July 17, 2024

By Donald Gilpin

The presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in Princeton last Wednesday, July 10, including the arrest of one resident, has caused high levels of concern among residents and government officials at the local and state levels.

Whether it was a “targeted operation,” as designated by ICE officials, or a “raid,” as described by many locals, agents in ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Newark division arrived early on the morning of July 10 in unmarked cars.

“I am horrified to learn of the ICE raids carried out in Princeton today, by agents who did not identify themselves, drove into communities, and stopped Hispanic/Latinx residents seemingly at random to interrogate them and demand documentation,” said U.S. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in a July 10 statement. “This kind of conduct has absolutely no place in our community or our country.” more

By Anne Levin

Jonathan Bucchere, Princeton’s police chief for the past two years, will retire at the end of this month. Subject to approval by the mayor and Council — likely at the July 22 Council meeting — his replacement will be current Captain Christopher Tash, who, like Bucchere is a longtime member of the Princeton Police Department (PPD).

“I’ve worked my entire career with Chris Tash, and I absolutely know he is going to do a spectacular job as chief,” said Bucchere. “It gives me great joy that he is going to take over and continue to do special things for this town, his way.” more

BOOKS FOR BOTSWANA: Claire Tang, left, Princeton High School junior and recently appointed World Literacy Foundation youth ambassador, and her classmate Emma Liu stand with boxes of books about to be shipped to a school in Botswana for an African library book drive they helped to organize. (Photo courtesy of Claire Tang)

By Donald Gilpin

As a newly appointed World Literacy Foundation youth ambassador for 2024, Princeton High School junior Claire Tang will be continuing her work to combat illiteracy and increase education and awareness about the importance of reading and writing.

“Reading has always been one of my biggest hobbies, so I’ve experienced the positive impact literacy can have on quality of life,” Tang wrote in an email. Last year she worked with the African Library Project (ALP) and the Alliance of Youth Leaders in the United States (AYLUS) to organize two book drives that supported libraries in Malawi and Botswana, resulting in more than 2,500 books delivered and $2,000 raised.

In partnership with her classmate Emma Liu, Tang is working on another book drive this summer with AYLUS and ALP to support a secondary school library in Lesotho.

As a youth ambassador in the year ahead, she plans to continue her work with ALP and AYLUS while branching out into additional literacy challenges locally and globally. more

NEW MUSIC: The 10th annual Cone Composition Institute Concert brings the music of four emerging composers, played by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, to Richardson Auditorium on Saturday, July 20. Pictured here are the participants in a past Institute program.

By Anne Levin

In the first year of the Edward T. Cone Composition Institute’s one-week summer program pairing promising composers with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium, 30 people applied for the four available slots.

That was a decade ago. Applications for this year’s session, which is underway and will culminate in a concert on Saturday evening at 8 p.m., numbered more than 200. The reputation of the Institute, which is presented in collaboration with the University’s music department, has clearly grown.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Noga Alon
(Photo by Sameer A. Khan)

Princeton University Professor Noga Alon has been awarded the 2024 Wolf Prize in Mathematics “for pioneering contributions to mathematical cryptography, combinatorics, and the theory of computer science.” And the 2024 Wolf Prize in Physics has been presented to Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) Trustee Emeritus Martin Rees, for his “fundamental contributions to high-energy astrophysics, galaxies and structure formation, and cosmology.”

Considered one of the most prestigious international awards for scientific and artistic achievement, the Wolf Prize, granted in Israel, includes a $100,000 monetary award. More than one-third of Wolf Prize recipients have gone on to receive a Nobel Prize, according to the Wolf Foundation.

A Princeton University press release describes Alon, who shares the mathematics award with Adi Shamir of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, as “one of the most prolific mathematicians in the world,” having published more than 850 papers, including papers on biology, economics, and neuroscience. In addition to his position at Princeton University, Alon has also been “a regular fixture” at IAS as a member and visitor in the School of Mathematics since 1993, according to an IAS press release. more

July 11, 2024

A release from the Municipality of Princeton notes that on July 9, at approximately 9 a.m., Princeton Recreation staff observed a brown bat alive and moving on the ground near the Community Park School Playground. Princeton Animal Control Officer Jim Ferry took possession of the bat and submitted it for testing at the New Jersey Public Health and Environmental Laboratory. On Wednesday, July 10, the bat tested positive for rabies. Currently, no human exposures are known. Anyone who may have been in physical contact with this bat is highly recommended to notify the Princeton Health Department for guidance and/or seek medical treatment.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease that can be prevented by avoiding contact with animals that may be rabid. If a person has significant exposure, getting vaccinated right away can also prevent disease. Rabies can be spread from the bite or scratch of a rabid animal, or when the animal’s saliva contacts a person’s mouth, eyes, or an open sore.

Rabies poses a real threat, especially to unvaccinated domestic animals. According to the release, this incident should remind pet owners to ensure their animals are up to date with rabies vaccinations. Rabies occurs throughout New Jersey, including Princeton. Skunks, foxes, raccoons, groundhogs, bats and unvaccinated domestic animals can also develop rabies. In Princeton, approximately three to six animals per year test positive for rabies. Human rabies cases in the United States are rare. more

July 10, 2024

By Anne Levin

At a meeting Monday evening, July 8, Princeton Council introduced an ordinance to adopt the redevelopment plan for properties at Princeton Theological Seminary. A public hearing on the plan, which calls for construction of 238 apartments, 20 percent of which would be designated affordable, is scheduled for the next meeting of Council on July 22.

As outlined in the 41-page proposal prepared by Kyle McManus Associates of Hopewell, the plan’s aims include utilizing smart growth principles “to achieve better planning outcomes for the community,” providing “higher density, compact development in close proximity to downtown and transit to reduce auto dependence and support greenhouse gas reductions consistent with the Princeton Climate Action Plan,” establishing a multi-family development within walking distance of downtown, providing better on-site stormwater management, and improved safety for drivers, among additional goals.  more

By Donald Gilpin

Registration is open for the YWCA After-School Program (ASP) for the 2024-2025 school year at Community Park, Johnson Park, Littlebrook, and Riverside elementary schools, and also for students who attend Pre-K at Y locations.

The program is available for students from Pre-K through grade 5, with teachers from the Y providing services on school days from 3 to 6 p.m.

To secure a space in the program, parents are encouraged to register before mid-August. Applications are approved on a first-come, first-served basis with some schools filling up faster than others.

The ASP includes 30 minutes of outdoor play, weather permitting, and indoor activities such as gym time, crafting, storytelling, games, and dancing. Students will also be provided with homework help and a nutritious afternoon snack. more

By Donald Gilpin

Reflections on Paul Robeson, the Witherspoon-Jackson (W-J) neighborhood, and the future of Princeton, along with community gatherings and sports, will highlight this year’s Joint Effort Safe Streets Summer Program, starting on August 2 and continuing through August 11.

“It’s always important for the community to come together,” said Joint Effort (JE) founder and organizer John Bailey. “And it’s even more important now because we have lost our way. On the national level and on the local level we have lost our way.”

The annual program will include social, athletic, and cultural events; the presentation of numerous awards; and three discussions with community leaders on hot topics facing Princeton.  more

REVIVING A NEIGHBORHOOD: Led by Kean University, the Coalport Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Project will work to revive the Coalport section of Trenton. (Photo courtesy of Kean University)

By Anne Levin

A new project to revitalize a once-thriving section of Trenton has been launched by Kean University. The Coalport Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Project, focused on an area in the capital city’s North Ward, is funded by a two-year $750,000 federal grant, and is led by the university’s John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research and Michael Graves College School of Public Architecture.

As the project develops, teams from the two entities will engage with local residents of the neighborhood to gather input and guide the plan. Coalport “became distressed after factors such as redlining drove investment away from the area, leaving behind abandoned buildings and an underserved community,” reads a release from Kean University. “Along with addressing housing and economic opportunities for residents, the Coalport project aims to increase access to improved public spaces and build connections to adjacent communities for additional opportunities.” more

By Anne Levin

Richard Veit

As the home of Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte, the Point Breeze estate in Bordentown has been a local point of interest since Bonaparte, the exiled King of Spain, lived there from 1816 to 1839. The 60-acre property, which once included some 2,200 acres, was preserved by D&R Greenway Land Trust, the State of New Jersey, and the City of Bordentown in 2020.

Relics found at the site during multiple architectural digs are the subject of a presentation in celebration of Bastille Day on Sunday, July 14 at 2 p.m. Richard Veit, professor of anthropology at Monmouth University, will talk about the history of the site and the artifacts he has unearthed. Some of them come from the days of Lenape hunters; others are more recent, from the last century.

Veit is a member of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey. At the Bastille Day event, he will weave together the stories of two digs that connect Point Breeze to France, through the Bonaparte family. In partnership with Divine Word Missionaries — which owned the property from 1941 to 2020 — and D&R Greenway, Veit led excavations around the site of Bonaparte’s first mansion and behind the gardener’s house. Some of the artifacts he has exhumed are on display at the Discovery Center, located in the former gardener’s house.

 more

July 3, 2024

By Donald Gilpin

Addressing the need for accessible and affordable vision and dental care in the low to moderate-income (LMI) local population, Princeton Council has approved resolutions to renew federal programs that are fully funded by a HUD Community Development Block Grant.

“I’m thrilled that we’re continuing this,” said Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, as the Council at their June 24 meeting unanimously supported the resolution for the third year of the programs. “These are truly life-changing services that we’re providing.”

“Offering free dental and vision care to our LMI residents is an essential and impactful measure to guarantee fair access to vital health services,” Fraga added in a July 1 email. “For many, this is their first chance to receive such care, which is critical for their overall health.” more

By Anne Levin

Subtle changes are underway at Princeton Battlefield State Park. Those familiar with the site along Mercer Road may have noticed that some trees have been removed, especially around the Thomas Clarke House.

This is just the beginning of a multi-year project to make the site of Gen. George Washington’s January 1777 “Ten Crucial Days” victory against the British more historically accurate. By the time celebrations of the nation’s 250th anniversary begin in 2026, the park should more closely resemble that wartime landscape.

It is all part of a plan called “Washington’s Legacy,” and it includes the installation of a walking path, replanting of an orchard near where the Clarke House once stood, the restoration of historic tree lines, and the recreation of the Sawmill Trace Road, which Washington and his troops traveled as they came to the battlefield. The project is a collaboration of the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS), the American Battlefield Trust (ABT), and the State of New Jersey.  more

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Scholars in the Homeworks Trenton program, which will soon have a permanent headquarters designed by JZA+D near the city’s Cadwalader Park. Homeworks houses girls who attend Trenton public schools during the week, providing support and structure to help them thrive.

By Anne Levin

Among the three honorees at the Women of Achievement breakfast held by the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce on June 26 was Natalie Tung, the co-founder and executive director of Homeworks Trenton, an after-school boarding program for marginalized girls who attend the city’s public schools. Tung, a native of Hong Kong and a graduate of the Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, was nominated for the distinction by Princeton-based architect Joshua Zinder.

The two had met at a networking event during which Tung spoke of her goals for the program — to provide the students with an environment of stability, structure, and support. Fast-forward five years, and Zinder has helped Tung find a permanent home for the program in Trenton. His firm, JZA+D, has designed the repurposing of the building, which will increase its usable square footage by some two thirds, provide dormitories, a full kitchen, areas for work and study, staff apartments, and more. more

EINSTEIN IN DOHM ALLEY: Town officials joined Princeton Einstein Museum creators for a ribbon-cutting event with magnets at the opening of “Einstein’s Attraction to Magnetism,” a pop-up exhibition in Dohm Alley at 102 Nassau Street through September 15. From left are Einstein Museum Board Treasurer Riten Patel, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Staff Research Physicist Frances Kraus, Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, Princeton Municipal Administrator Bernie Hvozdovic Jr., Princeton Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros, property owner Stanley Dohm, and exhibit designer Jonn McCollum. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Einstein Museum)

By Donald Gilpin

“Einstein’s Attraction to Magnetism,” a summer pop-up exhibition, opened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on June 27 at Dohm Alley on Nassau Street, and it will remain open through September 15.

Created by the Princeton Einstein Museum, which is under development for a future opening, the exhibit includes four 9×4-foot banners with information about magnetism and how it is used, Princeton-area research using magnets, a life-sized Einstein selfie, and a hands-on ferrofluid playground. more

By Anne Levin

The Jasna Polana Golf Club is under a purchase/sale agreement with Concert Golf Partners to sell the club and its amenities. The transaction is expected to close on July 9. Concert Golf Partners is a property investment company in Heathrow, Fla., with more than 30 private clubs in its collection.

The 222-acre property and 18-hole golf course, bordered by Route 206 and Province Line Road, has been on the market since last September. It will remain in full use as a golf club and will not be developed, according to administration of the club.

“One hundred percent, they will keep it as is,” said Peter Angerame, Jasna Polana’s director of sales and marketing. “They didn’t buy this to develop it.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The theme is understanding the past and shaping the future, and Morven on Stockton Street in Princeton, embodying a rich history that dates from the American Revolution to the roaring ’20s to the societal upheavals of the 1960s, provides an ideal setting to explore that theme.

Morven Museum & Garden, supported by a variety of community partners, is taking on the challenge of connecting history and civic engagement with a July schedule of educational programs and entertaining events that includes a festive Fourth of July Jubilee; a community reading of Frederick Douglass’ “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”; a Summer Reading Soirée with two authors of historical fiction discussing their recent novels; summer cream tea service in Morven’s historic Garden Room; and an exploration of the “hidden histories” of women’s education in early America.  more

June 26, 2024

POST OFFICE NO MORE: The Triumph Brewing Company, relocated to the former post office building on Palmer Square, will be reopening this weekend after years of planning, renovation, and reconstruction. The main entrance is located where the post office loading dock used to be, on the opposite side of the building from the old post office entrance. (Photo by Anthony Stull Photography)

By Donald Gilpin

The former post office on Palmer Square is ready for its long-awaited rebirth as the Triumph Brewing Company, with reopening scheduled for this weekend, according to Triumph representative Eric Nutt.

It’s been a difficult birthing process since a plan for renovating the old post office was first presented to the Princeton Planning Board in 2017, but Nutt urges the hungry, thirsty, and/or curious to watch the triumphbrewing.com website for details about the reopening. It could be this Friday, he hinted, but certainly by the last day of the month on Sunday. more

By Anne Levin

A comprehensive community transit program study, focused on how the routes of Princeton’s mini buses can be more effectively used, was approved by Princeton Council at a meeting on Monday, June 24. A resolution to retain Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates Inc., which the town has utilized in the past, was unanimously approved by the governing body.

The idea has been in the works for several years. The goal is to design a program pairing Princeton’s free Muni transit with services “not currently utilized in order to maximize access for all Princeton residents,” Deputy Administrator Deanna Stockton wrote in a memo to Council on June 18. “Consideration will be given to optimize service connections with Princeton University’s Tiger Transit.” more

By Anne Levin

With July 4 falling on a Thursday this year, celebrations of the holiday are being stretched into something more substantial than the traditional three-day weekend. In fact, the lead-up to Independence Day has been building, both locally and beyond, since Juneteenth observances were held a few weeks ago.

From fireworks in Skillman on Thursday, June 26 to a public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Trenton on Monday, July 8 — the site, day, and time where it was first read in 1776 — there are many opportunities to celebrate the anniversary of the American colonies’ official separation from Great Britain 248 years ago. more

GOLD MEDAL WINNER: Amy Lin, Princeton High School senior and virtuoso pianist, center, celebrates her Royal Conservatory of Music Gold Medal award, presented to her at Carnegie Hall on January 14. Marvin Blickenstaff and Kairy Koshoeva, her piano teachers at the New School for Music Study in Kingston, join in honoring her. (Photo courtesy of Amy Lin)

By Donald Gilpin

There’s the old joke where the New York City tourist asks a man in the street who’s carrying a violin case, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The musician’s answer: “Practice, practice, practice.”

For rising Princeton High School (PHS) senior and pianist Amy Lin, the answer might be “practice, practice, practice,” but she also had to win the Gold Medal in the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) National Award, receiving the highest score in the country at the RCM’s top performance level.  more

By Anne Levin

Since Princeton passed a seasonal ban on gas-powered leaf-blowers in October 2021, prohibiting their use from May 16 to September 30 and from December 16 to March 14, most residents and landscaping companies have followed the rules and made the switch to less toxic electrical equipment.

But three landscapers and one property owner were recently cited for not complying with the regulations. According to the organization Quiet Princeton, which advocated the development of the ordinance, each were fined $250 and warned that a future violation could result in a $2,000 fine.

“These people are not the majority,” said Anthony Lunn, who with Phyllis Teitelbaum founded Quiet Princeton in 2016. “On the whole, observance of the law has been very good, and we are very fortunate in having the Community Compliance Officer Sandra Garrity, who has been going around and talking to landscapers.” more

THE PATHWAY TO COLLEGE: Since 1970 the 101: Fund has provided need-based college scholarships for Princeton High School graduates. This year’s 101: Fund all-volunteer board, pictured above, awarded scholarships to 30 PHS graduating seniors, and additional funding to support other recent PHS graduates in college. (Photo courtesy of 101: Fund)

By Donald Gilpin

In its 55th year of existence, the 101: Fund recently awarded scholarships to 30 Princeton High School (PHS) graduating seniors. In total the Fund will provide more than $176,000 during the next year to support recent graduates.

This was a record number of scholarship awards to new graduates, with many recipients being the first in their families to attend college.

The featured speaker at the June 10 awards ceremony was Kevin Lara Lemus, a former 101: Fund scholarship award recipient who is a recent graduate of the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) nursing program. He spoke about the significant help that the 101: Fund provided, both financially and through mentorship, during his college experience. more

June 20, 2024

During the current heat wave, the municipality has opened cooling centers at Monument Hall, Witherspoon Hall, and Princeton Public Library.

Through Monday, June 24, the main meeting room at Monument Hall is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Community Room at Witherspoon Hall is open on Friday, June 21 from 1-5 p.m., and Saturday to Monday, June 22-24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Princeton Public Library is open Thursday, June 20 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 21 and 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, June 23 from 12-6 p.m.

June 19, 2024

By Donald Gilpin

Activity at the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) might look as if it’s winding down following last Friday’s Princeton High School (PHS) graduation, but two key administrative appointments and a slew of construction projects are two indications of a busy summer in preparation for the 2024-25 school year.

Fifth graders at the district’s four elementary schools celebrated their moving-on-to- middle school ceremony on Thursday morning last week; 257 Princeton Middle School (PMS) students, who will attend PHS in the fall, participated in a moving up ceremony on Wednesday; and on Friday, with the time moved up from 5:30 to 4 p.m. in order to outrun a major thunderstorm, 366 PHS seniors received their diplomas.

Meanwhile, PPS staff who are working with building contractors, architects, and engineers; numerous teachers and administrators with summer projects; and two new administrators, in particular, are wasting no time in getting down to work. more