Kinder, Gentler, and Community-Oriented

By Anne Levin | Photographs by Charles R. Plohn

Last February, Princeton Council approved a settlement of $3.925 million in a lawsuit with seven members of the Princeton Police Department. Filed in 2013, the suit accused police chief David Dudeck of harassment, discrimination, and creating a hostile work environment. The town did not admit any liability, and the plaintiffs agreed to not file another suit.

The settlement marked the end of an unsavory chapter in the history of law enforcement in Princeton. But things have actually been on the upswing since 2015, when former police captain Nicholas Sutter was promoted to replace Dudeck, who was permitted to retire soon after the suits were filed.

A different culture that began to emerge then appears to now be firmly in place. Transparency, diversity, an openness to change, and respect are the department’s core values.  While nine officers have retired over the past few years, new recruits — several of whom are under 30 — come from a variety of non-traditional backgrounds. Of the 61 officers now on the force, six speak Spanish. One speaks Mandarin. Six are African American, including the first black woman officer in the department’s history. There is an officer dedicated to LGBTQ issues.

“It’s not just ethnicity or gender,” says Sutter. “It’s also about backgrounds. We have former teachers, former members of the military. We even have some talented musicians. There is a vast level of experience here that we might not have seen before.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Princeton University Press celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005, the same year that Peter Dougherty began his illustrious 12-year term as director and British singer songwriter Kate Bush recorded a love song about a man obsessed by “a complete infatuation with the calculation of Pi (π),” the mathematical truth that coincides with the March 14th birthday of Albert Einstein, Princeton’s most renowned citizen.

Bush’s song about a man who loves loves loves his numbers lends a retrospective allure to my mathematically embattled school days, especially when she croons — sensually, caressingly, deliciously — a series of nothing but numbers that become things of beauty as she makes love to “three one four one five nine two six five three five nine” and on into infinity. And when she imagines a “great big circle” of numbers surrounding her pi-infatuated lover, she could be describing the cover of Millions, Billions, Zillions: Defending Yourself in a World of Too Many Numbers, by Princeton professor of computer science Brian W. Kernighan, whose small but numerically mighty book landed on my desk recently along with The Discrete Charm of the Machine: Why the World Became Digital by his computer science colleague at Princeton Ken Steiglitz. Both books are, of course, from Princeton University Press, as is Daniel Kennefick’s No Shadow of a Doubt, timed for the 100th anniversary of the 1919 eclipse “that confirmed Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.” Although Kennefick is a physics professor at the University of Arkansas, he qualifies as a local, his previous books, all about Einstein, having been published by Princeton. more

East Point Lighthouse

(And they make great day trips!)

By Wendy Greenberg

A gleaming white lighthouse, capped with red, towers over a strip of land at Sandy Hook, between Sandy Hook Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse has been standing there since it was built in 1764.

“Think about that,” muses Carol Winkie, president of the New Jersey Lighthouse Society (NJLHS). “Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in the United States, was built before the United States was a country.” Sandy Hook is the lone survivor of the Eastern Seaboard Colonial lighthouses.

The lighthouses of New Jersey that stand today are beacons of maritime history. It is a quirky history, and a fascinating one. The “ABCs” (Absecon, Barnegat, and Cape May) were designed by George G. Meade, a hero of the Battle of Gettysburg. Finn’s Point Rear Range Lighthouse was built in Buffalo, N.Y., shipped by railroad, and pulled on wagons by mules to Supawana Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in 1877. The Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse sits in a football practice field in Paulsboro.

And, sadly, the original 1868 Tucker’s Island Lighthouse, a white tower with red trim, went into the sea in 1927, and soon after the entire island, formerly a resort, was wiped out. A replica stands today. more

By Taylor Smith 

The recent measles outbreak has sparked much discussion over vaccinations, particularly as they apply to children. What some people may not realize is that there are a variety of vaccines recommended for adults as well. Childhood vaccines wear off over time and factors like your age, job, lifestyle, and degree of travel can indicate an increased risk for certain preventable diseases. And the CDC states that older, hospitalized adults have immune systems similar to newborn babies, making them particularly vulnerable to infections.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The celebrated 2019 Spring Lake Irish Festival will take place on Saturday, June 15 from noon to 5 p.m. Affectionately dubbed the “Jersey Shore’s Irish Riviera” for its history of Irish culture and immigration, Spring Lake is the spot for this annual event featuring live music, dancing, food, children’s activities, and shopping. Traditions like the Irish Soda Bread Contest, beer and wine garden, and Irish step dancers are favorites. This year’s musical acts are The Snakes and Doubting Toms.  more

By Taylor Smith 

With 35 acres leased from Duke Farms, Dogwood Farms is a USDA certified organic farm in Hillsborough, N.J., owned and operated by Jon and Kim Knox. Since its opening, Dogwood Farms has more than tripled its vegetable and meat CSA programs and expanded its business into a retail space selling hot sauces, salsa, and other specialty items all grown, produced, and cultivated on the farm.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Rutgers Preparatory School is a distinguished private school in Somerset, N.J. Each summer, the school offers a series of academic camps. The International Ivy Summer Programs for ages 5-14 will take place July 8-August 16. Half-day offerings are available from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 to 5 p.m. A full-day option takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Crayola Experience, located at 30 Centre Square in Easton, Pa., is dedicated to fostering creativity in children (and adults) of all ages. Crayons, markers, and chalk in every hue can be used to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Coloring life-size pages and molding clay are also part of the interactive craft room experience.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The Central New Jersey Brain Tumor Walk on Saturday, May 11 at Bradley Park in Asbury Park is an event to raise awareness and resources to fund critical brain tumor-specific programs to improve the lives of all those affected by brain tumors.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Launching in the fall of 2019, Seton Hall University’s College of Arts and Sciences will offer a Master of Science in data science. The data science program encompasses coursework in statistics, computer science, and applied mathematics. Data scientists are currently in high demand for their knowledge and understanding of business needs, analytics, computer science, and systems engineering. Graduate students will also have the opportunity to pursue certifications in both Amazon Web Services and Tableau, a cloud computing technology.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Summertime means more outdoor time for children and teens, and sports camps are a popular way to fill that free time. While exercise and play are an important part of every child’s development, it’s important for parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of sports-related concussions.  more

By Taylor Smith 

The makers of the Peloton indoor cycling bike have a new model on the market — the Peloton Tread. Unlike the bike, the Tread is a hulking piece of fitness equipment with a hefty price tag of $179 per month for 24 months or a one-time payment of $4,295. More than just a standard treadmill, the engineers behind the Peloton brand are hoping that users of the bike will opt in to purchasing the Tread because of the personalized coaching and virtual reality community experience.  more

By Taylor Smith 

On May 27, more than 500 professional and amateur cyclists will gather to compete in the 76th Annual Tour of Somerville at Davenport and Main streets in Somerville, N.J. Held rain or shine, the historic event is the oldest bike race in the country. Over 50 U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame inductees have participated in the race, along with Tour de France champion Greg LeMond.  more

Arboretum visits can help homeowners visualize their own landscape

By Wendy Greenberg

The ambler, the hiker, or those seeking inspiration from nature are probably not far from one of the many lush arboreta and gardens in the tri-state area. A visit can also offer homeowners a preview of what a young tree will look like in 50 years, among other landscaping ideas.

“Let’s face it,” says Bruce Crawford, director of Rutgers Gardens at New Brunswick, “the palette we (homeowners) pick from is limited, and somewhat self-perpetuating, as we often see one style of a backyard and acquire the same plants and trees. But a public garden or arboretum can show what blooms in the off season, and create a broader palette for the home.”

Rutgers, he notes, has many native dogwoods, but also has interspecific hybrids between our native dogwood and the Chinese dogwood, like the recent hybrid, Scarlet Fire, with “good deep, red flowers.” more

Winged burning bush, Euonymus alatus

The Impact of Invasive Species

By Taylor Smith


Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “invasive” as “the onset or appearance of something harmful or troublesome, as a disease.”

A massive influx of invasive flora and fauna has negatively impacted huge swaths of our native ecosystem, disrupting plant, animal, and human function. In contrast, native plants help to sustain native wildlife like butterflies, birds, mammals, reptiles, beneficial insects, and other fauna.

The vision of Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space (FoHVOS) is to protect New Jersey’s natural lands with their native plants. Its focus is on eliminating threats posed by newly emerging invasive species before they become widespread pests. Created to do just that, the FoHVOS New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team is currently working on a project to protect rare species throughout the municipality of Princeton. more

Jane Leifer, left, and Lisa Dorota Tebbe, right, hoisting the Class of ’73 Coeducation P-rade banner. In the foreground is Elaine Chan.

Recollections After 50 Years

By Donald Gilpin

As lunchtime approached, my two roommates and I, all of us sophomores, peered out the window of our second story Laughlin Hall dormitory room, watching the pathway below leading towards Blair Arch and the Commons dining halls beyond. It was September 1969. Nixon was in the White House, the Vietnam War continued, The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Women” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Princeton University had just admitted regularly-enrolled undergraduate women for the first time.

A young woman came into sight, walking up the path. Sandy Stuart, the bravest of the three of us, quickly headed out the door. We watched as he hustled to catch up to the “coed,” as the 149 regular undergraduate women were called, hoping to introduce himself and maybe even sit next to her at lunch.

His odds were not good. With a ratio of 19 undergraduate men to each woman in Princeton’s first year of coeducation, most male students would find that male-female encounters were rare, and most female students would suggest that encounters with Princeton males were likely to be awkward, unnatural, or worse. 

After 223 years as an institution devoted exclusively to the education of men, Princeton University decided and implemented its first year of educating women with uncharacteristic alacrity. The times were changing in all sorts of ways, politically and socially; Yale was admitting women for the first time in the fall of 1969; the most highly qualified applicants from the top public and private secondary schools in the country were overwhelmingly showing a preference for coeducational colleges and universities; and the mood on campus, among students and professors, was strongly, perhaps even urgently, in favor of opening the doors of Princeton to women — for practical, academic, social, cultural, and political reasons.  more

Architects in Their Own Homes

By Anne Levin | Photography by Jeffrey E. Tryon

When architects design a home, the challenge is to navigate a delicate balance between their artistic vision and the client’s demands. But when the residence they are designing is their own, a sense of freedom comes into play.

The Princeton area boasts an unusually high concentration of architects. We visited the homes of eight of them — six houses, including two married couples — and found a marked individuality in styles, approaches, and visions. One thing they all have in common: They love where they live.

J. Robert and Barbara Hillier

A 22-acre piece of land between the Delaware River and the Delaware Canal in Bucks County, Pa., is the site of Autretemps, the home of the Hilliers, partners in the Princeton firm Studio Hillier. (The couple are shareholders in Witherspoon Media Group, which publishes Princeton Magazine).

“The house is totally modern, but with its construction with materials and forms that are indigenous to Bucks County, it has a casual and relaxed warmth that is often lost in modern architecture,” said Bob Hillier. “A silo, built of glass block instead of silo tiles, houses a circular stair and, at night, serves as a beacon for travelers along the river road. Local fieldstone, big timbers, and cedar siding all work with the great amounts of glass to build the warmth while providing fantastic views of the river and the surrounding terrain.” more

Main building, Ellis Island

The Immigration Experience at Historic Ellis Island

by Taylor Smith | Photos courtesy of The National Park Service and Wikimedia Commons

More than 12 million immigrants passed through the U.S. immigration portal at New York’s Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954. These determined individuals — many of whom were escaping extreme poverty, famine, and persecution — often spent all of their savings on a single ticket, causing many families to become separated. Teenage children were left to cross the ocean alone, not knowing what was in store for them when they arrived in America, or whether they would every see their parents again.

This uncertainty did not dissipate after the ships sailed past the Statue of Liberty, a literal beacon of light, hope, and freedom to the arriving passengers. The inspection process at Ellis Island was another big hurdle to cross, and the health and confidence of the arriving immigrants — who often did not speak English and had eaten little and seldom bathed during their long journey — was not strong.

All arriving passengers were processed in the Registry Room where they were organized in pens similar to cattle or livestock. Public Health Service doctors poked and prodded as they asked the new arrivals to cough, stand up straight, and answer a few questions to assess their psychological state. Special attention was paid to individuals who appeared weak and off balance, struggling to carry their own luggage up the broad staircase to the Registry Room. Of primary concern were cholera, scalp and nail fungus, tuberculosis, epilepsy, trachoma, insanity, and other mental impairments. Trachoma, a contagious eye infection that can lead to blindness and death, was itself somewhat akin to a death sentence, sending afflicted patients back to their home country. During their examination, Ellis Island physicians used a hooked metal tool to literally flip a new arrival’s eyelid inside out. Excessive redness on the under-eyelid was taken as suspected trachoma. Cases of misdiagnosis were not uncommon.  more

Threats and Protections in Today’s World

By Will Uhl

Digital communication has made the world a more interconnected place. Instant global communication has allowed for more international collaboration. But as digital communication becomes more centralized, government and corporate surveillance bleeds further into everyday life. Now, as world leaders make bolder legislation and multi-billion-dollar companies produce more invasive products, rights and convenience are clashing -— and there is more than personal privacy on the line.

For Fun and Profit

Social media has introduced another party to surveillance: technology corporations. Facebook is the obvious example; the company is infamous for the amount of information it collects about its users from their smartphones. Facebook has documented calls and texts made outside their apps, constantly recorded the phone’s geographic location, and deceived users into uploading the phone’s contact list. However, every popular social media giant is guilty of tracking more personal data than users realize, including Twitter and Tumblr. It’s their business model.

Social media sites make most of their profits from advertising, and being able to target advertisements to specific users is good business. As a result, Facebook tracks not just the location, age, gender, language, and education level of its users, but also categorizes users according to details as specific as “Users who are ‘heavy’ buyers of beer, wine, or spirits” and “Users whose household makes more purchases than is average.” The more data advertisers collect, the better they can target users. more