part of the video event.

By Anne Levin

It might seem that a house tour that can’t be viewed in person wouldn’t be worth taking. But the Lambertville Historical Society has come up with a virtual program for this weekend’s Lambertville House Tour, its biggest annual fundraiser, that actually offers more to see and experience than on the traditional tours the organization has held during the past 37 years.

Organizers knew months ago that, thanks to the pandemic, opening the Delaware River town’s distinctive homes to the public would not be possible this year. After some brainstorming, they came up with a set of nine video tours of historic properties, with interior footage and aerial cinematography, produced by resident talent. Also included in the $10 admission are four presentations, and a live Q&A session with local architects and a well known interior design professional.

“When we realized we wouldn’t be able to do it, our biggest question was, ‘How do we keep the tradition alive?’” said Michael Menche, president of the Historical Society. “That was the main thing. So we thought a lot about how to do it virtually. You can’t re-create walking into a house. It’s just not the same. And we wanted to make it enchanting and informative, at a variety of levels in a virtual format.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

I could get to where the massacre happened in 15 minutes on the bus when I was a kid.

—Director Mike Leigh, discussing Peterloo

I spent last Wednesday morning finishing The Plague and rereading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. With Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s birthday a week away, it made sense to go from Albert Camus and his apparent conclusion that the plague “opens men’s eyes and forces them to take thought” to Coleridge’s concluding reference to the Mariner’s captive audience, the Wedding Guest, as a “sadder and wiser man.” Both narratives appear to end on a positive note. For Camus, it’s “to state quite simply what we learn in time of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.” For Coleridge, it’s “He prayeth best, who loveth best / All things both great and small.”

Except that The Plague’s Doctor Rieux realizes at the close of the novel, as he listens to “the cries of joy rising from the town, that such joy is always imperiled … that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years … that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves, and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”

And despite the freedom the bright-eyed Mariner feels after unloading the burden of his “ghastly tale” on the terrified Wedding Guest, he knows the “woeful agony” will return, when his heart within him “burns” and he must pass, “like night, from land to land,” with “strange power of speech” until he finds the man who must hear him (“To him my tale I teach”). more

“PANTHER HOLLOW”: Passage Theatre presented, to ticketed YouTube viewers, a prerecorded video of “Panther Hollow.” Written and performed by David Lee White (above), and directed by John Augustine, this candid and wry monologue describes the artist’s struggles with clinical depression at age 25. (Photo by Michael Goldstein)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre has presented a prerecorded video of Panther Hollow. Writer and performer David Lee White’s candid, darkly humorous monologue was originally presented in March 2016, as part of Passage’s Solo Flights Festival. John Augustine was the stage director; the video was produced and directed by Susan Ryan.

In an introduction, Managing Director Damion Parran acknowledges that the video was donated by White to Passage, for use as a fundraiser for the company’s upcoming season. Although the video was distributed via YouTube, its presentation was treated as a theatrical event; ticket buyers were emailed a link that entitled them to view the performance from October 17-20.

White’s work with Passage has included serving as its managing director, and subsequently, its associate artistic director and resident playwright. Previously the company has presented his plays Blood: A Comedy, If I Could, In My Hood, I Would… and Slippery as Sin. Currently White is collaborating (with Richard Bradford and the members of The OK Trenton Ensemble) on The Ok Trenton Project, which is “scheduled to premiere as a full production in October of 2021,” according to Passage’s website.

In a video interview for Passage, White was asked about the process of writing Panther Hollow. He credits previous Solo Flights productions with its inspiration. “A lot of people would come on and do these shows, and over the years I got really fascinated with them,” White says. “I thought, ‘I wonder if this is something I can do.’” Offering a taste of the humor that pervades his monologue, White adds, “I had always wanted to tell the story of my battle with clinical depression … because first of all, I thought, ‘that’s going to be a laugh riot!’” more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton University Concerts opened its 127th season last Thursday night with an old musical friend presenting a free live digital performance launched over YouTube. The Takács Quartet, which has appeared on the PU Concerts series 20 times in the past, broadcast a live performance from Chautauqua Auditorium on the campus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where the string quartet is based. In Thursday night’s program, violinists Edward Dusinberre and Harumi Rhodes, violist Richard O’Neill, and cellist András Fejér presented an unusual concert spanning 250 years and including individual movements of some of the ensemble’s favorite works.

The Takács Quartet began the concert with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose string quartets are popular staples of chamber repertory. Mozart’s 1783 String Quartet No. 15 in D minor showed a strong influence of the composer’s mentor, Franz Josef Haydn, while allowing the four instrumentalists to explore their own musical personalities. The second of six string quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn, this work moved away from Mozart’s chipper major keys to the key of D minor — a harmonic center Mozart reserved for such dark and ominous drama as Don Giovanni and the deathbed Requiem. The Takács players, performing the opening “allegro moderato,” began with a fierce dark character, as cellist Fejér led the ensemble through the opening passages. O’Neill’s viola playing spoke well in the all-wood Chautauqua Auditorium and the Quartet built musical intensity uniformly with dynamic swells well executed throughout the movement.

Like Mozart, the late 19th-century English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor died prematurely in his mid-30s but was also prolific as a young composer. While a student at the Royal College of Music, Coleridge-Taylor composed five “character pieces” for string quartet — unusual in that most repertoire for the genre is comprised of larger works. Five Fantasiestücke for String Quartet showed the influence of the Romantic Robert Schumann, with a folk element also heard in the music of Dvorák and Bartók.   more

“SAME DAY NEW MESSAGE”: This work by Phillip McConnell is part of the “Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement” virtual exhibit, which kicks off with a Livestream Launch on Saturday, October 24 at 8 p.m. at artagainstracism.org.

“Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement,” the nationwide virtual exhibition created to document the Black Lives Matter art movement, will kick off with a Livestream Launch on Saturday, October 24 at 8 p.m. ET. The 90-minute program, moderated by Art Against Racism founder Rhinold Ponder, will feature live and pre-recorded video of music, poetry, performance, and interviews on the themes of racial and social justice, as well as a virtual video gallery of artwork. The artists behind the artwork will talk about what motivated them and what this moment in time means, and why it is so important to vote.

To tune in to the free virtual event, visit artagainstracism.org.

Featured guests will include poet and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who will give a spoken word performance; artist, writer, and scholar Nell Painter; Philadelphia Mural Arts founder Jane Golden; emerging rapper Echezona, whose music is a rallying cry for social change and racial justice; poets Michelle Black Smith-Tompkins, Gail Mitchell, and David Herrstrom; folk artist David Brahinsky; Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia; and Kansas City mural artist and Black Summer 2020 curator Harold Smith. There will be live video of public art from muralists in Milwaukee, Trenton, Kansas City, San Diego, Bridgeport, and Newark. more

TELL ME A STORY: Joanie Leeds is one of two storytellers booked for the popular Milk & Cookies series presented online by State Theatre NJ.

State Theatre New Jersey announces the return of the storytelling series Milk & Cookies for fall 2020. A popular State Theatre program for more than 10 years, the series will be available online.

Two programs are geared to children ages 3-10 and their families. The series begins Saturday, October 24, with storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston; followed by musician Joanie Leeds on November 14.

Alston has shared her African and African American tales with audiences from Cape Town to Carnegie Hall, at events ranging from concerts in Japan to the U.S. Presidential Inaugural festivities. For her original kids music, singer-songwriter Leeds has won first place in the USA Songwriting Competition, the Independent Music Award, Gold Parents’ Choice Award, NAPPA Gold Award, and Family Choice Award. One of the top nationally-touring kindie rock singers today, Leeds recently released her ninth studio album, All the Ladies. 

Patrons who donate will receive an email the day of the event at 10 a.m. with a link to watch the performance. The video can be viewed at any time and will be active from October 24 through December 23, 2020.  To participate, a minimum donation of $10 per event is required and gives an entire household access to a Milk & Cookies show. To donate or for more information, visit STNJ.org.

HELP AND HEALING: “My services give my patients the best chance of not only healing, but achieving and maintaining optimal health so that they are not just ‘getting along,’  they are truly thriving.” Steven Hoffman, owner of Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, treats patients with a variety of medical conditions.

By Jean Stratton

Some people go to law school or business school; others learn on the job; still others go from career to career, seeking the right fit.

But not many find their occupation unexpectedly in a serendipitous moment, as Steven Hoffman did.

“I came to acupuncture through martial arts,” he explains. “I had jammed my thumb, and it was wrapped in a bandage when I came to my martial arts class. The instructor, also a trained acupuncturist, looked at it and said, ‘I’ll fix that!’

“He did, and it was instant relief. That was my introduction to acupuncture.” more

MISSING THE GAME: Princeton University football head coach Bob Surace shows his game face during the 2018 campaign. With the Ivy League having canceled the 2020 fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns, Surace is dealing without having football for the first time in his memory. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace struggled to keep his emotions in check this July as he spoke virtually to members of the Princeton University football program in the wake of the Ivy League announcing it was canceling the 2020 fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“When we found out that we weren’t playing, I got on a call with the parents, players, and coaches and I started breaking up, I was in tears,” said Princeton head coach Surace ’90, who is in his 11th season at the helm of the program.

“My dad was a coach. I haven’t had a fall without football since I can literally remember. I have been on a sideline with my dad. I have been a player. I have been a coach. You are talking almost 50 years.”

In dealing with the crazy year that is 2020, Surace has developed a daily routine to keep him on track.

“I try to keep a really strict schedule,” said Surace. “I think it takes time to figure that out but literally, starting in May or so, I got into that routine. We are only allowed eight hours in the office during the week but almost everything I am doing, I can do from home.” more

IYER LEVEL PLAY: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Shaila Iyer hits a backhand in a recent match. Freshman Iyer has starred at first singles, helping PHS produce a 10-0 start. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Shaila Iyer is ahead of schedule when it comes to her role on the Princeton High girls’ tennis team.

Ascending to the first singles spot in the PHS lineup this fall as a freshman, Iyer has even surprised herself.

“I didn’t even think I would be on varsity this year, let alone be No. 1,” said Iyer.

“For me and my mom, when we started tennis, our goal was to get to varsity as a junior.”

Last Saturday against visiting Hightstown, Iyer showed how she can be a force at the varsity level, posting a 6-3, 6-0 win over Diana Kalajdzic to help the Tigers defeat the Rams 5-0 in a battle of teams that brought 8-0 records into the match.

“They beat us for the past four years and last year was the first time we won,” said Iyer. “We are really excited.” more

LATE SALVO: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Kelly Beal kicks the ball up the field in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star Beal scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation as PDS edged Bishop Eustace 3-2. The Panthers, who defeated Moorestown Friends 3-0 last Monday in improving to 4-1, host Montgomery on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Kelly Beal struggled to get herself free around goal as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team hosted Bishop Eustace last Thursday.

For much of the contest, speedy PDS senior forward Beal got stymied on runs from the flank.

“It was kind of difficult to get me the ball this game but it is just how it happened,” said Beal.

It came as no surprise to Beal and her teammates that they got a difficult game as they faced Bishop Eustace.

“Coming into the game we knew that they were going to be tough competitors,” said Beal.

“Maybe that rattled us a little bit coming in because this whole season matters so much to us because we never know when it is going to end.”

PDS jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by junior Ali Surace with 33:39 left in the first half but the Crusaders answered back with a tally four minutes later to knot the game at 1-1. The Panthers went ahead 2-1 on a goal by freshman Adriana Salzano late in the first half.

Just after halftime, Bishop Eustace found the back of the net to make to 2-2, putting the Panthers on their heels. But in the waning moments of the contest the Panthers started to find a rhythm. more

BACK IN THE FLOW: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Sophia Lis controls the ball last Wednesday against Notre Dame. Junior star Lis tallied two goals to help PHS rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to pull out a 4-3 win overtime. Returning to action from missing all of 2019 due to a knee injury, Lis tallied eight goals in the first four games of the season. PHS, which fell 3-0 to Hopewell Valley last Saturday to move to 3-1-1, plays at Allentown on October 21 before hosting Nottingham on October 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During the 2019 season, Sophia Lis’ role on the Princeton High girls’ soccer squad was confined to cheering on her teammates and occasionally serving as a ball girl while she was recovering from a knee injury.

Returning to action this fall, junior forward Lis has assumed a starring role, emerging as the go-to finisher for PHS.

Last Thursday, Lis displayed her scoring touch against Notre Dame, tallying two goals to help the Tigers rally from deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to pull out a 4-3 win in overtime.

Lis is thrilled to be contributing again for PHS. “It is such a great feeling; I rehabbed all of last year during the season and I was ready this summer for my season and unfortunately due to corona we didn’t have the games,” said Lis, who tallied eight goals in the first four games of the season for the Tigers.

“So this is me getting back into games and getting my stamina back. I was nervous coming back. It is always that thing are you as good as you were before. I think I am finally getting back into my groove and feeling the same way.” more

TOUGH TO BEAR: Ian Franzoni sprints upfield in 2019 action during his senior season with the Hun School football team. Star running back Franzoni rushed for 1,178 yards and 12 touchdowns and made 12 receptions for 322 yards and four touchdowns in his final campaign for the Raiders. He committed to attend Brown University and play for its football program. With COVID-19 concerns leading the Ivy League to cancel its fall sports schedule, Franzoni is waiting to make his debut for the Bears. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Under normal circumstances, Ian Franzoni would have been looking forward to enjoying a homecoming last Saturday as the Brown University football team had been slated to play at Princeton.

But with COVID-19 concerns leading the Ivy League to cancel its 2020 fall sports schedule, former Hun School star running back and Brown freshman football commit Franzoni never left home in Robbinsville.

While Franzoni may have to wait a while to play for Brown, deciding to attend the school and join its football program didn’t take long.

“The schools that I were big on were the service academies; I had cousins who played at Navy so I was big on them,” said Franzoni, noting that Brown freshmen are currently scheduled to arrive on campus in January. more