January 19, 2022

Participants enjoyed breakfast and engaged in art and history activities on Monday morning at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day community celebration at the Arts Council of Princeton. The gathering was one of many area events honoring King. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

The recent COVID surge in Princeton and throughout the state seems to have peaked, with numbers starting to decline, but Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser warns that we’re not yet out of the woods.

“Surges of cases over the past two years have taught us one overarching lesson: we need to stay proactive with our public health precautions when cases are both surging and declining,” said Grosser. “We need to be careful thinking this could be the last big surge, because time and time again new variants are teaching us new lessons.”

The Princeton Health Department on January 18 reported 195 new cases in Princeton over the previous seven days, down from 257 reported last week, and 462 new cases in the previous 14 days, as opposed to 529 reported last week. The highest seven-day totals in Princeton were 287 for seven days and 568 for 14 days, both recorded earlier last week on January 10.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) reported on Tuesday, January 18 that the COVID-19 transmission rate in the state has fallen to 0.92, with numbers below 1 indicating declining case numbers with each new case leading to fewer than one additional case. The transmission rate was 1.02 on Monday, 1.09 on Sunday, and 1.92 at its most recent high on January 1.

Princeton Public Schools, for the week ending January 16, reported a total of 79 new COVID-19 cases, down from 96 cases the previous week and 167 the week before that, according to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard. PPS students accounted for 59 of last week’s cases, with 20 staff members testing positive.

Grosser noted that the situation is improving for schools throughout the state. Only 4 percent of the state’s schools are currently closed and on remote learning due to COVID-19, down from 33 percent on virtual or hybrid learning two weeks ago. more

By Donald Gilpin

About 100 Princeton Theological Seminary students and supporters rallied in front of the Miller Chapel on the Seminary campus on Tuesday afternoon, January 18, demanding that the Seminary remove Samuel Miller’s name from the Princeton Seminary Chapel and also establish a renaming process for all buildings on campus named after people associated with slavery.

Carrying signs calling for “Decisions not Discussion” from the Seminary Board of Trustees and for the board to “Remove Miller Now” and to “Follow Through on What You Said You Would Do,” the demonstrators chanted, sang, and cheered on several different speakers.

“We want to have the community’s support in understanding that it is preposterous to ask students to worship in a place that is named after a slave owner,” said Tamesha Mills, moderator of the Association of Black Seminarians (ABS), which has led the name-changing initiative.  “If the Board of Trustees does not decide to remove the name, we will not be worshiping here.”

Miller (1769-1850), the Seminary’s second professor, employed slave labor, worked against abolition, and supported the colonization movement to send freed Blacks back to Africa, according to the 2018 Princeton Seminary Slavery Audit report.

“For too long the Seminary has held on to Samuel Miller’s name on this chapel,” Mills continued. “For too long students have felt uncomfortable worshiping in a space like this. We’re here to reclaim a sacred space. It’s not just about Samuel Miller. It’s about the students who are here now. It’s about the legacy of this institution. It’s about what we believe the gospel teaches us. So that’s why we’re here.”

The ABS initiative has already resulted in discussions with the Seminary administration. The Seminary Board of Trustees will be discussing the issue at its January 25 meeting, according to a statement issued by Princeton Theological Seminary President M. Craig Barnes. more

By Anne Levin

Following up on Princeton Council’s special work session devoted to permit parking last week, the town’s Permit Parking Task Force met Tuesday morning, January 18, to debrief and consider the next steps.

The task force has been grappling with several aspects of the parking issue for the past three years. The January 11 Zoom meeting attracted some 180 members of the public and lasted more than five hours. Numerous residents and invited panelists — members of the task force, some downtown business owners, and representatives from nonprofit Sensible Streets, which opposes the task force’s recommendations — voiced their opinions. But there wasn’t enough time for Council members to fully discuss the issue. The topic is to be revisited at a future meeting.

Comments from the public came from residents of different neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, there were many from the Tree Streets and Witherspoon-Jackson sections, which are currently being considered as part of the task force’s plan. While the Western Section and High School neighborhoods were dropped from the recommendations after strong opposition from residents who don’t want daytime parking by employees of downtown businesses on their streets, several of them still chose to speak.

The presentation by Sensible Streets, “Better Process, Better Alternatives,” was delivered by Western Section resident Jonathan Hopkins. “We believe that the process itself pre-determined the outcome here,” he said. “The compromise that’s being presented amongst various interests is actually a compromise amongst the interests of the task force itself.” more

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Princeton Charter School recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Its charter was approved by the New Jersey Department of Education on January 15, 1997, and since then it has grown from a gathering of 72 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders in the basement of the Nassau Presbyterian Church to a thriving K-8 school with 424 students on a seven-acre Bunn Drive campus. (Courtesy of Princeton Charter School)

By Donald Gilpin

The New Jersey Department of Education approved the charter for the Princeton Charter School (PCS) on January 15, 1997, and nine months later the school welcomed its first 72 students — fourth, fifth, and sixth graders only — in the basement of the Nassau Presbyterian Church.

With a vision of offering Princeton families a choice in public education with a particular focus on high academic standards and early immersive foreign language instruction, the school expanded over the years to include kindergarten to eighth grade and now, 25 years later, has 424 students. Since the first graduating class in 2000, more than 900 students have graduated from PCS, with the vast majority continuing their studies at Princeton High School (PHS).

“It is such a special, small community, and every day I am amazed by our talented, caring, and dedicated staff,” wrote PCS Head of School Lawrence Patton, who has been at the helm over the past 14 years. “Twenty-five years after the founding of the school, it remains my priority to bring smart, skilled, and experienced staff to work with our students and families. The partnership between the parents and the school has been woven into the fabric of Charter since the founding 25 years ago, and because of our small size and nine-year, K-8 structure, it continues to be a big part of who we are today.”

In a speech at last Friday’s anniversary celebration, PCS French teacher Martha Toma, one of the two teachers, along with English teacher Libby Kelley, who have been at PCS since the start, recalled some memories of the early days. more

By Anne Levin

Izzy Kasdin

After nearly six years as executive director of the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP), and nine years working and volunteering previously for the nonprofit, Izzy Kasdin will leave the organization at the end of this month.

The 29-year-old Princeton native, a graduate of Princeton High School and Princeton University, announced her plans last week. Staff member Leanne Hunter, listed on the HSP website as private events manager, will serve as interim director while a committee of board and staff members undergoes a national search to fill the position.

“This was not a decision I came to lightly,” Kasdin said in an email this week. “It’s something I considered deeply, because this institution and this community matter so much to me. After spending substantial time at one institution, I felt it was important for me to move on to the next challenge in my career. This particular moment in the calendar year and lifecycle of the institution also felt like the best possible time for HSP to embark on a search for fresh leadership. I wanted to make sure my departure was respectful of everything HSP had gifted me as a professional.”

The HSP moved in 2015 from its former headquarters at Bainbridge House on Nassau Street to its permanent home at the historic Updike Farm on Quaker Road. The farmhouse museum hosts permanent and changing exhibitions. The site has also become popular as a setting for weddings, concerts, and other events. The museum was closed from late September to early this month due to damage on Quaker Road from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. more

By Anne Levin

The rescue of a woman who fell through the ice on Rosedale Lake last week, in an effort to save her dogs, is a reminder that venturing out onto ice — for skating or any other reason — carries a risk. Thankfully, the 37-year-old woman was pulled to safety by police after she had successfully gotten the dogs out of the frigid water.

With temperatures dipping way below freezing on recent days, the prospect of ice skating on local bodies of water can seem especially tempting. The Princeton Recreation Department hopes to keep people safe with a list of guidelines that is available at princetonrecreation.com.

There are three locations where flags have been installed to identify safety conditions. At Community Park North’s pond, the flag is on the side berm, near the Mountain Avenue jug handle on Route 206. There are two flags at Barbara Smoyer Park’s pond — one in front of the pump house, and one on the opposite side of the pond. The two flags at Lake Carnegie are on top of the Princeton University Boat House off Washington Road, and by the Harrison Street Bridge.

A red flag means the ice is unsafe for skating. White signifies that it is safe. “We need to get a minimum of five inches [thickness] to deem that it is safe,” said Princeton’s Assistant Director of Recreation Joe Marrolli. “We start at the shore, and slowly work our way toward the center. Even if we do get that five inches at the shore, we tell people there might be some surface irregularities. So skate at your own risk.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”

—Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

“With knowledge you can grasp tight a belief: that you  can be better, that the world can be better. With that, you can claim hope.”

—Sidney Poitier (1927-2022)

Accompanying NPR’s complete transcript of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a photograph showing King inside the Lincoln Memorial with a dozen unidentified men that the caption describes as “civil rights leaders.” The group posed at the base of the statue present a mélange of facial expressions frozen in the moment, some appropriately somber and pensive, others abstracted, edgy, uncomfortable. The most relaxed person in the picture would seem to be King himself. The sternest, strangest expression, however, is Abraham Lincoln’s. Probably I’m reading the troubles of the present day into that gaze, but in King’s birthday week, January 2022, it’s as if Lincoln were staring past the “dream” into the “urgency of the moment.”

Poitier and King

Martin Luther King Jr. was 34 in the photograph taken at the memorial on August 28, 1963. At around the same age, Sidney Poitier was coming into his own as an actor. I’ve been reading his book, The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (HarperSanFrancisco 2000) and watching film clips on the time machine jukebox of YouTube. I’d forgotten the power of his presence, his extraordinary intensity. Hauled into the office of the small town sheriff played by Rod Steiger in Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night, he commands the scene simply by standing there staring while Steiger outdoes himself performing a Method actor bigot. The Black Philadelphia homicide cop Virgil Tibbs regards this performative display as if Steiger were auditioning for a part in Poitier’s film. Made four years after the “I Have a Dream” speech, Heat of the Night won the Best Picture Oscar at the 1968 Academy Awards, with Steiger winning the award for Best Actor (Poitier had won the Best Actor Oscar in 1963 for Lilies of the Field). The awards ceremony had to be moved to April 10, 1968 from April 8, the day King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.  more

MAKEBA COMES TO LIFE: Somi Kakoma stars as South African musician and activist Miriam Makeba in “Dreaming Zenzile,” at McCarter Theatre January 20 through February 13.

McCarter Theatre Center presents the world premiere musical Dreaming Zenzile, based on the life of Miriam Makeba, written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music star Somi Kakoma, known as Somi, January 20 through February 13.

“At her final concert, Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and consciousness of a people,” reads a press release on the show. “But the ancestors are calling — transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation.”

Created and performed by Somi, and directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, the jazz musical comes to life seven years after Somi started working on the project, and more than a year into the pandemic. Its premiere at The Repertory Theater of St. Louis was halted days before its original opening night in March 2020. Determined to bring Makeba’s inspirational story to the stage, seven celebrated producing organizations joined forces to re-activate the show. This “rolling world premiere” brings together Octopus Theatricals (Hadestown Broadway,) Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, McCarter, New York Theatre Workshop, Arts Emerson, and National Black Theatre.

Makeba was one of the first African singers to make it big around the world, after appearing on The Steve Allen Show in 1959. In the early ’60s, she sang at President John F. Kennedy’s infamous birthday party and charted on Billboard.  more

The next virtual recital in the series Westminster Conservatory at Nassau will be posted on the Nassau Presbyterian Church website on Thursday, January 20 at 12:15 p.m. The recital, at Nassauchurch.org, will feature pianists Galina Prilutskaya and Inessa Gleyzerova Shindel, both members of the Westminster Conservatory faculty.

The program on January 20 includes works for solo piano: Moritz Moszkowski’s Arabesque, op. 15, no. 2; Frederic Chopins Casta Diva, op. D1, no. 1 after Bellini. They will also perform two works by Sidney Smith: Fantaisie Brillante, op. 103 on Verdi’s La Traviata and La Danza, Tarantella napolitana de Rossini, op. 104.

Prilutskaya has performed extensively as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician throughout the United States, Germany, and Russia, including special appearances in Richardson Auditorium, Moscow Conservatory, and the Liszt School of Music. Her students have received numerous awards and acknowledgements of excellence in piano study.

Shindel received a master’s degree in music from the Belorussian Academy of Music, Minsk. Her U.S. performances include solo recitals at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Kosciuszko Foundation, and chamber music recitals at Merkin Concert Hall. She was the first prize winner of the Metlife Music Competition.

The next Westminster Conservatory at Nassau recital will be posted on Thursday, February 17. The performers will be Kevin Willois, flute and Patricia Landy, piano.

NEW COMEDY: Bucks County, Pa., life is played for laughs onstage as the ActorsNET co-produces “Reckonings in New Hope” with the newly emerging New Hope Repertory Theater. It opens on January 28 for a three-weekend run.

Reckonings in New Hope by Emmy-winning writer Christopher Canaan bows on ActorsNET’s Heritage Center stage in Morrisville, Pa. on January 28 for a three-weekend run.

The play is described as a serio-comic tale of three childhood friends who reunite at the allegedly most haunted inn in Bucks County for their 50th high school reunion. Each man is dealing with life-altering situations while committing to buy and save the inn from outside developers. Canaan, Joey Perillo, and George Hartpence co-star.

“ActorsNET has presented two of Mr. Canaan’s other plays in previous seasons, The Big Bad Wolf: An Adult Fairy Tale about Fear, Forgiveness and Sexual Identity and Sprinkles & Glaze. Both were very successful projects,” said ActorsNET Artistic Director Cheryl Doyle. “This show was a perfect opportunity to again collaborate with Chris, who is also the artistic director of New Hope Rep, to bring another new Bucks County romp to our stage.” more

PIANO PRODIGY: Westminster Conservatory student Pablo Ramirez-Garcia, right, shown with his teacher Teresa Lim, has ranked first in the Royal Conservatory of Music’s national examinations for piano.

Pablo Ramirez-Garcia, a student of Teresa Lim at the Westminster Conservatory of Music, received the highest score for piano in the Royal Conservatory of Music’s (RCM) national examinations.

As a Level 7 National Gold Award winner, he was invited to perform at the Royal Conservatory’s Celebration of Excellence Recital in Toronto in November. A student at South Brunswick High School, he is one of only two students in the United States to receive this RCM award.

The Royal Conservatory is one of the largest and most respected music education institutions in the world. Its annual examinations provide a national standard for students, parents, and teachers to track and measure progress and achievements. Preparing for and successfully completing an examination builds self-confidence and helps students develop a sense of pride.

Established in 1970, Westminster Conservatory is the community music school of Rider University’s Westminster College of the Arts.

Bob Krist

Phillips’ Mill Photo has announced that esteemed freelance photographer Bob Krist will be the sole juror for the 2022 Phillips’ Mill Photo Exhibition. This will be the first time since 2018 that the show will be on the gallery walls at the historic Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa. The exhibition will run from April 2–22.

Krist’s freelance photography and filmmaking for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, and Islands magazines and other clients have taken him to more than 150 countries on all seven continents.

During these assignments, he has captured not only some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, but also the fascinating characters, cultural rituals, and simple everyday occurrences that make life so interesting. However, he doesn’t like to think of himself as a great adventurer. Rather, he says he’s just a visual storyteller whose early days as a photojournalist taught him to intuitively seek beauty, truth, and the most compelling human interest angle.  more

“LIFE & DEATH II”: This work by Kelly Wang is part of “Between Heartlands / Kelly Wang,” on view at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery on Nassau Street through February 27.

New York-based artist Kelly Wang (born 1992) combines ancient and contemporary influences to create multimedia works resonant with elements of cultural identity and personal grief. She creates what she terms landscapes of the heart — heartscapes — that revolve around places, people, or events with which she has a deep affinity. “Between Heartlands / Kelly Wang” features 32 works of art from the last six years, including recent acquisitions from the Princeton University Art Museum’s own collections, that challenge the way we think about heritage and how we perceive the world around us. Walking a tightrope between past and future, East and West, Wang pushes the boundaries of calligraphy, painting, and sculpture in new ways while confronting prejudice, life, and death.

“Between Heartlands / Kelly Wang” is curated by Cary Y. Liu, the Nancy and Peter Lee curator of Asian art at the Princeton University Art Museum. The exhibition is on view at the Museum’s contemporary gallery Art@Bainbridge in downtown Princeton through February 27.

“Installed in historic Bainbridge House, Kelly Wang’s innovative work bridging eras, cultures, and techniques is beautifully crafted in ways that invite each of us to consider memory, the past, the need for refuge, and ultimately to awaken a sense of our shared humanity,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director.

The exhibition opens with a group of cosmetic compacts, titled Thank You for Reminding Me of My Rich Cultural Past (2021), that documents slurs from Wang’s school days through to the present, when COVID-19 sparked a rise in anti-Asian hatred. Women use mirrored compacts to look at themselves, yet Wang’s intervention of burnt-paper words covering the mirrors makes visible what certain others may see, think, and hate.  more

ARTISTS TALK: The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie will host a talk with artists featured in the exhibit “Painting the Moon and Beyond” on Wednesday, January 26 from 7 to 8 p.m. via Zoom. From left, Ilene Dube, Dan Finaldi, Jeff Epstein, Elizabeth O’Reilly, and Jean Perkes gather in front of Mel Leipzig’s portrait of Lois Dodd.

The Trenton City Museum invites the public to join the artists of “Painting the Moon and Beyond” in an online talk on Wednesday, January 26, from 7 to 8 p.m. Lois Dodd, Jeff Epstein, Dan Finaldi, Elizabeth O’Reilly, and Mel Leipzig will talk about their relationships to one another, how their friendships have helped them grow as artists, painting outside at night, and anything attendees ask during the talk’s Q&A.

Registration is required to receive the Zoom link. Register at ellarslie.org or call (609) 989-1191 for more information. more

FUN AND FUNCTION: “As a modern lifestyle brand, Toobydoo is designed for babies, boys, and girls, from infants to age 14. We believe in beautiful designs that are always fun and functional. Come see us at Toobydoo!” Sonja Lips (right), co-owner, with her husband Paul, of Toobydoo on Palmer Square, is shown with her staff. They are enthusiastic and ready to help with a full range of imaginative shopping ideas.

By Jean Stratton

Creativity. Imagination. Personality.

With all due respect to the digital age, you will not find the import of these expressions and the images they evoke online. Words and pictures, perhaps, but they are, after all, one-dimensional. Online shopping and the convenience and quick click of the keyboard cannot duplicate the real thing, and seeing it firsthand. No touching, tasting, trying on!

Where you will find creativity, imagination, and personality vividly brought to life is within the walls of Toobydoo. The baby and children’s clothing and toy store at 59 Palmer Square West is filled with style and spirit, and a visit there will guarantee a fun shopping experience.

It begins with the windows. Filled with colorful, eye-catching displays, they invite you to come in. more

RETURNING WITH BANG: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jaelin Llewellyn dribbles past a foe in recent action. Last Monday, senior guard Llewellyn returned from being sidelined for two games due to a leg injury and helped Princeton defeat Penn 74-64. Llewellyn contributed 11 points, five rebounds, and an assist as the Tigers improved to 14-3 overall and 4-0 Ivy League, extending their winning streak to nine games. Princeton is next in action when it plays at Dartmouth on January 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s basketball team got ready to take the court against archival Penn last Monday at Jadwin Gym, it got a lift before the contest even tipped off.

Princeton senior star point guard Jaelin Llewellyn, who had been sidelined the last two games due to a hamstring injury, was back in the starting lineup for the Tigers.

“I felt pretty good, I was just getting back into it pretty much,” said Llewellyn, reflecting on his return.

“I just wanted to go out there and do whatever I could. It is hard sitting and watching because I wanted to be out there with my guys. It is good to be back.”

With Llewellyn back at the controls of the offense, Princeton jumped out to a 34-28 halftime lead. In the second half, the Tigers held off a rally by the Quakers who drew to within 51-49 midway through the half and trailed 61-56 with 4:49 left. In crunch time, Llewellyn hit two jumpers and had an assist as Princeton stretched its lead to 68-58 and never looked back on the way to a 74-64 win.

The Tigers, who improved to 14-3 overall and 4-0 Ivy League with the victory, extended their winning streak to nine games. The triumph marked Princeton’s 13th win in its last 15 games against the Quakers and fifth in a row in the rivalry. more

WILD CARDS: Maddie Bacskai, left, and Clara Roth handle the ball in action this past fall for the Northwestern University field hockey team. The two former Princeton University standouts competed for the Wildcats as grad students utilizing their fourth year of eligibility and helped the program win its first-ever NCAA championship. (Photos provided courtesy ofNorthwestern Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

Maddie Bacskai and Clara Roth felt they were part of a potential national championship field hockey team at Princeton University, but ultimately had to go elsewhere to win one.

The two Princeton graduates, who competed for Northwestern University as grad students utilizing their fourth year of eligibility, started all season and helped the Wildcats capture their first NCAA championship as they defeated Liberty 2-0 in the national final in November.

“It was huge,” said Roth, the second leading scorer for the Wildcats with 34 points on 13 goals and eight assists as the squad finished the fall with an 18-5 record.

“It was probably the biggest success I’ve had in field hockey. Having that in your final season is honestly that’s the way you want to do it.”

Roth and Bacskai had hoped to be playing for Princeton in 2020, one year after the Tigers came up short in the national championship game. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the NCAA called off the fall 2020 season and the Ivy League did not play in the reshuffled spring 2021 NCAA season.

Those developments meant a second straight year off for Bacskai, who had also missed the 2019 season after injuring her knee in the spring of 2019. Without any eligibility left at Princeton, but with a year of NCAA eligibility left, Bacskai and Roth found Northwestern, where both are working toward a master’s degree in management studies at the Kellogg School of Management.  more

GOING TO THE MATT: Princeton High wrestler Matt Ellsworth, top, controls a foe in recent action. Senior Ellsworth has gone 9-2 at 165 pounds this season, helping PHS produce a 7-0 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers have a match at Collingswood High on January 19 and a quad at Robbinsville on January 22 before hosting Allentown on January 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Matt Ellsworth has transformed himself into an outstanding wrestler and team leader for the Princeton High squad over his career.

Senior Ellsworth is off to his best start at 9-2 at 165 pounds. He wasn’t in the varsity lineup as a freshmen, then posted an 11-21 season in his first year in the lineup as a sophomore. In the COVID-19 pandemic shortened season last year, he was 4-6.

“I think I’ve been doing well,” said Ellsworth. “I think I’ve improved a lot from years previous. I’m happy how things are going.”

Ellsworth is even happier with the way things have gone for the team. He is one of four seniors setting the tone for the Tigers, who are unbeaten through seven matches. PHS swept Notre Dame (52-24), Hamilton (57-18), and Hopatcong (65-6) in a quad on Saturday.

“New guys have stepped up which has helped us fill up the whole lineup,” said Ellsworth, who went 2-1 on the day.

“Every single day everyone in the room is pushing each other hard and feeding off each other’s energy. You’ll see at all the matches our bench is very lively cheering for other people on the team when they’re wrestling. The team is built like a strong, tight-knit community. It allows us to push each other and that’s reflected on the mat when we’re wrestling.” more

GETTING AFTER IT: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Rosheen Nissangaratchie, right, goes after the puck last Wednesday against Bergen Catholic. Junior forward Nissangaratchie tallied a goal to help PDS tie the Crusaders 1-1. The Panthers, who defeated St. Joseph (Montvale) 2-0 last Thursday to move to 5-2-2, host Lawrenceville on January 19 and Seton Hall on January 22 before playing at St. Peter’s on January 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rosheen Nissangaratchie is making up for lost time as he has finally hit the ice for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team after transferring from the Delbarton School.

Sitting out for the first 30 days of the season under New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) rules, Nissangaratchie made his debut for PDS on January 3 against Pope John and picked up an assist as the Panthers prevailed 4-1.

Last Thursday, Nissangaratchie notched his first goal for the Panthers as PDS skated to a hard-fought 1-1 tie against visiting Bergen Catholic.

“I was just practicing,” said Nissangaratchie. “It felt so good to finally play a game at Pope John and then today, my first home game.”

Nissangaratchie’s tally came late in the first period as he got loose on a 3-on-2 rush.

“Will Brown made a nice pass,” recalled Nissangaratchie. “He pulled both defensemen and slides it over and I put it short side.” more

HALL PASS: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jaden Hall fires a pass in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Hall scored a team-high 12 points in a losing cause as PDS fell 54-42 to Hopewell Valley. The Panthers, now 1-5, are slated to host the Doane Academy on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Before Jaden Hall took the court for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team against the Solebury School (Pa.) last week, he got some words of wisdom from his father.

“My dad told me to be aggressive and get your own shot,” said PDS junior guard Hall.

Following that advice, Hall tallied a career-high 18 points to provide a highlight as the Panthers fell 70-47 to Solebury in the January 11 contest.

After scoring four points in the first half, Hall tallied eight points in the third quarter and added six in the fourth.

“We were driving and kicking for threes,” said Hall, reflecting on his outburst. “We trusted our shooters and we trusted our ball handlers and started knocking down shots. I found my rhythm.”

Coming into this winter, Hall was looking to be more of a factor for the Panthers.

“Last year as a sophomore, I didn’t have that much of a role,” said Hall. “I have been working on my game to become a different type of player. Last year I was a catch and shoot type of guy so I am trying to focus on my ball-handling, being strong with the ball and cutting down on those turnovers. I started becoming more of a point guard type player.”

This past summer, Hall put in extra work to hone his skills.

“I played a lot of AAU ball,” said Hall. “I went to Baltimore to a MADE Hoops camp and got some good advice from a whole bunch of different coaches around Jersey and Pennsylvania. I started working out over the summer to get better as a player and help this team win.” more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Natalie Celso controls the puck in game last season. Last Friday, senior defenseman Celso scored two goals to help PDS defeat Princeton High 11-1. The Panthers, who moved to 3-2 with the win, host the Portledge School (N.Y.) on January 19 and Morristown Beard on January 21 before playing at Trinity Hall on January 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Natalie Celso is looking to be more assertive this winter in her senior season for the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team.

“I have been used to being a pretty quiet person on the team, I am trying to fill this big role,” said defensemen Celso.

“It is my first year really being in a leadership role for any team I have played with and it is big shoes to fill. It is fun and I think it is really helping me build confidence in myself and my own skills.”

Last Friday evening, Celso displayed her skills, tallying two goals to help PDS defeat crosstown rival Princeton High 11-1 at the Ice Land Rink and improve to 3-2.

“I was just able to keep my head straight and hold on to it,” said Celso. “I am working on trying not to panic with the puck.”

Coming off a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Summit on January 11, the Panthers were focused on finding the back of the net against PHS.

“We really wanted to work on scoring more,” said Celso. “We got stuck on the last game or so; we just had trouble putting the puck in the net. We definitely worked better together today than we have in the past games. When there is not as much pressure, it is really easy to start working on the things we have been struggling with.” more

THORNY SITUATION: Hun School boys’ basketball player Toby Thornburg puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, senior forward Thornburg hit a three-pointer with 23.7 seconds left in the game to give Hun a 42-40 win over the Shipley School (Pa.) as it overcame a 40-34 deficit in the final minute of play. The Raiders, who defeated Trenton Catholic Prep 54-47 on Monday to improve to 7-6, host the Peddie School on January 19 and Germantown Academy (Pa.) on January 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Toby Thornburg struggled with his outside shooting as the Hun School boys’ basketball team hosted the Shipley School (Pa.) last Thursday evening.

Hun senior forward Thornburg was 0-for-6 from three-point range and had just a layup and a free throw as the contest headed into the final minute of regulation.

But with Hun trailing by 40-39 and 23.7 seconds left, Thornburg finally found the range, draining a three-pointer that proved to be the margin of victory as the Raiders pulled out a dramatic 42-40 win.

“It was a little hectic; Dan [Vessey] got a real good steal, somebody got a real good offensive rebound and it ended up with me,” said Thornburg.

“I was open so I was able to take it and make it. I don’t shoot it if I don’t feel like it is in.”

Thornburg’s shot culminated a frantic rally as Hun trailed 40-34 with 1:11 left in regulation and narrowed the gap as Dan Vessey made a put back after his steal and then Jack Scott hit a three-pointer to make it 40-39.

With Hun having rallied to beat Academy of New Church (Pa.) 89-88 on December 16 as Scott hit a buzzer beater, the Raiders weren’t fazed by the late deficit. more

January 12, 2022

All was quiet at the Institute for Advanced Study on Friday after the first snowfall of the season. Residents and visitors share how they handled the snow in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With 287 new COVID-19 cases in Princeton in the previous seven days and 568 in the previous 14 days, Princeton Mayor Mark Freda and the Office of Emergency Management declared a state of emergency in Princeton on Monday evening, with face coverings required in public indoor spaces starting on Thursday, January 13.

“Since December 21, case counts have exploded at an exponential rate,” Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser told Princeton Council members at a January 10 meeting. “The health department continues to see cases increase at a rate we haven’t seen in this pandemic before.”

To provide perspective, Grosser noted that the first case in Princeton was confirmed on March 10, 2020 and it took a year and a half after that, until July 15, 2021, to see as many cases as Princeton has seen in just the past three weeks.

“It’s a super-fast working variant that has exploded,” he said, “and a tremendous struggle for the health department locally. Expect January to be a pretty difficult month.”

Freda and the Office of Emergency Management stated that its Declaration of State of Emergency was made ”in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Princeton,” in the face of “the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.”

Under the new mandate masks will be required in restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, dance studios, recreation facilities, retail stores, cafes, supermarkets, convenience stores, places of worship, commercial establishments, salons, barbershops, banks, health care facilities, hotels, and government buildings and facilities. The order will remain in effect until January 31 unless modified or extended by further order.

The Princeton Health Department has recently been focusing its efforts on the most vulnerable population, those over 65 and individuals in congregate living situations. They have also been working with the area schools to assist with protocols, testing, and contact tracing.

“The emergency mask mandate will assist in community prevention,” said Grosser,  more