VP Murray re-elected to school board after all votes counted

On Election Night, the Mercer County Clerk’s office was reporting that Alyce Murray, vice president of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District Board of Education, had finished fourth of four in the race for three seats on the board. By that night’s count, incumbent Adam Sawicki and newcomers Darius Matthews and Sarah Tracy had been elected to three-year terms.

Alyce Murray

The vote was close: 2,686 for Tracy, 2,670 for Sawicki, 2,386 for Matthews and 2,355 for Murray. However, the posted vote counts did not include mail-in or provisional ballots.

Once those were counted, Murray vaulted ahead of Matthews to take the third available sea, with 2,698 votes compared to 2,680 for Matthews.

Murray, Sawicki and Matthews ran as a slate in the nonpartisan election. Tracy will be succeeding school board member Roy Dollard, who opted not to run for re-election. Sawicki and Tracy each received around 26 percent of the vote, Murray and Matthews around 23 percent.

Dems in township sweep

Mayor Kevin Kuchinski and Democratic running mate Michael Ruger won three-year terms on Hopewell Township Committee, defeating Republican candidates Luis Nicolao and Philip Volpe.

Kevin Kuchinski

Kuchinski led all vote-getters with 3,811, followed by Ruger with 3,691. The clerk’s office reports Volpe with 2,606 votes and Nicolao with 2,395. Overall the Democrats received about 60 percent of the votes.

Ruger was running for the second time, following an unsuccessful campaign in 2016. He will succeed long-time committee member Vanessa Sandom, who chose not to run after serving 16 years on committee. Volpe and Nicolao were on the ballot for the first time.

In Hopewell Borough, council president C. Schuyler Morehouse (R) and newcomer Ryan Kennedy (D) won uncontested three-year terms on council. Republican Shelby Tewell also ran uncontested for the one-year unexpired term to which she was appointed after it was vacated by Roxanne Plett in January.

In Pennington Borough, incumbent Democrats Glen Griffiths and Catherine “Kit” Chandler ran unopposed for three-year terms on council, the second consecutive time they have won in an uncontested vote.

HoVal Chorus set for annual holiday concert

The Hopewell Valley Chorus will present its annual holiday concert, “Deck the Halls,” on Friday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Artistic Director Heather Mitchell will lead a program featuring a wide range of songs — sacred and secular, classical and contemporary, unusual and familiar — by composers including Mozart, Busto, and PDQ Bach, Jerry Herman and LeRoy Anderson.

Before and after the concert, the audience will be able to shop at a jewelry sale and bid on a handmade quilt or a set of Lenox dinnerware.

The concert is set to take place at St. James Church, 115 E. Delaware Ave., Pennington. Tickets $15 General admission tickets $15 ($10 for seniors and students). They can be ordered online at hopewellvalleychorus.org.

For more information, call (609) 737-3177 or email hopewellvalleychorus@gmail.com.

Hopewell Valley Central High School madrigal singers Owen Burnett, Lily Rutman, Donovan Kazakoff, Julia Rutman, Tim Granzow, Georgia Burnham-Lemaire, Ava Bejgrowicz, Gillian Ashcraft and Anna Antal.

CHS choirs to host madrigal dinner

The Hopewell Valley Central High School Chamber Singers will host a madrigal dinner on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at Stony Brook Elementary School. The event is billed as an evening of fun and food, served by costumed choir members, to ring in the holiday season in a medieval way. Festivities include a three-course meal, a performance of a short play, and singing of traditional holiday tunes by Central High School’s premier choir.

Tickets are $25 for adults, and $15 for students/children. Tickets must be purchased by Dec. 6. All proceeds support Central High School’s choir programs. Stony Brook Elementary is at 20 Stephenson Road, Pennington. Tickets are available online at or contact Choir Director Randy White at randywhite@hvrsd.org.

On Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., there will also be a Coffee House Cabaret at Hopewell Elementary School at 7 p.m. Featured will be CHS a cappella groups U Got Male, She Major, Con Brio and others, singing holiday tunes and other music.

Admission is free, but donations would support Central High School’s outstanding music programs. Hopewell Elementary is located at 35 Princeton Ave., Hopewell.

Annual tree lighting the highlight of Holiday Walk

The Pennington Business and Professionals Association is once again sponsoring the Holiday Walk, a night that begins with the traditional tree-lighting ceremony at Howe Commons.

The Holiday Walk will take place on Dec. 1 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Santa Claus will headline the evening as he listens to the wishes of Pennington’s children and poses for a photo with every one. There will also be ice sculpting and food samples from local restaurants.

Downtown is set to sparkle with 52 illuminated snowflakes, and Main Street will be filled with the sound of holiday music. Shops and businesses will be open to welcome visitors to an evening of holiday cheer.

Hopewell-Keroka Alliance gala deemed a success

Organizers say the 10th-anniversary gala celebration of the Hopewell-Keroka Alliance, held Oct. 21 at the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, was a resounding success.

HKA is a Hopewell-based, Kenya-focused, all-volunteer nonprofit charitable organization that seeks to build a cultural and humanitarian bridge between the residents of Hopewell Valley and the Keroka area of southwestern Kenya in East Africa.

The sold-out event exceeded organizers’ fundraising goals. Among other highlights, members of Hopewell Valley Central High School’s Con Brio student a cappella choral group opened the formal program by singing the Kenyan national anthem (in Swahili), followed by the U. S. national anthem.

Funds raised as part of the gala will go a long way toward promoting Education, Enterprise and Empowerment over the coming decade. In its first 10 years, HKA raised almost $170,000 in the United States to fund a variety of health-, education- and infrastructure-related improvement projects within several small contiguous villages served by HKA New Jersey, working closely in collaboration with its sister organization HKA Keroka on the ground in Kenya.

More information about the organizations is online at hkalliance.org.

Pennington School seniors Johanna Bradshaw, Sydney Faber and Victoria Gassman were inducted into the Cum Laude Society on Oct. 26, 2017.

Pennington seniors join Cum Laude Society

Eleven Pennington seniors were inducted on Oct. 26 as student members of the School’s chapter of the Cum Laude Society before an audience of the entire Upper School, faculty, and parents. Students inducted are within the top 10 percent of the class, as determined by grade point average, and the School views selection for membership as one of the highest honors it can confer.

The new members of Cum Laude are Johanna Bradshaw, Sydney Faber, Victoria Gassmann, Ruosi Hu, Francesca Iucolino, Ziqi Lei, Nicholas Micheletti, Matthew Paragamian, Zhehao Tong, Ryan Totaro, and Xin Yi Zheng.. Bradshaw, Faber and Gassmann are Pennington residents.

The Cum Laude Society is an international organization recognizing “academic achievement in secondary schools for the purpose of promoting excellence, justice, and honor.” There are approximately 380 institutions in the Society; most are independent schools.