June 29, 2022

RED CARPET MOMENT: Former Princeton dancer Diana Byer, left, with dancer Steven Melendez, at the opening of the documentary “LIFT: A Journey from Homelessness to the Ballet Stage” last month.

By Anne Levin

Since her days as a charter member of the Princeton Regional Ballet Company (now American Repertory Ballet) in 1963, Diana Byer has been busy.

The Trenton native danced with several ballet troupes before founding the New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) company and school in 1978. Just over a decade later, she started a scholarship program for underserved children. A documentary film about the program, LIFT: A Journey from Homelessness to the Ballet Stage, debuted last month at the Tribeca Film Festival.

While she recently stepped down as artistic director of NYTB, Byer is far from retired. She still runs the school. And she is working on putting together a small company of dancers over the age of 60, including Robert LaFosse, Monica Bill Barnes, and Meg Harper as well as herself.

“We all want to dance and we still can,” Byer said last week. “We’ll experiment first, find some choreographers, maybe do some in-house performances at the studio and see where it goes. We can still move. We still have something to say. It’s worth looking into.” more

By Donald Gilpin

“Swinging back to the 1960s” in celebrating its current Bell Labs exhibit, Morven Museum & Garden has an array of entertainment, foods, and educational activities on tap for its annual Independence Day Jubilee on Monday, July 4 from 12 to 3 p.m.

Among the highlights of the afternoon at the former home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, will be a Jasper Johns American flag activity led by the Arts Council of Princeton, a “1960s Princeton adventure” organized by the Historical Society of Princeton, dancing in the gardens with Luminarium Dance Company, music from the 1960s and beyond played by the Green Planet Band, and food trucks on the premises from KonaIce and Potato Patoto, which specializes in tater tots with a variety of toppings.

In person for the first time since 2019, the Morven Fourth of July Jubilee is sponsored by Honda of Princeton and the Bank of Princeton.

“As a home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July is cornerstone to our existence,” said Morven Executive Director Jill M. Barry. “This year we are celebrating’60s style, in homage to our Bell Labs exhibition, but also in reference to the civic engagement that was particularly evident in the sixties.”

The current exhibit at Morven, “Ma Bell: The Mother of Invention in New Jersey,” features the TelStar 1 satellite flight model, which was made by AT&T and Bell Telephone Laboratories, and many other technological innovations that were created in New Jersey and went on to influence the entire world.

Bell Telephone Laboratories, named for its founder Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, had facilities in New Jersey beginning in the 1930s, creating new technology that helped to bring forth cell phones, solar panels, radar, satellites, and the discovery of the Big Bang.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

The ‘watering down,’ if any, did not come from my aspergillum.

—Vladimir Nabokov, in the Playboy interview

Who else but a high priest of language could anoint the tired old term “watered down” with an implement for sprinkling holy water? Would the average Playboy reader of January 1964 reach for the nearest dictionary or keep reading? In the easy access world of June 2022, I unmasked the elusive aspergillum with a click of an iMac mouse.

This was Nabokov’s way of elaborately denying responsibility for “watering down” the central relationship in Stanley Kubrick’s film of Lolita (1962), the novel’s 12-year-old nymphet having been transformed into a 15-year-old blonde who looked 17. Asked if he was satisfied with the final product, Nabokov deemed the movie “absolutely first-rate,” adding that the “four main actors deserve the very highest praise,” and pointing out that he’d had “nothing to do with the actual production.” more

“BROADWAY POPS!”: Princeton Festival has presented “Broadway POPS!” Above: Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess, left, joined the PSO in a program of highlights from musical theater. The concert was conducted by Rossen Milanov, right. (Photo by Carolo Pascale.)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Princeton Festival has presented Broadway POPS! Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess joined the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in a program of highlights from musical theater. The June 24 concert was conducted by the orchestra’s Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov.

Boggess made her Broadway debut in the 2007 stage version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She has portrayed Christine Daaé in multiple productions of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera (including the 25th anniversary concert at Royal Albert Hall), as well as the West End premiere of its sequel, Love Never Dies. With Julian Ovenden she has released an album of duets, Together at a Distance.

Broadway POPS! marks Boggess’ third collaboration with the PSO, following appearances in 2017 and 2018. The Olivier Award nominee also starred in The Age of Innocence (2018) at McCarter Theatre.

Boggess and Milanov created a selection that alternated between orchestral and vocal pieces, letting most of the featured composers be represented by at least one of each. The resulting program delighted the audience that packed the Festival’s performance tent on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden. Boggess remarked that she chose pieces that she wanted to hear the orchestra perform.

The concert opened with an orchestral selection: “The Music Man: Symphonic Impressions,” crafted by Richard Hayman from Meredith Willson’s score. The woodwinds, especially the flutes, shone with the strings in the lush ballad “’Till There Was You.”  The piece closes with the rousing “76 Trombones.” A Broadway revival of the show opened this past February.

Boggess entered, sporting a bright red dress. Despite her long association with Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, she chose as her first selection “Home,” a song from a different stage adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel. Phantom (1991) has a book by Arthur Kopit; the music and lyrics are by Maury Yeston. “Home” is a number that opens delicately and ends operatically — a progression often favored by Boggess — waiting until the end to let the singer reveal her high soprano.  more

By Nancy Plum

It is difficult to get audiences indoors on a summer afternoon, but Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts was able to entice a good crowd into Richardson Auditorium this past weekend. For the second performance of the 2022 season, the Chamber Concerts series presented the Diderot String Quartet, a 10-year-old ensemble with a well-established commitment to historical performance. Violinists Johanna Novom and Adriane Post, violist Kyle Miller, and cellist Paul Dwyer came to Richardson Sunday afternoon to present eight of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most complex fugal compositions and an elegant string quartet by Felix Mendelssohn on period instruments.

J.S. Bach’s The Art of the Fugue was comprised of 14 canons based on a single short theme. Bach subjected this melodic fragment to a combination of contrapuntal treatments, including setting the theme backwards, upside-down, and in varying speeds. The Diderot String Quartet performed eight of these settings, each showing a different side of Bach’s compositional genius.

Although likely conceived for harpsichord, The Art of the Fugue has been adapted well to various combinations of instruments. “Contrapunctus I” opened with second violinist Adriane Post presenting the theme, followed by all instruments in fugal fashion. The Quartet’s period instruments provided a more understated and refined sound than modern instruments might have, requiring the audience to listen harder to the intimate ensemble sound. Throughout the Bach work, the Diderot Quartet paid a great deal of attention to dynamics, swelling and decreasing the sound together. 

Each “Contrapunctus” treated the theme in an altered way, often opening with a different instrument and pairing the strings in varied combinations of color. Violist Miller and cellist Dwyer were particularly well matched in sound, and violinists Post and Novom often provided extended passages of well-tuned intervals. The eight short movements became more complex as the work went on, with faster-moving lines for the players and dotted rhythms with varying degrees of Baroque “swing.” Dwyer played melodic sequences in “Contrapunctus III” sensitively, with the closing movement requiring expert technical facility from all the instrumentalists.  more

A NOSTALGIC LINEUP: Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, the 1960s British band, are among the performers at a festival in Bristol, Pa., this summer.

Bristol Riverside Theatre’s William Penn Bank Summer Music Fest is returning to the Bristol Township Amphitheater with a lineup that will take audiences on a musical journey through the decades.

The second annual summer concert series will feature performances from The Commodores (July 15), Russell Thompkins, Jr. and The New Stylistics with special guest Eddie Holman (July 16), Indigo Girls (August 25), ’70s Flashback (August 26), and culminating with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (September 9 and 10).  more

SOUNDS OF SUMMER: Daniel Spalding conducts the Capital Philharmonic at the first concert of the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series on July 9 in Trenton’s Cadwalader Park.

The Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series is returning to Trenton this summer, with 10 concerts planned in the 110-acre Cadwalader Park and one in Mill Hill Park. The first performance, on Saturday, July 9, will feature the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey led by music director Daniel Spalding conducting music by John Williams, John Philip Sousa, and Irving Berlin on the program.

The free 10-concert series, presented by Trenton Downtown Association and the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County, will include local, regional, and national artists representing a wide range of musical styles.

The series runs through September 17. Unlike years in the past, all shows will be on Saturday evening, with the exception of the Will Power Funk Band which will perform at Mill Hill Park on Sunday, July 31. Families are encouraged to come out early and enjoy food trucks, food vendors, and more.

Since 2015, Trenton Downtown Association has presented the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series, 10 free concerts, each summer in downtown Trenton. Trenton is one of 20 current cities across the country that received a grant from the Levitt Foundation to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to enjoy live-free music in their communities. Visit trenton-downtown.com for more information.

The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice will present Wesley Stace, also known as John Wesley Harding, in a benefit concert on Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. The event will take place at 12 Stockton Street, and will go toward building a new space.

Since 1988, Stace has released many albums under the name John Wesley Harding. He has recorded duets with Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Rosanne Cash, and others. Stace has published four novels, including Misfortune, and co-wrote choreographer Mark Morris’ memoir Out Loud.

He also created Cabinet of Wonders, a monthly show that plays at New York City’s City Winery. He has taught at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and Fairleigh-Dickinson University. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Wall Street Journal.

All proceeds go toward helping the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice best serve Princeton at its new community activist center and safe-space for LGBTQIA youth and seniors, intersectional families, and others.

Tickets are $25. Visit jwh.eventbrite.com. Anyone who cannot afford a ticket should contact the organization at RustinCenter.org, as financial difficulties will never bar access for any members of the community.

Judith Hamera
(Photo by Jonathan Sweeney)

Princeton University has named Professor of Dance Judith Hamera, an award-winning dance and performance studies scholar, as the next chair of the University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Hamera takes over from Michael Cadden, who served as interim chair for the 2021-22 academic year. Hamera will begin her new duties on July 1.

“I am so happy that Judith Hamera has agreed to serve as the next chair of the Lewis Center!” said Cadden. “Her work testifies to a lifelong interest in seeing connections among the arts and making connections among people living embodied lives in the worlds of academia and artistic practice — and the many other worlds we each inhabit. The Lewis Center dances on the bridges between those worlds and, as a scholar and teacher, Professor Hamera has surveyed many of them with ingenious results. Her eloquence, vision, and work ethic will serve us well — as will her commitment to an engagement with the entirety of our University, local, national, and international communities.” more

“FINDING OUR WAY”: This acrylic painting by Mary Budkoski was presented with Best of Show, the Sally Bush Memorial Award in the annual “Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition and Sale” at The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster.

The Center for Contemporary Art (“The Center”) in Bedminster has announced its annual “Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition and Sale,” a yearly opportunity for members to showcase their artwork in any and all media. The variety and range of entries is a testament to the diversity and creativity of The Center’s community of artists. This year, there are 91 works of art by participating members in painting, pastel, charcoal, ink, graphite, photography, mixed media, ceramics, and more.

The judge for this year’s exhibition was M’kina Tapscott, executive director of Artworks, Trenton’s Visual Arts Center. Tapscotts 15-year career in education, access, curation, and advocacy resonates with Artworks’ mission “to connect community, culture, and creativity through the arts.” She began her work as director of education and programs at Project Row Houses, an art and social service development in Houston, Texas, and continued through education and outreach positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. A practicing artist, she holds an MFA from the University of Houston and a BFA from Texas State University. more

“EAGLE RAYS”: This mixed media work by Minako Ota is featured in “Our Inner Oceans: Paintings by Minako Ota,” on view through August 30 at the Princeton Public Library.

Paintings of marine creatures by award-winning Japanese painter Minako Ota are featured in in the exhibit “Our Inner Oceans: Paintings by Minako Ota,” on view at the Princeton Public Library through August 30.

Born in Osaka, Japan, Ota studied traditional Japanese painting at Tama Art University in Tokyo. Upon graduation, she attended Cambridge University in England where she focused on Western painting conservation. Since she left her native country some 30 years ago, she has submerged herself in Western cultures in the U.S. and Europe. Her artwork is a cultural hybrid between Japan and the West, as she combines western painting techniques that she learned through her 20-plus years as a professional painting conservator and the traditional Japanese aesthetics that she grew up with. more

Works by Larry Mitnick are featured in “Spatial Imaginings,” on view at Bell’s Tavern, 183 North Union Street in Lambertville,  through the end of August. Mitnick’s work has been exhibited internationally, and he is currently a member artist at Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street in Lambertville. Bell’s Tavern is open daily from 5 to 9 p.m.

 

The Trenton Free Public Library and the Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) will present the exhibition “Art by Area Cartoonists” at the Trenton Free Public Library, 120 Academy Street, from July 1 to July 27.

An opening reception is set for Friday, July 1, 5 to 7 p.m. as part of the Trenton Downtown Association’s First Fridays and recognition of the museum’s presence in the city’s Creek2Canal Trenton Arts District. An artist’s talk is scheduled for Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m.

“Art by Area Cartoonists” features work by regional artists who portray everyday events through cartoons and Illustrations. Participating artists include Bill Hogan and Ken Wilkie. more

TOP FIVE: This poster by Littlebrook School fourth-grader Maya Rogart was among the winners of the 2022 “County Government Month” poster contest. More than 70 submissions were received by the Mercer County Office of Economic Development, the contest host.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has announced the winners of the 2022 “County Government Month” poster contest. The contest, inspired by the National Association of Counties County Government Month designation, promotes awareness of Mercer County’s history, progress, culture, and diversity, and was open to local fourth-grade students.  more

UNIFIED APPROACH: Thomas Harrington, left, greets members of the New Jersey team in the unified competition at the Special Olympics USA Games held in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. Former Princeton University women’s track assistant coach Harrington served as a technical delegate at the Games, running and coordinating the unified track competition. (Photo provided by Thomas Harrington)

By Bill Alden

Starting in the late 1980s, Thomas Harrington has experienced success coaching track at several levels.

Guiding Lawrence High and then moving on to Stuart Country Day School, Harrington’s teams amassed over 200 wins, 31 championships, and three All-America awards.

Stepping up to the college level, Harrington served as an assistant coach for the Princeton University women’s track program from 2005-2016, helping the Tigers win a number of indoor and outdoor Ivy League titles.

Over the last four years, he has been an assistant coach at Princeton High, focusing on developing the program’s sprinters and hurdlers.

But for Harrington, the highlight of his stellar coaching career has been his 30-plus years of involvement with the Special Olympics.

“I have coached at every level, from little people to collegiate to Olympian but what I have found as I dealt with the athletes at this level is that there is such a genuine appreciation that goes well beyond the coaching part,” said Harrington, who starting working with Special Olympics in 1989 when he ran coaches clinic for the organization at Lawrence High.

“There is a different energy level. Once a (Special Olympics) games is over, I am toast, I am completely tired and I am not going back. I end up in a ShopRite or Wegmans and I hear somebody say ‘hey coach,’ and one of the athletes comes running over and hugs my knees. They hooked me in. This is my passion.”

Earlier this month, Harrington ran and coordinated the unified track competition at the Special Olympics USA Games held in Orlando, Fla., from June 5-12 as it was held for the first time in the event.

Unified track involves athletes with and without intellectual disabilities competing alongside each other in a team competition in seven events, the 100 dash, 200, 400, 4×100 relay, 4×400, shot put, and long jump. more

STRONG CONNECTION: Hun School softball player Lexi Kobryn belts the ball in action this spring. Sophomore Kobryn starred with the bat and with her pitching as Hun went 18-1 and won the state Prep A title. Kobryn threw two perfect games and four other no-hitters with 190 strikeouts in 87 innings this season. At the plate, Kobryn hit a team-best .500 with team highs in homers (7), RBIs (28), and runs (30). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While Jonathan Gu was disappointed when the Princeton High boys’ tennis team fell 4-1 to Millburn in the NJSIAA Group 3 state final in early June, he was proud of how the squad competed.

“Millburn is a big test, they are a top team in the state and we are not that far off,” said PHS junior star Gu, who won his match at first singles to give PHS its only point in the defeat.

With another big test, the NJSIAA boys state singles competition, on the horizon, Gu was primed to show that he was a top player in the state.

“It is just one match at a time, no match is a given match,” said Gu, looking ahead to the singles tourney. “Every match, you have to focus.”

Displaying his focus, Gu rolled through the competition, posting a series of straight-set wins on the way to the final against East Brunswick’s Jack Wong.

Surviving a marathon match, Gu prevailed 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 6-2 to earn the singles state crown in a match played on June 16 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. more

RIGHT DIRECTION: Rohan Sheth fires a pitch in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Last Thursday, Hun School rising senior Sheth had two hits and two RBIs to help Post 218 rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hopewell Post 339 7-4. Princeton, which improved to 3-3 with a 10-0 win over Bordentown Post 26 last Sunday, plays at Broad St. Park Post 313 on July 1 and at Trenton Post 93/182 on July 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rohan Sheth was a member of the supporting cast this spring for a powerhouse Hun School baseball team that won its first-ever Mercer County Tournament title and advanced to the state Prep A final.

While Sheth didn’t see a lot of action this season as the Hun roster was packed with Division I talent, he soaked up some valuable lessons.

“They are the hardest workers I know and I try to learn everything from them,” said Sheth. “You see the work they put in everyday and what they they get out of it. You have to trust the process. They lead by example and I am trying to follow in their footsteps.”

This summer, rising senior Sheth has been taking a leading role for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team, emerging as a solid pitcher and getting some key hits.

Last Thursday, Sheth came up big to help Post 218 rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hopewell Post 339 7-4. Sheth slapped an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to put Princeton up 5-4 and then drove home an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth

“We fell behind early but we knew Jaxon [Petrone] could go long, we knew he had in him,” said Sheth. “We just had to keep faith in him and keep putting runs across.
After the second, I think we won pretty much every inning. We just chipped away one run at a time and we got the job done today.” more

GOING TO THE MATT: Princeton Little League (PLL) pitcher Matthew Brophy fires a pitch last Friday in the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament. Brophy pitched 5 2/3 scoreless inning for PLL as it defeated Millstone-Roosevelt 13-4 to win the tournament held at the Farmview Fields. PLL will now compete in the Section 3 Intermediate 50/70 tournament next week which will also take place at the Farmview Fields. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

“Finish the journey” became the theme for the Princeton Little League (PLL) team as it competed in the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament last week.

Hosting Millstone-Roosevelt at the Farmview Fields in the two-team, best-of-three competition in the division which utilizes a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths and is open to players ages 11-13, PLL manager Matt Bellace almost didn’t make it to game one on Thursday, getting stranded in Chicago on Wednesday when his flight home got canceled.

Driving through the night, he made it back to Princeton and described his harrowing travel tale and how he finished his journey to his players in his pregame message.

“I met the team in the beginning for a few minutes before we went out and I told them the story,” said Bellace. “They are looking at me with these wide eyes and I said that showed how much I want to be here and how much I want to win. I said, ‘do you want to win that much, would you drive from Chicago?’ and they were saying, ‘we would, we would.’”

PLL’s  journey got off to a rocky start last Thursday as it fell behind 9-2 against Millstone-Roosevelt by the fourth inning.

“It was just crushing to start that way, it looked kind of hopeless there,” said Bellace.

Undaunted, PLL rallied to pull out a dramatic 10-9 win, scoring the winning run when Asa Collins stole home in the bottom of the last inning.

“We had some big hits from Victor Espitia, Asa Collins, and Brady Lee,” said Bellace, noting that the players were chanting “finish the journey” as the comeback was unfolding. more

EASTERN EXPRESS: Members of Princeton FC’s Barcelona 2006 team celebrate after they won the US Youth Soccer (USYS) Eastern Presidents Cup Regional in Barboursville, W. Va., last week. PFC defeated the Beadling SC 2006 Boys South Elite 2-0 in the final on June 21. The squad will now compete in the US Youth Soccer (USYS) National Presidents Cup tournament in Greensboro, N.C., from July 7-10. The team includes Jacob Battoglia, Azariah Breitman, Zach Brunell, Brian Donis, Paras Goswami, Connor Hewitt, Izayah Huynh, Kyle Ingersoll, Zeb Jerdonek, Matthew Kim, Chris Lee, Ashwin Lobo, Felipe Matar Grandi, Nick Matese, Francis Savard, Archie Smith, Brandon Urias, Calvin Hopkins, and Liam Kennedy. (Photo provided courtesy of PFC)

By Bill Alden

Heading into the US Youth Soccer (USYS) Eastern Presidents Cup Regional in Barboursville, W. Va., last week, Milen Nikolov believed that his Princeton FC’s Barcelona 2006 team could outlast the competition.

“The No. 1 thing for me is for them to stay healthy, to have no injuries, and keep them fresh,” said PFC Barcelona head coach Nikolov looking ahead to the competition. “If we want to go all the way, this is five consecutive days.”

Staying strong and showing skill at both ends of the pitch, PFC Barcelona went all the way, going 4-0 on the way to the title, topping Beadling SC 2006 Boys South Elite (Pa.) 2-0 in the final. more

ATHLETIC MOVE: Kevin Johnson dribbles the ball for the Packer Hall All-Stars in a 2017 game in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Playing for the Athletic Engineering Institute this season, Johnson helped AEI defeat three-time defending champion LoyalTees 51-40 last Friday to improve to 3-0. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Kevin Johnson put together the Athletic Engineering Institute team to compete in Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League this season, he was cautiously optimistic.

“I definitely did feel it was a good group but you don’t know until you play,” said team manager Johnson, a former standout guard at The College of New Jersey who led the Speed Pro team in the summer league last year and noted that the AEI squad is a mix new and old faces from that group.

Last Friday evening at the Community Park courts, AEI played very well as it defeated league powerhouse LoyalTees 51-40 to improve to 3-0.

“This is the third game, we are doing pretty well,” and Johnson. “We are starting to mesh a little bit, even without our whole team.

Johnson and his teammates were fired up for matchup with LoyalTees, the league’s three-time defending champs.

“We definitely wanted to play the so-called best,” said Johnson, a 6’0, 170-pound Belle Mead native who starred at Montgomery High before heading to TCNJ. “I am definitely eager to see when we have our full team and they have their full team how we really match up.”

Reeling off an 18-11 run to end the first half, AEI built a 22-19 halftime lead at intermission. “That run definitely helped us, mostly on defense that is where we are starting it,” said Johnson. more

June 22, 2022

Thousands of marchers and supporters were in downtown Princeton on Saturday morning for the first in-person Pride Parade since 2019. An afterparty followed at the YMCA field on Paul Robeson Place. Participants share what brought them to the event is this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

A project that would bring nine warehouses of 5.5 million square feet to a 650-acre parcel bordering U.S. Route 1, Clarksville Road, and Quakerbridge Road in West Windsor, the former home of American Cyanamid, has many residents registering strong opposition.

A discussion of the development by the West Windsor Township Planning Board, followed by a vote, is scheduled for its in-person meeting on June 29. The issue was last considered by the Planning Board on June 1.

Traffic congestion and environmental issues are among the concerns of those urging that the development be scrapped. West Windsor Township Mayor Hemant Marathe said the former, in particular, will be addressed at the meeting.

“I have talked to a lot of people in town, and I understand their concerns,” he said. “Traffic is the main concern. We fully understand that, and the Planning Board is going to impose conditions so that not as many trucks can be on Clarksville Road.”

The Planning Board gave preliminary approval to a plan by the developer, Atlantic Realty, in December 2020. Since then, residents have charged that ongoing discussions of the issue have not been open to the public.

“Everything was by Zoom, but the Planning Board of West Windsor did not provide a Zoom link to the public,” said township resident Tirza Wahrman, who ran against Marathe last November. “My perspective is that a decision was made that a Zoom link was not required for the Planning Board, which is in stark contrast to how other township entities run. The whole thing was done under cover of night.”

Marathe said the process has been transparent. “We are 100 percent in person: Live, taped, and put on YouTube,” he said.

Opposition to the project is not limited to West Windsor residents. The New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club and the public advocacy group MoveOn have posted their concerns on social media. “This project brings with it potential for severe congestion on Route 1 and area roads, increased air pollution, and other problems,” wrote Princeton resident Kip Cherry, the Central Jersey conservation chair for the Sierra Club, on its website. “Insufficient information has been provided about the anticipated traffic increase or stormwater flow, which is critical in light of climate change.” more

By Donald Gilpin

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday, June 18 recommended COVID-19 vaccines for children from 6 months to 5 years old. As of Tuesday, June 21, New Jersey parents can make vaccination appointments for their young children through covid19.nj.gov, the state’s COVID-19 website.

“This is welcome news for parents concerned with ensuring their children have the strongest protection against COVID-19,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli noted in a statement issued Saturday. New Jersey has ordered 61,000 doses and is distributing them to medical sites around the state, according to Murphy.

The vaccines use the same technology as vaccines for adults, but they are given at different dose sizes and number of shots. Children under 5 who receive the Pfizer vaccine will be given three doses at one-tenth the strength of adult doses. Children under 6 who receive the Moderna vaccine will receive two doses at one-quarter the strength of an adult dose.

The Pfizer vaccine was previously approved for children ages 5 to 11, but fewer than 30 percent in that age group have received the recommended two shots.  In CDC nationwide surveys conducted in May, only about one-third of parents said they would vaccinate their young children.  According to the most recent available Princeton Health Department statistics, 88 percent of all local residents age 5 and over are vaccinated, 90 percent of those 18 and over.

In response to a New York Times poll in April, fewer than one-fifth of parents of children under 5 said they were eager to get their children vaccinated right away. Parents gave many different reasons for hesitancy, though most health experts agree on the safety of the vaccine and recommend that all children be vaccinated. more

By Donald Gilpin

Back in person for the first time since Princeton’s first Pride Parade in 2019, Pride 2022 again drew a crowd of thousands of spirited marchers and supporters on Saturday, June 18, all celebrating the message of love, diversity, and inclusion.

From babies to 90-year-olds, the diverse throng “marched, sashayed, and rolled,” according to event lead organizer Robt Seda-Schreiber, up Witherspoon Street from the Municipal Building, then down Paul Robeson Place to the YMCA for an afterparty that included entertainment and remarks from several speakers.

“To get the community together again after three years apart — it was beautiful, meaningful, significant, and inspirational — as meaningful as it was fabulous,” said Seda-Schreiber, chief activist of the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (BRCSJ), which sponsored the event.

Seda-Schreiber noted similarities between the 2019 and 2022 events, but emphasized the importance of bringing so many people together after having been kept apart for so long. “Especially for our queer community, for all marginalized folks, not to be able to gather is a really difficult thing,” he said. “You need to be able to be in a room or a space, a field or a parade or be wherever you might be together in order to have that sense of solidarity.”

He added, “Everybody was welcome. It was all-inclusive. It certainly exceeded our expectations, and I hope the community feels the same way.”

Participants in the parade who spoke at the afterparty included Princeton Mayor Mark Freda, New Jersey State Senators Andrew Zwicker and Linda Greenstein, Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis, Detroit poet Michelle Elizabeth Brown, trans activist and BRCSJ Board President Erin Worrell, and Sesame Street’s Alan Muraoka, who was grand marshal of the parade.  more

JOYFUL MURALS AT LITTLEBROOK: Littlebrook Elementary School students and staff recently completed a six-wall indoor mural project during a three-week residency with mural artist Caren Olmsted and a large outdoor mural developed in collaboration with the Arts Council of Princeton. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)  

By Donald Gilpin

Covering six walls from floor to ceiling, Littlebrook Elementary School’s new murals, were unveiled last week. Their impact has been powerful.

“The murals have brought joy to us all at Littlebrook,” said Littlebrook Principal Luis Ramirez. The artwork, completed during a three-week residency project with mural artist Caren Olmsted, portrays school activities and traditions, and reflects the input of all the students at the school.

“Our murals represent our Littlebrook community, especially our students,” Ramirez noted. “It was important to have every child represented in the artwork. Each student has their unique handprint in the murals and took part in the painting of them as well.”

He continued, “Our students’ voices are represented in the murals. The children helped us with the words of welcome that are painted on the walls of our vestibule and voted to have the word GROW painted in the outdoor mural. I am very proud of all our Littlebrook students.”

The indoor mural project was initiated and funded by the Littlebrook PTO, under the leadership of Co-Presidents Kati Dunn, Sonja Ernst, and Magdalena Janas. For the outdoor mural project, the PTO commissioned artists from the Arts Council of Princeton in looking to enhance the look of the playground area and connect to the larger community.

Janas described the elaborate process of creating the murals. “The longest phase of the project was the design itself,” she said. “Our artist Caren Olmsted listened to all inputs and ideas and created a very unique and original plan. Her work always includes all kids who attend schools that she works in. The mural would have been impossible to do without the help of more than 90 parents — countless hours of priming, painting, and finishing the highest spots on the walls.”

Collaborating with Olmsted, Littlebrook art teacher Colleen Dell enlisted her art classes for several weeks, making sure all students took part in the painting of the walls and the completion of the murals. Greenleaf Painters, LLC donated the paint for the murals. more