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T H E H O M E TOW N N E W S PA P E R F O R M E N L O PA R K , AT H E RTO N , P O RTO L A VA L L E Y A N D WO O D S I D E
MARCH 2, 2011
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W W W. T H E A L M A N AC O N L I N E . C O M
ON A MISSION TO HEAL MEDICINE Dr. Walter Bortz examines the state of medicine in his new book Section 2
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COMING SOON 550 St. Francis Place, Menlo Park Remodeled, classic one-level home on a cul-de-sac street; hardwood ﬂoors, beautiful yard with spa; Central Menlo location; excellent Menlo Park schools
Downtown Palo Alto Condo 270’
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282 Camino al Lago, Atherton
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Approximately 1.5 level acres with remodeled 4-bedroom home $2,998,000 $2,695,000
KCG Mar k e t T r e nd R E P O R T ATHERTON
2/25/10 $1,538,446 Data provided from MLS; information deemed reliable , but not guaranteed.
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2 N The Almanac N March 2, 2011
VOICE STUDIO OF MAUREEN H. FROMME
UP F RONT
Bridge (the card game) is back, big-time Local clamor for games and coaches By Kate Daly Special to the Almanac
Once considered an older personâ€™s game, bridge appears to be gaining popularity in the area among some younger players who are drawn to it for both social and competitive reasons, and then become hooked. Kathy Harper of Woodside says she has had to turn down customers because she is so busy between teaching her larger classes at several local clubs and smaller group lessons at private homes. â€œEvery day I get another e-mail from someone interested in taking lessons,â€? she says. The problem is few vacancies. â€œI donâ€™t lose many people because thereâ€™s so much to learn; itâ€™s infinite.â€? Ms. Harper has been teaching bridge for 11 years. Sheâ€™s an American Bridge Teacher Association Master Teacher and Gold Life Master with almost 300 students, the bulk of whom attend her beginnersâ€™ classes at the Palo Alto Bridge Center (which is actually in Mountain View). She says in recent months the membership has grown there by almost 8 percent to 900. The center has 35 tables set up for foursomes, and offers classes, lectures and/or tournament play every day. â€œIâ€™ve noticed people in their 60s and 70s, but Iâ€™m getting a lot more students in their 50s and 40s, and even getting a few young men around 26 and 27,â€? Ms. Harper says. Why the increase in interest? â€œItâ€™s like a perfect storm of baby boomers with disposable income, and all these studies about the benefits of mental stimulation from card games and crossword puzzles,â€? she explains. Itâ€™s also the fun factor. â€œFour beginners can sit down at a table and have as much fun as four world champions,â€? she says. And thereâ€™s the built-in challenge. â€œThe game has so many levels ... even world champions make about three mistakes out of every 26 hands.â€? One of her students for the past five years is Dana Bisconti of Atherton. With three kids in eighth grade and under, Ms. Bisconti says she has â€œa very supportive husbandâ€? who
Photo by Kate Daly
Kathy Harper of Woodside teaches bridge to hundreds of students, but still finds time to play for fun.
plays bridge with her occasionally. Every other week she also takes lessons with another instructor, Cameron Cotton, who teaches at several local clubs. On the off weeks, she practices with both of her bridge groups. Ms. Bisconti estimates that, including the time she plays online with her friends on BridgeBase.com, she plays about six hours a week. â€œI have an app on my iPhone I play when Iâ€™m sitting in a carpool line (to pick up kids at school). Itâ€™s very addictive,â€? she says. Twice a year she goes away with a group of 11 friends to a cabin or a resort to play bridge for a few days. â€œWe value our girl time. ... Weâ€™re all in our 40s with school-age kids and itâ€™s a way for us to spend time with friends. I enjoy the social aspect. Weâ€™re all concerned about our brains, and itâ€™s a good thing as we head into menopause,â€? she says. She is helping run the Menlo Bridge Tournament â€” not to be confused with Menlo Country Clubâ€™s bridge tournament, an ongoing match between members that organizers say has just tripled in popularity. The Menlo Bridge Tournament serves as a fundraiser for Menlo School, bringing in about $5,500 annually. Currently, 74 participants are paying $75 each to play four rubber bridge matches among themselves. In May they will come together to play in a one large tournament. â€œWeâ€™ve got more people this year, about 10 percent more with some new additions,â€? Ms. Bisconti says. â€œThey are younger because Iâ€™m on the younger side and we
recruited a number of friends we wanted to play.â€? Menlo parent Vinita Gupta plays bridge on a regular basis but prefers to go to the Palo Alto Bridge Center for her practice. â€œItâ€™s not a social game. Youâ€™re really honing your skills to play in tournaments and get masterpoints. It gets your competitive juices flowing.â€? Ms. Gupta retired five years ago, and has been playing â€œserious bridgeâ€? for two years now. She competes at least once a week, often playing with pros as partners. Once a week she takes a lesson with her partner, Ed Barlow, a Grand Life Master in his 70s with a national championship title on his resume. â€œItâ€™s a lot of fun for me because I feel like Iâ€™m making improvements,â€? Ms. Gupta says. Before she arrives at the center, she spends at least an hour studying cards â€œto get into the mindset.â€? Then they will play 26 or 27 hands in three and a half hours, and afterward have a debriefing session. Christy Kamra of Woodside also plays with her teachers regularly, but online. An empty nester for the past year and a half, she started playing bridge some four years ago. Now she figures she plays bridge about two hours every day, mostly online on Okbridge.com or BridgeBase. com. She particularly likes to play $1 games of 12 hands in 60-minute tournaments called Speedball. â€œI have made a lot of new friends around the world,â€? she says. â€œWhen I check in on Bridge Base my friends know Iâ€™m on and ask, â€˜Do you want to play?â€™â€? She can play with them, practice with a robot, or opt to play with her own partners. She has two teachers online. One is a woman in her 80s who charges by the hour to play, then afterward calls with a critique. The other teacher prefers to write up his notes in e-mails. Ms. Kamra says she likes to play in tournaments online because as she racks up masterpoints, â€œitâ€™s a way to keep track of how youâ€™re progressing. Youâ€™re rated compared to others and itâ€™s competitive. I just enjoy it.â€?
â€œTraining Singers for Lifeâ€?
Techniques that are based on good vocal health. Experienced singer and teacher has current openings for beginning and advanced students in Menlo Park area. Complimentary Introductory Lesson 35 years of performing & teaching - â€˜bel cantoâ€™ approach M.M. - Vocal Performance, Manhattan School of Music Presently - Music Director, Bethany Lutheran Church, Menlo Park
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SAFETY GLASSES If you are a do-it-yourselfer who thinks that your regular glasses will protect your eyes from sharp objects and flying debris, you should know that they may do more harm than good. While the plastic lenses used in regular glasses tend to break into sharp pieces, untempered glass lenses usually break like a car windshield. Some regular glasses may have impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses, but that does not necessarily mean they are suitable for construction and hobby work. On the other hand, safety glasses
approved by the American National Standards Institute combine impact-resistant lenses and frames that are designed to keep lenses firmly in place during impact. Be sure to get the right glasses for the job. One pair of glasses will not suit all of you needs. If you spend time doing yard work, carpentry, or painting, wearing safety glasses can protect your delicate eyes from flying particles and irritating chemicals. At MENLO OPTICAL, we carry a wide selection of frames, including occupational, athletic, and computer eyewear. 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. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses in safety glasses come with scratch-resistant coatings included. 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.
TRIO VOCE FRI / MARCH 5 / 8 PM DINKELSPIEL AUDITORIUM U.S. premiere of piano-violin-cello trio â€œMemory Slipsâ€? by Stanford composer Jonathan Berger, plus Beethoven and more.
SLIDE SAT / MARCH 5 / 8 PM / DINKELSPIEL AUDITORIUM