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Deadly S-curve Driver dies when he goes too fast on Bay Bridge temporary extension; officials plead with commuters to drive slower REGION, A6

STANFORD GETS RANKED SPORTS

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NOVEMBER 10, 2009

 Tuesday  Vol. 14 No. 259

High: 66; Low: 48 Full weather report, B12 150

ATHERTON EAST PALO ALTO LOS ALTOS LOS ALTOS HILLS MENLO PARK MOUNTAIN VIEW PALO ALTO PORTOLA VALLEY REDWOOD CITY SAN CARLOS STANFORD WOODSIDE

INSIDE TODAY

DOWNTOWN PALO ALTO

40-YEAR SALUTE: GRYPHON STRINGED INSTRUMENTS THRIVES IN PALO ALTO

Good vibrations

Low-income housing wins council’s OK n 50 apartments approved

over neighbors’ opposition BY WILL OREMUS Daily News Staff Writer

HELP NEEDY FAMILIES

Starting today, The Daily News will track how much money is raised for needy families. Look for the ornament each week until the Christmas Bureau reaches its goal: $100,000 LOCAL, A2

BUSINESS

ELECTRONIC ARTS TO LAY OFF 1,500

Gary Reyes /Bay Area News Group

Frank Ford checks a guitar in the showroom at Gryphon Guitars in Palo Alto on Nov. 4. Ford and Richard Johnston opened this unique guitar store in 1969 and have built a reputation as one of the most respected acoustic guitar retail and repair shops in the nation.

BY RICHARD SCHEININ

Redwood City game company reports losing $391M A8

FUSION

AMERICANGIRL FASHION FUN 56 local girls to model for an AmericanGirl fashion show Friday and Saturday B7

Kassy Davis of Sunnyvale and Alex Edidin of Portola Valley

Index

Abby .....................................B9 Business ...............................A8 Comics/Crossword ...............B8 Letters...................................A9 Lottery...................................A2

Bay Area News Group

OK, let’s figure this one out. Here we are in the age of cutthroat Internet retail sales — low prices, no service — and here, still, is little Gryphon Stringed Instruments, as fine an example as you will find of that endangered species known as the neighborhood guitar shop. This one turned 40 years old this fall. Off the beaten track in Palo Alto, it is more than a shop, and better than an Internet chat room. It’s a cozy institution, a gathering spot for beginning guitar strummers, advanced pickers and a cadre of vintage instrument collectors. They all drop by because they speak “the same secret language,� says Richard Johnston, who cofounded the shop in 1969 with his pal Frank Ford. “Guitars are a world.� And world-famous Gryphon is a magnet for folks interested in all sorts of acoustic, fretted stringed instruments. A woman walks in at 2 p.m. on a Monday: middle-aged, carrying her Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar. She bought it in 1967. She may want to sell it on consignment. She hands it across the counter to Johnston for inspection. “There’s something funky going on,� she tells him. Johnston gently spins it in his hands, looks over its mahogany back and the sunburst finish on its face. He peers inside to check the internal bracing. Instant diagnosis: It’s worth about $2,200 and fixing it is no big deal. Mind you, Johnston, 62, is a foremost expert on vintage American acoustic guitars, banjos, mandolins and ukuleles. He is co-author of two authorized histories of Martin guitars. He appraises instruments for “Antiques Roadshow.� And here he is, after 40 years, still behind the counter of the shop he helped start fresh out of college, when revolution was in the air and he was smitten with the country blues of Mississippi Fred McDowell. Thing is, Johnston, who grew up on a peach farm in the Central Valley, is still smitten with acoustic sounds. As is Ford, son of a Menlo Park pharmaceuticals manager who came home each night to fix everything in sight, his true avocation. GRYPHON GUITARS, page A4

A nonprofit’s plan to build 50 low-income apartments in downtown Palo Alto won final approval from the city council on Monday after more than three hours of debate. Eden Housing and the Community Housing Alliance are hoping to build the four-story complex at Alma Street and Homer Avenue by October 2011 in order to secure a $1 million state grant. The one-, two- and three-bedroom units would be rented to families making about half or less of the median income for the area. Council Members Larry Klein and Pat Burt wanted to send the project to the city’s planning and transportation commission for further review. But the majority of the council said the project had been reviewed enough, noting that any further delay could cut into its funding. Council Member John Barton’s motion to approve it passed 7-2. In fact, the project approved Monday was less than half the size of the original proposal, which would have also included 48 apartments for low-income senior citizens and a new home for Palo Alto Hardware, among other shops. Several supporters said they were disappointed that opposition from neighbors and the planning commission forced the developers to drop those plans. Opponents on Monday continued to argue that the project was too large, would overcrowd local schools and lacked sufficient parking and open space. Meanwhile, an attorney working on their behalf contended it should be rejected because it was actually not large enough to meet the requirements of the state’s density bonus law. Several critics said the project ought to go back to the planning and transportation commission. The commission did review the original plans, but did not see the reduced plans because city staff said they fit within the site’s existing zoning rules thanks to the density bonus law. “When the process is cut short, projects go wrong,� said Joop Verbaken, one of the residents of the PALO ALTO, page A4

School ofďŹ cer spared in budget cuts n Redwood City hears pleas from

Sequoia High School parents BY SHAUN BISHOP Daily News Staff Writer

PALO ALTO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

for benefits, said Scott Bowers, assistant superintendent for human resources. Proposed contracts for the Palo Alto Educators Association that represents teachers, the California School Employees Association that represents classified staff, and for non-represented employees will be presented at tonight’s school board meeting and are scheduled for a vote on Nov. 17. Both employee unions have ratified the contract, Bowers said, and the board’s approval

After hearing emotional pleas from Sequoia High School parents and faculty to preserve the school’s dedicated police officer, Redwood City council members decided against eliminating the position as part of a budget-cutting plan. The city council voted 6-0 BUDGET Monday night to go forward with BLUNDER $561,000 in cuts for the rest of this Menlo Park fiscal year, but opted to save the council meets school resource officer position. to discuss Next year, the same package will $400K error, A3 save under $1 million. City officials said the reductions will give the city a head start on cutting its costs in anticipating of having to cut millions from next year’s budget.

TEACHERS, page A4

REDWOOD CITY, page A4

School board to review union deal tonight BY DIANA SAMUELS Daily News Staff Writer

The Palo Alto Unified School District would spend an extra $740 on benefits for each of its employees under proposed contracts the school board is slated to review tonight. The proposed 2009-13 contracts do not give raises beyond scheduled “step-and-ladder� annual increases, and aim to lessen the impact of a $1.3 million rise in health care

n

Employees still would get ‘step’ raises but pay more for health care if ratified

costs through such measures as increasing co-pays for doctor visits and giving retirees incentives to opt out of the district’s health care coverage. Without those cuts, the district would have to contribute “significantly higher� amounts

Broken and chipped teeth. What can be done? Broken or chipped teeth can be unsightly, unhealthy and damaging to the soft tissue in the mouth. disadvantages are that they require two appointments and also require There are a number of ways to fix broken teeth: Composite resin fillings which are bonded to the tooth and performed in more tooth structure removal. one visit.The advantage is they are completed in one visit and the disadvantages If you or anyone you know could benefit from any of these services, please contact Dr Ravi Sahdev at 650. 566. 0999. Please mention this ad to take are they have a shorter lifetime and are not suitable for larger breakages. advantage of any special offers. Porcelain veneers for front teeth which are performed in two visits. The advantages are porcelain veneers have a longer lifetime and tend to look better but the disadvantages are that two appointments are required and a small layer of tooth needs to be removed.

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been heavily filled or decayed. The advantages are that they tend to be stronger than fillings and veneers and have a longer lifetime, but the

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Brokenorchippedteethcanbeunsightly,unhealthyanddamagingtothesofttissueinthemouth. DOWNTOWNPALO ALTO NOVEMBER 10, 2009 Tuesday Vol.14 No. 2...

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