January 26, 2022

Skaters enjoyed Palmer Square’s “eco-friendly” outdoor synthetic rink, located on Hulfish Street behind the Nassau Inn, on Sunday. The rink is open through February 27. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

Despite numerous pleas from members of the public, Princeton Council voted on Monday, January 24 to disband the Site Plan Review Advisory Board (SPRAB).

Some members of the municipal staff had questioned the need for the advisory committee, which is made up of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other planning professionals. At a discussion earlier in the day that was a continuation of an earlier meeting on the issue, the town’s Planning Board voted to recommend to Council that SPRAB be disbanded.

The consensus was that its work could be streamlined, and that changes were necessary to conform with New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL). Council voted 5-1 to pass the ordinance, with Councilmember David Cohen, who also serves on the Planning Board, casting the only vote against the measure.

“My preference is not to pass this ordinance tonight,” he said. “We heard a lot of dangers of throwing out the baby with the bathwater [at the Planning Board meetings], and it would be a mistake to get rid of a useful body like this without knowing what you’re going to replace it with.”

Councilmember Mia Sacks, who also serves on the Planning Board, said that while she values the work of SPRAB, there is a “legal gray area.” Starting over with a new process would be more efficient than untangling what already exists. “I think everyone wants to end up in the same place. It’s just a matter of what is a faster way to get there,” she said. “After today’s discussion, and listening to community members, I feel like I’m going to go with what our attorneys and staff advise.”

SPRAB Chair Louisa Clayton said she was shocked when she heard that the board’s future was in question. “We need more eyes on these projects, not fewer,” she said, noting some instances when SPRAB’s input had improved the final designs. While some of the town’s professional planning and engineering staff are not Princeton residents, those who have served on SPRAB are residents who have local knowledge of the community, she added. more

By Donald Gilpin

The recent COVID-19 surge continues to decline sharply in Princeton and throughout the state. The Princeton Health Department on January 24 reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 in Princeton over the previous seven days, down more than 50 percent from the highest ever seven-day total of 287, recorded just two weeks earlier on January 10.

Cases for the previous 14 days totaled 313 on Monday, also down significantly from the record two-week total of 568 for December 28, 2021 to January 10, 2022.

Princeton’s declining numbers are reflected throughout the state, as New Jersey on Tuesday, January 25, reported a seven-day average for new cases down 47 percent from a week ago. COVID-19-related deaths in New Jersey, with deaths following weeks after a surge in cases, continued to rise to a total of 1,892 so far for the month of January, but hospitalizations continued to decline, down 33 percent from a January 11 peak.

The COVID-19 transmission rate for New Jersey on Monday, January 24, fell to 0.64, down from 0.68 Sunday and well below the recent high of 1.92 on January 1. A rate below 1 indicates that the virus is in decline with each case leading to fewer than one additional case.   

Local public officials expressed some optimism in seeing the case numbers dropping, as the Omicron variant, which accounts for almost all of the current infections, is generally proving less severe than previous variants, and more people are gaining immunity from past infection and from vaccines. The Princeton vaccination rate is about 87 percent for residents age 5 and over, with 62 percent of those 18 and older having also received booster shots. more

By Anne Levin

In past years, sustainability was not a high priority for Princeton Public Schools (PPS). But recent efforts to make the four elementary schools more energy-efficient, and plans to continue that work at the middle school and high school, have signified a change in focus.

Sustainable Princeton and PPS want members of the public to know about the improvements that are in place, and help brainstorm some new ideas for those to come. A Zoom presentation on February 16 will detail current efforts, and a town hall on March 16 will give the public an opportunity to identify which kinds of sustainability programs they feel are most important.

“These are the first sustainability efforts in the schools in recent years,” said Jenny Ludmer, program manager for Sustainable Princeton. “The objective is to educate the community about everything the school district has been undertaking to make the schools more energy efficient, and what the plans are for the future.”

Utilizing New Jersey’s Direct Install program, “we were able to pay 20 cents on the dollar for energy efficiency upgrades throughout the four elementary schools,” said Matt Bouldin, business administrator for Princeton Public Schools, in a press release.

David Harding, director of plant and operations, said the middle and high schools come with a hefty price tag because of their intense energy use. “But that means they are ripe for significant energy savings,” he said.

Older buildings present a particular challenge in improving energy efficiency. “There are ways to do it sustainably, and ways to just keep managing the buildings the way they are,” said Ludmer. “The goal here is to do it sustainably.” more

SCIENCE ON SATURDAY: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) Director Steve Cowley discusses “The Magnetic Universe” at a past Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday lecture. This year’s popular series for science enthusiasts will begin this Saturday, January 29, with a virtual talk on “New Technological Frontiers in Cities” by Princeton University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Elie Bou-Zeid. (Photo by Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications)

By Donald Gilpin

Auroras, ocean robotics, plasma physics, new technologies, molecular machines, and much more will be in the spotlight on Saturday mornings through the beginning of March, as the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) offers science fans its 38th year of presentations by cutting-edge scientists.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the program will be live online for the third year, with six 9:30 a.m. Saturday lectures, January 29 through March 12. Further information and registration are available online at pppl.gov, “Science on Saturday,” with a link for all the lectures.

“I love the variety of talks, from what cities of the future are going to look like to sending astronauts to distant planets or sending robots into the ocean to turning molecules into machines,” said PPPL Head of Communications and Public Outreach Andrew Zwicker, who will be hosting the programs. “And the science is brought down to the level where you don’t have to be an expert to understand.”

Zwicker went on to point out advantages discovered in the online format. “Though we have missed the intimacy of in-person lectures the past two years, the remote format allows people from all over the state, the country, and the world to participate. We have gained a worldwide audience.”  more

By Anne Levin

Rose Wong

Rose Wong has left her post as executive director of Princeton Nursery School to become chief operating officer of the YWCA Princeton. Wong’s last day at the nursery school was Tuesday, January 18, and she stepped into her new role at the YWCA the following day.

“I love the Princeton Nursery School, its mission and its rich history,” Wong said this week. “However, I was looking for a new challenge, to have a broader impact on the community across the county, helping those who are marginalized with some impactful programs. The YWCA has such an amazing mission. The programming is very solid and it has opportunities for expansion. To be a part of that, working aside [CEO] Tay Walker, was a challenge and an opportunity I didn’t want to say no to. And it means I can help the school in a more impactful way.”

Wong will oversee the YWCA’s early childhood programs and will work with the directors of the Breast Cancer Resource Center and the English as a Second Language program.

“All three of these programs are great already,” she said. “But I’ll be looking at how the pandemic has impacted them, and how to make sure these services and much-needed resources can still be provided to the community that needs them the most.”

Wong will also work on the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism. The organization “advances its mission through programs that promote equity by creating opportunity, and support women and girls through every age and every stage of life,” according to a press release. more

“PAYING IT FORWARD”: Pammie Vandermark, left, transportation coordinator and bus driver for the Princeton Public Schools, and Transportation Supervisor Donna Bradin make sure that Princeton’s students are delivered to school every morning and brought back home safely in the afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Pammie Vandermark)

By Donald Gilpin

Pammie Vandermark found her calling about 30 years ago. She’s a school bus driver and transportation coordinator for the Princeton Public Schools (PPS), and for her and her sisters, “it’s a family affair,” she said. One of her sisters is also a bus driver for the district and the other sister is a school bus assistant who works in the cafeteria at Riverside Elementary School between bus runs.

Vandermark, a Princeton native who now lives in Ewing, described how she got started as a school bus driver. She continues to drive the buses frequently, as needed, though she has progressed from aide to driver to transportation assistant and, since 2015, transportation coordinator.

“My children had started school and I was home all day, and I needed to talk to people, and the job of bus aide fit the hours of my children being in school,” she said. “I got home just in time before my children got home, and I got benefits and health insurance for my family.”

Vandermark started work with the transportation department as an aide on a bus run with special education students. She quickly realized how important her work was to the children and their parents. “My heart went out to the families,” she said. “The first week I cried the whole week. My boss asked, ‘Are you going to make it?’ To see these children with disabilities and to see what the parents had to go through every day broke my heart.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head …

—W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)

Imagine writing a novel about the survivors of a plague that kills 99.9 percent of the world’s population. Let’s say things are going well, the end’s almost in sight when a real-life pandemic begins producing an alarmingly high death toll. As the numbers climb into the millions, you’re distracted by the ongoing event, the way it may conflict with or affect your concept, not to mention your own well-being, plus the pressure from a publisher looking to rush a sure bestseller into print.

Now imagine playing the starring role in a television series based on a novel about the survivors of a plague that kills 99.9 percent of the world’s population. You’re just beginning to get to know your character when the real-life pandemic of 2020 halts production, puts you in lockdown isolation for months, after which filming resumes in another, supposedly safer country, where you remain until production wraps in early 2021. And then, even as you’re doing pre-release interviews, new variants like Delta and Omicron are making you wonder if the world might be gravitating toward a virus no less unthinkable, and oh, here’s a new film, a silly but scary dystopian satire called Don’t Look Up coming along just in time to put a funhouse focus on life on earth as the environmental doomsday clock keeps moving toward high noon.

The novelist Emily St. John Mandel avoided the first what-if scenario by finishing her book Station Eleven in 2014. The actress Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) had to deal with, live through, and somehow successfully transcend the real-life challenges of the second scenario. more

“OUR TOWN”: Performances are underway for “Our Town.” Presented by Kelsey Theatre and Shakespeare 70, and directed by Jake Burbage and Frank Falisi, the play runs through January 30 at Kelsey Theatre. Above: the Stage Manager (Curt Foxworth, center) and the cast. On ladders are George (Jake Burbage, left) and Emily (Kate Augustin). (Photo courtesy of Jake Burbage)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

On January 22, 1938, Our Town premiered at McCarter Theatre. Thornton Wilder wrote to a friend that the performance, which was “sold out with standees,” was an “undoubted success.” An unimpressed Variety declared that the play would “probably go down as the season’s most extravagant waste of fine talent” — an ironic assessment since Our Town won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama later that year.

Eighty-four years later (almost to the day), Our Town is being presented by Shakespeare 70 at Kelsey Theatre. Directed by Jake Burbage and Frank Falisi, this smooth, deft production honors Wilder’s intentions, while subtly giving additional focus and insight to a central character.

In terms of the visual aesthetic, this Our Town generally does not stray from what audiences might expect after seeing photos of past productions. In keeping with Wilder’s request for “no scenery,” Judi Parrish (credited with “props”) furnishes the stage with simple wooden chairs, on which cast members gradually sit before the performance begins.

Although the play is set at the beginning of the 20th century, costume designer Brittany Rivera generally eschews period costumes, letting most of the cast wear casual contemporary outfits. Among the notable exceptions is the good-naturedly pedantic Professor Willard (an exuberant Ray Fallon), whose bright yellow suit matches the character’s personality.

As if to blur the lines between stage and audience, the house lights are not dimmed until the performance has been underway for several minutes. The Stage Manager (Curt Foxworth) delivers the customary pre-performance reminders about emergency exits and silencing electronic devices, then seamlessly goes on-script to give a detailed introduction of the play’s setting. more

RISING STAR: Violinist Alexi Kenney is the soloist at the February 5 and 6 concerts by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in Richardson Auditorium. (Photo by Grittani Creative LTD)

Kenneth Bean, the (PSO) Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s recently appointed Georg and Joyce Albers-Schonberg Assistant Conductor, makes his debut on the podium at performances on Saturday, February 5 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 6 at 4 p.m. Violinist Alexi Kenney also makes his PSO debut with his interpretation of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto.

Also on the program are Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Ballade in A Minor, Op. 33 and Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, From the New World. Both concerts are in Richardson Auditorium, on the campus of Princeton University. All attendees are required to wear masks at all times while inside the building, be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, and must have received boosters, if eligible. more

75th ANNIVERSARY TOUR: London’s Royal Philharmonic, led by conductor Vasily Petrenko, comes to the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on Sunday, January 30 at 3 p.m.

State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick presents London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO), led by conductor Vasily Petrenko with cello soloist Kian Soltani, on Sunday, January 30, at 3 p.m. The program includes Britten’s Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes; Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 35 with cello soloist Kian Soltani; and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances.

Celebrating its 75th year, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra typically performs approximately 200 concerts each to a worldwide audience of more than 500,000 people, reaching the most diverse audience of any British symphony orchestra.     more

“OUR TOWN”: Jim Bloss of Marlton as Doc Gibbs and Monique Beasley of Trenton as Mrs. Gibbs rehearse for the production of “Our Town” at the Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College. The Thornton Wilder classic runs through January 30. (Photo courtesy of Kelsey Theatre)

Shakespeare ’70 is performing Our Town through January 30, at the Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College (MCCC).

Thornton Wilder’s classic drama explores the universal themes of life, death, and everything in between. The play, which takes place in a small New England town at the turn of the 20th century, details the lives of two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs, and asks the question: “Do human beings realize life while they live it? Is there hope for something more?” more

DYNAMIC DUO: State Theatre New Jersey hosts Air Supply’s Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock on February 4. (Photo by Achilles Prinos)

The famed duo Air Supply performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on Friday, February 4 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$85.

Graham Russell’s lyrics combined with Russell Hitchcock’s voice, and hits including, “Making Love Out of Nothing at All,” “Goodbye,” “Lost in Love,” “It’s Never Too Late,” “The One That You Love,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “All Out of Love,” have made Air Supply famous in the world of soft rock and pop music.

The two men met on May 12, 1975, the first day of rehearsals for Jesus Christ Superstar in Sydney, Australia. They became instant friends and soon began playing late night gigs at pizza parlors, coffee bars, and night clubs with just one guitar and two voices. They quickly gained a reputation for their harmonies and original songs. They made a demo on a cassette of two songs, “Love and Other Bruises” and “If You Knew Me” and took it to every record company in Sydney. Everyone turned it down except CBS Records.

In 2013, the duo was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Hall of Fame. Air Supply celebrated their 45th anniversary in 2020.

Visit STNJ.org for ticket information. State Theatre New Jersey is at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.

“POSING BEAUTY IN AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE”: A touring exhibition, opening January 29 at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, challenges contemporary understandings of beauty by framing notions of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and politics.

The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton will present a touring exhibition, “Posing Beauty in African American Culture,” opening January 29. The exhibition explores the contested ways in which African and African American beauty have been represented in historical and contemporary contexts. Throughout the Western history of art and image-making, the relationship between beauty and art has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture. 

Presented in the State Museum’s main first floor gallery through May 22, the exhibition was organized by the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and curated by Deborah Willis, Ph.D., university professor and chair of the department.

“Posing Beauty in African American Culture” challenges contemporary understandings of beauty by framing notions of aesthetics, race, class, and gender within art, popular culture, and politics.  more

“SPRING LAKE”: Submissions are due by April 22 for the Friends of the Abbott Marshlands’ “Voices of the Marsh” 10th juried photography exhibit, which will be on view June 5 through September 18 at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton. (Photo by Ann E. Darlington)

The nonprofit Friends for the Abbott Marshlands has announced a call for art for “Voices for the Marsh,” its 2022 biennial, 10th juried photography exhibit. It is juried by Al Horner of New Jersey Pinelands photographic fame, and Pat Coleman, naturalist and president of the Friends.

Submissions are due by Earth Day, April 22, with the exhibition running June 5 through September 18. The venue is Tulpehaking Nature Center’s galleries at 157 Westcott Avenue, Hamilton. The show provides an opportunity for both fine art photographers and local hobbyists to capture the cultural and ecological richness of the marshlands and participate in the Friends’ efforts to build awareness and support for the protection and stewardship of the marshlands. A prospectus is available at abbottmarshlands.org. more

“TAKE UNTO THEE SWEET SPICES”: This oil on canvas work by Tracy DiTolla was selected for The Center for Contemporary Art’s 2022 “International Juried Exhibition.” The show is on view through February 26. DiTolla was also awarded a future solo exhibit at the center in Bedminster.

The Center for Contemporary Art’s 2022 “International Juried Exhibition” is on view through February 26. For the exhibit, juror Erin Jenoa Gilbert selected 48 pieces by 30 artists from 590 entries from 204 artists from across the United States and as far away as Canada, Cuba, Japan, Singapore, Sudan, and Ukraine. New Jersey artists selected for the exhibition are Tracy DiTolla (Wyckoff), Steven Epstein (Edison), Sandy Furst (Basking Ridge), Anita Gladstone (Springfield), Valerie Huhn (Flemington), David Z. Orban (Trenton), Robert Reid (Frenchtown), and Chrissy Wallace (Millington).

Three artists were awarded cash prizes. First Prize: Alireza Vaziri Rahimi (Davis, Calif.); Second Prize: Monica Mendes (Miami, Fla.); and Third Prize: Myra Joyce Nowlin (Abilene, Texas). more

STYLIZED ART: Work by Plainsboro artist, designer, and illustrator Terrance Cummings will be on view at the Plainsboro Public Library through the end of March. An artist talk is scheduled for February 5 at 2 p.m.

Plainsboro artist, designer, and illustrator Terrance Cummings will show his work in the Plainsboro Public Library gallery during the months of February and March.

Opening February 1, the show will feature Cummings’ graphic work, which often consists of flattened areas of color assembled into stylized figures. Classically trained in figurative drawing, the artist often uses the human figure as his main subject.

Cummings describes his art as “socially relevant” and says he aims to create art that “addresses a problem.”  He says he hopes “to provide positive depictions and alternatives to some of the challenging issues of today.” more

ON THE BALL: Princeton University women’s basketball player Chet Nweke (No. 25) battles for the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore forward Nweke scored six points in 16 minutes off the bench as Princeton rolled to a 78-35 win over visiting Dartmouth. The Tigers, now 13-4 overall and 5-0 Ivy League, play at Yale on January 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In developing into a college basketball player, Chet Nweke honed her skills through competing with her older brother Ike.

“We have fights when we play one-on-one, he definitely impacted my basketball career a lot,” said Princeton University women’s basketball sophomore forward Nweke, whose brother Ike is a senior star forward on Columbia.

“He would always push me to get into the gym. Working out with him has just made me tougher as a basketball player. I would go to his AAU practices, playing with boys was a nice thing to do to get stronger and more confident.”

Last Saturday, Nweke displayed her toughness, contributing six points, one rebound, and one assist in 16 minutes off the bench as Princeton rolled to a 78-35 win over visiting Dartmouth, improving to 13-4 overall and 5-0 Ivy League.

“Coming into this game, I wanted to feel like I was a big part of this team,” said Nweke, a 6’0 native of Woodbine, Md., who is averaging 2.4 points and 1.5 rebounds in 17 appearances off the bench. more

TRIPLE PLAY: Princeton High girls’ track star Ada Metaxas displays the medal she earned for placing first in the triple jump at the Mercer County Championships last Friday. Senior Metaxas, who also took fourth in the long jump and sixth in the 55-meter hurdles at the meet, helped PHS place fourth in the team standings with 47 1/3 points, just two points behind third-place West Windsor-Plainsboro High North.

By Justin Feil

Ada Metaxas proved you’re never too old to learn.

Metaxas may be a senior in her second year as one of the Princeton High track and field team’s sprints and jumps captains, but she felt the pressure of her expectations and challenges outside of her control in a fourth-place showing in the girls’ long jump at the Mercer County Championships on Friday at Lawrenceville School. She responded barely a half-hour later to record a personal-record 34’11 to win the county girls’ triple jump title.

“It meant a lot,” said Metaxas. “I was surprised. Not that I didn’t expect it, but it wasn’t the event I thought I would win. I thought I would win long jump. My previous meets, that was my best event. A lot of it had to do with my mindset.”

Metaxas, who was put off by the cold temperatures at Lawrenceville’s indoor track, didn’t feel fully warmed up and loose, or as comfortable on the jumps runway as at some meets. She jumped 15’10½, a foot off her personal best, to finish behind three other competitors she thought she was confident that she could beat.

“I think I’ve had an expectation like that before,” said Metaxas. “Coming into it, it’s one of the first meets in the season, so I guess it was just a lot. I think having a more positive mentality going in, and just focusing on enjoying it, that’s what I need to focus on. By turning around that mentality, I was able to win the triple jump. That was a positive end to the night.” more

RAY OF HOPE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Rachel Luo heads to the hoop in a game last season. Last Saturday, junior star Luo scored a team-high 13 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 53-31 to Montgomery. The Tigers, who moved to 5-4 with the defeat, play at Allentown on January 28 and then host Trenton Central on February 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Rachel Luo went through her pregame paces for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team when it hosted Robbinsville last week, she was hot from the perimeter.

“During warmups, I was feeling pretty good with my 3s,” said junior guard/forward Luo.

That feeling was a harbinger of things to come as Luo hit a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter. “I found I was open and I just shot it,” recalled Luo.

Despite Luo’s hot shooting, PHS found itself trailing the Ravens 18-8 at the end of the first quarter.

“We were rushing, especially under a lot of pressure,” said Luo.

“We were just not making good decisions. A lot of offensive plays that we ran in practice, we didn’t really go into.”

Facing a 36-14 deficit after three quarters, the Tigers showed some fight down the stretch, outscoring Robbinsville 10-7 in the fourth on the way to a 43-24 loss.

“A couple of our players were being more aggressive, we were just going all out, trying to get back a little bit,” said Luo, who ended up with 10 points in the game.

“That definitely helped a little bit once we got a few fouls and made a few shots and ran a few offensive plays.”

Luo has gone all out to improve as a player. “During the offseason, I just played,” said Luo, who scored a team 13 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 53-31 to Montgomery last Saturday to move to 5-4. more

LIGHTING IT UP: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Jen Lightman dribbles upcourt in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore guard Lightman scored 14 points to help PDS edge Doane Academy 36-33. The Panthers, who moved to 4-4 with the win, play at WW/P-North on January 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After opting out of her freshman season with the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team last winter due to COVID-19 concerns, Jen Lightman is back on the court and having a ball.

“Now that I am finally able to play, it is really nice just to be with the team environment and be around all of these people,” said Lightman.

“I love playing with them so much, it is great playing with them all.”

Lightman found herself in an exciting environment last Friday as the Panthers hosted Doane Academy with a raucous crowd on hand in the PDS Athletic Center. With the Panthers clinging to a 34-33 lead with 23.7 seconds left in regulation, Lightman went to the foul line and drained a free throw to give PDS some breathing room on the way to a 36-33 victory.

“I was so nervous going to the free throw line,” said Lightman, who ended up with 14 points in the win.

“The environment was really nerve-wracking because you have all of these people around you. It was really exciting for us.”

In the early stages, the Panthers jumped out to a 20-4 lead with some exciting play at the offensive end. more

FLYING HIGH: Hun School boys’ swimmer Gabe Huang displays his butterfly form in a race this season. Senior captain Huang has helped Hun get off to a 5-0-1 start this season. The Raiders will be competing in the Mercer County Championships from January 27-29 at WW/P-North. (Photo by Jamie McKee/The Hun School)

By Bill Alden

It may have been a tie, but it represented a triumphant moment for the Hun School boys’ swimming team.

Competing against nemesis Pennington, Hun dueled its foe to an 84-84 deadlock last Wednesday.

“It was very exciting, we had the lead going into the last relay,” said Hun head coach Joan Nuse, whose team moved to 5-0-1 with the tie.

“It was a little disappointing for the kids but they asked is this still historic and I said yes. I don’t think we had ever come close to them. As far as I am aware, we have never beaten them.”

In the meet against Pennington, junior Nick Danko placed first in both the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke while senior Gabe Huang won the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and senior Tom Goritschnig prevailed in the 200 free.

Danko has emerged and solidified his status as a key performer for the Raiders this winter.

“Nick is a great swimmer, he has always done whatever he could do,” said Nuse.

“He has big shoes to fill in terms of being Abbie’s  (former Hun star and current Bates College swimmer Abbie Danko) little brother. When we had our normal season right before the pandemic, he qualified for Easterns. He is a good swimmer. It is great for him to have a regular kind of season and get to going back to having counties this year.” more

SEEING RED: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Will Brown skates up the ice in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior defenseman Brown and the Panthers battled hard but came up short in a 4-0 loss to Lawrenceville as they resumed their rivalry with the Rig Red. PDS, which moved to 5-4-2 with a 4-2 defeat to Seton Hall last Friday, hosts St. Joe’s Montvale on January 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After a hiatus of two years, the heated rivalry between the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team and Lawrenceville, its neighbor five miles to the south down Route 206, was back on the ice last Wednesday evening.

While there were some attendance limitations at McGraw Rink, the sights and sounds were familiar.

A throng of PDS students arrived early and packed one end of the rink, many wearing Panther hockey jerseys and some holding up handwritten signs with some unfriendly messages for the visiting Big Red.

There was a buzz in the air as the players swirled through their warmups, banging pucks off the glass and whirring around the ice.

Once the opening whistle blew, the rivals went at each other with their traditional verve, delivering bone-crunching hits into the boards and producing end-to-end action.

After a period, the foes were knotted in a scoreless tie. “The first period went better than I could have dictated,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli. “Timmy [Miller] played great in goal.” more

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