AN ALMANAC, MOUNTAIN VIEW VOICE AND PALO ALTO WEEKLY PUBLICATION
HOME+GARDEN SPRING 2012
East meets West in Portola Valley PAGE 4
A three-week kitchen in Palo Alto PAGE 10
Spring HOME & GARDEN DESIGN in this issue.
Updating a Mountain View bungalow PAGE 18
ALL GROWN UP
IN LOS ALTOS HILLS PAGE 25
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
APRIL 4, 2012
| VO L . 4 7 N O. 3 2
W W W. T H E A L M A N AC O N L I N E . C O M
CLOSE THE GAP? Panel examines whether technology can reduce the yawning gap in student performance. Section 2
WE’RE WORKING TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS
FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IN CALIFORNIA Our Small Business Bankers are out in the community, meeting face-to-face with clients in California. They know the special needs of small businesses, and all the ways Bank of America can help them. Additionally, as part of our ongoing commitment to small businesses, Bank of America extended $6.4 billion in new credit to small businesses across the country in 2011 — a 20% increase over 2010. Combining our local support and expertise with our national resources, Bank of America is working to grow this crucial part of America’s economy.
Small Business Bankers in California in 2011.
in new credit to small businesses nationwide in 2011.
in new credit lending to small businesses nationwide from 2010.
To learn more about the ways that Bank of America can help your small business, visit bankofamerica.com/smallbusinessbanker © 2012 Bank of America Corporation. Member FDIC. AR6061FO
2 N The Almanac N April 4, 2012
UP F RONT
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Intero Real Estate provided this photo of the new house at 2 Robert S. Drive in Menlo Park that sold for $7.625 million. Tom Dallas and David Kelsey of Intero Real Estate in Woodside and Ken DeLeon of DeLeon Realty in Palo Alto are the listed brokers. Steve Niethammer represented the buyer.
Menlo home sells for record $7.6M By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac
n a sign that the local real estate market has rebounded, a house in Menlo Park last week sold for a record-setting $7.625 million with the sale closing only 11 days after the home went on the market. Ken DeLeon of DeLeon Realty in Palo Alto co-listed the newly constructed house with Tom Dallas and David Kelsey of Intero Real Estate in Woodside. Itâ€™s located on Robert S. Drive, a cul-de-sac off of Valparaiso Avenue near Sacred Heart Preparatory and close to downtown Menlo Park. Mr. DeLeon said he also made two record-breaking sales in Palo Alto the same week, selling homes in Midtown and Community Center for record high prices for those neighborhoods. Not only did the 6,270-squarefoot home at 2 Robert S. Drive sell for a record amount, but the home was only on the market for
three days before it was sold, Mr. DeLeon said. Escrow closed on Friday, March 30, for the home, which was listed 11 days earlier, on March 19, at $7.95 million. The sales price was equivalent to more than $1,200 per square foot of living space. Mr. Dallas and Mr. Kelsey work out of Intero Real Estateâ€™s new Woodside office, which recently opened at 1580 Canada Lane. The Robert S. Drive home was the first listing, and first completed sale, in Interoâ€™s new estates division called Prestigio. The buyer of the recordsetting home was represented by Steve Niethammer of Zane MacGregor & Co. in Palo Alto. Mr. DeLeon said the newly constructed home, which has six bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths, and is on a 20,000-square-foot lot, has been purchased by a high-tech entrepreneur who is relocating from overseas. A real estate agent not connected with the sale confirmed that the Multiple Listing Service
shows the sale is the highest on record in Menlo Park. The high sales price it replaces is also on the same street. That home, at 6 Robert S. Drive, sold for $7.4 million in April 2004. Mr. DeLeon said the location and large lots on the street make it â€œthe best street in Menlo Park.â€? The two record-setting sales in Palo Alto have not yet closed escrow, Mr. DeLeon said. But both homes sold in less than a week at more than the listed prices, he said. The home in the Community Center area was listed at $5,398,000 and the Midtown home was listed at $2,998,000, he said. Go to tinyurl.com/Tour-0402 to see a virtual tour of the 2 Robert S. Drive house in Menlo Park from Intero Real Estate. For those wondering how Robert S. Drive got its unusual name, Mr. DeLeon says the woman who first developed the street in the 1940s named it after her dead husband, Robert, whose middle initial was S. A
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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 ÂŠ2012 by Embarcadero Media, All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
No vegetables taste as good or are as good for you as the ones that come right from your own garden. Come by Ladera Garden and Gifts and let us help you get started on your very own vegetable patch.
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Howâ€™s the Market... That question can be quickly answered with my one page Executive Summary reports for: Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley and Menlo Park. The market data used is updated every week so you are always getting the most current local housing data available.
ports ekly Re ED We D D A JUST
To view the reports, scan the QR code or visit www.PeninsulaSpecialist.com
Steven Gray, REALTOR DRE# 01498634
firstname.lastname@example.org April 4, 2012 N The Almanac N 3
725 Welch Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301 | (650) 497-800 | lpch.org
5th Annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Update A one-day conference for parents, educators and care providers of children with an autism spectrum disorder. This annual update will concentrate on promising scientiﬁc advances that can lead to improved treatment for children with an autism spectrum disorder.
Presented by Stanford Autism Center at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Saturday, May 12, 2012 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center, Stanford University
Register at childpsychiatry.stanford.edu For more information, call us at (650) 721-6327 or email email@example.com. The people depicted in this ad are models and are being used for illustrative purposes only.
4 N The Almanac N April 4, 2012
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Woodland School wins bid to stay at site in Ladera By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
he Woodland School community and its neighbors in Ladera are celebrating after the private school won its bid at a March 27 auction to remain on the site it has called home for 30 years. The school had one competitor — the German-American International School in Menlo Park — during an open bidding process for the former Ladera School, which was operated by the Las Lomitas School District until closing in the late 1970s. The district has leased the property since 1981 to Woodland, a preschool through eighth-grade school. The school signed an option agreement after the March 27 bidding. Tim Brady, chair of the Woodland School board of directors, said he’s hopeful a lease agreement will be signed within 60 days. “Obviously, we’re really excited” about the prospect
of staying at the Ladera site, Mr. Brady said. Now paying $650,000 annually for the site, the school will increase its lease payments to $710,000 — a 9 percent increase — when the new 25-year lease takes effect in August 2013. The German-American International School submitted a written bid of $651,000; Woodland School’s written bid was $660,000. After the written bids were read, the two schools bid against each other during an oral auction, with the GermanAmerican school putting down the paddle at $705,000. Woodland had been in a kind of limbo for about two years: With a long-term lease expiring in July 2010, the private school signed one-year extensions while the Las Lomitas district board delayed a decision on what to do with the property in the long term. Woodland officials pressed the school district to act quickly so that they
Almanac file photo by Michelle Le
Preschool students line up before heading to the multipurpose room for gymnastics at Woodland School in Ladera in this photo from May 2011.
could make long-range plans, which would include raising millions of dollar to repair and renovate the site if the school were allowed to stay. The Ladera community also urged the district to move more quickly, with residents expressing concern that Woodland,
which had been a good neighbor for decades, would find another site out of frustration with the district’s inaction. Mr. Brady said he was grateful to the Ladera community “for all their help — they’ve been fantastic.” Superintendent Eric Hartwig
said in an email: “I would say that all of us at the Las Lomitas District are also very happy with the outcome. It has been a long road that had to be navigated very carefully, but we are thrilled to have the security of a long lease with a respected tenant.” A
Beechwood School’s plan Portola Valley names new town manager to buy land gets green light He has a master’s degree in executive public administration By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer
By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
ooks like Beechwood School∏ a private Belle Haven facility for grades K-8, may be getting bigger. A unanimous Menlo Park City Council on March 27 approved the city’s intent to sell property on Terminal Avenue to the school for $1.25 million. Menlo Park wants to sell the property the school sits on at 50 Terminal Ave., plus another 1.5 acres on Terminal Avenue, so that Beechwood School has room to expand and to replace temporary buildings with permanent ones. Principal Dave Laurance said he expects construction to start next year. “The plan is to do half of the project in the summer of 2013 and the other half in the summer of 2014,” he told the Almanac.
The contract would let the city buy back the land for the purchase price if a new school “is not substantially completed” within five years, and also gives Menlo Park the right of first refusal should the school decide to sell the land for a non-educational use. Habitat for Humanity planned to build 22 affordable homes on the parcel since 2001, but the nonprofit pulled the plug on the development after 10 years of community opposition and financial difficulties. Councilman Rich Cline noted during the meeting that he didn’t want to make a habit of selling city property, when it could be used for affordable housing, but that these were exceptional circumstances. The final vote to approve the sale is scheduled for the April 17 council meeting to give the public a chance to protest. A
icholas M. Pegueros, a San Carlos resident and the finance and administrative services director for the town of Los Altos Hills, will take over as town manager in Portola Valley on May 1. In a unanimous vote on March 28, the Town Council named Mr. Pegueros to succeed longtime Town Manager Angie Howard. His compensation will include a base salary of $162,000, a car allowance of $3,000 per year, health insurance, three weeks annual vacation for the first five years and four weeks thereafter, and $5,000 annually for professional growth. “I am very enthusiastic about my future here and I look forward to working with all of you,” Mr. Pegueros told the council. Mr. Pegueros, who is 35, said
from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University, he said. His 12-year career in public service began as a management analyst in San Bruno, where he then advanced to assistant finance director. Hiring process
Nicholas Pegueros will succeed longtime Town Manager Angie Howard.
he grew up in Daly City and South San Francisco and graduated from Drew School, a private college-preparatory high school in San Francisco.
The council had met six times in closed session to interview candidates seeking this office, Mayor Maryann Derwin said. “In true Portola Valley fashion, we took an extended amount of time to deliberate on a new town manager,” Ms. Derwin said. “The decision was agonizing because the candidates were so good.” Fifty-eight people “from all over the place” applied for the job and the council interviewed five, all from California, Ms. Howard told the Almanac. A
April 4, 2012 N The Almanac N 5
Portola Valley | Woodside '%"(,!""&,!$("% '&&!,%)%%!
Open 6:30 am - 8:00 pm daily Sale Dates: Apr. 4, 5, 6, 7
N E W S
Police release sketch of stabbing suspect By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
4420 Alpine Road | Portola Valley | 650.851.1711 4 3015 Woodside Road | Woodside 650.851.1511
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Menlo Park police released this sketch of one of the stabbing suspects.
is recovering from multiple stab wounds and is in stable condition, according to police. â€œAt this point weâ€™re still investigating all the evidence, investigating the timeline and the victimâ€™s statement, and really trying to sort out what happened here,â€? Commander Dave Bertini said. A
Error in climate-change story
PEETâ€™S $ 99 WHOLE BEAN COFFEE
hereâ€™s a new face wanted by Menlo Park police, who have produced a sketch of one suspect in a stabbing on Monday night, March 26. An employee of a business complex on Alma Street across from the Caltrain station told police that after stepping outside the building around 9:45 p.m., two men attacked him with knives as they tried to rob him. He described both suspects as Hispanic and about 5-foot-8inches tall, with short hair and thin builds. Menlo Park police reportedly learned of the incident after a call from a Palo Alto police officer who was at the hospital where the victim was taken. After interviewing the victim, police were able to produce a sketch of one suspect. The 67-year-old businessman
Happy Spring! Hand Decorated Sweets Ednaâ€™s Cookies, Giannaâ€™s Cookies, Devine Delight Petit Fours Pies, Cakes, Tarts!
Spring 2012 Pinot Noir Releases Sojurn Cellars 2010 Pinots, while unabashedly Californian, continue the trend toward freshness, transparency of fruit, and nuance. These are top-notch efforts worthy of a spot in any cellar.
2010 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir....................................................... Sale
2010 Rodgers Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast .................. Sale
2010 Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ..................... Sale
2010 Gapâ€™s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ..................... Sale
95 points-Pinot Report. A blend of 8 distinct lots, it sports fresh cherry/pomegranate fruit with a liqueur-like concentration, creamy oak, nice balance and lingering ďŹ nish. Easily the best Sonoma Coast yet.
A story about climate change written by the Bay City News Service and carried in the March 28 Almanac contained an error. The story covered a talk given by U.S. Geological Service scientist Tom Suchanek in Menlo Park on March 22. The factual error was also referred to in an editorial in the same issue. The story quotes the scientist as saying that if worldwide carbon emissions continue to rise at the present rate, rising temperatures could cause the
Sierra Nevada to lose 80 percent of its winter snowpack in just 40 years. The correct numbers are that the Sierra Nevada could lose 80 percent of its winter snowpack by the end of the century (not 40 years), according to Leslie C. Gordon, a USGS spokesperson in Menlo Park. Bay City News Service, a longtime provider of news to most newspapers and other media outlets in the region, acknowledged the error.
â€˜SurvivalFest 2012â€™ at Hillview School A rock-climbing wall, makeyour-own survival bracelet, and an appearance by Game Truck, a mobile audiovisual and videogame studio will among the exhibits at SurvivalFest 2012, a one-day program for seventhgraders on Thursday, April 12, at Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park. SurvivalFest is new this year, replacing the seventh-grade Renaissance Faire day, which
has been retired after 20 years. During SurvivalFest, students will compete in teams to make shelters, apply simple navigation techniques, prepare for hot and cold natural environments, practice emergency first aid, and learn other survival skills. â€œThis will be a unique experience that students of all interests and abilities wonâ€™t soon forget,â€? says Kim Staff, Hillview seventhgrade social studies teacher.
At 14.2% this is the most spry and nimble of these Pinots with Burgundy-like clarity, precision and mineral complexity. As with theâ€™09s, this is my favorite. 95 points-Pinot Report. Beautiful, sexy and poised. The fruit, oak and mineral nuances are in perfect harmony. This is ďŹ‚at out delicious and the ďŹ nish seems endless.
94 points-Pinot Report. This is the biggest, darkest, richest and most dense of the group with pretty wood spice and baking spice. What this lacks in ďŹ nesse, it makes up for with dramatic richness.
Purchase any 6 bottles and get a 10% Discount or During the month of March, get a 15% Discount Off your order when you purchase a mixed case with 4 bottles each of 2010 Sonoma Coast Blend, 2010 Rodgers Creek Vineyard, 2010 Sangiacomo Vineyard.
6 N The Almanac N April 4, 2012
The online guide to Menlo Park businesses
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N E W S
R EAL E STATE Q&A by Gloria Darke
Are There Disadvantages To Not Having A Sign In The Yard? Dear Gloria, We do not want to do a lot of explaining for the reason why we are selling. Is it really necessary to put a sign in the yard? Anonymous, P.A.
Almanac photo by Michelle Le
Artistic scavengers Oscar Conklin watches his mom help his sister Aurora build a camera out of recycled material during a workshop hosted by the Museum of Craft and Folk Art at the Portola Valley Library on March 29.
Smoke from fire drives neighbors out of home By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
eighbors living next door to 52 Willow Road, the house that caught fire on March 6, were forced out of their own home thanks to smoke damage, according to the Menlo Park Fire Protection District. Chief Harold Schapelhouman said that while firefighters focused on protecting the neighbor’s home, which has a “highly flammable” wood-
shingled roof, “some of the windows were apparently open, which filled the home with smoke from the fire next door. That homeowner felt they needed to have their home cleaned prior to living in it again as I understand it.” Investigators are still puzzling out what caused the fire. According to the chief, they are focusing on the exterior composting area. Another factor may be a recent trimming of trees that allowed more sunlight
into that area of the yard. They are also testing items such as air conditioning units. “We will continue to work closely with the private insurance investigators,” Chief Schapelhouman said. The morning of the fire, neighbors reported hearing a “boom” shortly before 11 a.m. and seeing flames leap from a front corner of the home. Firefighters arrived on the scene about two minutes after the 911 call. No one was injured, but the family of four who live at 52 Willow Road, along with two visiting grandparents, had the difficult task of finding longterm shelter for up to a year as a result of the damage.
Many home sellers dislike the idea of placing a “For Sale” sign in the front yard. Some sellers don’t want the neighbors to know they are selling, perhaps because of a divorce, or for other personal reasons. Here are the facts; “For Sale” signs are the number one form of advertising and the least expensive. Compared with other media, signs attract the highest number of phone responses, in ratio to the money invested.
Signs are effective because many potential buyers like to drive around neighborhoods they like. Or people may be visiting family or friends in that neighborhood and want to be near them. It’s human nature to be curious. When they spot a property that attracts their attention, they will either call the listing brokerage, or contact their agent to make a showing appointment. The appeal of seeing a live property is far greater than that of a picture on the internet, a magazine, or from a three line classified ad. Although various advertising media are effective in creating interest and inquires, nothing beats a sign in the yard.
For answers to any questions you may have on real estate, you may e-mail me at gdarke@apr. com or call 462-1111, Alain Pinel Realtors. I also offer a free market analysis of your property.
Support The Almanac’s print and online coverage of our community. Join today: SupportLocalJournalism.org/Almanac
Post office manager faces theft charges By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
he post office manager of Menlo College is facing charges of credit card and identification theft after an investigation by the Atherton Police Department concluded that she had stolen three credit cards sent to two students and a nonprofit operating on the campus. Debra Lynn Blaylock, 55, of Santa Clara, was arraigned on felony charges in San Mateo County Superior Court on March 22, and remains in
custody on $100,000 bail. The charges include three counts each of credit card theft and identification theft, and nine counts of commercial burglary. The case came to light with the discovery by the nonprofit’s CEO that a credit card issued to the organization but never received had been used multiple times in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. The CEO was able to obtain a video of the person activating the card, and recognized her, the
Talk: Linguistic innovation by teenagers “Language, Style, and the Adolescent Social Order” will be Penny Eckert’s topic at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 10, when she speaks at Cafe Scientifique at, SRI International at Middlefield Road
and Ringwood Avenue in Menlo Park. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. Ms. Eckert, a linguistics and anthropology professor at Stanford University, will discuss how linguistic innovation arises
DA’s report said. Atherton Police Detective Kristin Lopez located surveillance video at three businesses where the person using the credit card was identified as Ms. Blaylock, according to the DA’s report. After Ms. Blaylock’s arrest, investigators found credit cards that had been issued to two Menlo College students, the report said. She was arrested on March 21, according to Atherton Police Lt. Joe Wade. A preliminary hearing of the case is set for April 12. A
as teenagers develop identities that are independent of their families. The evening is free and no reservations are necessary. Visit cafescisv.org for more information. April 4, 2012 N The Almanac N 7
N E W S
Park is still best library site, councilwoman says By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
uilding a two-story library in the park is still the best course for Atherton, City Councilwoman Kathy McKeithen said this week, commenting on the draft environmental report that said the proposed library would intensify the traffic-congestion problem at Watkins Avenue and El Camino Real. “There’s absolutely no question that the park is far and away the best location as far as the EIR (environmental impact report) is concerned,” said Ms. McKeithen, a member of the town’s library task force that recommended building a new facility in Holbrook-Palmer Park. Regarding the Watkins/El Camino traffic impact, the EIR says that all alternative projects studied in the environmental