Inside this issue
Holiday Gift Guide 2013 An advertising supplement produced by the Palo Alto Weekly, The Almanac and Mountain View Voice Holiday Guide 2013 1
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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
Olympic gold-medal winner is drawing Belle Haven girls and families into aquatic sports Section 2
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UP F RONT
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Photo courtesy of Military Vehicle Technology Foundation
Camouflage and olive green are common colors in the armored-vehicle collection of the late Jacques Littlefield, who housed his collection at his home in the hills above Portola Valley.
30+ years of local knowledge. Born in Menlo Park. Raised in Atherton. A Woodside resident.
Littlefieldâ€™s tanks heading east By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer
t this time a year from now, about 80 of the 240 tanks and other armored vehicles of war in the Jacques Littlefield collection in the hills above Portola Valley will have taken a cross-country trip, likely by train, to a new home 20 miles east of Boston, in Stow, Massachusetts. Once there, the meticulous attention these mechanized weapons received under the care of the late Mr. Littlefield and his crew of restorers will enable some impressive events: re-enactments of tank battles from significant 20th century conflicts. The nonprofit Collings Foundation is assembling a 60,000-square-foot building for indoor display of the vehicles, but there are also plans for an outdoor amphitheater on some of the 69 acres the foundation owns. The viewing public will hear the grumble of tank engines and the ominous clanking of metal treads. They will feel the ground shake and smell the diesel fuel permeating the air. â€œItâ€™s a much more immersive
and impactful experience,â€? said Rob Collings, the foundationâ€™s executive director. The Collings foundation is taking over management of the collection from the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, which Mr. Littlefield organized in 1998 to help serve the interests of authors, historians, educators, the defense industry, veterans groups, model makers and the entertainment industry, relatives told the Almanac for an earlier story. Mr. Littlefield died in January 2009. The MVTF donated the vehicles â€œin order to create a permanent home that will maintain and share the core collection into perpetuity,â€? Mr. Collings said. The indoors display in Massachusetts will be a tank museum, but customized around fewer artifacts and interactive. The 240 vehicles in Portola Valley left visitors â€œglassy eyed after a while,â€? Mr. Collings said. â€œItâ€™s too much to take in.â€? With 80 vehicles chosen for their military significance â€” the other 160 will be auctioned off in August 2014 in Portola Valley â€” a visit should be less unstructured.
Along with tanks, armored personnel carriers, tank destroyers and self-propelled and anti-tank guns, the collection includes missile launchers, field artillery, reconnaissance vehicles, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, trucks, tractors and amphibious vehicles. The Collings Foundation has an additional goal: inculcating in visitors feelings of gratitude toward veterans. One way to generate such feelings is through a war film, Mr. Collings said, using â€œSaving Private Ryanâ€? as an example. The fictional but realistic account of the June 1944 invasion of Normandy â€” including scenes with tanks â€” â€œleft (viewers) feeling gratefulâ€? to the Allied soldiers who took part, he said. Can that be done without a movie? How do you make the case to the public that, without efforts by the military, â€œwe might not have our freedom,â€? Mr. Collings asked. One of the foundationâ€™s programs, the Wings of Freedom tour, creates brushes with â€œliving historyâ€? in the form of restored See JACQUES LITTLEFIELD, page 9
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Local News M
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The troubled beauty of Skyline Boulevard Of the 205 accidents on Skyline Boulevard in 10 years, about half have involved two-wheeled vehicles. By Dave Boyce Almanac Staff Writer
he 26 miles of Skyline Boulevard between Highway 9 in Saratoga and Highway 92 in San Mateo is used by some as an adult playground for vehicular pastimes. With gentle ascents and descents, long sweeping curves, sparse traffic, elevation above the smog and not a single stop sign, it’s a ribbon of two-lane blacktop with few peers in the Bay Area. There are great views and a convenient midpoint, at Skylonda in Woodside, to eat, socialize and refuel. Complimenting those attributes are belts of tall trees that line either side of this winding road, creating shade and a mute and enfolding peace, a sense of privacy in a public space. Sitting in a parked car with the windows open, it’s easy to hear bicyclists’ conversations well before seeing the bicyclists. It’s not uncommon to hear a motor vehicle 15 or 20 seconds before it comes into view. It could be a country road. Except that it is not. On weekends, there are moments when it’s a motorcycle racetrack in all but name, with riders on high-performance bikes at high speeds seeking optimum lines of travel through all those inviting curves. The curves are numerous, they are varied and they are challenging — and make for sparkling conversation after an exhilarating ride. And not just for motor-
cyclists. Bicyclists and sports car enthusiasts also like the curves. As for the residents, the beachgoers and, on weekdays, the construction workers and the delivery truck drivers, they take the curves as they find them. Unfortunately, unlike a racetrack, there is traffic in two directions with vehicles of all kinds in all states of repair. Many of Skyline’s curves are blind. Unlike a track, the pavement is not scrupulously cleared of sediment and moisture. There is cross traffic. There are bicycles, but there are no bike lanes and no room to create them. The road’s borders are peppered with hard landings where a racetrack would normally have hay bales. Driver behavior ranges from prudent to foolish to insane. Any vehicle can easily end up in the wrong place at the wrong time. So much for illusions of peace and privacy. According to California Highway Patrol accident records, between 2003 and 2012, there have been 205 accidents on Skyline Boulevard between Page Mill Road in Palo Alto and the northern edge of Woodside (roughly mileposts 3 and 17). About half those accidents have involved two-wheeled vehicles: bicycles in 18 of them and motorcycles in 92, with fatal injuries killing two bicyclists and eight motorcyclists. On Sept. 18, 2013, the number of bicycle fatalities grew by one with the death of Joy Covey, a
Photo by Dave Boyce/The Almanac
Motorcyclists converge on Skyline Boulevard on dry weekends to take advantage of the gentle rises and falls of the long sweeping curves, the sparse traffic and the absence of smog and stop signs. But this highvelocity playground has dangers, particularly for vehicles on two wheels.
Woodside resident, cyclist and former Amazon CFO, who died when her bicycle and a delivery truck collided at the intersection of Skyline and Elk Tree Lane. Records show that this is the second accident involving a cyclist near Elk Tree Lane, the other being a nonfatal incident in May 2005 when a northbound cyclist was sideswiped by a passing vehicle. The other area of Skyline Boulevard showing multiple accidents involving bicycles is the
vicinity of La Honda Road (Highway 84), with four accidents over the decade. In July 2006, about a third of a mile north of the intersection, a sideswipe incident resulted in the death of 65-year-old Portola Valley resident Thomas Colby Maddox. The responsibility comes down to the individual cyclist, CHP Capt. Mike Maskarich says when asked about cycling on Skyline. He spoke with the Almanac at an Oct. 24 outdoor ceremony honoring the memory of yet another
cycling fatality — the November 2010 death of Los Altos Hills resident Lauren Ward. Ms. Ward and a tractor trailer collided on Alpine Road in the shaded darkness as Alpine passes under Interstate 280. The outdoor ceremony was called to recognize the recent opening of two new bike lanes designed to increase safety for cyclists traversing this intersection and its busy freeway ramps. See TROUBLED BEAUTY, page 9
After metal fire, Menlo Park works to improve emergency alert coverage By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
moke and confusion lingered in the air after a fire at a metal recycling plant left Menlo Park residents trying to figure out why some people received a “shelter in place” advisory while others heard nothing. Turns out that some people were harder to reach. Of the 13,239 landline phone numbers in the city’s emergency alert system, only 7,828 people got a call about the alert on Nov. 10, according to the police department’s analysis. Police Cmdr. Dave Bertini explained why: Some lines were
busy; some people hung up; some phone numbers no longer worked; and a proportion of calls stalled because of an overloaded network. “We have changed the system settings as a result of Sunday,” Cmdr. Bertini said. When Menlo Park first implemented the Blackboard Connect alert system about seven years ago, the system was programmed to make only one attempt at calling each number in its database. “We’ve now changed the settings to do three tries, with five minutes in between.” That’s why some residents reported missing the first alert, but getting a call on Monday, he said. Still, although the second
Police urge residents to register for notifications. round reached 10,241 people, that leaves nearly 3,000 that didn’t get a call. The fire was “a watershed for people to sign up for alternate ways of getting notified,” Cmdr. Bertini said. “We’re really urging people to register.” But few people have signed up using their mobile and online contact information. Cmdr. Bertini said that only 2,174 email addresses and 604 cell-
phone numbers were registered via Blackboard Connect. Of those, 732 emails bounced and 12 cellphone numbers didn’t work during the recent alert, he said, so once someone has registered, it’s critical that they keep the information updated. Cmdr. Bertini said that during a mass emergency, such as an earthquake, the phone system is likely to go down. “So if we try to put out 13,000 phone calls, there’s a good chance none will make it out. But we learned some lessons from (the Boston Marathon bombing) — cellphone networks do get overloaded, but text messages squeeze through.
If we put out a text, you’ll get the emergency notification.” In addition, police posted the advisories about the fire on Facebook and Twitter. Particularly with more and more people eschewing a landline altogether, social media is playing a larger role in getting the word out during emergencies, according to the police. Cmdr. Bertini noted that the notifications would have been handled differently had the “shelter in place” alert been an order instead of being optional. Had it been mandatory, he said, the alerts would have stated See ALERT COVERAGE, page 9
November 20, 2013 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 5
-EAT 0RODUCE s &INE &OODS 7INE ,IQUOR s $ELICATESSEN (ARDWARE 'RAIN
4420 Alpine Rd., Portola Valley phone 650.851.1711
3015 Woodside Rd., Woodside phone 650.851.1511
Sales Dates: November 20 - 30, 2013
Open 6:30 am - 8:00 pm daily
CLOSED THANKSGIVING NOV. 28TH
Roberts Market Thanksgiving Menu Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Roasted Diestel Turkey 10-12 lb., Traditional Stufﬁng, Mashed Potatoes, Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Green Bean Almandine, Cranberry Sauce, Dinner Rolls and a Good Earth Pumpkin Pie. Serves up to 8 people $120.00 Note: Please allow 2 hours to reheat a roasted Diestel turkey Bake Brie, Stuffed with Cranberry chutney and baked to a golden brown. $15.00 each
Porcini Mushroom Gravy, Rich and creamy made with turkey drippings: $13.50 Qt and $7.00 pt
Pumpkin & Butternut Squash soup, Savory with a hint of curry and cream. $11.00 per Qt
Onion Sage Gravy, with red wine, caramelized and onion and sage: $13.50 Qt and $7.00 pt
Free Range Diestel Ranch Turkeys, The Diestel turkeys are pre-roasted and will need approximately 2 hours to re-heat at 300° in your oven.
Green Bean Almandine, Sautéed shallots, butter and almonds: $13.00 Qt and $6.75 pt
Small 10-12 lbs. serves 8 to 10 people - $55.00 Large 16-18 lbs. serves 14 to 16 people - $65.00
Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples, Seasoned with brown sugar, spices and candied walnuts: $13.00 Qt and $6.75 pt Fresh Cranberry Sauce, Whole cranberries slow cooked with a hint of orange: $9.50 Qt and $5.00 pt
Traditional Stufﬁng, Mushrooms, onion, celery, water chestnuts, and sage: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt
Good Earth Bakery Pumpkin Pie, 8" pie serves 8 people $12.99 each
Cornbread Stufﬁng, Dried cranberries, apricots, and green onion: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt Mashed Potatoes, Fresh potatoes whipped with cream, and butter: $11.00 Qt and $5.75 pt
Gianna's Bakery, Apple, Sweet Peach $15.99, 4 Berry $16.99, Pecan $19.59 each 8" pies serves 8 people
Please place orders by Monday, Nov. 25th and pick up by Wednesday, Nov 27th
Fresh Produce 12 oz.
Meat and Seafood $
1.99ea. For Your Holiday Table ¢ Yams ................................. 79 lb. Tender $ Blue Lake Beans ......... 1.99lb. 3 lb. bag $ California "Cuties" .... 4.99ea. Cranberries .................
On Sale Grocery Peet's Ground Coffee
Cambridge $ Bulk Sausage ...................
4.98lb. 10 oz. Jar $ Paciﬁc Seafood Oyster .... 5.00ea. Wine and Spirits
7.29 Patissa Mini Eclairs $ 30 count . ........................................... 4.99 Natural Duraﬂame Log $ 6 lb. ................................................... 3.99 Alouette Garlic & Herb Cheese $ 6 oz ........................................................... 3.19 Vanity Fair Dinner Napkins $ 40 count .................................................... 2.19 12 oz. Bag – Also Whole ...................
Diestel Turkey .............
6 N The Almanac N TheAlmanacOnline.com N November 20, 2013
Pinot-palooza Few wines have the adaptability of Pinot Noir. As we hurtle towards the holidays, this is an excellent time to stock up on wines. Here are a few ﬁne examples offered at special prices.
2012 Bench Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast ............ Reg. $19.99 Sale
2011 Evening Land Pinot Noir, $ Willametto Valley .......................................................Reg. $25.99 Sale 2011 Melville Pinot Noir, $ Estate - Sta Rita Hills ..................................................Reg. $31.99 Sale
2011 Hartford Court Pinot Noir, $ Russian River Valley ...................................................Reg. $34.99 Sale $ 2012 Failla Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast .............. Reg. $35.99 Sale
Sale prices are net and do not qualify for further discount.
N E W S
Plan review moves to council By Sandy Brundage Almanac Staff Writer
arely does a week pass without mention of Menlo Park’s downtown/El Camino Real specific plan, and that will continue to be the case for a while, now that the City Council has a chance to evaluate modifications proposed by the Planning Commission. The suggested changes are more along the lines of finetuning rather than major revisions to the specific plan. The commission, during a review that stretched over five meetings, made recommendations that included: ■ Allowing the city to evaluate proposed renovations within the specific plan area for compliance with criteria such as sidewalk width. Currently new projects must meet the standards, while remodels of existing structures may not, as recently demonstrated by the renovation of the Mermaid Inn at 727 El Camino Real. ■ Letting construction of a pedestrian-bicycle railroad undercrossing at Middle Avenue start regardless of the status of high-speed rail construction. “I don’t want the (undercrossing) to be happening 15 years from now,” Commission chair John Kadvany noted during the Nov. 4 discussion. The commission also wants the city to prioritize building a downtown parking garage as funding becomes available. ■ Permitting some flexibility in building break, parking and setback requirements for parcels in the southeast portion of El Camino Real, which includes the Stanford lots, to allow the creation of an “opti-