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Woodside teen takes on cross-country bike trip Section 2

A totally transformed campus will greet Hillview Middle School students on Sept. 4 PAGE 5

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2NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

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‘Menlo Monopoly’: Sites swap hands

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New owners claim Beltramo’s project and 1300 El Camino Real

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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enlo Park needs more housing, at least according to the state, and with the downtown/El Camino Real specific plan in place, building that housing should be easier than it used to be. Two developers are willing to test that theory on controversial sites with development agreements in place for years, although the developers fulfilling the vision will not be the same as the ones who started the process. Both 1460 El Camino Real — otherwise known as the Beltramo’s project — and 1300 El Camino Real — the site that sparked a lawsuit filed by private citizens purportedly concerned about competition with local grocers from the envisioned grocery store on the site plan — were sold earlier this year. In the case of 1460 El Camino Real, the Beltramos haggled with Menlo Park for years over the number of below-marketrate housing the 1.5-acre site needed to include. Starting with three, and ending at one, the city’s decisions were guided in part by the perception of the Beltramos as local businessmen and small developers trying to save money in a tough economy. The final approval came in January 2011. By March 2012, the site belonged to professional developer Hunter/Storm, based in Foster City. According to John Beltramo, discussions about the sale started about six months

after the council’s approval. The timing raised a few eyebrows. “First, the applicant wanted relief on the BMR allocation. That was no small feat, but understanding that the applicant was not a professional developer and did not have the kind of resources a classic land developer would have, kind of played into the discussion,” said Councilman Rich Cline. “Speaking for myself, the way this property flipped hands so quickly has never sat well with

‘Speaking for myself, the way this property flipped hands so quickly has never sat well with me.’ COUNCILMAN RICH CLINE

me. We gave relief and in doing so basically passed on more entitlements for the applicant to sell.” But, he said, all landowners have a right to sell. “And this is the difficulty when approving projects requesting more entitlements — that the applicant is just trying to get more out of the city to turn around and sell for more money.” Mayor Kirsten Keith, who also had input on the project while on the Planning Commission, declined to speculate about how her votes might have gone had the city been aware of a possible sale. “I am pleased that at least the project may get under way and be built and we will have another (below market rate) unit,” she said.

1300 El Camino

The metamorphosis of 1300 El Camino Real, also in March, was not from small developer to large. The 3.5-acre property initially belonged to Sand Hill Properties, then transferred to Bayfront Investments, also in March. The city is keeping an eye on the property. As it looks for possible housing sites as part of a lawsuit settlement over noncompliance with state law, the city put on the list both 1300 El Camino Real and the site of the former Derry project. The existing development approvals for the property at 1300 El Camino Real are valid through October 2013, according to Community Development Director Arlinda Heineck. Scott Hassan, of Willow Garage fame, also owns Bayfront Investments and is interested in building a mixed commercial/residential project, according to city staff. Ms. Heineck said that any new plans at that location would follow specific plan guidelines, which allow 32 to 50 housing units per acre. A

N INFORMAT ION

■ Community workshops to discuss potential new housing sites are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center (700 Alma St. in Menlo Park) and Thursday, Aug. 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the senior center at 100 Terminal Ave. in Menlo Park ■ Go to tinyurl.com/MP-heu to view the city’s project website on the housing element update, which includes a list of 25 preliminary locations.

Dumbarton Bridge to close over Labor Day weekend For the past few months, the Dumbarton Bridge has been undergoing construction for a seismic safety retrofit. As part of this project, the bridge will be closed for three days over Labor Day weekend, from Friday evening, Aug. 31, until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.

The closure will allow Caltrans crews to replace the existing expansion joint on the eastern side of the bridge with a new seismic joint that will absorb and dissipate energy in a seismic event, according to an informational fact sheet. The joint spans across

all six lanes of traffic, which is why the entire bridge must be closed. Motorists are advised to allow extra time to use alternate routes or public transit. Visit dumbartonbridgeinfo. org for alternative routes and more information.

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THE ALMANAC (ISSN 1097-3095 and USPS 459370) is published every Wednesday by Embarcadero Media, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 940256558. Periodicals Postage Paid at Menlo Park, CA and at additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for San Mateo County, The Almanac is delivered free to homes in Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside. Subscriptions for $60 per year or $100 per 2 years are welcome. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025-6558. Copyright ©2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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SHARON HUNT, MD US News & World Report— Top 1% of America’s cardiologists

Stanford Hospital & Clinics is proud to be known worldwide for offering advanced treatment solutions to complex medical problems. Every day, our focus is on providing unsurpassed patient care. Get to know all of our top doctors at stanfordhospital.org 4NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

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It’s a whole new world at Hillview $52-million rebuild transforms campus in Menlo Park By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

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lassrooms will beam with bright orange and purple chairs. Feet will tread across vibrant green carpeting on the way to a library shelf or the computer room. But the walls? Mostly white or beige, with brown highlights. Some people have questioned the wisdom of the colorless walls that will surround Hillview Middle School students when they return to campus on Sept. 4, according to Laura Rich, president of the Menlo Park City School District board. “But when the kids are here, they’re the color,” she said. Indicating the Menlo Park campus’ physical environment with a sweep of her arm, she added, “This should be the backdrop for the kids.” Those kids — an estimated 810 of them — will be the beneficiaries of the $51.6 million project, begun in summer 2010, to completely transform the campus at Elder and Santa Cruz avenues. Although passers-by can easily observe that construction work is continuing at high pitch, Ms. Rich and Ahmad Sheikholeslami, the district’s facilities director, state with confidence that all the new buildings needed to operate the school will be ready by opening day. The district embarked on the massive project primarily to address a student population that was soaring above projections at the lowest grade levels in its three other schools: Oak Knoll in Menlo Park, and Laurel and Encinal in Atherton. With the successful passage of a bond measure, planning began so that the district’s only middle school would be able to accommodate the higher number of students as they entered sixth grade.

OPEN HOUSE: The public is invited to a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Hillview Middle School campus from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28. The event starts in the new auditorium. Tours will follow. The school is located at 1100 Elder Ave. at Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park.

Almanac photo by Veronica Weber

Construction workers pass by Hillview Middle School’s new auditorium and performing arts space, with classrooms for band, chorus, theater and broadcasting, and with science labs on the second floor.

The new campus, with 85,000 square feet of new facilities, was designed to accommodate up to 1,000 students, Mr. Sheikholeslami said. It has six new buildings; each is two-story and connected by walkways on the second-floor level. The only building that remains from the old campus is the gym, which doubled as a multipurpose room — no longer needed for that role with the campus addition of a spacious performing arts auditorium. As construction crews work overtime to complete the exteriors of the buildings — interior work on the classrooms and the library is finished — the district is gearing up for an Aug. 28 grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. Work on the fields, which will be built where the old Hillview buildings once stood, should be completed by year’s end, Ms. Almanac photo by Veronica Weber

See HILLVIEW, page 10

The library at the new Hillview site has moveable book shelves, a classroom and comfortable reading chairs. August 15, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN5

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Ms. McKeithen has complained publicly about how a ith three-term incum- difficult job — serving on a bent Kathy McKeithen town council — had been made giving up her seat almost intolerable because of on the Atherton City Council, harassment, vandalism at her residents considering a run for home, and “abuse� by a fellow one of two open council seats council member. But that’s not now have until 5 p.m. Wednes- her reason for stepping down. day, Aug. 15, to file candidate A fourth term, she said, was papers. never a possibility in Ms. McKeithen told her mind, and she feels the Almanac that she satisfied that much of had never intended what she wanted to to run for a fourth see accomplished has term, although she was been. unwilling to say so pubAn example, she said, licly until now. She said is that the town’s budshe is throwing her sup- Kathy get “is back on track� port behind candidate McKeithen after facing a structural Denise Kupperman, deficit of more than with whom she’s worked on $800,000, projected to climb various town projects, including past $1 million in short order. the planning of a new library. Part of the strategy for budgetAs of the Almanac’s press ary health was the outsourcing time, there are four candidates: of most public services, she Incumbent Elizabeth Lewis, Ms. said, adding that the commuKupperman, Cary Wiest, and nity is “very happy with it. They Greg Conlon. think (contracted employees) Tom Croft, Bob Roeser, and are doing a better job than ever Jo-Ann Sockolov have also taken before.� out papers, but Theresa DellaSOther accomplishments she anta, the city clerk and interim cited: The hiring of City Attorcity manager, said last week that ney Bill Conners and Police all three have indicated to her Chief Ed Flint. that they won’t be filing their “I’d never been happy with papers. our attorneys, not only because By law, the filing period is of cost but because of the work extended to all but incumbents produced,� she said. “That has when any incumbent whose changed. Costs are down ... and term is up doesn’t turn in can- we’ve wiped a lot of litigation off didate papers during the regular our plates.� filing period, which ended Aug. She also had been unhappy 10. with the operation of the police Candidate papers may be department in past years, but picked up at Atherton Town now says, “I cannot speak highHall. ly enough of Ed Flint.� Almanac News Editor

FRESH PRODUCE

SEEDLESS WATERMELON

McKeithen not running; filing deadline extended in Atherton council race By Renee Batti

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Hybrid car catches fire in Roberts Market parking lot By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer

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2011 RosĂŠ Part 2

The 2011 vintage has produced some of the freshest, crispest, ďŹ nest rosĂŠs I have ever tasted. Given how ďŹ ne the ‘10s were, this is no small praise. If you are a fan of serious, dry rosĂŠ, do not miss out on these exceptional beauties. Dom. Sorin, Cotes de Provence .............................$11.99 Dom. De Fontsainte Gris de Gris, Corbieres.........$13.99 Mas Champant, Saint Chinian..............................$14.99 Triennes, Vin de Pays du Var ................................$14.99 Ch. Saint Pierre, Cotes de Provence ......................$14.99 Ch. de Trinquevedel, Tavel ...................................$17.99 Le Clos du Caillou, Cotes de Rhone ......................$17.99 Commanderie de Peyrassol, Cotes de Provence ...$18.99 Ch. de Puligny-Mondrachet, Bourgoyne ...............$18.99

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6NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

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he front left side of an expensive hybrid sedan known as the Fisker Karma burst into flames while sitting unoccupied in the parking lot of Roberts Market at the corner of Woodside and Canada roads at about 5:50 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, firefighters from the Woodside Fire Protection District said. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire with water and there were no injuries, but the heat did blister paint on an adjacent SUV, Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso told the Almanac. A fire in a hybrid vehicle can involve electricity and liquid fuel, sub-

stances normally extinguished with foam, but this fire endangered neither the battery pack nor the fuel tank, Chief Ghiorso said. The 2012 Karma, a dramatic looking vehicle from Anaheimbased Fisker Automotive, went into production in December 2011 and costs between $103,000 and $116,000, Fisker spokesman Russel Datz told the Almanac in an email. The driver told firefighters that he noticed “steam or smoke� before parking the vehicle and had called the manufacturer, who advised him to call 911 upon seeing the flames, Chief Ghiorso said. A

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Menlo filing deadline extended By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer

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he pool of Menlo Park City Council candidates shrank by one, as Councilman Andy Cohen decided not to follow through on running for a third term. Candidates Dave Bragg, Ray Mueller, Catherine Carlton, Kelly Fergusson and Carolyn Clarke collected the required 20 signatures from city residents and filed their paperwork by Aug. 10. With one incumbent not running, the deadline to file is extended until 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, according to the city clerk’s office. Although campaign season now officially begins, the candidates have already been busy building support. Ms. Carlton counts former council members John Boyle and Mickie Winkler among her endorsements, along with Councilman Peter Ohtaki,

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Commissioner Kelly Blythe and Menlo Park Fire Protection District board member Virginia Chang-Kiraly. As for the single incumbent seeking re-election, Ms. Fergusson announced endorsements

Incumbent Andy Cohen decides not to run for a third term. from local business owners Clark Kepler, Nick Sharma, Kathleen Daly, as well as Supervisor Dave Pine and Planning Commisioner Katie Ferrick. She said several former mayors are also backing her campaign. Some of the same names pop up on Mr. Mueller’s extensive list of endorsements — Mr. Boyle, Ms. Winkler and Ms. Ferrick, for example — although he’s gotten

the support of the entire Planning Commission as well as the Transportation Commission. Both Ms. Fergusson and Mr. Mueller filed campaign finance reports as well. The councilwoman reported $3,355 in contributions from Jan. 1 through June 30; that includes $2,500 she loaned herself. Fourteen donors chipped in; some, like fire district board member Rob Silano, downtown business owner Mark Flegel and Burlingame Councilwoman Terry Nagel, gave $100 apiece. Mr. Mueller’s balance sheet showed $2,700 — all from himself — for June 1 through June 30. First elected to the council in 2004, Mr. Cohen, 72, wasn’t immediately available for comment on his decision to not seek re-election. He ran for the county Board of Supervisors earlier this year, but failed to make the run-off during the June primary, coming in sixth out of seven candidates with 4,723 votes.

Almanac News Editor

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he period for filing candidate papers in the race for a seat on the Las Lomitas School District board has been extended until Wednesday, Aug. 15, because the two incumbents are not seeking re-election. But with both incumbents in the Menlo Park City School District board race running, the filing period closed Aug. 10 for that race for two board seats — and because no one else filed papers, there will be no contest in that race. Maria Hilton and Jeff Child will retain their seats for another four-year term. Las Lomitas board President

N ELECTION 20 12

Maria Doktorczyk and member John Macdonald will step down when their terms end this year, Ms. Doktorczyk told the Almanac. As of the Almanac’s press time on Monday, there is only one candidate for the two open seats in the Las Lomitas race: Retired attorney Bill Steinmetz of Ladera filed his papers last week. Mr. Steinmetz is the father of three daughters; two will be at La Entrada Middle School, and one will be a first-grader at Las Lomitas School this year. He told the Almanac that he chose to run for a seat on the

board after being asked to do so by a number of people, and deciding that “I do have things I can bring to the table.” Those things include his experience as an attorney, which involved work in mediation and arbitration. Also, before his law career, Mr. Steinmetz was a civil engineer who managed construction projects and dealt with employee unions. With the district poised to tackle facilities issues, primarily because of a burgeoning enrollment, his experience as an on-site field engineer will allow him to contribute a valuable perspective to the board’s decision-making process, he said.

a water stop along the way. The Rotary Club provides emergency and technical support (SAG) over all three routes that is accessible by phone. Proceeds from the ride support various Rotary projects, including tutoring Englishlanguage learners and providing need-based scholarships to local high school students. In addition, funds from the Tour support the Almanac’s Holiday Fund, which makes donations to 10 local nonprofit agencies that help the hungry, homeless and youths who need counseling in southern San Mateo Country. In last year’s ride, the 65-mile route was by far the most popu-

What Title Insurance Insures Dear Monica. I am buying a property owned by several trusts, and the language in the title report’s vesting paragraph lists each owner as well as their share of the ownership. Am I protected if after escrow closes it is found that vesting was incorrectly written and the transfer of title was therefore wrongly done? Jon D Dear Jon: This is one of the many areas in which title insurance is so important. The title company through the escrow process is responsible for trans-

ferring the title from one owner to another, and then recording that change of ownership. You as a buyer obtain title insurance to protect you if the chain of title is incorrect or wrongly recorded. Your title insurance policy covers you for this risk. Despite this protection you should still read the preliminary title report carefully and make sure to have all of your questions answered adequately. If you find an error or you think you do, let your agent and the title company know about it to avoid problems later.

For answers to any questions you may have on real estate, you may e-mail me at mcorman@apr.com or call 462-1111, Alain Pinel Realtors. I also offer a free market analysis of your property. www.MonicaCorman.com

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Hundreds expected for Tour de Menlo Registration for this year’s Tour de Menlo bike ride will be accepted until 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Menlo-Atherton High School, where the ride starts and finishes. Ride officials expect up to 500 cyclists to take part in the annual event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Menlo Park and the Almanac. The Tour features three routes of 65, 45 and 35 miles. The $50 ($60 for those who register on ride day) entry fee includes a T-shirt and lunch prepared by Lutticken’s Deli at the Picchetti Open Space Reserve in Cupertino, as well as fully stocked rest stops and

by Monica Corman

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Extended deadline for Las Lomitas; no contest in Menlo Park district By Renee Batti

R EAL E STATE Q&A

lar, taking riders up to Belmont and the first rest stop on Polhemus Road. Then, after climbing up to the bike bridge, riders head south to Canada Road in Woodside and then to the Portola Road firehouse near Alpine Road to the second rest stop. Go to tourdemenlo.com for more information and to find a link to sign up online, which is available until Aug. 17. Riders may also sign up at M-A until 9 a.m. on ride day. It is still possible to order this year’s tour jersey, which will be delivered about eight weeks after the ride. For more information, call Tom at 223-6507.

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Ask for Seasonal Special Discount (650) 321-2795swww.cityaborist.com s Arborist@CityArborist.com August 15, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN7

A community health education series from Stanford Hospital & Clinics

New Device, Hybrid Team Restore Ailing Heart Valves Once Inoperable

Three to four times a year, he’d see his long-time and trusted local cardiologist, but when he began to have difficulty breathing, he didn’t think it was very serious at first. “He told me my heart valve was getting progressively narrower and that at some point in time we’d have to start talking about doing something,” Verwer said. Perhaps a bit stubbornly, Verwer kept delaying that point in time. Months passed, and Verwer and his wife, Shon, traveled to Italy with his children and their families. “He really started to deteriorate,” Stockton said. “We all should have been walking and his fear was he wasn’t going to make it off the mountain.” Verwer limited his activities, to little avail. By February 2012, “he was going downhill daily,” his wife said. “He was doing nothing but sitting and sleeping. There was really something wrong.” She insisted he see his doctor, who put Verwer into the hospital for tests. His heart rate was fluttering that could be easily fixed,

but he was also suffering from aortic stenosis, the narrowing by calcium deposits of the body’s largest artery as it passes through the heart. Because of that narrowing, the blood flow through his heart’s main valve to his limbs and organs had been reduced to a fraction of what his body needed. His heart was working harder and harder, with less result. Without the oxygen carried by that blood, his ability to breathe and move, even to think, was seriously diminished.

“He was doing nothing but sitting and sleeping. There was really something wrong.” – Shon Verwer, wife of Gary Verwer, Stanford Hospital & Clinics patient Surgery was the standard fix, but Verwer would soon learn that his survival would be in the hands of a team of physicians at Stanford Hospital & Clinics entrusted with a brand-new technique for replacing narrowed aortic valves only recently approved by federal officials for use outside of clinical trials. His treatment, said Stanford cardiovascular surgeon Craig Miller, MD, would represent “a major medical paradigm shift something to address an otherwise fatal disease in patients whom we once could offer nothing but supportive care and counseling.”

Rising need for care

Norbert von der Groeben

Verwer represents a growing population of patients whose age brings serious health challenges. Aortic stenosis, the most common type of valvular disease, develops most often after age 60. At 76, Verwer is part of the bulging Baby Boomer demographic. Unfortunately, no medications have yet been found to be an effective treatment for the condition only valve replacement surgery can provide long term renewal of blood flow through this key point in the heart. But that surgery is among the Verwer represents a growing population of patients whose age has brought most traumatically inserious health challenges. Aortic stenosis, the most common type of valvular vasive to the body and disease, develops most often after age 60. considered high risk for

8NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

Norbert von der Groeben

At 52, Gary Verwer paid for decades of indifference to his health with a triple cardiac bypass. A month later he was parasailing in Hawaii, enjoying a safe return to an active lifestyle that also included extensive business travel around the world. “It worked out great,” Verwer said. “I was able to do just about anything.” With a higher awareness of his heart health, he did pay closer attention to his diet. For more than 20 years, the repairs worked well, even as he aged and slowed down some. He made a happy new marriage and, with 10 grandchildren, spent more time than ever with them. Golf and gardening augmented his pleasures in life.

At 52, Gary Verwer paid for decades of indifference to his health with a triple cardiac bypass. For more than 20 years, the repairs worked well, even as he aged and slowed down some. But then his heart problems began again. older patients with other serious medical problems. Surgeons saw through the sternum, that flat bone in the middle of the chest. Then, as the old valve is removed and replaced by a prosthetic one, they transfer the heart’s pumping function to a heart-lung machine. Being on the heartlung machine carries risks of cognitive impairment. Moreover, physical recovery from such surgery can be weeks long. If a patient has other debilitating medical conditions, the risk for such surgery becomes prohibitive. A special barrier stood before Verwer: The bypass that had been so successful for so long had engaged another artery that, as part of the standard sternal route surgery, surgeons would have to cross to get to the aorta, and in that passage, might nick it. One surgeon refused. Another told him, “It would be really messy.” Then his cardiologist suggested Verwer call Miller and the heart valve team at Stanford. For four years, cardiovascular physicians there had been testing a new minimally invasive way to replace aortic valves. It was a technique specifically designed for those who, like Verwer, were not good candidates for the traditional surgical approach. Just weeks earlier, in November 2011, the FDA had acknowledged the success of the trials with such patients and approved Stanford as the first facility in the Bay Area to offer the device outside of a clinical trial. “Leave it up to the guys at Stanford,” Verwer’s cardiologist told him. “They’re very, very smart guys and they know what they’re doing.”

After the Verwers’ first conversation with Stanford’s Bill Fearon, MD, that was their feeling, too. Fearon, a cardiologist who specializes in non-surgical heart repair, “was so easy to talk to, very easy-going and open, we both walked out of there very confident that they could do what they said they could do and do it without a hiccup,” Verwer said.

New design, new pathway

Fearon was part of a team of Stanford physicians invited in 2008, along with others at specially selected medical centers, for a large-scale national test of a revolutionary new heart valve replacement and a method to implant it without major surgery. The Edwards SAPIEN transcatheter heart valve is made of bovine membrane attached to a stainless steel mesh frame with a polyester wrap. At one end of the valve, the edges float free except for three points of contact that create a tri-fold leaflet that mimics the human heart valvular flaps. The material and the design make it possible to compress the device into the narrow confines of the femoral artery, carried along through the body affixed to the end “I feel alive again,”Verwer said. “I fe of a tube, or life again. I’ll be dancing with my gr catheter. The

special feature

The Heart’s Mechanics t When all is well, the heart, the body’s hardest working muscle, beats about 80 times a minute, pumping 3 billion times in an average lifetime. t Arteries transport blood from the heart into the body; veins carry the blood back to the heart. t The heart has four chambers; each of the heart’s four valves open to allow forward flow of the blood and close to prevent backward flow. t The heart and its major vessels are among the most common sites for birth defects.

When the Heart Goes Wrong t Coronary heart disease caused one in six deaths in the United States in 2008. t The American Heart Association projects that by 2030, 40.5% of the U.S. population will have form of cardiovascular disease. t Age increases risk: 35.5 percent of men and 20.8 percent of women age 80 and above suffered from coronary heart disease, according to 2005-2008 data gathered by the National Center for Health Statistics and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

For more information about the TAVR, phone 650.725.2687 or visit stanfordhospital.org/TAVR

t Consider seeing your doctor if you experience difficulty breathing, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat or an inability to perform normal activities.

Join us at http://stanfordhospital.org/socialmedia. Watch the new Stanford Hospital Health Notes television show on Comcast: channel 28 on Mondays at 8:30 p.m., Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. and Fridays at 8:30 a.m.; channel 30 Saturdays at 10:30 p.m. It can also be viewed at www.youtube.com/stanfordhospital.

catheter also carries a balloon. When the valve is properly positioned, the balloon expands to open the valve and set it in place. There’s been no internal cutting and no heart-lung bypass necessary.

Gathering all knowledge

Norbert von der Groeben

– Gary Verwer, Stanford Hospital & Clinics patient “People estimate that perhaps 30 percent or more of patients who have severe aortic stenosis who should get surgery aren’t getting it because of the risk,” Fearon said. “Aortic stenosis is a very common problem and many patients are at high risk with traditional open heart surgery, especially those who’ve had prior open heart surgery. It’s become more and more of an issue because our population is getting older and older.”

Seeing the difference the device has made in the lives of his patients “has been most gratifying,” said cardiac surgeon Michael Fischbein, MD, one of Verwer’s medical team at Stanford. “After the valve replacement, it’s like night and day.” “We both thought, ‘Why not be a part of moving medicine forward?’ That’s easy to do when you don’t really have a choice,” said Shon Verwer. “But in the end, you also know that maybe you’ve helped somebody else, too.’ ”

Verwer wasn’t too bothered by the newness of the procedure. Fearon told him the Stanford team had already placed the new valve in nearly 200 patients. “There is even more extensive experience in Europe than in the U.S.,” Fearon said, “and the results have been very encouraging.”

Norbert von der Groeben

el I can do anything I want and I’ve got my positive outlook on randdaughter at her wedding and I’ll be playing golf again.”

Everything turned on whether or not Verwer’s femoral artery was large enough to carry the catheter, and that turned his way. That set the procedure in motion, with a full team of Stanford physicians on hand, each with a specific function. Including support personnel, the Stanford team tallied 20, including Fearon; Miller; Alan Yeung, MD, director of interventional cardiology; cardiac surgeon Michael Fischbein, MD; three cardiac anesthesiologists and physician specialists in echocardiography and cardiovascular radiology.

The device has “really advanced the treatment of aortic stenosis with a team approach,” said Fischbein, “with cardiologists and cardiac surgeons working together, bringing their experience to the table.” Seeing the difference the device has made in the lives of his patients “has been most gratifying,” he said. “After the valve replacement, it’s like night and day. It’s an incredible technique that offers so much for patients who really had no other treatment option.” For his part, Verwer said, “I feel alive again. I feel I can do anything I want and I’ve got my positive outlook on life again. I’ll be dancing with my granddaughter at her wedding and I’ll

“After the valve replacement, it’s like night and day. It’s an incredible technique that offers so much for patients who really had no other treatment option.” – Michael Fischbein, MD, cardiac surgeon, Stanford Hospital & Clinics He’s also becoming accustomed to being an informal representative of the new valve and the new implantation procedure. A recent prolonged bloody nose sent him to the local emergency room where he shared some of his health history with the emergency physician. “He said, ‘That’s unbelievable. I’ve never heard of that. I’ve got to tell this story to other people. Man, you are a lucky man!’

Norbert von der Groeben

“We both walked out of there very confident that they could do what they said they could do and do it without a hiccup.”

The new heart valve device represents an opportunity, which Stanford has grasped, to bring more unity of knowledge, experience and collaboration to cardiovascular treatment. “Traditionally, the open heart operation is done by the cardiac surgeon and the procedure done through the leg is done by a cardiologist,” Yeung said. “We feel it’s very important to get the expertise of the cardiac surgeon on how to deal with the valve and have the cardiologist’s expertise on how to deal with the insertion so we can do the procedure together, with a team approach because it involves so many facets of cardiology. It’s a hybrid, a convergence.”

be playing golf again. I live for today and what tomorrow brings is what tomorrow brings. But Shon’s happy again. I’m happy again. My family’s happy again.”

With his wife, Shon, at his side, and a new valve aiding his heart’s pumping action, “I’m happy again. My family’s happy again,” Verwer said.

Stanford Hospital & Clinics is dedicated to providing leading edge and coordinated care to each and every patient. It is internationally renowned for expertise in areas such as cancer treatment, neuroscience, surgery, cardiovascular medicine and organ transplant, as well as for translating medical breakthroughs into patient care. Throughout its history, Stanford has been at the forefront of discovery and innovation, as researchers and clinicians work together to improve health on a global level. Stanford Hospital & Clinics: Healing humanity through science and compassion, one patient at a time. For more information, visit www.stanfordhospital.org.

August 15, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN9

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It’s a new day at Hillview school HILLVIEW continued from page 5

Rich said. She and Mr. Sheikholeslami led an Almanac reporter and a photographer on a recent tour of the campus as work crews buzzed around them, focused on the approaching deadline. A grand space

needed. “It’s a library of the future,” Mr. Sheikholeslami said, noting that all shelving is on wheels so that in later years, if physical books become less necessary, the fixtures can be removed and the space given over to other functions. The library, he noted, was designed with flexibility in mind. Below the library, the principal and administrative staff are housed in a light-filled space. Like the auditorium, the administration office is situated near the Elder Avenue entrance to the campus, and large windows give staff a view of both arriving campus visitors and the courtyard.

On a campus with facilities that would be the envy of most if not all school districts in the state, Hillview’s performing arts auditorium may be one of a kind at a middle school. The tallest building on campus, it greets visitors using the main school entrance on Elder Avenue, and Designed for learning All classrooms have WiFi will be available for community use when school’s not in session, and smartboards. The desks are designed to be easily moved Ms. Rich said. With sophisticated light- to form circles or other shapes for collaborative ing and sound learning — a systems, the auditorium has The new campus, key component modern classretractable seatwith 85,000 square of room learning, ing for 318, and space for anoth- feet of new facilities, Ms. Rich said. The school’s er 100 chairs. It cost $51.6 million. industrial arts includes a proAn estimated classroom also is scenium stage, designed for 21st and acoustically 850 students are century needs. treated walls and expected to start In addition to ceilings. In addition to a school there Sept. 4. standard tables for hands-on grand performwork, it includes ing arts space, the building houses music, choir a “clean” computer area where and drama rooms, including students are taught computerpractice rooms, on the first assisted design, known as CAD. Adjacent to that room is the floor. There’s also a broadcast studio with a mixing room and art studio; both classrooms a classroom area for teaching share an outdoor area, where industrial arts students can and digital editing. The building also houses nine work on projects and arts stuspacious science rooms on the dents have access to a kiln. second floor with a sophisticated ventilation system, special chemical-resistant epoxy counters, and a common science prep area. Library with a view

The school’s new library is considerably more sophisticated and functional than the old facility, which consisted of one room with tables and chairs and no separate rooms for small groups of students, Ms. Rich said. It’s on the second floor of the administration building, and overlooks a central courtyard that will serve as a tree-shaded commons. The new library includes small, window-fronted rooms for groups of students, a librarian classroom, and a computer lab that can be walled off when

Almanac photo by Veronica Weber

Laura Rich, president of the school board, and Ahmad Skeikholeslami, the district’s director of facility planning, check out the new music room at Hillview Middle School.

A green approach

The walls of the new facilities may be white, but the buildings and surrounding areas are decidedly green, Ms. Rich and Mr. Sheikholeslami noted throughout the tour. There are obvious features: rooms that automatically light up when people enter thanks to motion sensors, solar shades on the sides of buildings that will reduce temperatures inside, flooring made with recycled materials. The number of solar panels on the roof is “shy enough” to make the system cost-neutral, Mr. Sheikholeslami said, but there’s enough capacity to add more panels if PG&E changes its policy and starts paying for the overflow energy generated. Classroom air quality is maintained with sophisticated monitoring systems, and there’s an “economizer” system in place that uses outdoor air to cool the rooms when the outdoor temperature is lower than inside. Landscaping is designed to economize on water use, and storm water is collected on site.

schools. But she decided to seek one more term anyway. “I was board president in 2006, when we went out for the bond,” she said, adding that she had promised the school community that the funds would be used efficiently and responsibly.

Hillview was the last of the schools to get a facelift and new life. “It was important for me not to leave without seeing it through,” she said of the middle school project. “This is a school that the community will be proud of.” A

On budget

Almanac photo by Veronica Weber

Desks are designed to be easily moved to form circles or other shapes for collaborative learning, and chairs are light, durable and easy to transport.

10NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

Budgeted contingency funds were tapped into to ensure that the campus was ready to welcome students on schedule. But Ms. Rich emphasized that the project is “on time and on budget.” “We wanted to open on Sept. 4, and we will open on Sept. 4,” she said. “Everything is where we wanted it to be at this point.” When Ms. Rich ran for reelection in 2010, her children had already left the district’s

Almanac photo by Veronica Weber

The new administration and library building at Hillview has a roof covered in solar panels, one of many green features on the new campus.

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Hillview: new look, new principal By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

H

illview Middle School’s campus will have more than new buildings and landscaping when the school bell rings next month. There will also be a new person behind the desk in the principal’s office: Erik Burmeister. Fresh from his stint as principal of Union Middle School in San Jose, Mr. Burmeister was settling into his Menlo Park office during the last few weeks with plenty of background noise — not from energetic kids returning from summer vacation (that doesn’t happen until Sept. 4), but from hammers, saws and drills as the massive campus construction project nears completion. Mr. Burmeister arrives at Hillview at an opportune moment as the school district strives to define and implement “21st century learning” — a buzz phrase heard throughout the state’s education community. The transformed middle school is equipped with many features that increase opportunities to use high-tech tools to teach kids. But Mr. Burmeister emphasizes that “21st century teaching isn’t about technology; it’s about how we get kids to think.” With

technology helping learners find information more efficiently, education’s focus should be “moving a kid’s learning from just knowledge, to creativity and collaboration. (21st century learning) is about the ability to take what we learn from teachers and the Internet ... and then do something with it.” Mr. Burmeister, who was named California Middle Grades Principal of the Year for 2012, has been credited for raising Erik Burmeister Union school’s API score by 102 points during his five years as principal there. And, according to Superintendent Maurice Ghysels, he almost completely closed the achievement gap between white and Asian students and their Hispanic peers. Also, by the end of Mr. Burmeister’s tenure, virtually no student at the school was achieving at a below-basic level, and more advanced students were achieving at higher levels than in the past. Asked about his success in this area at Union school, Mr. Burmeister said: “Every public school’s goal needs to be that eth-

nicity, disability, socioeconomic status (and language spoken at home) should not define academic success. ... We need to be asking where it is that we’re not meeting the needs of our students in the way we need to be. “Hillview is a very highachieving school, but with pockets of kids not achieving, we need to ask why. “The issue is, are we going to be a society that allows those four things to define whether kids achieve? They shouldn’t matter. ... Kids need to have the same access and opportunity for success.” Regarding his first year at Hillview, Mr. Burmeister said, “I feel like I’ve really been given the green light” in determining how to lead the school. Hillview will continue to use the academy model launched two years ago by Mr. Burmeister’s predecessor, Mike Melton — in which each student is assigned to an academy taught by a team of teachers, each focusing on his or her specific teaching specialty. “The academy is absolutely a strength of the (educational program),” Mr. Burmeister said. “In time we may look at how we can provide more flexibility ... but it is a core part of our program.” A

Shannon Potts named La Entrada principal By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor

S

hannon Potts, the coordinator of assessment in the Santa Clara Unified School District for the last seven years, is La Entrada Middle School’s new principal, replacing Larry Thomas. Ms. Potts’ appointment was approved by the Las Lomitas School District board on Aug. 6. Her earlier work in the Santa Clara district office included a stint as the instructional, materials, library and technology specialist at the middle school and high school levels, according to a press release issued by the district. Superintendent Lisa Cesario said Ms. Potts “will be a very strong instructional leader” at La Entrada. Her skills, however, will benefit not only that school, but the district as a whole. “She has the advantage of (having worked) at a district

level,” Ms. Cesario noted, adding that her skills at that level will make her “an integral part of our leadership team.” In overseeing the La Entrada school program, “she’s going to know what to ask the district for,” Ms. Cesario said. The superintendent said Ms. Potts’ expertise and leadership skills will be valuable to the district at a time it moves for- Shannon Potts ward with putting into place the “common core standards” — national and state student achievement standards — and implementing its newly adopted strategic plan. “She’ll be able to bring the staff together ... and help guide the changes ahead,” the superintendent said. Ms. Potts, who has also taught first and sixth grades,

has technology and bilingual credentials, according to the district. She served as a summer principal at both the middle school and high school levels for several years, working closely with the Stanford Teacher Education Program, or STEP, the district said. She received her bachelor’s degrees in history and Spanish from Santa Clara University and her master of arts degree in educational leadership from San Jose State University. Ms. Cesario said the new principal also is “extremely technologically skilled — she uses technology as a way of being more efficient.” She has worked in the field of online instruction, and has taught through UC Santa Cruz’s extension program and at Foothill College. “And she’s also very good with kids,” the superintendent said. “She has three kids herself — she knows what it’s like to raise kids.”

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August 15, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN11

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What school is meant to be.

Vern Smith, longtime farrier, dies at age 90 Vern Smith, a farrier who, for much of his life, shod horses at Why Worry farm in Woodside, has died, his friend and partner Judy Bull told the Almanac. Mr. Smith, 90, died July 29 in Bend, Oregon, Ms. Bull said. Mr. Smith and horses go way back. He started horse-shoeing at Why Worry in 1951 and kept at it until retiring in 1986 with Ms. Bull to Sisters, Oregon, she said. For 26 years, Mr. Smith served as the official farrier for the Grand National Horse Show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, friends said. For 32 years, he was the

Open Houses: Upper School Oct. 28, Dec. 2 Middle School Oct. 7, Nov. 4

farrier for the Tally Ho event at the Menlo Circus Club, an annual benefit for the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Vern Smith in Stanford. While retired in Oregon, Mr. Smith rode pack trains into the Cascade Mountains, rode in the high desert and painted, friends said. He exhibited at art shows and taught at workshops and classes in Central Oregon, friends said.

Drunken driver suspects collide The drivers of two cars were arrested after a collision at the intersection of Bayfront

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Expressway and Chrysler Drive in Menlo Park around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11. Police noted that both men appeared to be drunk beyond the legal limit. After the 2005 silver Acura MDX and the 2002 black Buick Park Avenue crashed, one driver, 40-year-old Yungee Kim of Sunnyvale, ran from the scene. He was located N B RI EFS a short time later and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with injury and hit-and-run with injury, police said. The other driver, 22-year-old Zaquis Coleman of East Palo Alto, was also arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence with injury. The collision hurt a 24-yearold woman riding with Mr. Coleman. She was treated at Stanford hospital for non-lifethreatening injuries, according to the report. Menlo Park police deployed their new CRASH team to the site for investigation, closing the road for seven hours. Spokeswoman Nicole Acker said the five-member team formed in March and underwent specialized training. The department currently does not have traffic officers who would normally conduct accident investigations, Ms. Acker said.

Concert in the park Although the Chamber of Commerce canceled its second block party this year, Fremont Park will still fill with the sound of music as the free concert takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The Sun Kings will perform a Beatles tribute for the last concert of the summer, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the park located on Santa Cruz Avenue at University Drive.

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Motorcyclist, 80, killed in crash An 80-year-old Belmont man died in a motorcycle crash near La Honda on Sunday afternoon. Andrew Sager was driving toward the coast on Pescadero Creek Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road at about 2:10 p.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Niemeth said. Mr. Sager lost control of his motorcycle and went down an embankment, Officer Niemeth said. He was declared dead at the scene. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and there was no indication that alcohol was a factor, according to the CHP. — Bay City News Service

MENLO PARK

Middle Ave., Aug. 8.

Theft reports:

■ Losses estimated at $300 in theft

■ Losses estimated at $7,000 in theft

of freestanding newspaper box, 1100

of jewelry. Jesus Virelas-Gaytan, 18, arrested and booked into county jail on charges of theft, allegedly while helping victim move, Pine St., Aug. 9.

block of El Camino Real, Aug. 9.

■ Losses estimated at $200 in theft of

■ Losses estimated at $1,200 in theft

ners at 719 Seanta Cruz Ave., Aug. 8.

of camping equipment from open carport, Alice Lane, Aug. 8.

ATHERTON

■ Losses estimated at $490 in theft of

Residential burglary report: Window

wallet from shopping cart and subsequent charges on credit card, Safeway Supermarket 525 El Camino Real, Aug. 9.

smashed and purse stolen, Barry

■ Loss estimated at $400 in theft of

Acura MDX, Menlo Circus Club at 190

locked bike from apartment courtyard,

Park Lane, Aug. 8.

duffel bag from store, Village Statio-

Lane, Aug. 8. Stolen vehicle report: Silver 2007

Lawrence Carl Jensen challenged by his studies in calculus, and astronomy Larry physics, inspired each of us to strive to see the wonders of the universe. His passions were books, traveling and sports. An avid supporter of Stanford University, Larry maintained a keen interest in Stanford and community events. He enjoyed volunteering at Stanford sporting events and reading the daily sports page. His son Kent, grandsons Carter and Aaron, family and friends knew Larry as a devoted father, loving grandfather and gentle friend. He will be greatly missed. A memorial service to which family and friends are warmly invited will be held at Ladera Church, 3300 Alpine Road in Portola Valley, on August 19 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations in Larry’s name may be made to the Red Cross or to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 795 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California, 94301. PP AA II D D O O BB II TT U U AA R R YY

Charlotte Ott Tudor Gilbert March 31, 1914 – July 26, 2012

Charlotte died peacefully at her Piedmont, CA home, surrounded by family & loved ones. Mrs. Gilbert was predeceased by Wallace Ott, husband of 31 years; Vernon Tudor, husband of 23 years; and Robert Gilbert, husband of 10 years. She is survived by her children, Amrette, Chuck, Mary and Doug, 5 stepchildren, 10 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren. A longtime resident of the SF Bay Area, she devoted her life to family and community. During the 30 years she lived in Menlo Park, she was a member of Bethany Lutheran Church. She was president of the PTA and a member of the Woodside Atherton Junior Auxiliary, where she was named Chair in 1962 and served as Chairman of Tally Ho. For the last 43 years, she resided in Piedmont, where she was an active congregate of the First Presbyterian Church of Oakland. A former board member of both the Oakland Sympho-

A mountain lion and perhaps scavengers visited a residential front yard in the 200 block of Nathhorst Avenue in Portola Valley sometime late Sunday or early Monday, Aug. 12 or 13, and left the skeletal remains of a "large deer" that had been "picked clean," according to a resident. A deputy from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office investigated, the resident said. The area is relatively densely populated and there are pets in the neighborhood, the resident said. "It is probably best that the neighbors are aware," he said.

Sharon Ekter Lipson

July 14, 1934 – July 26, 2012

In Memory Lawrence “Larry” Jensen Larry Jensen, a municipal bond attorney who enjoyed a vibrant 40+ year career in the public financial services industry, died in his Portola Valley, California home, on July 26, 2012, at the age of 78. With his family by his side, Larry passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with cancer. Predeceased in death by his wife of 51 years, Helen Jensen and son James Jensen. Beloved father of Kent Jensen and devoted grandfather of Carter, Aaron and Katie, loving brother of Kent and Dan and sister Carolyn. Larry is also survived by many relatives and numerous friends. Born in Portland, Oregon, on July 14, 1934, Larry grew up in Portland, where he graduated from Lincoln High School. He excelled in academics and athletics and was granted a Navy ROTC scholarship to attend Stanford University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. After serving in the Navy, he earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School. He met and married Helen Elliott in San Diego, and they settled in Portola Valley in 1968, where they raised their two children. During his career, Larry derived great satisfaction from seeing the results of his professional work in the form of public works projects throughout California. A lifelong learner, who in his final year was

Deer skeleton found in yard

N PO LI C E C A L L S

ny and the Oakland Ballet, Ms. Gilbert was a prominent member of the Piedmont Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Piedmont Area Republican Women, the Lakeshore Women’s Club, the Bellevue Club, the East Bay Opera League, and the Piedmont Service League. She was also a dedicated volunteer and supporter of the Oakland Children’s Hospital, the Oakland Museum, and the Northern Lights School. Ms. Gilbert will be fondly remembered for her kind spirit and adventurous nature; her fierce loyalty to her family, church, friends and neighbors; her love of entertaining, her appreciation of the arts, her joie de vivre, her infectious smile, and her innate ability to strike up a conversation with anyone she might encounter and make a friend in the most unlikely of places. There will be a memorial service at Grace Lutheran Church, 3149 Waverly Street, Palo Alto on August 25th at 2pm. 0! ) $ / " ) 4 5! 29

Sharon Ekter Lipson passed away peacefully on August 10, 2012 at home surrounded by her family. She was born December 24, 1941 and grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Sharon is survived by her loving family, husband Leon, and children, daughter Laurie Richardson and her husband Monte, son Jeffrey Lipson and Tom, daughter Debbie Whitmer and her husband John, and son Peter Lipson and his wife Debbie. She was a devoted grandmother to Claire Richardson, Simeon Richardson, Micayla Whitmer, Eric Whitmer, Madera Lipson, Lucia Lipson, Catalina Lipson, and Ana Sophia Lipson. Sharon and her husband met in college, at University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and shared a long loving marriage of nearly 50 years. They married in Chicago in 1962. By 1967, they moved to the mid-peninsula, where they built their lives and raised a family. Sharon was always by Leon’s side and was critical to his success in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. They loved to travel together. Sharon and Leon traveled far and wide through the years, many times with friends and family. An avid chef, Sharon studied with Jacques Pepin, Flo Braker, Alice Waters and other renowned chefs. She shared her skill with her children and grandchildren, imparting the importance of sharing food with family and friends. She not only watched over the family, but also made extraordinary contributions to the community. She was a compassionate, kind hearted, generous and most honorable woman. For many years, Sharon was an active and dedicated volunteer in the Jewish community. Over the past four decades, she served with the Beth Am Sisterhood. She actively participated in activities at the Palo Alto Jewish Community Center. She often ‘adopted’ newly emigrated Jewish families from abroad to help them adjust to life in the Bay Area. Most notably, she and the entire Lipson family actively participated in the Beth Am Fresser’s Havurah. That group served as an extended family in celebrating Jewish holidays and important lifecycle events. Sharon’s volunteerism extended well into the local community. She worked with Allied Arts Guild, where she helped to raise funds to support uncompensated care at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. She also participated in Peninsula Children’s Center Charter Auxiliary, where she was actively involved in their Holiday Program. Family and friends were invited to attend a celebration of Sharon’s life, which was held on Monday, August 13, 2012 at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, CA , 26790 Arastradero Road, at 12:30 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Congregation Beth Am Memorial Fund in Sharon’s memory. PA I D

O B I T UA RY

August 15, 2012NTheAlmanacOnline.comNThe AlmanacN13

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ABOUT LOCAL ISSUES FROM PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY. EDITED BY TOM GIBBONEY

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County delinquent on property tax claims

W

hen it comes to collecting property taxes, San Mateo plus interest. Instead, she was subjected to another delay and did County makes it crystal clear that your tax bill must be not receive her check until early this month, some 22 months after paid by a specific date, or you will incur a penalty. But filing the appeal. the county can take up to two years to address a property owner’s As the story of what happened to Ms. Flaherty unfolded, it claim that a tax assessment is in error, and is due a refund from became clear that the county had not formulated a back-up plan the county. in case a key staff member was out sick or, heaven forbid, on longIn fact, as Atherton resident Carol Flaherty found out recently, term medical leave. With only one appeals board, and one clerk it can take as long as 17 months for a property tax appeal to be with no cross-trained back-up to service an ever-growing number heard and even longer to be processed, even if your case is a no- of appeals, the county was caught flat-footed when the clerk could brainer. no longer report to work. The reasons are many, but at the top of the Last week’s Almanac story about Ms. list appears to be questionable management of Flaherty’s case described a far different property EDI TORI AL the process by county officials, who have done tax appeals process in neighboring Santa Clara little to improve customer service as property County, which has a much larger operation The opinion of The Almanac tax appeals grew from 1,472 a year in 2008 to that can process more than 10,000 property tax 2,400 last year. And all of these appeals can take appeals a year. In that county, a third appeals months for a simple reason: There is only one three-person board board was added in 2010, which enables the county to hear many to hear all the cases, and until very recently, that board has had more cases a year. only one clerk to process the claims and decisions. With approxiIn San Mateo County, a new, full-time clerk has been hired in an mately 250 working days a year, the appeals board would have to effort to speed the appeals process, and the clerk who was away on hold and process 10 or so claims each working day, a tall order medical leave is back and working part time. And a county official even in a well-managed system. said new software to help speed the process will be up and running The county’s struggling property tax appeals process is not over- in four or five months. seen by the elected assessor-recorder, but by the county manager’s Since 2008, the turbulent real estate market has created a office, which did not have a substitute able to fill the breech when demand for more frequent reassessments, and a more efficient the only property tax appeals clerk went out on what became a process to bring property taxes in line with current values. The long-term medical leave in March. When that happened, Ms. county does a good job in making sure all residents pay what they Flaherty’s case and all others pending before the board became owe in property taxes every year. Now we hope county supervisors stuck, moving nowhere despite Ms. Flaherty’s pleas. and other top officials will take note of Carol Flaherty’s incredible The appeals board had ruled in her favor last March, just before odyssey to simply get an appeals hearing and a refund. Something the clerk went out on leave, and she expected to receive a check went wrong in her case, and we hope matters improve in the from the county to reimburse her for the amount she overpaid, months ahead.

Email letters to: letters@AlmanacNews.com

L ET TERS

The Almanac, established in September 1965,

Our readers write

is delivered each week to residents of Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside and adjacent unincorporated areas of southern San Mateo County. The Almanac is qualified by decree of the Superior Court of San Mateo County to publish public notices of a governmental and legal nature, as stated in Decree No. 147530, issued December 21, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.

■ WHAT’S YOUR VIEW? All views must include a home address and contact phone number. Published letters will also appear on the web site, www.TheAlmanacOnline.com, and occasionally on the Town Square forum.

TOWN SQUARE FORUM Post your views on the Town Square forum at www.TheAlmanacOnline.com EMAIL your views to: letters@almanacnews.com and note this it is a letter to the editor in the subject line. MAIL or deliver to: Editor at the Almanac, 3525 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

CALL the Viewpoint desk at 223-6507.

Skylonda market vows to continue Editor: Michelle Obama got her farmers’ market. The city of Los Angeles is working on an ordinance to allow for residential front yard markets. A U.S. Dept. of Agriculture official has said, “Farmers’ markets are a critical ingredient to our nation’s food system,” adding that “these outlets provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also to the communities looking for fresh, healthy foods.” But the town of Woodside thinks otherwise. On Aug. 8, unincorporated Skylonda residents had their first taste of a local farmers’ market situated across from Alice’s Restaurant. There was an overwhelming response with vendors selling out in several hours. We excitedly anticipated more vendors this past weekend. But it was crushing to hear that the town of Woodside decided that their quality of life would be adversely affected by Skylonda’s

14NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

Menlo Park Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage The Gatehouse lodge near the Menlo Park Library on Ravenswood Avenue once served as the entry for Sherwood Hall, part of the Barron-Latham-Hopkins estate. The lodge, now owned by the city of Menlo Park, serves as the headquarters of the local Junior League chapter. It was built in 1864 for William E. Barron, and was enlarged in 1871 by new owner Milton S. Latham. A third owner, Timothy Hopkins, moved out of the main house after the 1906 earthquake.

farmers’ market. The market was closed due to a town ordinance that does not permit farmers’ markets. However, a petition is being

circulated, alternative sites are being explored, and some of us plan to let the Woodside council members know at the upcoming Sept. 11 meeting at 7:30 p.m.

that we will not be denied a farmers’ market. Laura Diamondstone Woodside Continued on next page

V I E W P O I N T

Time for action on growing gun violence By the Rev. Lindsay L Fulmer

for first-degree murders. nother gun spree killTell me why any civilian ing. This time a house needs to own an assault weapof worship, last time a on, which is designed solely to movie theater, and before that kill people indiscriminately a shopping mall, a campus, a and in large numbers? What school room. about my right, More candlelight and the rights of vigils, more prayer all Americans, to ser v ices, more worship freely, and memorials for innowithout fear? cents. More words As a person of condolence while of faith, I say it’s cameras roll, and time to arise. Stand then, nothing. Nothup to the gun lobby, GUEST ing but empty words, put pen to paper and OPINION temporary sidewalk let our legislators, let shrines, and devasthe candidates and tated lives. politicians know. You want As a pastor, I’m tired. Tired my vote? Do something about of leading prayer services for gun violence, now. Do somevictims of senseless violence, thing to stop easy access to tired of lighting a candle in assault weapons and ammunithe dark that, like the flicker tion by the bucket load. Stop of attention such tragic events talking and do something. bring, simply sputters and goes Commiserating with the out. Tired of trying to find bereaved and wounded, that’s words of comfort when words nice, but not enough. We don’t breathe and smile and all have to do something to hug like a 6-year-old can. change this blasted culture of Tired of hearing about the violence, we all can do somebullying tactics of the NRA thing. If enough people say, and the powerful political “Enough!� it just might be. clout of the gun lobbyists and watching skittish politicians The Rev. Lindsay L Fulmer is concede. I’m sick and tired of pastor of the Ladera CommuSecond Amendment excuses nity Church in Portola Valley

A

Continued from previous page

on I-280 south at the Page Mill on-ramp. Chris Field Brookside Drive, Portola Valley

Alpine backup is due to 280-bound drivers

Thankful for BMR units, but hoping for more

Editor: It is true that, in the morning, people turning left onto Alpine Road from Ladera encounter a lot of traffic, but there is a better solution than stoplights. A large fraction of the morning traffic on Alpine is southbound, but it is not headed for Portola Valley. Many of those cars are headed to Page Mill Road, and they are using Alpine Road, and then Arastradero Road, to avoid the backed-up traffic at the Page Mill on-ramp to southbound Interstate 280. To fix the traffic on Alpine at Ladera, eliminate the backup

Editor: Thank Matt Matteson (developer of 26 town and single family homes at 389 El Camino Real in Menlo Park) for his insight. So many renters on the Peninsula cannot afford to pay the high rents. We are being pushed out of the Bay Area. It’s very depressing to not even afford to buy. I’ve been here since the 1960s and I can’t afford it here much longer. Three (below-market-rate) units are not enough to help, but Mr. Matteson has the right idea. I’ll keep praying for a miracle. Linda Allen Redwood City

L ET T ER S Our readers write

Developer: pleaded for stop signs By Ryland Kelly

need for traffic lights on Alpine, am pleased to read that San rather than a simple sign at those Mateo County is addressing locations. The county’s traffic the issue of uninterrupted light idea was abandoned due to traffic on Alpine Road, partic- the high cost. ularly in the area of I contend the Ladera shopping now that I was wrong center, which my at that time in my company developed recommendation: I in the early 1950s. believe that the only There is commutraffic control on nity concern for the Alpine that is required speed of traffic on is a single stop sign Alpine, where an for each direction at GUEST uninterrupted route the entrance to the OPINION from the Stanford shopping center, the intersection to Porplace where most of tola Road seems to invite the merging traffic occurs and speed. where higher speed seems to When we presented our plans be invited by the absence of for the shopping center 60 years constraint. ago, I pleaded for stop signs on The solution to the condiAlpine at both Ladera entrances, tions that exist today is the at La Mesa and La Cuesta. At installation of one stop sign the time, the county staff esca- each way on Alpine Road at lated the issue by interpreting a the intersection of the Lad-

I

era Shopping Center main entrance. The financial implications of the decisions before San Mateo County — and the taxpayers — are staggering. Pursuing the idea of stoplights means a capital outlay of half a million dollars — plus the continuing high expense of servicing the stoplight system, versus posting the stakes and signs at a few hundred dollars and no future maintenance. The result of having a stop sign at each direction at the entrance of the shopping center will be an economical improvement to the safety on Alpine Road, in addition to keeping Ladera’s more natural appeal. Ryland Kelly developed and lived in the Ladera community for 50 years and recently moved to Woodside.

PENINSULA

Discover the best places to eat this week! AMERICAN

CHINESE

Armadillo Willy’s

Chef Chu’s

941-2922 1031 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos www.armadillowillys.com

948-2696 1067 N. San Antonio Road www.chefchu.com

Cheese Steak Shop

Ming’s

326-1628 2305-B El Camino Real, Palo Alto

856-7700 1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto www.mings.com

Lutticken’s 854-0291 3535 Alameda, Menlo Park www.luttickens.com

The Old Pro 326-1446 541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto www.oldpropa.com STEAKHOUSE

Sundance the Steakhouse 321-6798 1921 El Camino Real, Palo Alto www.sundancethesteakhouse.com

New Tung Kee Noodle House 947-8888 520 Showers Drive, Mountain View www.shopmountainview.com/luvnoodlemv INDIAN

Janta Indian Restaurant 462-5903 369 Lytton Ave. www.jantaindianrestaurant.com

Thaiphoon 323-7700 543 Emerson Ave, Palo Alto www.ThaiphoonRestaurant.com

Read and post reviews, explore restaurant menus, get hours and directions and more at ShopPaloAlto, ShopMenloPark and ShopMountainView

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16NThe AlmanacNTheAlmanacOnline.comNAugust 15, 2012

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The Almanac 08.15.2012 - Section 1