November 29, 2023

By Anne Levin

As of Tuesday afternoon, 688 people had signed a petition started by the Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development (PCRD) urging the Princeton Planning Board to pause the approval of the Community Master Plan.

The plan, which has not been updated since 1996, was presented by the town’s Planning Board last month, and was the subject of a public hearing on November 9. Because time ran out before all of those signed up had a chance to comment, the Planning Board has continued the hearing to its meeting this Thursday, November 30 at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

Municipal staff and consultants have been working on the plan for the past year and a half. Surveys, interviews, open house events, and special listening sessions were included in the process. But the petition calls for more public input.

“As residents of Princeton, New Jersey, we are deeply concerned about the proposed Draft Master Plan, which up-zones many properties to allow for increased density on each lot,” the petition begins. “This proposed plan could have serious unintended consequences due to proposed changes to the land use plans. It appears that there has been a failure to take into account the impact on our environment, existing infrastructure, schools, property taxes, traffic and parking conditions, and even our mature trees. Princeton is known for its beautiful green spaces and historic charm. The current up-zoning proposal threatens the very characteristics that attract residents and visitors to Princeton.”  more

By Anne Levin

During a work session at its meeting Monday evening, Princeton Council heard a report on the proposed renovation of Community Park South, the 26-acre expanse bordered by Route 206, Birch Avenue, Community Park School, and Community Park Pool.

Since last February, a steering committee made up of municipal staff; two members of Council; and representatives from the Princeton Environmental Commission, the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, the public schools, and other stakeholders — along with Suburban Consulting Engineers — have been holding public meetings and soliciting information through public surveys.

Seven possible concept designs were considered before the Princeton Recreation Commission recommended Concept A, “following strong considerations that whenever possible open space for structured and unstructured play should be provided, and that mayor and Council should work to provide additional parking convenient to the site,” according to a letter sent to Mayor Mark Freda and Council last week. more

By Donald Gilpin

With the 2023 election results officially certified on November 22, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) will be welcoming two new members on January 1, 2024, as two incumbents step down.

After a year marked by controversy and turbulence, and with the search for a new superintendent about to begin, disagreements remain, but the district and the BOE seem to be in accord on the importance of prioritizing the needs of the district’s 3,760 students.

“We need to focus now on returning our attention to the students,” said BOE President Dafna Kendal, noting that Acting Superintendent Kathie Foster would provide a stable presence at the helm in the coming year, giving the BOE time to find the best candidate for permanent superintendent. more

A GREENER FUTURE: TigerTransit’s new fleet of electric buses marks an important step in Princeton University’s progress towards its sustainability goals, as ridership (free for all) continues to grow and the University looks forward to soon becoming the first Ivy League institution to operate only emissions-free vehicles. (Princeton University, Denise Applewhite)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University’s new fleet of 17 electric buses and new charging facilities, which were celebrated at a grand opening ceremony last month, are contributing to the University’s progress towards a goal of net-zero carbon emissions.

Its campus-wide plan, “including a massive geo-exchange system,” serves “as a template for other universities and municipalities across the country,” according to a University press release.

Speaking at the celebration, which took place at the University’s new bus-charging station on Alexander Road in West Windsor, Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber highlighted the importance of the electric buses and their contribution to the University’s climate-friendly objectives. more

COMMUNITIES OF LIGHT: Votive candles cover the steps of the Nassau Presbyterian Church during last year’s community-wide lighting in support of victim-survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Sponsored by Womanspace, the event will take place this year on December 3 and 4. (Photo courtesy of Womanspace)

By Donald Gilpin

Thousands of votive candles will be lighting homes, streets, businesses, and municipal buildings on the nights of December 3 and 4, sending a message of support and solidarity to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Mercer County.

“Flickering lights throughout Mercer County reflect that we’re here for our survivors, that they’re not alone, and that we support them,” said Womanspace President and CEO Nathalie Nelson. “It’s also to raise awareness, bringing domestic violence and sexual assault out of the darkness and into the light.”

Nelson pointed out that the numbers of victims are increasing, with Womanspace, which is sponsoring this 22nd annual Communities of Light event, having answered 6,777 calls for help so far this year.  more

By Anne Levin

The disintegration of local journalism was the impetus for a day-long forum that will take place Saturday, December 2 at Princeton Public Library. But panelists and speakers taking part in “Journalism in Democracy” are not necessarily predicting a scenario that is all gloom and doom.

“The collapse, nationally, of local journalism as a resource for communities across the country is part of this, and there are a number of themes,” said Cliff Robinson, the library’s public humanities specialist. “The main thing we wanted to convey is while there is a lot of reason for alarm, there are also things people can do. It doesn’t have to be a completely pessimistic take.”

Panelists for the event come from Princeton University, Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), and the media.

Following check-in at 10 a.m., the first panel discussion is “Democracy, Citizenship and the Power of the Powerless” with Dan-El Padilla Peralta, associate professor of classics at Princeton; Rachel Devlin, associate professor of history at Rutgers; and Stanley Katz, president emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies. Christopher Fisher, associate professor of history at TCNJ, is the moderator. more

By Stuart Mitchner

It was while exploring “In the Company of Good Books: From Shakespeare to Morrison” at Princeton University Library’s Milberg Gallery that I found myself face to face with George Eliot. An hour later when I walked back into the light of day from this 400th anniversary celebration of the “First Folio of 1623” and other Firestone Library rarities, an unmissable show that I very nearly missed (it closes December 10), all I could think about was the woman gazing out at me from Frederick William Burton’s charcoal drawing, a preparatory study for his fuller, more detailed, but less intriguing colored chalk portrait in London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Eliot would have been 44 on February 14, 1864, when, in the words of her journal, “Mr. Burton dined with us and asked me to let him take my portrait.” According to the curator’s note, the fact that Burton was a friend “may account for the closely-cropped, full-frontal and altogether more intimate portrayal of her face.”

Maybe it was the aura of intimacy that drew me in and held me, so serenely sympathetic were her pale blue eyes, the only color in the drawing; at the same time, I knew I was in the presence of the author of this remarkable sentence, from her masterpiece Middlemarch: “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.” more

WORLD FAMOUS CHOIR: The Vienna Boys Choir comes to State Theatre New Jersey on December 8 at 8 p.m. (Photo by Lukas Beck)

State Theatre New Jersey presents “Vienna Boys Choir — Christmas in Vienna” on Friday, December 8 at 8 p.m. The production showcases these young musicians in a program featuring Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs, and holiday favorites.

The Vienna Boys Choir is one of the most famous choirs in the world, and one of the oldest. In 1498, Emperor Maximilian I moved his court to Vienna to establish the Chapel Imperial there, along with the Vienna Boys Choir. Over the centuries, the court attracted musicians like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Anton Bruckner. Composers Joseph Haydn, Michael Haydn, and Franz Schubert were themselves choirboys.  more

Voices Chorale NJ presents the rarely performed “Christmas Oratorio” by Saint-Saens, along with arrangements of holiday favorites, on Saturday, December 9 at 4 p.m. at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street. Artistic Director David A. McConnell and Assistant Conductor Emily DeMerchant will lead. Visit for details.

The Mercer County Community College Jazz Band performs at Princeton MarketFair on Wednesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. Following that date, concerts are scheduled at Quaker Bridge Mall on December 6, and at Kelsey Theatre on the college’s West Windsor campus December 11-13. Visit for more information.

Danielle Sinclair

The Westminster Community Orchestra, conducted by Ruth Ochs, will present their 11th annual “Holiday Favorites and Sing-along” on Wednesday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Hillman Hall, in the Cullen Center, on the Westminster campus, Walnut Lane.

While the performance is free, the orchestra will continue its long-standing tradition of accepting free-will cash donations at the door to benefit and be distributed to area food pantries and service organizations. Audience members requiring seating assistance should arrive at 7 p.m.

The performance will feature holiday favorites such as Berlin’s “White Christmas,” Chase’s Around the World at Holiday Time, and “The Holly and the Ivy.” Westminster Conservatory faculty member Danielle Sinclair will join the orchestra for Yon’s Gesù Bambino. The concert will also include Nikolai’s Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor, as well as orchestra member Beth Gaynor LaPat’s Chanukah Songs. The audience is invited to sing along with Anderson’s popular A Christmas Festival. more

“PINK HAT WITH FLORAL FRAME”: This work by Susan Fenton (1949-2018) is part of “Renewal and Change: New Acquisitions,” on view December 2 through April 28 at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. (Gift of the estate of Susan Fenton)

The Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., presents “Renewal and Change: New Acquisitions,” an exhibition featuring 29 works on paper including photographs, prints, paintings and drawings that were recently gifted to, or purchased for the Michener Art Museum’s permanent collection, on view December 2 through April 28. more

“MIRAGE”: This photograph by Everett Shen won second place photo in Friends of Princeton Open Space’s 2023 photography contest. It is one of more than 20 works featured in the “Perspectives on Preservation” photography exhibition opening on Friday, December 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Mountain Lakes House.

Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS) presents “Perspectives on Preservation,” a group photography exhibition featuring works by local photographers, on view December 1 to 3 at Mountain Lakes House, 57 Mountain Avenue.

An opening reception is on Friday, December 1 from 6 to 8 p.m., with live music from cellist Dan Kassel, refreshments, and light bites. more

“CHRISTMAS FRONT DOOR”: This acrylic painting by Claudia Fouse Fountaine is featured in “Small Works Showcase,” coming to Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville December 7 through December 31.

Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville will host  “Small Works Showcase,” featuring an array of creations in various styles, December 7 through December 31. An opening reception is on Saturday, December 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. more

TEAM WORK: Collaboration is key at HomeCare Veterinary Clinic. Veterinarians, vet technicians, and all the staff work together to ensure the best care for their patients at this private practice. “Many veterinarian practices are corporate-owned today. I wanted to have a private practice, which offers a more personal approach for patients and clients,” explains owner Dr. Patti Maslanka, VMD. She is shown at right in the foreground, with staff members, including Dr. Meredith Schepp, DVM, third from left, and Dr. Amy Schein, DVM, fourth from left. Luna, the 8-year-old pit bull/cattle dog mix, is a welcome visitor.

By Jean Stratton

When you share your home with a companion animal, it can provide great happiness, along with infectious, ongoing fun. There are challenges too. Puppies love to chew just about anything, including your favorite shoes! Cats enjoy appropriating the furniture as their preferred scratching post, in addition to climbing up the curtains for further entertainment. True animal lovers tend to take such exploits in stride.

And there can be illnesses and injuries, requiring capable and compassionate care. Having the services of qualified and experienced veterinarians is crucial to your pet’s health and well-being. more

X-FACTOR: Princeton University men’s basketball player Xaivian Lee drives past a Northeastern defender last Saturday as Princeton hosted the Huskies in its home opener. Sophomore guard Lee poured in a career-high 30 points to help the Tigers prevail 80-66. Lee was later named the Ivy League Player of the Week. Princeton, now 6-0, plays at Bucknell on November 29 before hosting Furman on December 2 and Drexel on December 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University men’s basketball team having played its first five games away from Jadwin Gym this season, Xaivian Lee was happy to be back home as the Tigers hosted Northeastern last Saturday afternoon.

“We had a great crowd, it is always good play in front of someone rooting for you,” said Princeton sophomore guard Lee. “Every game has been on the road, so it was nice to be home for sure. Coach (Mitch Henderson) always says the cuts are a little faster. I find our shots go in a little more. It is definitely good to play here.” more

ROSY OUTLOOK: Princeton University women’s basketball player Madison St. Rose dribbles upcourt in recent action. Last Thursday, sophomore guard St. Rose scored 24 points to help Princeton defeat No. 20 Oklahoma 77-63 in the Elevance Health Women’s Fort Myers Tip-Off. Two days later, St. Rose chipped in 11 points in a losing cause as the Tigers fell 72-63 to No. 19 Indiana to wrap up play in the Fort Myers event. The Tigers, now 4-2, made it into the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week, getting ranked at No. 25. In upcoming action, Princeton hosts Seton Hall on November 29 and plays at Rhode Island on December 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

A Top-20 win for the Princeton University women’s basketball team made the team’s Thanksgiving feast taste all the better.

The Tigers enjoyed a holiday meal together last Thursday in Florida after defeating No. 20 Oklahoma, 77-63, earlier in the day in the first game of the Elevance Health Women’s Fort Myers (Fla.) Tip-Off.

“It was great,” said Princeton head coach Carla Berube. “It was fun playing early in the afternoon and then we had a big Thanksgiving feast with the whole team and the families that were there. It was really nice. It was fun to all be together for the holiday and getting a big W on top of it.”

Princeton dropped the second game of the tournament, 72-63, to No. 19 Indiana on Saturday to move to 4-2 overall. The Tigers will be home for the first time since their season opener when they host Seton Hall at Jadwin Gym on Wednesday. more

TENSE CAMPAIGN: Princeton University football head coach Bob Surace surveys the action in a game this fall. It was a season of nail-biters for the Tigers as they went 5-5 overall and 4-3 Ivy League with their two non-conference losses coming by three points each and their Ivy defeats coming in two overtime contests and a two-point setback. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

If this fall had been governed by the rules used in 1995, the Princeton University football team would have earned a share of the Ivy League title.

In its seven Ivy contests, Princeton went 4-1 in games decided in regulation and tied the two others. In 1995, that would have left the Tigers at 4-1-2 and in a tie for the title. But with college football adopting overtime in 1996, there are no longer ties and Princeton saw its ties turn into losses. more

TITLE RUN: Princeton High Boys’ soccer player Pasquale Carusone races past a defender in action this fall. Senior striker Carusone tallied a team-high 28 goals to help PHS win the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 4 state title and post a 22-2 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Pasquale Carusone made a decision that changed the course of history for the Princeton High boys’ soccer program.

After focusing on club soccer during his first three years at PHS, he opted to join the Tiger squad this fall.

“It is my senior year, I definitely have to play for my high school,” said Carusone, who played for the Players Development Academy (PDA) and has committed to play at the college level for the University of Rochester. “A lot of kids were giving me stuff for it and saying we could go super far with you this year.”

The PHS players welcomed Carusone with open arms. “They were happy to see me, they have been wanting me to come out for three years,” said Carusone. “I have known the Smith brothers (junior midfielder Archie and freshman midfielder Harvey) for a while — I have played club with them forever. We jelled quick, it wasn’t like it took a few games.” more

BREAKING THROUGH: Princeton High football player Remmick Granozio fights for extra yardage in a game this fall. Senior tight end Granozio’s intensity helped the Tigers go 5-4 this year as the program produced its first winning campaign since 2014. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In recent years, Charlie Gallagher needed to be creative to put a positive spin on things when he spoke at the year-end banquet for his Princeton High football team.

But this Thursday when the team gathers for the annual event, PHS head coach Gallagher will have plenty of positives to cover as he recaps a 2023 season that saw the Tigers go 5-4, producing their first winning campaign since 2014. more

SHOOTING STAR: Hun School boys’ basketball player Mac Kelly puts up a shot in a game last season. Senior guard Kelly figures to be a key offensive threat this winter for Hun. The Raiders were slated to tip off their 2023-24 campaign by hosting Compass Basketball Academy on November 28 and then playing at the Haverford School (Pa.) on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is early but Jon Stone is sensing that his Hun School boys’ basketball team could grow into something special.

“The vibe has been really good, we clearly have a lot of things to work on but we have been getting there,” said Hun head coach Stone, whose team went 14-13 last winter and was slated to tip off its 2023-24 campaign by hosting Compass Basketball Academy on November 28 and then playing at the Haverford School (Pa.) on November 30. “The guys have been working hard, the energy has been good.” more

PASSING IT ON: Hun School girls’ basketball girls’ basketball player Anna Schweer looks to make a pass in a game last season. Hun is depending on senior guard Schweer to provide production and leadership this winter. The Raiders, who opened the season by falling 83-78 to George School (Pa.) on November 21, will be playing in the Hill School (Pa.) Girls’ Basketball Tournament from December 1-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School girls’ basketball team lost 83-78 to George School (Pa.) last week in its season opener, Sean Costello saw plenty of positives.

“I think that was as good a result as we could have gotten outside of getting the win in terms of the product we produced,” said Hun head coach Costello, noting that he was missing some key players due to injury for the November 21 contest. “We jumped on them. We brought a lot of energy, which was really good. We knocked down some shots, the kids got hot. I said before the game you want to win all of the games, but the first game is more about to see where you are at. It was about competing and setting the tempo, and we came out shining in those categories.” more

November 22, 2023

Hamilton Jewelers on Nassau Street is just one of the many local businesses that are festively decorated and ready for the holiday season. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

As the holiday season gears up, along with colder temperatures and an increase in indoor activities, local health authorities are warning that this is the time of year when case numbers of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) will probably rise.

“Respiratory virus season is here,” said Kathryn J. Robison, Department of Medicine vice chair at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center and president of Penn Medicine Princeton Medicine Physicians. Fortunately, however, there have so far been relatively few predictions, like the ones heard in recent years, of an incipient tripledemic.

“Penn Medicine Princeton Health has seen a slight increase in patients with COVID-19,” Robison added. “Overall in the community there have been no significant cases of influenza or RSV, however there is influenza currently in various regions throughout the United States, so we expect to see more cases of influenza in our community during the holiday season.”


By Anne Levin

During the pandemic, a federal moratorium on evictions for nonpayment of rent was put into effect. Since the moratorium ended on January 1, 2022, figures on evictions — and subsequently, homelessness — have been climbing.

This is especially troubling to the Eviction Prevention Emergency Rental Assistance Team of Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP), the locally based nonprofit that assists individuals and families confronting housing insecurity.

“We have seen a real uptick in our rental assistance applications,” said Kathy Taylor, who is part of the team. “I was just looking at some research that DCA [the Department of Community Affairs] put out saying that evictions were up five percent from 2021 to 2022, and I’m sure it’s much higher since the moratorium stopped.”

HIP tries to keep renters from being evicted by assisting them with back rent. So far this year, the organization has helped 75 households, up from 40 in 2022. “It’s going to end up being more than double that, and we still only assist 15 percent of everyone who applies,” said HIP volunteer Jill Wolk.


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