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A homemade soap box derby in Woodside. Page 24


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FITTING CONCLUSION Those hip designer eyeglass frames that you saw online may suit your wardrobe and your look perfectly, but if they do not fit correctly, you might not be getting the full benefit from your lens prescription. As a result, you may look good in those stylish glasses but you may not see well. Thus, it only makes sense to visit an eyeglass specialist, who can provide you with the most stylish designer frames and make sure they fit you properly. One of the most important aspects of a good fit involves making sure that the “opti-

cal centers� of the eyeglass lenses are positioned directly in front of your pupils. It takes an experienced professional to get an accurate fit. Choosing eyeglasses that complement your facial features and skin tone can enhance your appearance. You also need a proper fit in order to enjoy the best vision possible. At MENLO OPTICAL, we carry designer frames in many different styles, colors, and sizes. We can help you select frames that flatter your facial features and ensure the “optical centers� are positioned properly. Please bring your eyewear prescription to us at 1166 University Drive, on the corner of Oak Grove Avenue and University Drive. Call us at 322-3900 if you have any questions about eyewear. P.S. For an accurate eyeglass fit, it is necessary to precisely measure the bridge (the part of the frame that extends over the nose) and the temples (which extend over and/or behind the ears). Nose pad selection is also critical to prevent slippage. Mark Schmidt is an American Board of Opticianry and National Contact Lens Examiners Certified Optician licensed by the Medical Board of California. He can be easily reached at Menlo Optical, 1166 University Drive, Menlo Park. 650-322-3900.

Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac

Facebook’s chief financial officer David Ebersman, left, receives flowers from local florist Katherine Guisto after a press conference Feb. 8 in the Menlo Park City Council chambers, where Facebook announced its move to Menlo Park. With Mr. Ebersman are, from left, Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline, the city business development manager David Johnson, and Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson.

Design ‘charette’ set for Facebook campus By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


he city of Menlo Park will host a “design charrette� — or, in Facebook vocabulary, a Hackathon — on Saturday, March 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Facebook’s new home on the former Sun Microsystems campus in Menlo Park. The charette will be a kind of forum for residents to voice their ideas about development in the Belle Haven neighborhood, which is near the new Facebook campus at Willow Road and Bayfront Expressway. “We’re going to have debate about what we can do and what we can’t do,� Mayor Rich Cline told a packed Menlo Park City Council chamber on Feb. 8, when Facebook held a press conference to

unveil the company’s plan to move to Menlo Park this summer. David Ebersman, chief financial officer, and John Tenanes, director of real estate, spoke on behalf of Facebook. Facebook now holds a 15-year

‘We’re going to have debate about what we can do and what we can’t do.’ MENLO PARK MAYOR RICH CLINE

lease on the former Sun campus, and bought two additional parcels of land on Constitution Drive. Mr. Tenanes said the company has the option to buy the campus after five years. The Menlo Park City Council, with the possible exception

of Andy Cohen, attended the press conference, along with some familiar faces from around town: the city’s business development manager, Dave Johnson; former council member John Boyle; Chamber of Commerce president Fran Dehn; and gadfly Morris Brown, among others. Mayor Rich Cline welcomed Facebook at the press conference, and predicted community debate — and drama — over the future direction of the Belle HavenWillows area. “And it’s going to be loud,� he said. “We like a little drama, too,� responded Mr. Tenanes. In response to community questions about getting hired by the social networking giant, Mr. Tenanes said Facebook will set up a dedicated page on its website to advertise Menlo Park jobs.

teer opportunities. During a disaster, 211 provides such information as evacuation routes, and where to find food and shelter. San Mateo County is the last county in the Bay Area to receive 211 service, according to Maria

Stokes, a spokesperson for the United Way of the Bay Area, which sponsors the service. The service is confidential and available 24 hours a day in more than 150 languages, she said. Visit for 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 Š2010 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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FBI eyes Atherton and county, sources say By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


he FBI is interviewing Atherton residents and others about town matters, according to a former employee who said he was interviewed recently. But the federal law enforcement agency’s interest apparently goes beyond the town’s borders, according to another person who was interviewed and who contacted The Almanac. Former finance director John Johns said he was interviewed in late January by an agent in the San Francisco office of the FBI.

Mr. Johns, who successfully sued the town for wrongful termination and has a complaint filed against the police department for alleged evidence tampering and falsification of a police report, said the agent didn’t share information with him about the scale and scope of the investigation. “It would be prudent for me to not convey to you what I conveyed to them,” he said. He added, however, that he was asked about his own experiences with the town, and that he spoke to the agent about “the conduct of both elected and appointed

officials.” “And they seemed to be very interested in what I said,” Mr. Johns told The Almanac. “The FBI took very good notes.” Mr. Johns said he felt free to acknowledge that the interview occurred because he was not asked by the agency not to talk about it. A reliable source who also was interviewed by two FBI agents and who contacted The Almanac said the agents’ interests extended to “a number of people who work for the county.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity.

An Atherton resident who did not wish to be identified acknowledged that he, too, had been interviewed about his experiences with the town. Julianne Sohn, a spokeswoman with the San Francisco office of the FBI, said that as a matter of policy she could not confirm or deny that an investigation is taking place. Mayor Jim Dobbie said he knows nothing about an FBI investigation of town matters, nor does anyone he has spoken to. “But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” he added. Councilwoman Kathy McKei-

then, who has publicly criticized the town for not hiring neutral outside investigators when public officials are accused of possible wrongdoing, did not return The Almanac’s phone calls seeking comment for this story. Town turmoil

The town has been the target of numerous complaints and accusations of wrongdoing that go back even before the 2007 firing of John Johns. Those complaints have involved the town’s police department, building departSee FBI, page 8

Menlo Park says it will reach out before poisoning again

82 heritage trees on chopping block

By Sandy Brundage

■ Sharon Heights Country Club wants them gone.

Almanac Staff Writer


ere’s a recipe for sparking outrage in Menlo Park: Poison ground squirrels without telling the public. The city has now decided that’s not a recipe it wants to try again. According to Deputy City Manager Kent Steffens, in an e-mail to one of many residents upset about the covert poisoning of squirrels at Bedwell Bayfront Park last August, “The City has received negative feedback from numerous residents and Park visitors regarding the lack of public outreach prior to hiring a contractor. The City is committed to correct this should any similar activities be performed in the future.” The contractor, Animal Damage Management Inc., used chlorophacinone bait to kill the squirrels. A report filed with San Mateo County indicates the contractor applied 30 pounds of the poison at the park, although neither the city nor the contractor would confirm that. County agricultural commissioner Fred Crowder said

the bait’s toxicity is considered relatively low. Since the label didn’t indicate a need to prevent anyone from entering the area of application for at least 24 hours, he said, state and federal law didn’t require Menlo Park to post warning signs. “The city, having responsibility for the park, may adopt an in-house policy as to posting when pesticides are used, but this would be self-enforced,” Mr. Crowder explained. That may or may not help residents feel safer about the risks to their pets and children. Mary Paglieri, founder of the Little Blue Society, a consulting group that says it specializes in ecologically sound, humane methods of animal population control, called the city’s behavior appalling. She pointed out that many species eat ground squirrels as food. “The toxicity of chlorophacinone may be slightly lower than other compounds, but when predators consume multiple squirrels that have been poisoned over a period of time, they will die from secondary

By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


eople living near the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club at 2900 Sand Hill Road will soon see a letter from the city sitting in their mailbox. Menlo Park is contacting anyone who lives near the club about its request to cut down 82 heritage trees, of which 79 are coastal redwoods. The city will accept public comment until Monday, Feb. 28, before staff makes a recommendation City of Menlo Park regarding the proposal, accord- This picture shows some of the 82 heritage trees earmarked for ing to Rebecca Fotu, envi- removal at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club. ronmental programs manager. The city also contacted those economically, Mr. Edwards tage trees at the club. Most of subscribed to the city’s heritage wrote, the trees were planted the approximately 1,470 trees on tree e-mail list and the environ- too close together to thrive. site are coastal redwoods; chopmental quality commissioners. The country club wants to ping down 82 would remove Arborist Straun Edwards of plant 172 replacement trees about 6 percent of the total Trees 360 Degrees inspected of mixed variety, including trees. Information about what the heritage trees slated for Pacific dogwood and flower- phase two would do was not yet removal and concluded that 75 ing purple leaf plum. available. percent are either hazardous or According to the city, the Visit to unhealthy. In addition to poten- request is the first phase of a review the proposal and associtially hurting the golf course two-phase plan to remove heri- ated reports. A

See SQUIRRELS, page 8

City tries to counter state plan to kill redevelopment agencies By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


mergency legislation proposed by Governor Jerry Brown to stop redevelopment agencies from tying up local funds in new projects inspired a fast response from Menlo Park. The

city’s next step in the chess game between state and city over redevelopment assets was to create new funding agreements and a housing authority to tie up the agency’s assets before the emergency bill could pass in March. Although state Proposition 22,

which passed with 60.7 percent voter approval in November, made it unconstitutional for the state to take money from local funds such as redevelopment revenue, the state now appears to be saying that if there’s no redevelopment agency, there’s no revenue for a city to pro-

tect. Approved unanimously by the City Council on Feb. 8, the new agreements cover public improvements, housing, and blight remediation activities. City Attorney Bill McClure said the agreements don’t commit the council to approve any

project on the capital improvement list, but instead makes those projects eligible for funding. Likewise, the council would still need to approve any contracts worth more than $50,000 for projects that have See RDA, page 8

February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N5


Burglary suspects in court An attempted burglary in Menlo Park thwarted by an attentive neighbor landed the three adult suspects in San Mateo County Superior Court on Wednesday, Feb. 9. Antonio Barajas, 18, Leonel Contreras, 19, and Andres Solano Lopez, 21, were held to answer on charges of attempted burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime. While Mr. Barajas and Mr. Contreras remain in jail on $50,000 bail, Mr. Lopez paid the bond to get out of custody. According to the district attorney’s office, a neighbor watched

Mr. Contreras and a 15-year-old companion knock on the door of a Bieber Avenue home while the other two suspects checked out the backyard during the afternoon of Jan. 26. Mr. Contreras and the juvenile then allegedly tried to force open a sliding glass door, but all four suspects rode off on bicycles after the attempt failed. Police responding to the neighbor’s phone call said they found Mr. Lopez and Mr. Barajas sitting on a park bench. Mr. Contreras and the juvenile were reportedly hiding in nearby bushes.

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Scoping session set on Matteson project By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer


scoping session on a proposal to build 26 condominiums at 389 El Camino Real, near College Avenue, in Menlo Park will be held during the Planning Commission meeting on Monday, Feb. 28. In a scoping session, the public is invited to propose the kinds of impacts that should be examined in an environmental impact report on the project, which includes three belowmarket-rate homes. Commissioners expressed concerns in June that the developer, the Matteson Companies, requested 13 waivers on development standards. Residents living near the site also raised questions about overcrowding and parking. The session starts at 7 p.m. in

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council chambers at the Civic Center, 701 Laurel St.

New commissioner specializes in policy Peipei Yu Pollmann, the newest member of the Menlo Park Planning Commission, said she was looking for a way to put her public policy and architectural experience to work for the community when she applied. With a bachelor’s degree in architecture and time spent as a district congressional aide for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, Ms. Pollmann has worked on housing and civic issues, and now works for Google as a senior policy specialist. Her family moved to Menlo Park almost two years ago.

Catching a ride on Bay Area public transit no longer requires swapping between paper and plastic passes. SamTrans now accepts Clipper Cards, fare cards used on BART, Caltrain, AC Transit, Golden Gate Ferry, and Muni. Spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said customers riding the northbound KX bus to San Francisco will need to run their Clipper cards both upon entering the bus and exiting, but all other routes only require one reading. According to a press release, monthly paper passes will be phased out by the end of the year. Visit or call 1-877-878-8883 for more information. A

Atherton faces more legal claims by former employee By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


SamTrans now accepts Clipper Card


therton officials may have thought they put the nasty business of finance director John Johns’ firing behind them when they approved a $225,000 settlement with him last year for wrongful termination. But that has proven to be wishful thinking. Mr. Johns has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming the town of Atherton retaliated against him when it declined to hire him to be interim city manager late last year. Mr. Johns applied for the interim manager position after the town’s permanent city manager, Jerry Gruber, resigned last October. The town considered a number of applicants, and hired Nadine Levin as “bridge” interim manager in October, then a longer-term interim manager, John Danielson, who began work at the beginning of the year. In his EEOC claim, Mr. Johns cites his advocacy, during his tenure as finance director, on behalf of two female town employees. He had complained to town officials that the women were being sub-


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jected to sexual harassment, but his complaints were not followed up on, he said. In a brief written for a planned mediation session, Mr. Johns wrote that the town responded to his complaints by first dismissing them as insignificant, and then by retaliating against him. The retaliation, he said, consisted of his 2007 suspension and, after a two-month investigation by the town, his firing. Now, Mr. Johns states in his complaint, the town is again retaliating against him by refusing to rehire him. Mr. Johns has also filed complaints against the town’s police

department based on what he alleges was his illegal detainment by the department during the 2007 series of actions by the town against him. The complaints allege evidence tampering and the falsification of two police reports pertaining to his detention and investigation, he said. An internal investigation of the complaints is now under way, he said, and he was recently interviewed by the town-hired investigator, Pete Peterson, the former police chief of a small California town who also investigated a complaint by Atherton resident Jon Buckheit that the police report of his arrest had been falsified. A

Mountain lions spotted in Woodside Two mountain lions were seen near the west side entrance to Canada College in Woodside around 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, county officials said. Officials advise that if you see a mountain lion, don’t approach it, especially if it is feeding or with offspring. Mountain lions typically avoid confrontation, they say.

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Seeking compromise on wetlands

by Monica Corman

Second Home Market Picking Up

â&#x2013; How can agencies protect species while giving the public greater access? Q: I am considering buying a second home but am unsure of whether this market has hit bottom yet. Do you have any comments? A: I have heard from agents working in the second home markets, and from some who own second home properties that the best areas are showing increased activity. All primarily second home areas were hit hard by the economic downturn of the past few years. There were many foreclosures in these areas, and will be more before the current cycle ends. But there are more new buyers in these markets than there have

By Miranda Simon Special to the Almanac


he Menlo Park Library was flooded with new ideas Feb. 10 as experts and locals debated the next steps in restoring the Ravenswood salt ponds near the Dumbarton Bridge. There are several obstacles on the road to restoration, so local residents, engineers and scientists delved into a four-hour exercise in creative thinking on how to work around them. Transforming the six salt ponds into wetlands and marshes involves funneling water into them. This may result in overflooding around Highway 84 leading to the Dumbarton Bridge if new levees arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t built â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a process that requires both planning and funding, and will probably not be achieved over the next several years. This led the discussion to shift toward another important aspect of the project: building trails and opening areas to public access â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and all the benefits and detriments that may entail. The Ravenswood salt ponds complex is part of 15,000 acres of historic wetlands to be restored in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project. The South Bay salt ponds, long operated by Cargill Inc., a salt supplier based in Minneapolis, were purchased for $100 million in federal and state funds in 2003. Since then, Pond SF2, south of the Dumbarton Bridge has been restored, with a 0.7mile trail built at the pond site, complete with descriptive panels. Locals and experts are now debating how to continue with the restoration and create public access without harming the habitat of the species in the area. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had good and vigorous discussion on the results and

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project

The Ravenswood section of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project consists of several ponds covering 1,500 acres in an area near the Dumbarton Bridge.

the tradeoffs balancing public access and the goals of the (Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife) Refuge to protect endangered species,â&#x20AC;? said John Bourgeois, manager of the South Bay restoration project. As one can imagine, letting neighbors walk their dogs where endangered snowy plovers nest may not be such a good idea. But opening the area to visitors may bring public attention to the project â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and maybe some much-needed cash from private investors. Reaching this compromise was one of the main goals of the meeting. Caitlin Robinson-Nilsen from the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory outlined the areas where snowy plovers have nested in the past and offered ideas for trails where the plovers would be out of harms way; Sheryl Strong from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service led a discussion on how to shoo away California gulls, one of the snowy ploversâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; main predators; and long-time residents

reminisced about historic trails around the ponds that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to see reopened. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After hearing input from the public, we will compile the information and come up with what we think is going to be our plan,â&#x20AC;? Mr. Bourgeois said. By summer, the team plans to hire a consultant to handle the permitting and environmental reports needed for the Ravenswood area, he said. But all this must be done on a short budget, he said. The project received $8 million in grants from the federal government last year but will not be getting much in federal funds this year. President Obama has pledged to veto legislation containing earmarks â&#x20AC;&#x201D; precisely what the project had relied on until now, Mr. Bourgeois said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;With this climate of no new earmarks, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be more difficult to get the money we need,â&#x20AC;? he said, adding that the project is looking toward state bonds and private investment to move forward. A

been at any time in the past few years. Prices are down but stable in the best locations. These areas include Carmel and Lake Tahoe. It is a good time to buy a second home if you are in the market for this kind of property. There is good inventory and there may be more properties available if sellers think it is a good time to sell. Many sellers who would have sold in the past two years have waited for signs of improvement and this is now happening. The second home market will be one to watch this year as we emerge from the recent downturn.

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

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N P O L I C E C A L LS This information is from the Atherton and Menlo Park police departments and the San Mateo County Sheriffâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office. Under the law, people charged with offenses are considered innocent until convicted. ATHERTON Grand theft reports: â&#x2013; Power washer stolen from rear of truck, Tuscaloosa Ave., Feb. 7. â&#x2013;  Video camera discovered stolen from vehicle, perhaps during Christmas vacation, Catalpa Drive, Feb. 9.

MENLO PARK Grand theft reports: â&#x2013; Losses estimated at $2,000 in theft of two bicycles, Campbell Lane, Feb. 7. â&#x2013;  Loss of $1,152 in theft of two phones from display counter, T-Mobile at 515 El Camino Real, Feb. 5. Fraud report: Loss of $1,042 in check fraud, 3700 block of Haven Ave., Feb. 9. Stolen vehicle report: Light blue 2005 Dodge Dakota left running and unattended, 1200 block of Hollyburne Ave., Feb. 9. Possession of burglary tool: Arrest made for misdemeanor possession of shaved key, a burglary tool used in stealing vehicles, 700 block of El Cami-

no Real, Feb. 6. Theft report: Loss of $33 in unauthorized use of credit card, 300 block of Ivy Drive, Feb. 5. WOODSIDE Theft report: Purse, checks, credit cards, jewelry, camera and more stolen from unlocked vehicle, 1000 block of Portola Road, Feb. 6. PORTOLA VALLEY Theft report: Purse and credit cards stolen from unlocked vehicle, 4000 block of Alpine Road, Feb. 6.


$$*-$)%$#$(& !#'$#**)*$)  ))((#' "%'%#, +)*$#'        February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N7


Atherton council, residents set to talk trash on Feb. 16 By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor


ith an overflow crowd expected at Atherton’s Feb. 16 public hearing on proposed new garbage rates that range from 63 percent to 98 percent in increases, the town has moved the meeting from the council chambers to the Holbrook-Palmer Park Pavilion. The Atherton City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m., with the public hearing on the town’s proposed rate agreement with its new garbage collection service, Recology, likely to begin at about 8 p.m. Mayor Jim Dobbie said he and other council members have received numerous e-mails and other communications from residents unhappy over the proposed rates. The proposal would increase the monthly cost of the typical Atherton resident’s service to $45.15 for use of a 32-gallon can. The cost for that service is now $27.69; the proposed charge is an increase of 63 percent. The highest increase — 98 percent — would be for use of a 96-gallon can, which would be boosted to $162.53 from the current $82.18. With council members Bill Widmer and Jerry Carlson opposed, the council on Dec. 15 gave preliminary approval to the rate hike. New rates are set to go into effect on March 1. The proposed rate schedule is “far from settled,” Mayor Dobbie told The Almanac. Interim City Manager John DanielSQUIRRELS continued from page 5

poisoning,” Ms. Paglieri said. “Poisoned squirrels will leave the burrow to forage — however, their ability to evade predators will be compromised from this compound, making them easier to catch and consume.” She said the risk extends to people and pets since chlorophacinone, which can contaminate surface soil and water, is easily absorbed by the skin. “The City was irresponsible in using this poison in the first place and also for not alerting the park-goers about the dangers it may pose to people and their pets,” Ms. Paglieri said. Eradicating squirrels also impacts the park ecosystem,

son is expected to present a report addressing the concerns expressed by residents and council members, and the council will take action on the proposed rates after hearing from the public. “A lot of people are very unhappy with Recology,” Mr. Dobbie said. When Recology bid for the contract, the company “made certain commitments, and there are people in town who feel they are not adhering to (the) commitments,” he said, adding that he hasn’t yet determined whether that complaint is justified. During its December meeting, the council expressed concern not only about the steep proposed rate increase, but also over the difficulty frail and elderly residents may face in arranging to have their cans picked up in their backyards under the proposed agreement. Recology took over waste collection service from Allied Waste in January. Many residents reported a rocky beginning to the service, with trucks missing service areas and trash cans remaining on the curb for days. The proposed rate hike also includes money that will go toward payment of the town’s $334,000 outstanding debt to Allied Waste — the result of past rates not covering all of Allied Waste’s costs plus its guaranteed margin of profit. Holbrook-Palmer Park is at 150 Watkins Ave. Visit and search for Item 20 for the staff report on the proposed rate change. A

according to Ms. Paglieri. In addition to serving as a food source for predators, squirrels aerate and transport soil nutrients. The number of burrows baited at Bedwell Bayfront Park remains a mystery despite staff saying it had been “relatively few.” Mr. Steffens told the City Council on Jan. 25 that he didn’t know how many sites were baited, but would try to find out. He also said the city had documented that squirrels were digging through the landfill cap at the park and dragging up trash. However, when The Almanac asked Mr. Steffens for copies of that documentation a week before his comment to the council, he responded that staff hadn’t created its own reports.

8 N The Almanac NFebruary 16, 2011

Best buds Actress Betty White is a “close friend” of Koko the gorilla and a long-time supporter and board member of the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, says foundation spokesperson Tanaya Cook. Visit to see a slide show of Koko and Betty. Copyright (c) 2011 The Gorilla Foundation / Photo by Dr. Ron Cohn

FBI eyes Atherton and county, sources say continued from page 5

ment, and at least three council members whose actions were then reviewed by the city attorney. Mr. Johns’ audit of the building department before he was fired turned up questionable practices and possible misconduct; a 2006/07 grand jury report highlighted a number of problems with the department, and criticized town management’s inaction in RDA continued from page 5

already gotten the green light. Code and narcotics enforcement are two of the police programs that will receive an estimated $1.5 million a year in advance funding through 2021, for a total of $15 million from the redevelopment agency, under the terms of the new agreements. The housing authority allows the transfer of $16.4 million in uncommitted housing funds, 2 acres the city owns on Hamilton Avenue, and any housing program income from the redevelopment agency to the new authority. That money

The deputy city manager initially attributed the rationale for poisoning the squirrels to county inspection reports that stated they were pulling out litter. But The Almanac found that none of the inspection reports made that connection. The county’s director of environmental health, Dean Peterson, said there was no evidence of squirrels carrying garbage to the surface. A

N TOWN SQUARE Visit to join the conversation online.

addressing those problems and questionable conduct on the part of some staff members. Resident Jon Buckheit is suing the town, the county, three police officers and Councilman Jerry Carlson in federal court over the handling of his 2008 arrest during a domestic violence incident at his home. Mr. Buckheit’s complaint includes an accusation that the police report on his arrest was falsified. Because the town refused to give a copy of the report to Mr. Buckheit, he

had to sue the town to obtain it, and only then did he learn that the report had been altered, after it was first filed, to include a false charge of child assault. Kimberly Sweidy and her husband, Raymie Stata, are suing the town, its former building officials, and consultants over the building department’s oversight of the construction of their home, which is now undergoing major repairs and a complete structural retrofit.

must be used to support Menlo Park’s affordable housing plan a plan the council asked to review within the next five months to evaluate its effectiveness. According to city staff, however, no one knows if playing this kind of shell game with redevelopment funds will work. The state could declare the agreements invalid. “It seems that the governor could either honor those agreements or decide to make an attempt to take the funds and assets anyway and put the ball back in the cities’ hands to react,” said City Manager Glen Rojas. “(It’s) very hard to know or speculate since this is unexplored territory.”

Governor Brown has proposed $12.5 billion in budget cuts for the state. Eliminating redevelopment agencies, he has argued in public statements, would redirect property tax revenue to schools, public safety services, and county programs. Cities would receive a small percentage of the money, perhaps up to 20 percent. Menlo Park would lose about $17 million in redevelopment reserve funds, and an ongoing $1.4 million a year, according to Mr. Rojas. “We’d basically get $600,000 in return for losing millions,” he told the council at a budget meeting on Jan. 27.



Two cocaine dealers sentenced Two men arrested by Menlo Park police in December after running two stop signs were sentenced Wednesday, Feb. 9 in San Mateo County Superior Court. A search of their car had turned up a half pound of cocaine and 25 methadone tablets, police said. Vacaville residents Pedro Lopez, 34, and Alex Lopez Pulido, 29, pleaded no contest in January to possession of cocaine for sale. Mr. Lopez received two years in state prison and $490 in fines, while Mr. Pulido, although

fined the same amount, was put on three years’ probation following one year in county jail due to a “minimal criminal record,” according to the district attorney’s office. Both men were given credit for time served. Although Mr. Lopez managed to pull down his pants and urinate in the police car while handcuffed without wetting himself, according to police, the gymnastic feat did not appear to influence his sentence.



Woodsider chairs Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s benefit She also volunteers with art therapy program




Special to the Almanac


ary Helfrich used to live where the fire station now stands on the Alameda de las Pulgas in West Menlo Park, in a neighborhood once filled with horses. She recalls â&#x20AC;&#x153;riding the trailsâ&#x20AC;? from the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton to Searsville Lake in Woodside, long before Interstate 280 was even an idea. Now in her 80s, Ms. Helfrich doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t say much, but repeatedly paints horses while humming a tune as she focuses on completing a picture every week. An art teacher in her past, she is the most regular participant in the Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s art therapy program at her assisted living facility, Canyon House, in Menlo Park. One of her paintings will be auctioned off at the eighth annual Memories in the Making Art & Wine Auction on Friday, March 4, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. The event is a fundraiser for the Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Association, which supports research and awareness on a national level. The organization manages the art program at 28 sites in the Bay Area including Rosener House in Menlo Park. Ms. Helfrich has been painting at Canyon House for five years. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s where she met Kerry DeBenedetti of Woodside, the chairperson of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s auction. Ms. DeBenedettiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mother, Carol Parker, had Alzheimerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and lived at the Canyon House until her passing in 2009. Ms. DeBenedetti had worked with elementary school artists before, and decided to switch over to volunteering with older artists when she found out about the art therapy program for people with dementia. She now facilitates two classes


Call us today at 650.833.9892 to schedule a free consultation!

Gale Iguchi, Counselor


Volunteer Kerry DeBenedetti, right, of Woodside encourages Mary Helfrich of Menlo Park to talk about her painting.

every Monday and starts each session by setting out watercolors and pictures to copy. Each time, a handful of people shows up to paint for the hour. Some of the participants have never painted before, but she has noticed when they create art they express themselves in new ways. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Memory happens,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It surprises the staff and the families. Things come up that family members havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t heard about or talked about for years.â&#x20AC;? Last year when Ellen Ingebritsen of Portola Valley was a student at Woodside High School she helped out at the Canyon House classes. She described a dramatic change occurring in Ms. Helfrichâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s paintings after experiencing a stroke.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;She was painting a picture of a man in a canoe fishing on a lake. After she had her stroke her painting came out as purple spirals and squiggles, very abstract,â&#x20AC;? Ms. Ingebritsen said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A couple of weeks later she had the same picture in front of her and had this amazing recovery, and painted the canoe and man fishing gorgeously.â&#x20AC;? Ms. DeBenedetti added, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There was a time when I thought Mary wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t going to come back,â&#x20AC;? but she did and continues to show up each week. â&#x20AC;&#x153;She has always been pretty quiet ... it is hard to get things out and to formulate,â&#x20AC;? Ms. DeBenedetti said, but they still have conversations about their mutual interest in horses, and that can put a smile on both their faces.


& !%#% " "#'      SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS



N INFORMAT ION Tickets for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Memories in the Makingâ&#x20AC;? Art & Wine Auction will be on sale until Feb. 21 and cost $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of 10. The auction will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, at the Computer History Museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. There will be complimentary

wine and hors dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;oeuvres and entertainment by the Magnolia Jazz Band. Silent and live auctions will feature items such as fine wines, getaways, and jewelry, in addition to paintings, some of which go for thousands of dollars. > Visit or call 9628111 to purchase tickets.


Menlo-Atherton vice principal on TVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Jeopardyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Sean Priest, the administrative vice principal at MenloAtherton High School in Atherton, appeared on the TV game show â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jeopardyâ&#x20AC;? on Wednesday night, Feb. 9. He won the first round, but later fell behind returning champion Paul Wampler. Visit to see a story about his

appearance by M-A Bear News, the online news service for Menlo-Atherton High School. Sue Kayton of Menlo Park, who is chairman of the M-A PTA computer donation program and a parent of M-A alumni, sent us this e-mail message: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just watched the show. I was on Jeopardy many years ago and

want to make sure you know this: For 90% of the questions, all 3 contestants always know the answer and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just a handeye coordination contest to see who can hit the buzzer at exactly the right time. Sean knew as many answers as the other two guys, perhaps more. But he wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quick enough on the buzzer to win.â&#x20AC;? February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N9

special feature

Understanding Heart Failure · The heart is almost all muscle. With each of its expansions and contractions, it sends blood out into the body to enable its every action. When that muscle weakens, the body begins to fail, too.

A community health education series from Stanford Hospital & Clinics

Who is at risk? · Heart failure can be caused by many conditions, including valvular disease, high blood pressure, narrowed coronary arteries, irregular heartbeat, infection and diabetes. · Age: At 65, heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admission.

What Was Once Just a Bridge Takes Over As Long-term Rescue for Failing Hearts

Then, in July 2010, she went to the doctor again. This time, she was given an echocardiogram, a test that measures the heart’s activity. The result was alarming – her heart was pumping so feebly that with each beat it was pumping only 12 percent of the blood in her heart, only one-fifth of the oxygenation her body needed. Within days, Jackson was at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Her new physician was cardiologist Dipanjan Banerjee, MD. His diagnosis was unexpected and drastically life-altering: Jackson had congestive heart failure. But he couldn’t tell her why. Sometimes heart failure has no obvious cause. Jackson’s heart valves were working, her arteries were clear, her cholesterol was normal, and so was her blood pressure. Yet the left ventricle of her heart, the muscular chamber that constitutes half of the pumping needed to keep blood

“If I had a transplant, then I’d have to take immunosuppressants that would mean I wouldn’t have been able to be with my greatgrandchildren if they were sick.” – Donna Jackson, patient at Stanford Hospital & Clinics First, however, she had to agree to a transplant, and for days her answer was no. “I had a really hard time,” she said. “I didn’t want to put my kids through the thing of me having a transplant. Somebody would have to take care of me. And I’m thinking that I’d rather leave a heart available for someone younger who has a life ahead of them. And if I had a transplant, then I’d have to take immunosuppressants that would mean I wouldn’t have been able to be with my great-grandchildren if they were sick. I just didn’t want to go through all that.”

A different option Heart disease includes a long list of conditions. Heart failure, which specifically covers the heart’s ability to pump blood, has become more and more common. A National Heart Discharge Survey showed that hospital admissions involv-

ing heart failure rose from more than 1 million in 1979 to 4 million in 2004. In addition, fewer hearts are available for transplant. The number has not risen since 1999, and the gap between available organs and people waiting is increasing. Last year, 3,000 patients were on the list and 2,000 heart transplants were completed. But Jackson had another option, an existing device approved for a new function by the FDA a couple of months earlier. And Stanford had earned a special advanced designation from the Donna Jackson couldn’t understand why her strength seemed to Joint Commission, the accredithave disappeared. She couldn’t even make it from her car to her ing body for American healthfront door without having to rest. Her heart was failing, doctors care facilities, as a hospital finally told her. Now, inside her chest, is a pump that keeps her alive. with a high level of excellence in working with that device, the left ventricular assist device, commonly port during surgery or as a complete called the LVAD. substitute for its function. The first cardiopulmonary by-pass machine It’s a small mechanical pump that takes emerged in 1954. In 1982, a Seattle over what the ventricle can no longer dentist named Barney Clark, who sufdo. For the last decade, physicians have fered from congestive heart failure, lived used it as a bridge “when patients need 112 days after surgeons implanted an it now,” Banerjee said, for people on the artificial heart in his chest. The device transplant list, helping to keep them was intended to be permanent, but the alive for the days, weeks or months until 400-pound air compressor that powered a heart became available. Now, however, it was clearly an obstacle to anything it can do more. approaching a normal life. Jackson was a good candidate for an LVAD because she was sick enough to need it to survive, but not so sick that she wouldn’t survive surgery.

Better mechanics

Norbert von der Groeben

10 N The Almanac NFebruary 16, 2011

Almost three decades later, LVADs run on 10-hour batteries that weigh a pound each and a 2-pound controller — not light, but certainly portable. The LVAD also stores a record of its activity that can be downloaded for review.

The LVAD is part of the family of mechanical devices built to sustain the heart, either as a temporary sup-

Jackson gets checked by her Stanford cardiologist, Dipanjan Banerjee, MD. Her daughter-in-law, Cheryl, drives her to every appointment. Cheryl helped Donna find the pink plaid bag that now carries heart pump supplies. On the right, a record of Jackson’s heart pump activity.

Who is a candidate for LVAD? · Someone whose heart has deteriorated beyond the best medical management, but whose overall health is strong enough to withstand surgery

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy · Eat a low-fat, low sodium diet · Maintain a healthy weight · Quit smoking · Exercise regularly · Limit alcohol consumption

For more information about Stanford’s care program for heart failure, visit: or call 650.723.5468. Join us at

Only recently, however, has the technology and reliability of the device improved enough for the FDA to approve it to be implanted not only for a short time, but for years, as a long-term alternative to transplant. Its value rises with each year, Banerjee said. “We can see the writing on the wall – the number of hearts available each year has not risen since 1999 and the number of people needing a heart is rising every year. The gap between them is getting larger,” he said. “We are blessed to have the LVAD, and in some cases, it’s better than a transplant.”

Norbert von der Groeben

Jackson knew something was going on with her health. Her medical treatments weren’t having any impact and her breathlessness continued to worsen until one day she couldn’t make it from her car to her front door without stopping to rest. “I got so tired I wanted to sleep all the time,” she said.

flowing around the body, was failing, rapidly. The standard treatments, those that address problems like clogged arteries and faulty valves, would be pointless. What Jackson needed to survive was a heart transplant. It didn’t make Jackson feel better that Banerjee told her he’d never had a transplant candidate as healthy as she was.

· shortness of breath · visible swelling of the legs, ankles, feet and, sometimes, abdomen · fatigue and weakness · loss of appetite and nausea · persistent coughing or wheezing accompanied by phlegm · decreased alertness

· Medication · Surgery, including valve repair, ventricular restoration, coronary artery bypass, myotomy and transplant · Medical devices such as a defibrillator, pacemaker or ventricular assist like the LVAD

Life after a transplant comes with a long list of must-do’s. At the top of the list are the immunosuppressants Jackson knew about, medications needed to keep the body from rejecting the transplanted organ.

“We are blessed to have the LVAD, and, in some cases, it’s better than a transplant.” – Dipanjan Banerjee, MD, cardiologist, Stanford Hospital & Clinics Life after an LVAD has its downsides, too. Its primary battery and back-up batteries must be worn at all times, carried in a specially-modified harness or vest. A controller goes around the waist. It can’t handle exposure to moisture, for obvious reasons. It does put certain limits on physical activity. And because it’s a mechanical machine that’s driving a delicate human organ, its settings must be adjusted to just the right force and speed. Jackson considered. “Everyone kept telling me, ‘Mom, it’s your life, whatever you want to do.’ They left it up to me,” she said. “We were just grasping at straws for anything to keep her alive,” said her daughter-in-law, Cheryl. “But it had to be her decision.” But waiting and watching was hard, said Fred Jackson, one of her two sons and Cheryl’s husband. “She was going downhill so quick.” One night, Jackson said, “I was lying in bed, kind of crying and I said, ‘God, I can’t take this anymore, whatever you think I should do, I’ll leave it up to you.’”

She had also had a conversation with her 6-year-old great-granddaughter, Peyton. The little girl reminded Jackson that in that last couple of years, she’d lost two grandparents and a great-aunt “and she wanted me to be around,” Jackson said.

A new life That was enough to persuade Jackson to okay the LVAD. Her care was directed and supported by a large, multidisciplinary team of professionals. It was not an easy surgery; her recovery took weeks. But her family was with her, helping so much that the Stanford nurses joked that Jackson’s daughterin-law, Cheryl, should be given an honorary nurse’s license. Peyton and her brother, 9-year-old Mason, have become her unofficial guardians, reminding her about her diet, especially not indulging in salty foods. Peyton is even more connected to Jackson. She’s learned how to help her great-grandmother test the batteries and the monitor that is also a part of the LVAD system.

What excites cardiologists like Banerjee is the possibility that, with the LVAD taking the strain off, some patients’ hearts might recover enough to have the LVAD removed. The next step in heart

“Everything’s been going good. Dr. Banerjee keeps saying, ‘ People aren’t in your shape after having this.’” – Donna Jackson, patient at Stanford Hospital & Clinics care may be something that’s more of a repair than a replacement, Banerjee said, “a ventricular device that would allow us to keep as much of the original tissue and native heart function as possible. It’s always better to have what Mother Nature gave you.” The LVAD became a part of Jackson’s life in late September, and Jackson has a life that includes most of her previous activities. She reads on her computer, does laundry, changes the sheets on her

bed and when the weather is good, goes for a daily walk with her best friend, Betty Birdsong. Sometimes they go shopping. “I do everything for myself,” she said. “I’ve gotten used to all the equipment and stuff. And I’m planning a trip to Hawaii next year.” She sees Banerjee regularly and couldn’t speak more highly of him and all the professionals at Stanford whom she came to know during her treatment. “I could not find one doctor who had a bad bedside manner!” she jokes. “And the nurses treated my family really nicely.” She would like to go to her water aerobics class again, and has suggested to Banerjee that perhaps a wet suit might work. He’s looking into it, she said. A friend is putting together a backpack for the batteries that’s a bit more feminine than the black one she currently wears. “Everything’s been going good,” she said, and, with a bit of pride, “Dr. Banerjee keeps saying, ‘People aren’t in your shape after having this!’”

Norbert von der Groeben

Donna Jackson was not a spry youngster when she began to notice she tired more easily. But she could still carry her own groceries in from her car and she loved her daily water aerobics class. Her doctors told her they thought it was bronchitis, then pneumonia and, then, allergies that were slowing her down. She was 67, after all, and she had spent many years nursing her husband before his death.

What are the symptoms?

How is it treated?

Jackson’s great-grandchildren, Mason, 8, and Peyton, 6, are an important part of her life. And they love storytime with her on her bed. Peyton, in particular, likes to help with the job of checking the heart pump. Cheryl’s mother, Betty Birdsong, lives near Jackson and the two walk together every day, in part to help with Jackson’s recovery.

Stanford Hospital & Clinics is known worldwide for advanced treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. Consistently ranked among the top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report annual list of “America’s Best Hospitals,” Stanford Hospital & Clinics is internationally recognized for translating medical breakthroughs into the care of patients. It is part of the Stanford University Medical Center, along with the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, visit

February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N11


West Bay Opera takes on ‘Turandot’ By Mort Levine


n intimate opera on an epic scale” is the way West Bay Opera’s charismatic general director, Jose Luis Moscovich, characterizes the monumental Puccini creation “Turandot.” His company will tackle the opera for two weekends beginning Friday, Feb. 18, at Palo Alto’s Lucie Stern Theatre. This is the first time West Bay has presented “Turandot” in its 55 seasons. As with the other two operas in the season, “Turandot” is a company premiere. Now in his fifth year as the head of the Palo Alto-based company, Mr. Moscovich has a significant challenge as conductor of the rich, diverse score. In


composing, Puccini threw off the romantic and gritty verismo tradition of his earlier successes. Instead, he ventured into an exploration of writing that has elements of atonality, Chinese pentatonic themes, echoes of Wagner and Stravinsky, and even jazz riffs of the early 1920s, when the opera was written. Puccini died after composing all but the final scene, and the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini had it completed by composer Franco Alfano from sketches left by Puccini. “Turandot” is rarely staged, perhaps because it usually aspires to be the grandest of grand opera, requiring unlimited budgets. The West Bay


interpretation is expected to rely more on nuance, subtlety and the opera’s innate fated triangle of an icy repressed Princess Turandot; Liu, a tragic slave girl who cares for the dying deposed king Timur; and Prince Calaf, the heroic but insensitive son of Timur. Almost equally important musically and dramatically is a trio of comedians in the old commedia dell’arte tradition: Ping, Pang and Pong, ministers to Turandot’s father, the Emperor Altoum. Puccini took the story of “Turandot” from a tale by 1700s storyteller Carlo Gozzi. Driven by a hatred of men, Turandot will consent to marry only a man who can answer three riddles. Many overconfident suitors literally lose their heads

before Calaf’s arrival. He successfully answers all three, but generously allows her to be free of her pledge by guessing his name. A nationwide search ensues while “no one sleeps” — the famous “Nessun dorma” tenor aria sung by Calaf. Turandot finally discovers she is transformed by the hero, and admits she has succumbed to the power of love. The title role requires a barnburner of a soprano with Wagnerian power. In this production, the princess is played by Alexandra LoBianco, whose performance of the “Turandot” aria “In questa reggia” helped her win the 2011 Liederkranz Foundation Vocal Competition in New York. Calaf will be sung by tenor David Gustafson, with Liu sung by lyric soprano Liisa Davila, a lyric soprano. Bass Adam Paul Lau, winner of the 2010 Henry and Maria Holt Scholarship


your heart.

If you have a family member with cardiovascular disease, getting to know your heart can make a difference. Make an appointment today to find out your risk and meet with a genetic counselor.

12 N The Almanac NFebruary 16, 2011

Award, plays the dying Timur, the moral center of the opera. Ping, Pang and Pong are sung by baritone Emmanuel Franco, tenor Michael Desnoyers and tenor Michael Mendelsohn. The cast also features Ken Malucelli, Matthew Lovell, Ernest Alvarez, Megan Cullen, Emily Pelc, and nine members of the Ragazzi boys’ chorus augmenting the West Bay chorus. David Cox, a veteran director and singer, is directing. The Chinese fantasy set is designed by Peter Crompton. Lighting is by Rob Anderson and the sound design is by Tod Nixon. The orchestra will be supplemented with special doublings and unusual instruments such as Chinese gongs, glockenspiel and bass xylophone that will occupy space under the stage. A

February is American Heart Month and the perfect time to make sure you’re on a healthy track. At the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease, we specialize in the care of patients and families with genetic disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

Learn more about your heart health:

Photo by Otak Jump

Alexandra LoBianco as Princess Turandot in West Bay Opera’s production of Puccini’s “Turandot.”


West Bay Opera presents the Puccini opera “Turandot” at the Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto, on Feb. 18 and 26 at 8 p.m., and Feb. 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35-$60, with group discounts available. > Visit or call 4249999 for more information.





Woodside: Deputies assist lost hikers Deputies escorted five hikers back to a Woodside retreat center after they ventured off of a marked trail Wednesday night, Feb. 9, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said. At about 5:10 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office got a call from the Stillheart Institute at 16350 Skyline Blvd. reporting that five hikers were unable to find their way back to the facility, Lt. Ray Lunny said. Stillheart spokeswoman Mary

Ann Draeger said the group veered off of the pathway into unmarked territory. “We have two hiking trails that are very clearly marked,” she said. “But the five of them decided to forge away from the markers, and that’s when they got lost.” Deputies located the hikers on foot less than half an hour later, after hearing voices and seeing the beam of a flashlight. “It was a heavily wooded area,”

“They didn’t seem too shaken up by the incident. They went out to a nice dinner after they got back.’ Lt. Lunny said. “And the difficulty lies in the fact that you couldn’t even see the hand in front of your face. But luckily, they were

Stegner lecture series opens Tuesday The Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) opens its 18th annual Wallace Stegner lecture series with “The Story of Stuff,” a talk by Annie Leonard at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Leonard’s talk and animated film short about America’s obsession with things examines the damaging effects of consumerism and outlines vision for a better approach. Named one of Time magazine’s Environmental Heroes in 2008, Ms. Leonard spent 20 years investigating factories and dumps around the world to better understand the full circle of production and disposal, including health risks at each stage. Other speakers on this year’s roster are author Richard Preston discussing life in the high canopy of California’s ancient redwood trees on April 4 and National Geographic explorer Jonathan Waterman talking about demands on the Colo-

rado River on May 2. For select subscribers there is also a bonus lecture by organic farmer Kristin Kimball on March 23. POST’s lecture series is named in honor of the late Wallace Stegner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Stanford University professor, and ardent protector of the West’s lands. For the past 17 years, Jean and the late Bill Lane have sponsored the POST lecture series. Ms. Lane is continuing the tradition in memory of Mr. Lane. Media sponsorship is provided by Embarcadero Media, which owns the Almanac and other community newspapers and websites. Series subscriptions are available for $325, $175 and $75 per person. For more information, call POST at 854-7696, ext. 316. Single tickets are $22 and may be ordered by calling the box office at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 903-6000.

Atelier d’Artistes

benefiting art in action

Celebrating Art & Creativity Experience Local Artists at Work Bid on Unique Art Tours and Original Art Enjoy Lunch with Friends Guest Speaker: Sculptor Fletcher Benton Honorees: Goodstein Foundation, Fran Eastman, Edward Goodstein

Monday, March 7, 2011

11 am - 2 pm Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club, Menlo Park $85, $75 before 2/14/11

For reservations and information 650.566.8339 x202 • Benefit for Art in Action’s art education programs

found.” The deputies marked their trail with yellow caution tape and were able to assist the hikers back safely, Lt. Lunny said. Ms. Draeger said that one of the hikers was a Connecticut resident while the rest were from Dublin, Ireland. “They were all here on a private retreat,” she said. “They didn’t seem too shaken up by the incident. They went out to a nice dinner after they got back.” — Bay City News Service

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CITY OF MENLO PARK LEGAL NOTICE PUBLIC HEARING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF MENLO PARK AND THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MENLO PARK CONSIDERATION OF A PROPERTY CONVEYANCE AGREEMENT WITH THE HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF MENLO PARK FOR THE CONVEYANCE AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROPERTY LOCATED AT 777, 785, 787, 791, 801, 811, AND 821 HAMILTON AVENUE NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Community Development Agency of the City of Menlo Park (the “Agency”) and the City Council (the “City Council”) of the City of Menlo Park will hold a joint public hearing on March 1, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard) in the City Council Chambers located at 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, California. The hearing is being conducted in compliance with the requirements of Section 33433 of the California Health and Safety Code. The hearing may be continued from time to time until completed. Any person desiring the opportunity to be heard will be afforded an opportunity to do so. The Agency owns an approximately two acre site commonly known as 777, 785, 787, 791, 801, 811, and 821 Hamilton Avenue in the City of Menlo Park (the “Property”). In furtherance of the Las Pulgas Community Development Plan and the goal of increasing Menlo Park’s supply of quality affordable housing, the Agency desires to convey the Property to the Housing Authority of the City of Menlo Park (the “Housing Authority”) for the future development of a mixed-use development potentially consisting of for-sale housing units, including affordable housing, commercial and retail space, and related on-site and off-site improvements (the “Proposed Development”). To implement the Proposed Development on the Property, the Agency proposes to enter into a Property Conveyance Agreement (the “Agreement”) with the Housing Authority providing for the sale of the Property by the Agency to the Housing Authority, and to establish the process for the Housing Authority to determine the development scope of the Proposed Development, including the number of affordable housing units, and select a third-party developer to develop the Proposed Development. The purpose of this hearing is to consider approval of the Agreement and the disposition of the Property to the Housing Authority. The Agreement does not commit the City Council to grant any land use approval necessary for the development of the Proposed Development. Pursuant to Section 15004(b)(2)(A) of the Guidelines for the implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), the Agreement is exempt from the requirements of CEQA because the future use of the Property for the Proposed Development is conditioned upon CEQA compliance. Any and all persons having any objections to the proposed Agreement, to the sale to the Housing Authority of the Property, or who deny the regularity of this proceeding or wish to speak on any issue raised by the Agreement may appear at the hearing and will be afforded an opportunity to state their objections. If any person desires to challenge in court the approval and execution of the proposed Agreement, the contemplated sale of the Property to the Housing Authority, or any proceedings in connection therewith, they may be limited to raising only those issues that they or someone else raised at the hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the Agency or the City Council at, or prior to, the hearing. Written correspondence on this matter may be addressed to the Agency and City Council, c/o of the City Clerk of the City of Menlo Park, at the address set forth below. As required by Section 33433 of the California Health and Safety Code, copies of the Agreement and a summary of the proposed transaction set forth in the Agreement are available at the offices of the City Clerk of the City of Menlo Park, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park, California, 94025, for public inspection and copying at a cost not to exceed the cost of duplication. Further information regarding this hearing may be obtained by contacting the City’s Housing Division at (650) 330-6724. DATED: February 9, 2011

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF MENLO PARK _______________/s/_____________________ Margaret S. Roberts, Agency Secretary

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DATES OF PUBLICATION: February 15 and 22, 2011 February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N13


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Planning Division of the City of Menlo Park, California has scheduled a scoping meeting. At this meeting, members of the public will have an opportunity to comment on the issues to be analyzed in a focused Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the following project: Use Permit, Architectural Control, Tentative Map, Below Market Rate Housing Agreement, and Environmental Review/389 El Camino Real, LLC/389 El Camino Real: Application to demolish the existing single-family house at 612 Partridge Avenue, a residential triplex at 603-607 College Avenue, and a former car lot at 389 El Camino Real and construct 26 residential units and associated site improvements on the subject parcels in the C-4(ECR) (General Commercial Applicable to El Camino Real) and R-3 (Apartment) zoning districts. The application includes the following requests: 1. Use Permit. A Use Permit would be required to construct three or more residential units in the R-3 zoning district, and to construct residential units and increase the floor area ratio (FAR) from 55 percent to 75 percent in the C-4(ECR) zoning district. 2. Architectural Control. Design review would be required for the proposed residential buildings. 3. Tentative Map. Seven existing legal lots would be merged into two lots; the public street easement for Alto Lane would be abandoned; and 26 residential condominium units would be created. 4. Below Market Rate Housing Agreement. A Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing Agreement would provide for the development of three on-site low-income BMR units in accordance with the City’s BMR Program and the provisions of Government Code Section 65915, the State Density Bonus Law. 5. Environmental Review. The project would be analyzed for potential environmental impacts in the focused EIR. This Notice of Preparation (NOP) initiates the environmental review process. The application is being submitted subject to the State Density Bonus Law, Government Code Section 65915 and relevant amendments, which permits exceptions to the City’s Zoning Ordinance requirements. A Scoping Session is scheduled for February 28, 2011 at 7:00 p.m., in the City Council Chambers, 701 Laurel Street. The City has prepared a Notice of Preparation (NOP) for this project and will be conducting an EIR Scoping Session as part of the process, during which the City solicits input from other agencies and the public on specific topics that they believe should be addressed in the environmental analysis. The applications and associated environmental documents will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and reviewed and acted on by the City Council at subsequent public hearings. The City is also accepting written comments on items to be included in the focused EIR. Please send comments on the scope of the EIR to Megan Fisher, Associate Planner, City of Menlo Park Community Development Department, Planning Division, 701 Laurel Street Menlo Park, CA, 94025. Please provide comments by March 18, 2011. Documents related to this project, including the Notice of Preparation of the Environmental Impact Report, may be reviewed by the public on weekdays between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, with alternate Fridays closed, at the Department of Community Development, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park. For more information, please contact Megan Fisher, Associate Planner, at (650) 330-6737 or mefisher@ In addition, you can receive periodic updates regarding this project by subscribing to the project page on the City’s website at: Si usted necesita más información sobre este proyecto, por favor llame al 650-330-6702, y pregunte por un asistente que hable español. DATED:

February 10, 2011

PUBLISHED: February 16, 2011

Deanna Chow, Senior Planner Menlo Park Planning Commission

Louise DeDera returns to Coldwell Banker Louise DeDera, who sold real estate on the Peninsula from 1978 to 1998, has returned as a sales associate at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Ms. DeDera is working in the Menlo Park office, located at 930 Santa Cruz Ave. During her 20-year career, Ms. DeDera was a top producing agent and ranked in the top 1 percent of Coldwell Banker agents internationally. After leaving real estate, Ms.

DeDera was active in as regent for the El Allied Arts Guild and Palo Alto chapter of the Menlo Park Kiwanthe Daughters of the is Club. She served as American Revolution president of Allied Arts from 2003 until 2005 Guild in 2008 and presiand as governor of dent of the Kiwanis the Sequoia Colony Club in 2010. Society of MayflowMs. DeDera is a memer Descendents from ber of the Menlo Park 2004 until 2009. Presbyterian Church, Louise DeDera She has bachelor’s where she has served and master’s degrees as elder, deacon, teacher, and in education from Cal Poly, San small group leader. She served Luis Obispo.

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Stanley Eugene Easter Stanley Eugene Easter, born March 4, 1932 in Hutchinson, KS, died on January 23, 2011 in Scotts Valley, CA. Stan (“Sonny”) was born to James Stanley Easter (D.1981) and Pryntha Evaloe Easter (D.1994), the first grandchild in a large family. He grew up in Yakima, WA and graduated from high school in Brawley, CA. Musical from a young age, he sang on the radio at age 4 and picked up trombone and organized his “Big Little Band” in elementary years. Stan was recognized as an excellent musician. His instructors were trombone legends Robert Marsteller in L.A., Emery Remington at the Eastman School of Music, and Louis Van Haney of the NY Philharmonic. He earned his Bachelor of Music and Performers Certificate from Eastman, then spent two years in the USMA Band at West Point, then won an audition for the Oklahoma City Symphony, and, while there, earned his Master of Music at the University of Oklahoma and married the harpist, Katherine Rapp. They moved to New York City, where Stan earned his Doctorate in Education from Teachers College at Columbia, while performing in Broadway shows, the New York Philharmonic, the American Symphony under Stokowski, the NYC Ballet Orchestra at Lincoln Center and touring orchestras, including that of the Royal Ballet of London starring Nureyev and Fonteyn. Stan was proud of conducting the Julliard Masters Symphony and performing in Carnegie Hall. When Stan and Katherine divorced in 1969, Stan moved to California where he performed with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and other ensembles, and found his calling at Cañada College in Redwood City, sharing and teaching great music for than 30 years; he ran the Instrumental Music Program and conducted prolifically, most notably the West Coast premiere of Menotti’s opera, “The Consul.” Stan cared for the potential of each student, earned a Counseling

Certificate, and became a Cañada academic advisor. Throughout his career, Stan taught youth music (most every instrument) in schools, camps, and privately. He served as Minister of Music for churches including Peninsula Covenant in Redwood City, Bethany Lutheran in Menlo Park and Mountain View Presbyterian. Stan treasured the respect and friendship of his students and colleagues. In 1972, Stan married Ietje Hoogland, with whom he shared two daughters, Laura Michelle and Cathrine. Stan worked hard to provide his girls with opportunities and thoughtful luxuries. Daily, he made breakfast, led family prayer and laughter, and drove carpools. Hallmark cards, flowers and family vacations were his forte. Ietje died in 1992. Stan married Rita Reitz in 1997. They shared ten years of friends, entertaining, music and travel. Stan found his comfort in God’s grace. He was a member (and past deacon) of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, where he attended Men’s Bible Study; he was a past Rotarian and member of Sons in Retirement, played with Bay Bones Trombone Choir, and organized musical programs at Little House Senior Center. He idolized his parents, loved to write music, philosophize and tell stories of farming, high school football and the army. He liked Harry’s Hofbrau, the 49ers, his car, Tahoe, physics, spy novels, napping through the ball game, swimming and gardening roses. He was proud of climbing Mt. Rainier in WA. The last years of Stan’s life were spent with new friends at Oak Tree Villa, close to his cherished daughters and grandson. Stan is remembered for his big heart. He counseled us to forever keep up the good fight, care and make a difference. Stan gave all he could and more. On January 28, a sunny morning, Stan was laid to rest under a strong oak tree at Soquel Cemetery. Memorial donations can be sent to World Vision (1-888-511-6519, Fund ID#: 105429405) Stan is survived by four siblings he adored, Connie Ruyle (Boise, ID), Patricia Berlin (Milpitas, CA), Jan Easter (Nampa, ID), and Fred Easter (Draper, UT); two daughters and a grandson: Michelle Easter, Cathrine Berlin and Jaxon Giberson (Santa Cruz, CA); and a large clan. PA I D

14 N The Almanac NFebruary 16, 2011



Stanley Easter, longtime music teacher Stanley Eugene Easter, who N OBITUARI ES taught music at Canada College in Woodside for more than 30 years, College in Woodside. died Jan. 23. He was 78. He served as minister of music Born in 1932 in Kansas, he at several local churches, includgrew up in Yakima, Washington. ing Bethany Lutheran in Menlo He showed musical gifts at a Park and Mountain View Presyoung age, singing on byterian. the radio at age 4 and In 1972, he married picking up trombone in Ietje Hoogland, with elementary school. whom he shared two He earned his bachdaughters. Ietje died in elorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree from the 1992 and Easter married Eastman School of Rita Reitz in 1997. Music, and his masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s He was a member degree from the Univerand past deacon of sity of Oklahoma. He Menlo Park Presbyterian played with the OklaChurch, and he was a past homa City Symphony Stanley Easter Rotarian and member of and married the harpSons in Retirement. He ist, Katherine Rapp. played with Bay Bones Trombone They moved to New York City, Choir, and organized musical prowhere Easter earned his doctoral grams at Little House activity center degree in education from Teachers in Menlo Park. The last years of College at Columbia. He performed Stanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life were spent at Oak Tree in Broadway shows, and with Villa in Scottâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Valley. the New York Philharmonic, the He is survived by his daughters, American Symphony and the NYC Michelle Easter and Cathrine BerBallet Orchestra, among others. lin, both of Santa Cruz; his siblings, When the couple divorced in Connie Ruyle of Boise, Patricia 1969, Mr. Easter moved to Cali- Berlin of Milpitas, Jan Easter of fornia, where he performed with Nampa, Idaho, and Fred Easter the San Francisco Opera Orchestra of Draper, Utah; and a grandson, and other ensembles, and found his Jaxon Giberson. calling as a music teacher at Canada The family prefers memoN BRIEFS

available online; search for Center for California Studies.

Deadline for state Senate fellowships Wednesday, Feb. 23, is the deadline to apply for the 2011-2012 California State Senate Fellowship program at the Center for California Studies, California State University, Sacramento, according to state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. All fellows selected work full-time for 11 months in the office of a senator or senate committee. Fellows also attend weekly seminars to earn graduate units through the university. People may also apply for fellowships in the state Assembly, and the judicial and executive branches. Applications and information are

SamTrans seeks volunteers The San Mateo County Transit District is seeking volunteers for its Citizens Advisory Committee. The 15-member committee advises the districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s board of directors about transit usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; needs and informs residents about transit programs. There are eight openings on the committee, which meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Transit Districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office in San Carlos. Visit or call 5086279 for an application. The deadline to apply is March 4.

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rial donations be made to World Vision, (888) 511-6519, Fund ID 105429405.

Barbara Carr Acevedo The family of Barbara Carr Acevedo, 81, who lived for a time in Menlo Park and died Jan. 21, will hold a remembrance service to celebrate her life from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, at the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St. in Palo Alto.






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Robert Eugene LichďŹ eld Jan. 7, 1932 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Feb. 6, 2011 Robert Eugene LichďŹ eld was born January 7, 1932 and raised in Ogden, Utah, to loving and hard-working parents, Joseph Eugene, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Geneâ&#x20AC;? LichďŹ eld, and Susannah Parker LichďŹ eld, a ďŹ rst generation English immigrant. He began his education at Polk Elementary School where he met Lynne Rich, his future wife, in the ďŹ rst grade. His education continued with Lewis Junior High, and Ogden High School, where he served as student body president; an opportunity he attributed to good friends, whom he said had great faith in him. Prior to his formal architectural training, Robert received a craftsmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education at the side of his father, a builder and carpenter; ďŹ rst carrying bricks for the construction of the homes that his father and uncles built together. Robert attributed his need for long sleeves on dress shirts to the â&#x20AC;&#x153;stretchingâ&#x20AC;? he obtained from all the brick toting as a carpenterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s helper, that he did as a boy. Robert attended Utah State University his ďŹ rst year of college then completed his degree at the University of Utah. He married Lynne Rich on September 10, 1954, then graduated with a B.S. in Architecture. Air Force Service: Robert became an Air Force pilot in 1957, the same year his ďŹ rst son, Aaron Rich LichďŹ eld was born, with the family stationed in McAllen Texas. Robert obtained the rank of First Lieutenant and piloted the T-33, and the B-47 bomber. His Air Force years included his family being stationed in Laredo, Texas; McAllen, Texas; Wichita, Kansas; and Tucson, Arizona. Robertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ rst architecture work was in Ogden, with the ďŹ rm of Kenneth Jones, and then at the John Piers ofďŹ ce also in Ogden. Seeing commercial building growth in the economy of California, Robert secured a position with Ernest J. Kump Associates, in Palo Alto, and moved his growing family of three, to Menlo Park, California, where his son, Aaron, and his daughters Kathryn and Emily, were later joined by Sara and Diana. During most of his adult life, Robert managed his fatherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commercial properties together with his sisters, Dorothy, Barbara, and Edna, all of whom have predeceased him. His brother, Jack, passed away at the age of 3 years. Robert was a creative and precise designer and builder and was skilled at ďŹ xing things and devising unique solutions to problems, often with novel approaches that deďŹ ed stereotypes. His design of the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home in Menlo Park, California, won him â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Menlo Park Design Award for Excellence,â&#x20AC;? with his innovative, neo craftsman style. From his Air Force days he had a passion for ďŹ&#x201A;ying. He regularly made the long ďŹ&#x201A;ight from Ogden, Utah, to Coronado, California later in his life. There he enjoyed the art galleries, sailing,

and being near the ocean and bays. He surprised himself by achieving his dream of having a boat slip beside his condo. Robert taught his children to water ski, and snow ski, and took them on many memorable family outdoor adventures, in â&#x20AC;&#x153;motor homeâ&#x20AC;? trips to the Redwood Forest, Monterey, Carmel, Lake Tahoe, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Half Moon Bay, Lake Lagunita, and, of course, wonderful Bear Lake. He always taught the science behind things, as he traveled with his children, answering their many questions and teaching them along the way. Robert embraced physical challenges, and the contemplative time provided by physical activities; for many years running 10 miles, several times per week, becoming proďŹ cient in yoga, weight lifting, and doing inverted sit ups using boots fastened to a bar from the ceiling. In his 50â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, he traveled around Europe, visited the home of his mother, in Sunderland, England and found that Switzerland was his favorite European country. His love for motorized vehicles included the enjoyment of a 1966 Ducati motorcycle, the ďŹ rst of several that he rode and maintained himself, along with his beloved 1967 Piper Cherokee aircraft, and several boats of all kinds. All of Robertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ ve children, ten grandchildren, and three great grandchildren continue on with the beneďŹ t of his values of lifelong learning and inquisitiveness, ingenuity, and self-reliance. Survived by his former wife, Lynne Rich, San Diego, CA ; Aaron R. LichďŹ eld, (DeAnn) North Logan, UT; Kathryn LichďŹ eld, Jackson, Wyoming; Emily LichďŹ eld Cannon, (Scott) Bountiful, UT; Sara A. LichďŹ eld, San Diego, CA; Diana LichďŹ eld, San Diego, CA. He turned 79 years old on January 7, 2011. He passed peacefully at his home, February 6, 2011. Memorial services will be held Friday, February 11th at 2 p.m. at Lindquistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd. The family will meet friends for 30 minutes prior to the services. Interment, Lindquistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Washington Heights Memorial Park, 4500 Washington Blvd. Email condolences to the family at: www. PA I D


February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N15


Kehillah Jewish High School 7th Annual Fundraising Gala Featuring Will Durst

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 6pm Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall at the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life We hope you will join us in supporting outstanding contemporary Jewish education. For tickets, sponsorship information, or to donate an auction item, please contact Juliette Goldman at 650.213.9600 or


3900 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303


w w w. ke h i l l a h . o r g Kehillah is a beneficiary of the Levine-Lent Family Foundation, Len & Vivian Lehmann, area Jewish Community Federations, and the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Woodside vaulters win national honors Alicen Divita of Woodside Vaulters was named Vaulter of the Year at the annual awards banquet of the U.S. Equestrian Federation held Jan. 22 in Lexington, Kentucky. Isabelle Bibbler Parker, head coach of the Woodside Vaulters, was honored as Coach of Year. Ms. Divita, 21, a resident of Redwood City, represented the U.S. at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington last October, finishing in seventh place. She has been vaulting since age 12 and has won national championships at every level of competition. She is a student at UC Berkeley. Ms. Parker has led Woodside Vaulters to four A-Team national championships and a bronze medal at the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome. Individual Horse of the Year honors went to Giovanni, a 13-year-old Mecklenburg warmblood owned by Woodside Vaulters. Go to for more information. A

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Anita Chiles sees the power of the bead By Jane Knoerle Almanac Lifestyles Editor


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Alicen Duvita and Giovanni competed in the Woodside Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, taking seventh place.








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Advance tickets, directions, and details at Online or bring this coupon to purchase Promo Code: your tickets at the door! $8 for a single day Multiple-day discounts available 16 N The Almanac NFebruary 16, 2011


n the past 10 years, the Alexandra Chiles Foundation has assembled more than 30,000 beading kits to donate to hospitalized children, but Anita Chiles of Atherton doesn’t want to stop there. By offering bead kits through a website, Ms. Chiles hopes the project will go nationwide, maybe global, “so any group in the country could order them,” she says. (Visit Alexandra Chiles Foundation honors the memory of Anita and Robert Chiles’ daughter, Alexandra. Alex was 18 years old when she died in March 2000, following a sixyear battle with cancer and the complications of a bonemarrow transplant. During her many stays at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, a favorite activity was beading necklaces, which she gave away as gifts. The teenager was a member of the Stanford Hills Chapter of the National Charity League, which requires members to do community service. Alexandra’s contribution was assembling beading kits for

other hospitalized children and teens. After her death, the Charity League girls kept making the kits. The project grew from there, enlisting volunteers from a wide variety of organizations who have assembled thousands of kits in the past 10 years. Many local students have worked on kits, including students from Menlo-Atherton High School, Sacred Heart Preparatory, Menlo School, Castilleja, Crystal Springs Uplands, and St. Francis High Schools. The kits have been distributed to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Oakland Children’s Hospital, and Valley Medical in San Jose, among others. The foundation has also supplied kits to Paul Newman’s first Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, the Painted Turtle summer camp near Malibu, and Camp Okizu in Berry Creek, California. Patients have used their creativity to make necklaces, bracelets, headbands, key chains and lanyards. For the past 10 years, Ms. Chiles has been the driving force behind the foundation, giving much of her time to the cause. When she asked for help, her friends responded.

On Sept. 19 they held a garden party and silent auction at the home of Bill and Lee Schroeder in Atherton. Wine and appetizers were served to some 90 guests who responded generously, raising $10,000 for the foundation. Among those attending was Janice C. Parsons, former owner of the much-loved Bead Shop in Palo Alto, who spoke on “The Power of the Bead.” She is listed as one of the founders of the Alexandra Chiles Foundation, along with Joan Karlin and Ms. Chiles. Colette Case of Packard Children’s Hospital and Suzanne Berkes of Oakland Children’s Hospital and Research Center were also speakers. Alex’s father, Robert, and brother, Andrew, were also on hand helping the party run smoothly. Anita Chiles hopes getting the word out about the foundation will motivate “this cause or other causes. We are privileged to have so much and want to inspire people to help those who are less fortunate. We believe that creativity is transcending and giving empowering,” she says. Visit to learn more about the foundation. A

Lucile Packard Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital 20th Anniversary


Innovations in Minimally Invasive Pediatric Surgery and Technology March 1, 2011 at 7pm Learn about the fascinating new world of surgical technology. See how medicine and technology have combined to achieve less invasive procedures and healthier outcomes for surgical patients. Sanjeev Dutta MD, FACS Associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford School of Medicine and Surgical Director of the Multidisciplinary Initiative for Surgical Technology Research

This free lecture will be held in the Freidenrich Auditorium at Packard Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital. Pre-registration is required. Reserve your space online at or call (650) 724-3783.

For additional 20th Anniversary Lecture Series offerings, visit February 16, 2011 N The Almanac N17

Serving Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside for 44 years.

Editor & Publisher Tom Gibboney

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Published every Wednesday at 3525 Alameda De Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, Ca 94025 Newsroom: (650) 223-6525 Newsroom Fax: (650) 223-7525 Advertising: (650) 854-2626 Advertising Fax: (650) 854-3650 e-mail news and photos with captions to: e-mail letters to: The Almanac, established in September, 1965, 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 November 9, 1969. Subscriptions are $60 for one year and $100 for two years.



All views must include a home address and contact phone number. Published letters will also appear on the web site,, and occasionally on the Town Square forum.

TOWN SQUARE FORUM POST your views on the Town Square forum at EMAIL your views to: 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.

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Serious growth at Las Lomitas


hocked when a survey showed not enough residents would approve a new parcel tax large enough to meet the schools’ needs, officials of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District are now going back to the drawing board to find other ways to accommodate more students without spending a lot of money. In prior years, the district could depend on the Atherton and Menlo Park residents to support whatever parcel tax or bond issue was put before them. But last year a poll found that taxpayers are not eager ED ITORI AL to tack another $300 or $400 a year The opinion of The Almanac on to their property taxes so the school can make room for current enrollment growth estimates that will top out at 172 more students in 2017 than previously thought. If such a bulge materializes, it means the district will either have to add up to a half dozen or more portable classrooms, or build additional classrooms that would cost millions of dollars. And although the district leases out two sites to Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park and Woodland School in Ladera, the loss of rent from either one would probably be even worse for the bottom line. The survey did not find that a majority of potential voters opposed a parcel tax, just that the two-thirds approval necessary for such a tax to pass was not there. Without that option, trustees have given Superintendent Eric Hartwig until June to come up with some options to handle the enrollment growth and a $1.5 million budget shortfall from last year.

The district was caught in the enrollment bind when an earlier demographic study showed flattening growth after 2015, which the district thought it could accommodate with portable classrooms until that time. But a second, more recent study, showed a much higher growth rate, beyond the number of students that easily would fit into portables. These are serious numbers, and coupled with the $1.5 million debt from last year, it appears that either parents will have to ante up more support or students will be squeezed into larger classes. Another, riskier option would be for the district to mount a massive public relations campaign to convince district taxpayers that schools are a good investment. But before taking the latter approach, the district must show that it has done all it can to cut costs. Even taxpayers of the Las Lomitas district, who in the past have given generously every time they were asked, are wary of adding more school levies to their property tax bill. In the end, the same argument — that strong Las Lomitas schools keep property values high — will convince voters to accept another parcel tax to go with the $311 annual levy currently on the books, or taxpayer outrage will send the district down to its first defeat in years. If that happens, voters may also be in the mood to at least order a study of consolidation with the adjoining Menlo Park City School District. Some functions of the districts have been merged voluntarily, but a full consolidation would cut overhead costs (one superintendent instead of two) and perhaps save money in other ways. And, it could bring two of the top-performing elementary school districts in the state together, a combination that could pay off for students of both districts.

L ETT E RS Our readers write

Incensed by city’s decision to poison squirrels Editor: As a 15-year resident of Menlo Park, I join the multitude of community members perplexed and infuriated to learn of the covert decision to poison squirrels at Bedwell Bayfront Park in August of 2010. Because these actions reflect a short-view, uneducated, dangerous and limited understanding of the value and health of ecosystems, it is clear that both City Manager Glen Rojas and Deputy City Manager Kent Steffens do not reflect the basic understandings or the forward-thinking necessary to represent Menlo Park. Menlo Park requires better and it is my intention to seek the removal of these city representatives who approved this act which was covert, backwards and toxic. Erin Scott Roble Avenue, Menlo Park

Roots of redwood lost in dispute will live on Editor: I wrote to the Menlo Park City Council members when I first learned about the dispute over the redwood tree on University Drive. I thought there was still hope

18 N The Almanac NFebruary 16, 2011

Menlo Park Historical Association

Our Regional Heritage The family of San Francisco Mayor James Rolph Jr. await a train at the Menlo Park depot in this undated photo. Between 1912 and 1915, Mayor Rolph rented Holm Grove, the Joseph A. Donohoe estate on Middlefield Road, where he brought his family to vacation.

after the council first voted 3-2 in favor of saving the tree, but the following meeting new members voted the tree down. I am so saddened by the whole saga. How could people be so blind that they could only see dollars lining their pockets and not the beauty of the magnificent tree? It weathers droughts and

crowding and still flourished into something lovely which many admired day after day. Whoever ends up owning the enormous future house will hear the history of that tree from the neighbors. How they loved it and tried to save it, but lost because they were no match for powerful speculators. That story will be

told over and over again. It will never be forgotten. It will be part of that house and land for evermore. Down deep in the earth, no matter how deeply they excavate, some roots will remain to remember the glory that once was theirs. Idamaria Knights Walnut Avenue, Atherton



Here’s what they’re saying on Town Square Priory proposes synthetic grass for fields By Almanac Staff

In its bid to resurface three athletic fields with synthetic grass, Woodside Priory, the private Portola Valley Catholic school for grades 6-12, hosted a joint onsite meeting of the town’s Planning and Architecture & Site Control commissions to discuss the matter on Tuesday, Feb. 1.The school is proposing the plastic surface for the soccer field, the softball field and the volleyball court, a total of about three acres, according to a staff report by Town Planner Tom Vlasic. The commissions will formally review the proposal in the coming months. Synthetic fields don’t need irrigation and are reportedly more durable, can be played on sooner after a rain, and give athletes improved traction and athletic performance. Comments by Town Square posters Posted by GrassFan, a resident of another community: I’m a Priory parent and would really rather see the school not put in a fake field. The school is blessed with such a beautiful piece

N TOWN SQUARE Visit to join the conversation online.

of property. To me, it would be sad to see that ugly artificial turf out there in front of the school and along Portola Road. Posted by PV mom, a resident of Portola Valley: I get the issues of usability, economics, better for photography, but please, it would look so wrong in Portola Valley. What’s next? Artificial trees? (Oh yes, they have those already — cell phone towers — ugh!) Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: Amazing. I’m betting all you artificial turf haters are a bunch of tree huggers too. If you love your trees and your environment then you should be happy to see artificial turf. It saves water and it doesn’t require the introduction of a bunch of fertilizers. Can you say hypocrites? Either you believe in protecting the environment or you don’t. If you do, then artificial turf is a “green” alternative. Large

areas of lawn are not “natural” nor are they native plants. It always amazes me how people want to be “green” until they find out the cost or that it’s not as “pretty” as the real stuff. Posted by Recent Priory grad, a resident of the Portola Valley: I went to the Priory for seven years, have played soccer my whole life and have lived in Portola Valley for long enough. Field turf is sorely needed in our town. No more games cancelled because of rain. No more lost seasons of school sports because they can’t get the fields in order. No more cancelled AYSO games or games in Foster City and Woodside. I have seen the Priory and the town of Portola Valley spend tens of thousands of dollars over the years redoing the fields at Priory, Town Center, and ‘Zots. Artificial turf does not need maintenance. Or water. This past Christmas we drove to Woodside to play our family/ town pick-up soccer game. It was pouring rain and we had a blast without damaging the field. Why shouldn’t we be able to do this in Portola Valley? It’s about time for field turf.

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The Almanac 01.16.2011 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the February 16, 2011 edition of the Almanac

The Almanac 01.16.2011 - Section 1  

Section 1 of the February 16, 2011 edition of the Almanac