January 31, 2024

SMALL WONDER: Princeton University women’s basketball player Ashley Chea dribbles upcourt in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, 5’8 freshman guard Chea tallied 11 points with four assists and three steals off the bench to help Princeton defeat Cornell 85-47. The Tigers, now 15-3 overall and 5-0 Ivy League, host Yale on February 2 and Brown on February 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Standing at 5’8, Ashley Chea is usually one of the shortest players on the court when she is in action for the Princeton University women’s basketball team.

But freshman guard Chea has made a big impact in her debut season for the Tigers, emerging as a key spark of the bench, averaging 5.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 15.3 minutes per game. more

HUMAN TOUCH: Princeton University women’s hockey player Kate Monihan skates around the crease in a game earlier this season. Senior defender and team co-captain Monihan was recently selected as one of 18 nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given for outstanding play on the ice and for exceptional volunteerism in the community. The finalists for prestigious award, which is in its 29th season, will be revealed in February, with the ultimate recipient announced on April 12 during the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four weekend in St. Paul, Minn. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As one of the captains of the Princeton University women’s hockey team, Kate Monihan tries to uplift her teammates.

“I am big into building strong relationships off the ice, I tend to lead by connecting with everyone,” said senior defender Monihan as she looked ahead to the 2023-24 season. “It is empathy-driven leadership by being everyone’s No. 1 supporter and ensuring that they feel confident on and the off the ice and supported on and off the ice. I think that channels into the team culture. If we all feel like our buckets are filled, we will be able to give more to the team as a whole. At our games, I think I expend more energy cheering on our teammates than playing.” more

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Xu displays his breaststroke form in a meet earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior star Xu placed first in both the 200-meter individual medley and 100 backstroke to help PHS finish first in the team standings at the Mercer County Swimming Championships. It marked the third straight county crown for the Tigers. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Knowing that it had a target on its back as it went for a third straight title at the Mercer County Swimming Championships last Saturday at the WW/P-North pool, the Princeton High boys’ swim team made a statement in the first final of the meet.

Competing in the 200-meter medley relay, PHS placed first in a time of 1:49.82 with WW/P-North taking second in 1:51.78.

“Everyone is after us, I think going into finals there was about a half second that separated us,” said PHS head coach Carly (Misiewicz) Fackler. “We knew going into it that it was going to be a close race. The guys were ready and very much up for the challenge. Jerry Liu with the freestyle leg in the event had probably the best 50 free I have ever seen him swim.” more

SPRINT FINISH: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Kyleigh Tangen heads to victory in a freestyle race earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior star Tangen placed first in both the 50-meter and 100 freestyle races at the Mercer County Swimming Championships. Tangen’s heroics helped PHS place first in the team standings as the Tigers won their third straight county title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High girls’ swimming team, its performance in the 400-meter freestyle relay in the finals of the Mercer County Swimming Championships last Saturday exemplified the competitive fire that has led the squad to dominate the meet in recent years.

The PHS quartet cruised to a win by nearly 10 seconds as they posted a winning time of 4:04.92 with Robbinsville taking second in 4:14.84.

“Our 400 free relay dropped eight seconds from Friday (in the preliminaries) to Saturday,” said PHS head coach Carly (Misiewicz) Fackler. “It was that statement piece, distancing ourselves from the field.” more

TOP OF THE PODIUM: Princeton High wrestler Kwabena Afrifah, second from right, enjoys the moment after he took first in the heavyweight division at the Mercer County Tournament last Saturday at Robbinsville High. In addition to senior Afrifah, junior Cole Rose placed first at 126 pounds and junior Blase Mele won at 138. The Tigers finished third in the MCT team standings behind champion Hopewell Valley and runner-up Robbinsville.

By Justin Feil

Kwabena Afrifah won the heavyweight title in his first boys’ wrestling Mercer County Tournament on Saturday, but it wasn’t beginner’s luck.

Afrifah only joined the Princeton High team this year after transferring from J.P. Stevens, where he was a two-time Region 4 qualifier out of District 15. After sitting out because of the 22-day senior transfer rule, Afrifah has taken to the mats with a vengeance, and the county crown was the latest in a string of wins.

“It feels great,” said Afrifah. “It really feels great.” more

SENIOR MOMENT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Logan Harrison controls the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior captain and star forward Harrison scored a goal and had an assist to help PDS defeat Randolph 4-0 as the program held its annual Senior Night celebration. The Panthers, who lost 4-2 to Immaculate Heart last Monday to move to 8-4, host Morristown-Beard on January 31 before playing the Pingry School on February 1 at the Bridgewater Sports Arena. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team held its annual Senior Night celebration last Friday when it hosted Randolph High, Logan Harrison was deeply touched.

“It is a great experience. I have been playing here for seven years — this last year I have seen all of the seniors of the past graduate, and now it is like my time,” said senior star forward and team co-captain Harrison. “It is really moving honestly. It really was bittersweet, I was so glad to have my family here too.”

The team’s Class of ’24, which includes 10 players, was honored with numbers posted on one side of the rink and posters with messages from their teammates at the other end. That group has developed a family feeling over the years. more

January 24, 2024

Geese and ducks gathered amidst the beauty of the Millstone River after last Friday’s snowstorm. Residents and visitors share how they handled the storm in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Melissa Bilyeu)

By Anne Levin

At a public hearing on Monday evening, January 22, about its proposal to consolidate the Civil Rights Commission, the Human Services Commission, and the Affordable Housing Board into one single committee, Princeton Council voted 5-0 to follow through with the ordinance despite three hours of testimony — nearly all of it opposed to the restructuring.

Emotions ran high at the meeting, both on and off the dais. Council members voted at the beginning of the hearing to amend the ordinance, changing its name from the Community Services Advisory Committee to the Advisory Committee on Affordable Housing, Human Serivces, and Racial, Social, and Economic Equity; the number of members, and how the chairperson would be selected. They also apologized for the way the ordinance was rolled out without committee members’ knowledge. more

By Anne Levin

Members of the Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development (PCRD) have filed a lawsuit in Mercer County Superior Court challenging the Princeton Planning Board’s recent approval of the Community Master Plan. The PCRD filed the lawsuit, identifying the municipality, Planning Board, and Mayor Mark Freda as defendants, on January 16.

Started by residents of the neighborhood bordering Princeton Theological Seminary when buildings on the campus were demolished and a multi-family development was proposed, the PCRD is described on its website as “a nonprofit organization that was formed to advocate for and enable a more effective and collaborative approach to land use development and redevelopment in Princeton.”

The group has been especially vocal about the Seminary development, and most recently about the new Master Plan, which was approved on November 30, 2023. Required by law, a Master Plan establishes a kind of road map to guide a municipality’s future growth and development. The Princeton Master Plan was last reviewed in 2018. more

By Anne Levin

Last Friday, Mayor Mark Freda, a Democrat, announced that he is seeking a second term. A few days earlier, Princeton resident and former School Board member Daniel Dart made it known that he will run as a Democrat for Congress against incumbent Bonnie Watson Coleman.

Current School Board member Brian McDonald, also a Democrat, announced last week that he will seek to fill the seat on Princeton Council that will be vacated by Eve Niedergang, who announced at Council’s reorganization meeting that she will not run for another term. And Democrat Leighton Newlin has confirmed that he will run for a second term on Council. more

SERVING THE COMMUNITY: On Youth Night at the Pennington United Methodist Church (PUMC), children make greeting cards to send to shut-ins. The PUMC is hosting a worship and celebration service this Sunday, January 28, along with six other major events later this year, to celebrate 250 years of Methodism in Pennington. (Photo courtesy of Pennington United Methodist Church)

By Donald Gilpin

The Pennington United Methodist Church (PUMC) will be hosting a series of seven different events this year to celebrate 250 years of Methodism in Pennington. The opening worship and celebration service will take place this Sunday, January 28 at 3 p.m. in the PUMC Sanctuary at 60 South Main Street in Pennington.

Sunday’s gathering will include a performance by the Princeton Symphonic Brass Quintet, along with PUMC organist Kathleen Connolly; lots of singing, “something the Methodists love to do,” according to PUMC member Julie Aberger; and a talk by Methodist Bishop John R. Schol, followed by a reception.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Protesters — two or three each day—have demonstrated outside Princeton Middle School (PMS) during the past two weeks, calling for revisions to the HiTOPS curriculum on diversity and inclusion.

Holding up signs stating “Stop HiTOPS” and protesting the “indoctrinating” of students, the parent demonstrators have stayed for about 30 minutes each morning on the sidewalk in front of the school, not on school grounds. The police have been in attendance, but there has been no disruption or violence.

On January 12, the second day of their demonstrations, the protesters faced a counter-protest of about 10 parents supporting HiTOPS and the need for LGBTQIA and racial literacy education. more

SCIENCE SATURDAYS: The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory will host a series of six free presentations on cutting-edge scientific topics presented by world-leading experts starting January 27, as part of the Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday lecture series for the science-curious of all ages. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory)

By Donald Gilpin

Want to learn from expert scientists about the issues making headlines around the world including clean energy solutions? AI art? Natural ways to fight viruses? The story of fusion ignition? Creating quantum technologies and diamonds?

Science on Saturday, now in its 39th year, will return on January 27 at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory PPPL), with the first of a series of six free talks, including presentation and Q&A, running from 9:30 to 11 a.m. each Saturday.

The opening session of the Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday lecture series will feature Rutgers University Computer Sciences Professor Ahmed Elgammal on the controversial topic of “Art in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.” Elgammal is the founder and director of the Art and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Rutgers. more

By Nancy Plum

Mahler Chamber Orchestra, a collective of players from around the world, has been heard in Princeton in the past, dating back to before the pandemic. Last weekend, Princeton University Concerts presented the renowned ensemble in a ground-breaking format of an immersive virtual installation. For four days, the public had the opportunity to be part of a multi-dimensional orchestral world as the Chamber Orchestra presented works of Mozart, Ives, and Mendelssohn, conveyed to listeners via headsets including a display screen, stereo sound, and sensors. The 45-minute concert was part of the Chamber Orchestra’s “Future Presence” project, a virtual reality initiative to enable fluid dynamic interaction among listeners, music, and performers.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

This is an anniversary year for Franz Kafka, who died on June 3, 1924, a doubly noteworthy centenary, given the immensity of the author’s posthumous presence, which suggests that if ever a writer was born on the day he died it was Kafka. No wonder, then, that a photograph of his face dominates the January 24 entry in A Book of Days for the Literary Year (Thames and Hudson 1984) when all he accomplished on that day in 1913 was to interrupt work on a book he never finished. Originally titled The Man Who Disappeared, it was retitled Amerika after his death by his best friend and executor Max Brod, who is best known for ignoring Kafka’s wish that all his unpublished writings be destroyed. more

PORCH-TO-PORCH MUSIC: Applications are now available from the Arts Council of Princeton for the third annual Princeton Porchfest on April 27. Community members can apply to perform or host performances on their porch. (Photo by Denise Applewhite, Princeton University)

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has announced that the third annual Princeton Porchfest will take place on Saturday, April 27 from 12-6 p.m. Applications for performers and porch hosts are available now.

Porchfest is a walkable music festival where neighbors offer up their front porches as DIY concert venues. Talented local performers play rotating sets throughout the neighborhood during this day-long celebration of music, art, and the community. Attendees are invited to stroll from porch to porch to sample live, local talent.  more

MAKING MUSIC: Students from Westminster Conservatory are among those who will perform as soloists at its annual showcase on February 4.

The Westminster Conservatory will present its annual showcase featuring students and ensembles from the Conservatory and Rider University on Sunday, February 4 at 3 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus.

The performers will be the Westminster Community Orchestra conducted by Ruth Ochs; the Rider University Chorale directed by Tom Shelton; and Matthew Gao, clarinet, Daniel Guo, alto saxophone, and Madeleine Nieman, soprano, winners of the Westminster Conservatory Concerto Competition. Each soloist will perform with the Community Orchestra.  more

FAMILY SAGA: Arthur Miller’s play “All My Sons” portrays a World War II-era clan with all their issues, on stage at Kelsey Theatre in West Windsor January 26 through February 4.

Shakespeare ’70 presents All My Sons, Arthur Miller’s tale of morality, guilt, responsibility, and irrevocable loss of innocence during World War II, at the Kelsey Theatre on Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor Campus, January 26-February 4.

The Keller family lives in a middle class, God-fearing neighborhood, where residents start and end their lives on the same block; where grape juice and gossip are never more than a few steps away; where power is gained through business and poker games; and where secrets divulged are over freshly baked apple pie. Joe Keller is a successful, self-made man who has spent his entire life in the single-minded pursuit of wealth for the sake of his family, and who loses sight of his morality — and pays the price.  more

“IT’S THE HARD KNOCK LIFE”: “Annie” comes to the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick as part of a new tour the weekend of February 2-4. (Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade)

Jenn Thompson, who at the age of 10 took the role of “Pepper” in the original Broadway production of Annie, directs the current production of the musical, coming to State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick February 2-4.

The Tony Award-winning show will be performed on Friday, February 2 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 3 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 4 at 1 p.m. Tickets range from $40-$105.   more

STILL GOING STRONG: “The Cher Show” covers the lengthy and still active career of the famous singer, at the State Theatre New Jersey February 9-11.

State Theatre New Jersey presents the Tony Award-winning musical, The Cher Show for four performances on Friday, February 9 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 10 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 11 at 1 p.m.  more

“BLUES OF THE RUBY MATRIX”: This 1958 oil painting is part of “George Segal: Themes and Variations,” on view through July 31 at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick. An opening reception is on January 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. (Courtesy of the George and Helen Segal Foundation)

Marking the centennial of George Segal’s birth in 1924, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers–New Brunswick welcomes visitors to experience more than 60 works, some familiar, others rarely seen, in “George Segal: Themes and Variations.” The exhibition, on view through July 31,  highlights not only the breadth of Segal’s work, but also the people and the state that helped to shape his career.

The public is invited to a free opening reception at the Zimmerli on Saturday,  January 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. more

“PORTRAIT OF GIRL DRAWING”: This work by Annika Crawford won “Best in Show” in the 2022 “Youth Art Exhibition” at Phillips’ Mill. This year’s exhibition opens on January 28 and runs on weekends through February 18.

To kick off the new year, Phillips’ Mill Community Association in New Hope, Pa., will feature its annual “Youth Art Exhibition” showcasing artwork from local high school students. Now in its 11th year, the exhibition opens at the historic Mill on January 28 and runs on weekends through February 18.  The show will also be available online at phillipsmill.org/art/youth-art-exhibition.

Working in collaboration with school art teachers who curate the artwork submitted, the show features paintings, works on paper, photography, digital art and 3-dimensional work. There are 23 schools participating this year. more

FAMILY FOCUS: “Over the years, both shop owners and customers have often become great friends. It has been so rewarding on so many levels,” says Sloane Browning left, who manages The Tomato Factory in Hopewell. She is shown with her mother, Mary Ann Browning, who established The Tomato Factory with her husband Maurice Browning in 1964. They are proud to be celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary.

By Jean Stratton

What’s new? What’s old? What’s hot? What’s best?

Whatever it is, you can find it in Hopewell’s Tomato Factory, located at 2 Somerset Street.

Long a favorite of customers from Princeton and beyond, it is a cooperative featuring 18 different shops all conveniently located under one roof. more

ON HER TOES: Princeton University women’s basketball player Chet Nweke guards a Columbia player last Saturday. Senior Nweke made her first career start in the contest and contributed nine points and six rebounds to help the Tigers prevail 80-65 over the Lions. Princeton, now 14-3 overall and 4-0 Ivy League, hosts Cornell on January 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Women’s college basketball is currently enjoying a golden age with record crowds, unprecedented television coverage, and the emergence of stars like Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers, and Angel Reese capturing national attention.

Last Saturday afternoon in a microcosm of the buzz around the sport, the Princeton University women’s hoops team hosted Columbia in a clash of Ivy League titans that entertained the raucous crowd of 1,873 braving arctic chill to show up at Jadwin Gym for the spectacle.

With the contest being broadcast nationally on ESPN News and the 2024 NCAA Division I championship trophy on display behind one of the baskets, the rivals, who were tied for first in the league standings, produced a riveting battle which saw Princeton overcome a 37-33 halftime deficit to pull away to an 80-65 win and improve to 14-3 overall and 4-0 Ivy.  more

EVEN KUEHL: Princeton University women’s hockey player Jane Kuehl streaks up the ice in a game last year. Last Friday, Kuehl scored a short-handed goal as Princeton lost 5-3 to Cornell in a game that saw the Tigers rally from a 3-0 deficit only to fall short. Princeton, who lost 6-0 to Colgate last Saturday to move to 12-7-3 overall and 5-7-3 ECAC Hockey, play at Brown on January 26 and at Yale on January 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Jane Kuehl, joining the Princeton University women’s hockey team last year was a family affair.

Coming to Princeton she was reunited with older sister, Annie, a star forward on the Tigers who helped inspire the younger Kuehl to get into the game.

“Seeing her play, I got competitive and I really wanted to play with her and against her,” said sophomore forward Kuehl of her older sister, who is in her senior season for the Tigers. “Luckily I have had the opportunity to play with her here.” more