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Palo Alto police outline assault on crime wave Police increase undercover patrols, presence in neighborhood streets to quell the violent crimes by Sue Dremann
string of 20 robberies in Palo Alto neighborhoods is among the most serious some officers have seen in their careers because the robbers are using guns, police officials said during a community meeting to address the crimes Wednesday
night (Jan. 19). But they assured more than 150 residents at Cubberley Theatre that the department is putting every resource it has to help track down the criminals and curtail the armed robberies that have gripped the city
since September. Even police Chief Dennis Burnsâ€™ home has been burglarized, one officer disclosed. The meeting was serious but laced with humor and occasional brief, heated exchanges, and residents thanked the department for its efforts. A panel of the departmentâ€™s top brass discussed the nature of the crimes before a concerned but mildmannered crowd: why police think they are happening, what the depart-
ment is doing to stop the robberies; and what residents can do to protect themselves and help the department capture the criminals. Police also discussed what they believe is the proper use of the cityâ€™s emergency-alert phone and e-mail system, Alert SCC, which some neighborhood leaders have said they want activated when robberies occur. The robberies are considered a particularly serious problem because
many have involved guns, Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa told the crowd. Lt. Scott Wong agreed. â€œIn my 29 years, we havenâ€™t had a robbery string like this when people are coming up to you with guns.â€? But â€œthis thing will subside,â€? he said. Espinosa expressed confidence that the robberies will be brought under control. (continued on page 9)
Stanford offers city $173M in expansion â€˜benefitsâ€™ New offer aims to secure Palo Altoâ€™s approval for major expansions of Stanfordâ€™s hospital facilities by Gennady Sheyner
Is this still winter? A colorful sunset glows through bare-branched trees on Cambridge Avenue Wednesday.
Residentsâ€™ opinions split among geographic lines, survey shows Concerns about transit services, population growth more prevalent in southern Palo Alto neighborhoods, new report indicates by Gennady Sheyner
alo Altans generally love their city, but when it comes to specific local services they have plenty of gripes, a recently completed survey indicates. The Service Efforts and Accomplishments Report, which the Office of the City Auditor released this week, indicates that the nature of gripes often depends on where in town the resident lives. People who live in the 94303 ZIP code (east of Middlefield Road and generally south of Embarcadero Road) are less likely to complain about the quality of street repair than residents around downtown. But they are more likely to com-
plain about the police coverage. The survey showed 57 percent of 94303 responders rated street repair â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellent,â€? compared to 39 percent in other parts of the city. But when asked about the quality of their contact with the Palo Alto Police Department, 63 percent gave the highest two ratings compared to 82 percent in the 94301 and 94304 ZIP codes (downtown and the neighborhoods around Stanford University, respectively) and 83 percent in 94306 (west of Middlefield Road and generally south of Oregon Expressway). The differences donâ€™t stop there. Downtown residents were much more critical in describing the qual-
ity of Palo Altoâ€™s storm drainage (67 percent said â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellentâ€?) than counterparts in Midtown and south Palo Alto (80 percent in the 94303 and 76 percent in the 94306). Residents in 94303 and 94306 â€” which collectively include the entire south Palo Alto and large swaths of central Palo Alto â€” are more concerned about population growth than those who live downtown or in the foothills. Only 33 percent of the residents in the 94301 and 94304 area codes said population growth is â€œtoo fast,â€? compared to 62 percent in the 94303 and 54 percent (continued on page 5)
tanford University Medical Center has offered Palo Alto a $173 million package of community benefits â€” including an aggressive traffic-reduction program and funds for the cityâ€™s climate-protection efforts â€” in hopes of obtaining the cityâ€™s approval for its colossal expansion project. Stanfordâ€™s â€œProject Renewalâ€? would bring about 1.3 million square feet of new development and more than 2,300 new employees to Palo Alto. The project includes the reconstruction of Stanford Hospital & Clinics, the expansion of the Lucile Packard Childrenâ€™s Hospital and renovations to the Stanford University School of Medicine. Because the project would far exceed the cityâ€™s zoning restrictions, Stanford is required to provide a series of negotiated â€œpublic benefitsâ€? in its development agreement with Palo Alto. Negotiations between Stanford and the city began to accelerate in June, when the hospital offered the city $124 million in benefits, including new bike lanes, an expanded shuttle service, Caltrain Go Passes for all hospital employees and $23.1 million to support the cityâ€™s affordablehousing programs. City officials are hoping to complete negotiations in the spring. On Tuesday (Jan. 18), Stanford announced that it has upped its offer by $49 million â€” to $173 million. The additions include $12 million to support Palo Altoâ€™s efforts to combat climate change and encourage renewable energy, an accelerated payment schedule and an offer to pay $1.1 million if Stanfordâ€™s expanded facilities end up costing the city more money than they generate. The new offer aims to assuage the cityâ€™s primary concerns about the hos-
pital proposal â€” its impact on local traffic. Members of the City Council had consistently pressed Stanford to mitigate its traffic impacts and to address the shortage of local housing for the new employees. At one point, some council members had insisted that Stanford build housing for the new employees next to the hospital to reduce traffic impacts. Though Palo Alto is no longer insisting that Stanford build hundreds of new homes, city officials and residents remain concerned about traffic impacts. The Draft Environmental Impact Report for the project stated that â€œthere is no single feasible mitigation measure that can reduce the impacts to a less-than-significant levelâ€? but recommended a series of mitigation measures, including new undercrossings for bicycles and pedestrians, new traffic signals and programs to encourage workers to use public transportation. Advanced Planning Manager Steven Turner, who is managing the Stanford Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process, said the bulk of the comments on the Draft EIR relate to potential traffic issues. Staff is now responding to these comments and will include its responses in the Final EIR, which the city plans to release in February. Stanfordâ€™s new package includes $126 million for programs relating to traffic reduction, including $91 million to pay for Caltrain Go Passes for all hospital employees. The cost of the Go Passes has increased from $65 million in the previous offer. Stanford is also offering to add four Marguerite shuttles to its fleet, to lease parking spaces in an East Bay lot, to pay for a transportation-demand manager and to support AC Transit and the U-line. Though Stanford is proposing to in(continued on page 9)
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In my 29 years, we havenâ€™t had a robbery string like this ... â€” Lt. Scott Wong at a community meeting on the recent rash of neighborhood robberies. See story on page 3.
Around Town CHANGE OF SCENERY... Palo Alto officials have a new plan for reaching out to the public â€” taking their policy-making show on the road. The City Council, which generally meets at City Hall, decided to hold its annual retreat at the Baylands Interpretive Center this Saturday (Jan.22 at 9 a.m.). The council also opted to meet at the Cubberley Community Center Monday night (Jan. 24) for Mayor Sid Espinosaâ€™s â€œState of the Cityâ€? speech. The goal is to reach out to those residents who have generally avoided council meetings in the past â€” particularly those who live in the southern part of the city. â€œWe need to get out of City Hall,â€? Espinosa said in a news release. â€œAnd, we need to do more in south Palo Alto to connect with the community there.â€? He also indicated that the council will continue to look at other locations for future meetings. â€œItâ€™s too easy to stay here in our Council Chambers, but thatâ€™s not good enough. I want us to do more outreach throughout the year. This is just a start.â€? STATE OF BLISS ... Hikers trekking along the Bay Trail off East Bayshore Road in Palo Alto may notice a solitary bicyclist sitting by the trail and taking in the Baylands scenery. The abstract, metal rider has one hand resting on the handlebars and one foot planted in the base of the sculpture, while the other foot rests on a pedal. The odometer on the bicycle reads 20,126. The sculpture was recently installed in memory of Bill Bliss, an avid bicyclist and proponent of bikesafety measures. According to the cityâ€™s official announcement, one of Blissâ€™ greatest personal accomplishments came in 2000 when he completed the Odyssey Tour â€” a 20,126mile 366-day journey. The cityâ€™s Public Art Commission Courtesy of City of Palo Alto
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has been working on the memorial project since 2008, when Blissâ€™ family asked the city to take it on. The sculpture was funded through donations by his family and friends. The commission, along with the Bliss family, selected the artist James Moore to create the sculpture. Blissâ€™ widow, Bonnie Bliss, was on hand to observe the installation. â€œI decided to sculpt a cyclist with one foot planted firmly on the ground while gazing at the sunrise to convey hope for the future combined with dedicated action in the present,â€? Moore said. â€œI believe Mr. Bliss personified this wholeheartedly during his life.â€? FOR YOUR INFORMATION ... Palo Alto officials were pleased to read in the latest Service Efforts and Accomplishments Report that most people (80 percent) rated the quality of city services â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellent.â€? But not all services are equally appreciated, the survey indicates. While most services scored much higher in Palo Alto than in other cities, sidewalk maintenance scored at about the â€œbenchmarkâ€? level, with only 53 percent of Palo Altans giving the city high ratings. Sidewalk maintenance is particularly important to Palo Altans, the survey showed. It was identified by the National Research Center as one of five â€œkey driversâ€? in Palo Alto that influences residentsâ€™ opinions about overall service quality. The other four drivers identified by the survey were public-information services; land use, planning and zoning; police services; and preservation of natural areas. This is the second year in a row in which â€œpublic information servicesâ€? were singled out as a key driver in Palo Alto. Though the council routinely talks about engaging the citizenry, the percentage of residents satisfied with these services has remained roughly the same. In 2010, 67 percent of the surveyed residents rated public-information service â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellent,â€? down from 68 percent in 2009. (See separate story for differences between parts of the city.) N
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Caltrain faces $30 million gap, â€˜drasticâ€™ cuts in service
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â€˜Fiscal emergencyâ€™ for the commuter service expected to be declared by governing board at its Feb. 3 meeting by Jay Thorwaldson altrainâ€™s already hard-pressed Peninsula commute service faces a $30 million deficit this year and is planning â€œdrasticâ€? cutbacks in services, Caltrain officials announced Thursday. A â€œfiscal emergencyâ€? is expected to be declared at Caltrainâ€™s governing board meeting on Feb. 3. Caltrainâ€™s total annual budget is about $100 million. The budget-gap announcement came on the eve of two major â€œsave Caltrainâ€? meetings, Friday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 29. The announced crisis underscores the urgency of the meetings. The full scope of the budget gap is not yet known, as it depends on how deeply three transit agencies (San Mateo Countyâ€™s SamTrans, Santa Clara Countyâ€™s VTA and San Francisco transit) cut their subsidies of Caltrain. SamTrans recently announced a $10 reduction. The cuts could reduce services in-
volving 48 trains during the weekday commute. But thatâ€™s just a start. â€œAll other service would be eliminated including: weekday service outside the commute peak, weekend service and service south of the San Jose Diridon station,â€? Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said. â€œThe schedule also would require the suspension of service at up to seven stations.â€? Mark Simon, Caltrainâ€™s executive officer for public affairs, said the cutbacks are not in final form, but are â€œwhere we are startingâ€? given a bleak financial picture, a $10 million reduction in subsidy by SamTrans, and a continuing lack of a permanent source of funding, such as sales-tax revenues. Caltrain is the only Bay Area transit agency without such a source of funding, and has already made significant cuts in service and staffing. The projected $30 million gap is contingent on the other two transit
agencies making cutbacks similar to the SamTrans reduction, which reduced its annual contribution by $10 million, to $4.7 million, Simon said. Caltrain now operates 86 weekday trains, including 22 express trains, with an average daily ridership of 40,000. On Saturdays there are 32 local trains and four express trains and on Sundays there are 28 local and four express trains. Simon outlined â€œaggressiveâ€? measures Caltrain has taken in the past three fiscal years: â€œSalaries have been frozen. Employees will have taken a total of 17 furlough days from FY09 through FY11. Jan. 1, four weekday trains during the midday were eliminated and fares were increased 25 cents for each zone. â€œIn an effort to generate additional revenue, a pilot program for weekend Baby Bullet service was introduced.â€? Caltrain administrative staff costs
that tends to divide the community â€” thatâ€™s the Oregon-Page Mill or north-south split,â€? Schmid said during the Tuesday night discussion of the SEA report. The data, when split by ZIP codes, gives the city a â€œmixed salad that doesnâ€™t coincide with that division,â€? because similar neighborhoods in south Palo Alto could have different ZIP codes. He urged Acting City Auditor Michael Edmonds to consider a different way to split up the data in future surveys. â€œYou ought to pick the one thatâ€™s most important to Palo Alto and make sure you gather data on the most appropriate split in the city,â€? Schmid said. The survey also showed many ar-
eas of agreement between residents in all four ZIP codes. More than 90 percent of residents in each ZIP code rated â€œoverall quality of life in Palo Altoâ€? as â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellent,â€? and an overwhelming majority (93 percent in the 94301 and 94304, 99 percent in the 94303 and 89 percent in the 94306) gave the city one of the two highest ratings as a â€œplace to raise children.â€? N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
(continued from page 3)
in the 94306. In some cases, these differences are logical. Downtown residents were more likely to praise Palo Altoâ€™s rail service (70 percent gave it â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellentâ€?) â€” due to proximity to the cityâ€™s busiest Caltrain station. The number drops to just below 60 percent when residents in other ZIP codes are asked the same question. Bus service showed a similar trend, with 58 percent of downtown residents giving it the top two ratings compared to 36 percent in the 94303 and 43 percent in the 94306. Downtown residents were also more likely to say they feel theyâ€™re getting the biggest bang for their tax buck from the city. The survey showed 70 percent of respondents in the 94301 and 94304 ZIP codes (which were grouped together) rating the â€œvalue of services for the taxes paid to Palo Altoâ€? as â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellent.â€? The number dipped to 59 percent in 94303 and to 57 percent in 94306. But when it came to the cityâ€™s storm drains, downtowners were the most critical, with only 67 percent rating them â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellent,â€? compared to 80 percent in 94303 and 76 percent in 94306. The split in public opinion didnâ€™t shock Councilman Greg Schmid, who has consistently lobbied his colleagues to pay more attention to the less affluent neighborhoods in south Palo Alto. Schmid said Tuesday that while he supports getting more data from specific parts of the city, ZIP codes donâ€™t tell the whole story. â€œThere is one critical boundary
(continued on page 7)
Two Childrenâ€™s Concerts with Nancy Cassidy
The Palo Alto Womanâ€™s Club presents Nancy Cassidy in Concert 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, February 5th Womanâ€™s Club of Palo Alto 475 Homer Avenue Downtown Palo Alto Proceeds will benefit local charities through the Philanthropy Committee of the Womanâ€™s Club Tickets are $10 per person and sold in advance To order tickets please send a check payable to the Womanâ€™s Club of Palo Alto to Diana Wahler P.O. Box 1059, Palo Alto, CA 94302 by Feb. 2 Tickets will be held at the door the day of the concert Call 650-855-9700 for more information This space donated by the Palo Alto Weekly as a community service
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UCC ÂŁÂ™nxĂŠÂœĂ•ÂˆĂƒĂŠ,Âœ>`]ĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠUĂŠÂĂˆxĂ¤ÂŽĂŠnxĂˆÂ‡ĂˆĂˆĂˆĂ“ĂŠUĂŠĂœĂœĂœÂ°vVVÂŤ>Â°ÂœĂ€}ĂŠ -Ă•Â˜`>ĂžĂŠ7ÂœĂ€ĂƒÂ…ÂˆÂŤĂŠ>Â˜`ĂŠ-Ă•Â˜`>ĂžĂŠ-VÂ…ÂœÂœÂ?ĂŠ>ĂŒĂŠÂŁĂ¤\Ă¤Ă¤ĂŠ>Â°Â“Â°
TALK ABOUT IT
www.PaloAltoOnline.com Does the new city survey reflect your views about city services? Share your opinions on Town Square on Palo Alto Online.
This Sunday: Good Help Is Hard to Find Rev. David Howell preaching An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ
How do Palo Altans feel about their city? For statistically signiďŹ cant differences, that depends on which ZIP code they live in Survey question (ratings of â€œgoodâ€? or â€œexcellentâ€?)
ZIP Code 94301 & 94304
Palo Alto as a place to retire
Ease of walking in Palo Alto
Quality of street repair
Quality of bus or transit services
Quality of storm drainage
Impression of City of Palo Alto employeesâ€™ knowledge
Value of services for taxes paid to Palo Alto
Quality of contact with Palo Alto Police Department
Permit application process overall customer service
Population growth seen as â€œtoo fastâ€?
94301 = downtown Palo Alto and the surrounding area 94304 = a small section of Sand Hill Road and the area around Foothill Expressway 94303 = east of MiddleďŹ eld Road, extending into the Baylands 94306 = west of MiddleďŹ eld and around El Camino Real
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Palo Alto government action this week
Human Relations Commission (Jan. 13)
Mediation: The commission approved four new mediators for two-year terms in the Palo Alto Mediation Program. Yes: Unanimous Calendar: The commission reviewed a draft of its six-month calendar. Action: None
City Council (Jan. 18)
Pardee Park: The council approved a proposal to remove 10 eucalyptus trees from Eleanor Pardee Park and to replace these trees with other species. Yes: Burt, Espinosa, Klein, Price, Scharff, Schmid, Shepherd No: Holman Absent: Yeh Risk Management: The council discussed its Energy Risk Management Policy and deferred adopting the policy until a later date. Action: None
Architectural Review Board (Jan. 20)
524 Hamilton Ave.: The board approved a proposal by Steve Reller for a new 11,445-square-foot, three-story, mixed-use building with commercial office on the first and second floors and one residential unit on the third floor. Yes: Lee, Malone, Prichard, Wasserman, Young No: Lew
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Public Agenda A preview of Palo Alto government meetings next week
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CITY COUNCIL ... The council will hold its annual retreat to discuss council policies and objectives and to consider implementation of council priorities for 2011, at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 22, in the Baylands Interpretive Center (2775 Embarcadero Road). CITY COUNCIL ... Mayor Sid Espinosa is scheduled to present the State of the City address at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, in the Cubberley Community Center Theatre (4000 Middlefield Road). Reception will follow in Gymnasium B. BOARD OF EDUCATION ... The board will hold a special morning meeting to discuss high-school plans for student achievement. At the regular evening meeting, the board will hear an update on the governorâ€™s proposed budget and a report on elementary math instruction and assessment. The special meeting begins at 10 a.m. and the regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, both in the boardroom of school district headquarters, (25 Churchill Ave.). PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to elect its chair and vice chair for 2011, review the design of the El Camino Park Reservoir Project and discuss the Highway 101 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overpass/Underpass Feasibility Study. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). CITY-SCHOOL LIAISON COMMITTEE ... City Council members Nancy Shepherd and Yiaway Yeh and school board members Barbara Klausner and Dana Tom will hold a monthly meeting to update one another on topics including teen mental health, the Jan. 8 parade and demographic trends. The meeting begins at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26 in Conference Room A of school district headquarters (25 Churchill Ave.). PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss 4041 El Camino Way, a proposal to amend the current Palo Alto Commons Planned Community (PC) zone by adding a 44-unit three-story senior-housing facility. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). LIBRARY ADVISORY COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the results of the commissionâ€™s online survey of library users and continue its discussion on LINK+ and inter-library loan service. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
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Corrections Artists Florence Goguely and Peng-Peng Wang jointly collaborated on the mural at the Stanford Terrace Inn mentioned in the cover story on art in public places (Weekly, Jan. 14, 2011). To request a correction, contact Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong at 650-223-6514, email@example.com or P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302.
News Digest Palo Alto polling community on cityâ€™s trees Palo Alto community members who would like to stake a claim in the state of the cityâ€™s tree canopy are being asked to participate in a survey of values and concerns about Palo Altoâ€™s trees. The survey is being conducted by the Department of Planning and Community Environment, which is creating an Urban Forest Master Plan to maintain and enhance the canopy. â€œOur vision for Palo Alto trees is being developed through the survey in collaboration with the Palo Alto community,â€? Public Works Arborist Eric Krebs said. The results of the brief survey, which closes Jan. 26, will guide recommendations set to be discussed at a City Council study session Saturday, Feb. 7. Results will be considered as the city develops a Master Plan, funded by a CalFire grant to Palo Alto made prior to the controversial 2009 cutting of 63 trees on California Avenue. â€œWe got the grant before that happened, but it did heighten the need for this,â€? Curtis Williams, director of planning and community environment, said. When written, procedures for canopy maintenance and interdepartmental collaboration will take into account the questions and concerns community members express in the survey, city officials said. â€œWe want to develop an ongoing index of trees in Palo Alto and a way to continue to monitor the health of the urban forest. We want to ensure that we have policies and procedures for when we must take trees into account,â€? Williams said. The survey and the plan will mainly be concerned with trees on city property, Williams said. N â€” Sarah Trauben
Merger saves Palo Alto employeesâ€™ credit union A financially struggling credit union used by City of Palo Alto employees has been taken over by one of the largest credit unions in Silicon Valley, according to a California Department of Financial Institutions filing. The 70-year-old Palo Alto Community Federal Credit Union, with assets of $11.7 million, merged with the much larger San Mateo Credit Union in November after posting significant losses since the September 2008 stock market and housing crash. Efforts to expand its clientele could not help Palo Alto Credit Union survive on its own, according to Stephen Tabler, San Mateo Credit Union vice president of marketing. Credit unions are nonprofit cooperative financial institutions controlled by members, often by federal, state, county or municipal workers. Some unions are for large institutions, such as universities, or are community-based. Members pool their assets to provide loans and other financial services to each other, resulting in lower loan rates and dividends and fewer service fees, according to the Credit Union National Association. The institutions are not owned by outside stockholders. The City of Palo Alto makes transfers to employee accounts through payroll deductions but does not have a banking relationship for other city funding with the credit union, according to Lalo Perez, city administrative services director. City employees voted in September to accept the merger, Tabler said. The employees started the Palo Alto credit union in 1951. Located at 616 Ramona St., it served 1,553 members, according to National Credit Union Administration. San Mateo Credit Union has seven branches and a mortgage-loan center, 68,248 members and $605 million in assets, Tabler said. N â€” Sue Dremann
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are just 6.4 percent of its operating budget, below average for comparable commuter rail agencies, he said. Caltrain is operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, a public entity. He said the board is planning two public hearings, one on the proposed service cuts and one to declare a fiscal emergency, at its Feb. 3 meeting. Four community meetings will be held throughout the Caltrain service area on Feb. 17, followed by a formal public hearing on March 3. â€œA start date for any service changes has yet to be determined,â€? Simon said. The first â€œsummitâ€? meeting on saving Caltrain was set for today (Friday, Jan. 21) from 9 a.m. to noon at Stanford University, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and a second will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Samtrans Auditorium, 1250 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, sponsored by a multi-community group, â€œFriends of Caltrain.â€? The Leadership Group has designated saving Caltrain its number-one regional priority for 2011. The Stanford meeting is in the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Building, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, 366 Galvez St. â€œCaltrain is a critical component of our regional public transportation system, offering an effective alternative to driving on our already congested highways. But it lacks a dedicated source of funding to support its operations,â€? the Leadership Group said in an announcement of the meeting. N Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson can be e-mailed at jthorwaldson@ paweekly.com.
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Mexico president to address Stanford grads June 12 Mexico President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa will be the speaker at Stanford Universityâ€™s 120th commencement June 12, the university announced Jan. 18. Also highlighting commencement weekend will be Class Day speaker Rob Reich, a Stanford political theorist and former sixth-grade teacher; and Baccalaureate speaker Gail E. Bowman, chaplain at Dillard University in New Orleans. Calderon, elected in 2006 to a six-year term, â€œis committed to finding solutions to a number of national and global problems, ranging from combating drug cartels to comprehensive immigration reform and arms control,â€? Stanford President John Hennessy said. â€œHis views on a life devoted to solving pressing problems and to improving society will be particularly meaningful for our graduates, as will his experience leading a nation so vitally intertwined with the future of California and the United States.â€? Reich will address seniors, families and friends June 11 in a 30-year â€œClass Dayâ€? tradition of hearing a last lecture from a popular Stanford professor. He is an associate professor of political science, also teaching in the Philosophy Department and School of Education. He is faculty director of the Program on Ethics in Society. Bowman, a Harvard-trained lawyer who has been chaplain at Dillard since 1998, is a teacher as well as preacher and a member of the Louisiana Board of Ethics. N â€” Palo Alto Weekly staff
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These and other news stories were posted on Palo Alto Online throughout the week. For longer versions, go to www.PaloAltoOnline.com/news or click on â€œNewsâ€? in the left, green column.
Mitzvah Day draws hundreds to volunteer Good deeds were the theme of the day at the Taube Koret Center for Jewish Life on Monday (Jan. 17) as hundreds of volunteers turned out for the Palo Alto organizationâ€™s fourth annual Mitzvah Day. (Posted Jan. 19 at 3:34 p.m.)
Bedbugs discovered in Mountain View apartments After infesting East Coast beds with a vengeance, bedbugs are beginning to jump into bed with West Coast residents, including some who live in Mountain View. (Posted Jan. 19 at 3:06 p.m.)
â€˜New informationâ€™ surfaces on Alpine Road crash Officials from the California Highway Patrol gathered at the intersection of Alpine Road and Interstate 280 around noon Tuesday (Jan. 18) to do more research into the Nov. 4, 2010, crash in which Los Altos bicyclist Lauren Ward, 47, collided with a tractor trailer and died, CHP officer Art Montiel said. (Posted Jan. 19 at 11:55 a.m.)
Taser video reveals profanity-laced exchange Videos from a Palo Alto police vehicle and Taser cameras released Tuesday (Jan. 18) revealed an expletive-laced exchange between a man and police officers, who yanked him from his vehicle and used Tasers on him in March 2008. (Posted Jan. 19 at 9:52 a.m.)
â€˜Traditionalâ€™ California Ave. design favored in voting Palo Alto art critics have spoken. A total of 419 members of the public weighed in on the upcoming California Avenue fountain decision by the Palo Alto Public Art Commission. Their comments were made available for viewing Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 18). (Posted Jan. 18 at 2:26 p.m.)
VIDEO: Sunday celebration honors â€˜Kingâ€™s Dreamâ€™ The life and message of civil-rights visionary Martin Luther King, Jr., was celebrated Sunday (Jan. 16) at the Annual Community and Interfaith Celebration at the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto. (Posted Jan. 17 at 2:07 p.m.)
Felon arrested after three-car crash, manhunt A wanted felon out for a night of partying was arrested after a threecar crash and a manhunt in Palo Alto early Monday morning (Jan. 17). (Posted Jan. 17 at 11:10 a.m.)
Appleâ€™s Steve Jobs takes third medical leave Apple CEO Steve Jobs has announced that he will take another medical leave of absence. Jobs, 55, sent a letter to employees making the announcement. The letter was posted to the media on Monday (Jan. 17). (Posted Jan. 17 at 9:40 a.m.)
â€˜Youth of the Yearâ€™ finalists speak out Overcoming neglectful parents and breaking free of a gang were among the stories shared by high school students in a tearful and joyful evening of speechmaking at the East Palo Alto clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula. (Posted Jan. 17 at 9:27 a.m.)
Caltrain delay due to death in Burlingame A male pedestrian was struck and killed on the Caltrain tracks in Burlingame early Monday morning (Jan. 17) in what appears to be a suicide, Caltrain spokeswoman Tasha Bartholomew said. (Posted Jan. 17 at 7:43 a.m.)
Freak accident traps man between parked cars A freak accident trapped an older man between two parked cars in the Stanford Shopping Center parking lot Sunday afternoon (Jan. 16). Palo Alto fire Battalion Chief Chris Woodard said the man was walking between the two cars when one car was hit by a third car, pushing the cars together and pinning the man at the knees. (Posted Jan. 16 at 10:30 p.m.)
Another lion sighting in Portola Valley, off Alpine A mountain lion was spotted in Portola Valley late Saturday night (Jan. 15), according to San Mateo County officials. At approximately 10:50 p.m., the cougar was seen in the vicinity of Applewood Lane and Nathorst Avenue, heading toward a creek behind 4370 Alpine Road, the county office of emergency services said. (Posted Jan. 16 at 8:13 a.m.)
Zumotâ€™s attorney rips into expertâ€™s cell data About three hours before Jennifer Schipsiâ€™s body was found in a burned cottage on Addison Avenue in Palo Alto, her cell phone appeared to be traveling with her boyfriend Bulos Zumotâ€™s phone, a cellphone expert testified Friday (Jan. 14). (Posted Jan. 14 at 6:15 p.m.)
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Crime wave (continued from page 3)
â€œI have faith in the police department,â€? he said. Robberies are cyclical, Palo Alto police Chief Dennis Burns said. â€œItâ€™s our turn. People in neighboring communities who want to commit a crime think Palo Alto is the place to do it,â€? he said. Eight people have been arrested for six of the robberies and more individuals are under investigation, he said. The perpetrators have come from a range of cities, including Menlo Park, Redwood City and East Palo Alto, police said. The department has assigned nine of its 13 detectives to work on the robberies and many officers are patrolling all neighborhoods â€” some in plain clothes and unmarked cars, he said. Det. James Reifschneider said the robberies are not just happening in any one neighborhood. Suspect descriptions are of a diverse group of individuals who have been largely described as African American and Pacific Islander. â€œWe havenâ€™t eliminated that several different groups are out there,â€? he said. A half dozen East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park residents attended the meeting, sitting quietly as a Palo Alto man said he believed in racial profiling. â€œWe came out as good neighbors out of concern,â€? East Palo Alto resident Willie Beasley said afterward. â€œWhat we are trying to do is bridge the Tower of Babel in East Palo Alto â€” of the different races trying to coincide in this little box,â€? he said. The lack of jobs among young men who are out of work (East Palo Alto has a 20 percent unemployment rate) has pushed some to crime, he said. â€œPalo Alto could be helpful. Palo Alto is a well-heeled city,â€? he said. The cityâ€™s residents â€œhave a moral dutyâ€? to help the struggling community gain stable economic ground. Palo Alto must help build foundations for the future, he said.
Hospital expansion (continued from page 3)
clude these transportation programs as â€œcommunity benefitsâ€? in its development agreement, council members have characterized them in the past as â€œmitigation measuresâ€? that Stanford would be required to institute to get environmental clearance for the project. City Manager James Keene said the council plans to evaluate both the mitigations (which will be listed in the projectâ€™s Final EIR) and Stanfordâ€™s proposed benefits the next few months before reaching a decision on the project in April. He called Stanfordâ€™s latest proposal a â€œgood foundationâ€? for the coming discussions. â€œWeâ€™re pleased that weâ€™ve received the proposed terms for the development agreement,â€? Keene said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to us working through both of those (benefits and mitigations) side by side, together.â€? Stanfordâ€™s new proposal also includes a $23.2 million payment to Palo Alto to â€œsupport affordable hous-
â€œIf not, theyâ€™re going to spend a lot of money on crime prevention,â€? he said. A five-year comparison does not show an increase in robberies over the year, but the problem is of concern because the 20 have occurred in the last few months, he said. Sgt. Zach Perron, a Palo Alto native who attended local schools, said the department has changed staffing levels to include patrol officers, the traffic team, two members of the crime-suppression team and swingshift officers to bolster those assigned to the robberies. The city has been divided into zones that are all covered by uniformed and plain-clothes officers and detectives, he said. But he admitted spotting the robbers is a difficult prospect. â€œItâ€™s like a needle in a haystack,â€? he said. Robbery waves have happened before and been quashed, he added. â€œIn 2006, we had a serious robbery trend in the north end of town. We dedicated more cops and it solved and deterred the crime,â€? he said. The department used to have more than 100 officers, but now it is down to 91 due to budget cuts, Burns said. He said the department has made its share of cuts just as any other city department. â€œWe canâ€™t have any sacred cows,â€? he said. Perron said he has heard the public say they think the department has 100, 60 or 25 officers on the street at any one time, but the real figures are far starker: Minimum staffing from 7 a.m. to midnight includes six officers and two supervisors. From midnight to 5 a.m., there are five officers and two supervisors. And from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., there are five officers and one supervisor. The maximum number of officers are 12 with three supervisors, he said. â€œThere are far less than 50 percent of what people think are out there,â€? he said. Perron said residents can help
the department by trusting their instincts and calling police when â€œthe little hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Thatâ€™s when you pick up the phone and call the police. â€œWeâ€™ve had people call to report a squirrel having a heart attack. If those people can call, you can pick up the phone and call when someone is hiding in the bushes,â€? he said. Lt. Sandra Brown, head of personnel and training, said the department is looking at other ways to get the word out to residents other than using AlertSCC, the cityâ€™s emergency-alert phone and texting system. She has sent out 14 robbery-related press releases and works closely with the media on a day-to-day basis. Residents can get news of crime right away through Palo Alto Online or read about it the next day in the newspaper, she said. Residents are one of the most valuable crime-fighting tools in the departmentâ€™s arsenal, Officer Kenneth Dueker, coordinator of Homeland Security for the city managerâ€™s office, said. The Palo Alto Neighborhoods Block Preparedness Coordinator Program, which teaches neighborhood coordination and emergency preparedness, makes residents partners in crime solving rather than victims, he said. â€œIâ€™ll throw out a challenge tonight to go out and meet your neighbors. You should have some basis about what is abnormal. Knowing your neighbors you get to know whatâ€™s normal or abnormalâ€? for a neighborhood, he said. Police stressed that even they have been victims of crime in the current economic climate. Lt. Doug Keith of the field services division, said a robbery occurred 300 feet from his home. And even Chief Burnsâ€™ home was burglarized. â€œA crime-prevention tip from the Burns family: We got a dog. It would probably lick you to death â€” but he has a good bark,â€? Burns said. N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at sdremann@paweekly. com.
ing and sustainable neighborhood and community developmentâ€? â€” up from the $23.1 million in its earlier proposal. Stanford is also now offering the city $12 million for projects and programs addressing climate change and investments in renewable energy and energy conservation â€” benefits that werenâ€™t included in its prior proposal. Mike Peterson, Stanfordâ€™s vice president for special projects, said Stanford put together its latest proposal after extensive conversations with city staff and community members since last July. He said Stanford decided to offer the city $12 million for renewable energy and conservation as part of its effort to support energy conservation. Stanford is also offering Palo Alto $1.1 million to compensate the city for any increases in expenditures the city could potentially incur in providing services to the expanded hospital facilities. Though Stanfordâ€™s economic consultant estimated that the city would realize an $8.4 million surplus over the 30-year development agreement period, the cityâ€™s consultant said the project could lead to a potential
deficit of $1.1 million. â€œWe basically said that while we donâ€™t necessarily agree with that analysis, in order to give you assurance that youâ€™ll break even, weâ€™ll offer up the $1.1 million,â€? Peterson said. Peterson said his conversations with Palo Alto officials over the past year have given him confidence about the projectâ€™s progress. Stanford is facing a state requirement to seismically retrofit its hospital facilities by 2018. â€œI think the nature of the work weâ€™ve had with city staff and the council has been much more positive in the past year,â€? Peterson said. â€œWe definitely see movement in the positive directions â€” thatâ€™s the most important thing.â€? N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@paweekly. com.
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www.PaloAltoOnline.com What do you think about Stanfordâ€™s latest community benefit offers? Share your opinions on Town Square on Palo Alto Online.
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Neighborhoods A roundup of neighborhood news edited by Sue Dremann
TO PLANT OR NOT TO PLANT? ... The Barron Park Green Team, which promotes tree plantings and other sustainability projects, holds its second meeting of the year on Feb. 14. Members are looking for new Barron Park residents to join in on team efforts. Contact Lynnie Melena at firstname.lastname@example.org. ARASTRADEO ROAD WORK ... Donâ€™t be surprised by delays and pedestrian detours on Arastradero Road. Community-suggested road improvements started Jan. 18. Road work, which is not scheduled during peak commute hours, includes improvements to assist left-turning vehicles at Coulombe Drive and between Donald Drive/Terman Drive and King Arthurs Court, a pedestrian-activated warning system at Clemo Avenue and a speedreduction kiosk on Arastradero Road. SENIOR ASSISTANCE VIA CELL PHONES ... Senior center Avenidas is testing a new program to deploy cell-phone carrying volunteers to respond to local seniorsâ€™ requests for help. To learn about opportunities to see the technology in action, community members may attend a presentation on Jan. 31 at 10:30 a.m., hosted in the Avenidas Board Room at 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto. Interested persons can contact Kari Martell at email@example.com or 650-289-5427. N
Send announcements of neighborhood events, meetings and news to Sue Dremann, Neighborhoods editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or talk about your neighborhood news on Town Square at www. PaloAltoOnline.com.
MIDTOWN HOSTS PERMITS TALK ... The Midtown Residents Association will hold its 2011 general meeting on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Friends Meeting Hall, 957 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto. Assistant City Manager Steve Emslie, a fellow Midtown resident, will discuss streamlining the process of applying for city building permits. Emslie will be joined by Chief Building Official Larry Perlin and Blueprint Project Manager Yvonne Sheets-Saucedo to present â€œBlueprint for Change in the Development Center.â€?
Courtesy of Shirley Difani Weiland
AROUND THE BLOCK
The Difani home, top, was built in 1896 and featured gingerbread trim before the â€˜06 earthquake. Pictured here are Lowena and Willi C. Difani, Shirley Difani Weilandâ€™s grandparents, along with her aunt Alvernice and uncle George. Above, Shirley Difani Weiland, left, Diane Difani Cressey and Judy Difani look through old photos in the parlor of the old family home. The three sisters were raised in the home, and Judy has lived there her whole life.
This old house is a home The Difani family has lived in the same house since 1896 and watched Palo Alto grow up by Sue Dremann
he 19th-century Victorian gabled house on a quiet block of Kipling Street would fairly laugh if it could talk. Its interior walls have listened in on countless conversations, stories, loves and tribulations since Palo Altoâ€™s first barber, Willi Clinton Difani, had it built in 1896. The Difani family has lived in this same house for four generations, according to Shirley Difani Weiland, 80, the granddaughter of Willi (pronounced WILL-eye). It is one of the oldest homes in the city continuously lived in by one family. The beige, two-story house looks no worse for wear, with its reddish doors,
bay windows and scalloped siding. But, oh â€” the stories it could tell, Weiland said in an interview with the Weekly. They would be stories of birth and love and laughter and welcoming, and of what it means to be a good neighbor in times of need and plenty, she said. â€œWhen this house was built, there was nothing between the house and University Avenue. It was just a big field,â€? she said. The fence post where itinerant men who sought work during the Great Depression notched markings designated 834 Kipling as a â€œsafe house,â€? where one could find food and work during the hard times of the 1930s,
she said. The post is long gone. Family members who gather in the house for celebrations and the generations who still inhabit the home â€” Weilandâ€™s son, Michael, and her younger sister, Judy â€” keep the houseâ€™s spirit alive. â€œI was born on the dining-room table,â€? Weiland recalled, noting that Palo Altoâ€™s first female physician, Dr. Edith Johnson, did the delivery. The house was filled with love and laughter, she recalled. Grandfather Willi, her grandmother, Lowena, father Frank Andrew, uncle George Dewey and aunt Alvernice were born and raised in the home, she said. Lowena had a beauty parlor on
the Stanford University campus, doing up the hair of young ladies, Weiland said. â€œDuring the earthquake (in 1906), the chimney fell down. â€œGrandma saw that people needed homes. She let them live on the property in tents,â€? she said. During World War I, when Frank and George went off to war, Grandma Lowena added another door and turned the house into a duplex to raise additional income. She rented the house to Stanford students and lived in the little house next door that George had built, she said. During the Depression, Lowena would feed the tramps that came from the train, but she wouldnâ€™t feed anyone who wasnâ€™t willing to do a little work around the place, Weiland said. Diane Cressey, Weilandâ€™s sister, recalled that their father traveled to Half Moon Bay during the Depression to fish for their supper. And there were many, many beans harvested from the garden, she said. She vividly recalled the large victory garden her father created during World War II. â€œHe kept chickens and rabbits on the side of the house,â€? she said. Uncle Georgeâ€™s house next door had a small stable in the back for grandmotherâ€™s horse. Every summer the family hitched the horse to a wagon and drove to Santa Cruz to visit Lowenaâ€™s sister, she said. When Weilandâ€™s father was born, the family brought a small coast-redwood sapling back from Santa Cruz and planted the tree next to the home to commemorate his birth. The tree still stands: â€œItâ€™s 111 years old,â€? she said. Weiland said she and her sisters played with other children on the one-block street. â€œWe played tap-thefinger and other old games. It was not just certain ages. We all got together as a group. It was a nice place â€” a safe place. Everybody got along with everybody else,â€? she said. The neighborhood, while consisting of just a few homes, was filled with generations of families. The Mosher family had several homes, she said. Cressey recalled one Mosher relative, Agnes. â€œShe lived alone; a little lady who collected everything. She never threw anything away. The house was packed. When she would come to visit, she would always find something for Shirley and always found something for me. She made Shirley a scrapbook of Shirley Temple and me a scrapbook of Deanna Durbin,â€? she said, adding it made the girls feel special. Boarders Betty Reinberg and Henry Holt were pianists. Beautiful music filled the house, Cressey said. â€œGoodness, that house! Living then, people were all warm toward others. It was a whole area where we knew each other and had time for each other. Nowadays you donâ€™t even know your neighbor. They just pass you. Some donâ€™t even know their nextdoor neighbors,â€? she said. N
A weekly compendium of vital statistics
Palo Alto Jan. 11-17 Violence related Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft related Commercial burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Credit card forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Theft undefined. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Abandoned Auto. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Abandoned bicycle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Auto theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Suspended license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .8 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .5 Vehicle impound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Drunk driving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Miscellaneous Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Misc. penal code violation . . . . . . . . . . .3 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .2 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Menlo Park Jan. 11-17 Violence related Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Domestic violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Theft related
Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Shoplifting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Auto theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Bicycle theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Suspended license . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Driving without license . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Vehicle accident/minor injury . . . . . . . . .3 Vehicle accident/property damage. . . . .3 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Alcohol or drug related Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Miscellaneous Disturbance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Annoying phone calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Info. case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Probation violation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .2 Suspicious person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Town ordinance violations . . . . . . . . . . .1 Warrant arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Atherton Jan. 11-17 Theft related Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Vehicle related Abandoned vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Auto theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Parking/driving violation . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Suspicious vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Vehicle accident/ property damage . . . .2 Vehicle code violation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Alcohol or Drug related Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Possession of paraphernalia. . . . . . . . . .1 Miscellaneous Animal call. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Be on the lookout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Citizen assist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Construction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Annoying phone calls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Disturbing the peace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Fire call . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Medical aid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Meet citizen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . .4 Suspicious person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Town ordinance violation . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Building/perimeter check . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Answers to this weekâ€™s puzzles, which can be found on page 45
3 5 6 2 9 4 7 1 8
7 8 5 4 6 2 1 3 9
6 4 9 5 3 1 2 8 7
1 3 2 9 7 8 6 5 4
5 6 1 7 8 9 3 4 2
8 9 4 1 2 3 5 7 6
2 7 3 6 4 5 8 9 1
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Pasteur Drive, 1/11, 7:12 p.m.; battery.
Menlo Park Ringwood, 1/14, 11:06 p.m.; battery. Ivy Drive, 1/14, 12:46 p.m.; spousal abuse. Madera, 1/15, 6:41 p.m.; spousal abuse.
A memorial service for Jeanne Kwan Fong, former president of the Hua Kuang Chinese Reading Room, who died Jan. 11, will be held Sat., Jan. 22, at 1:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road. A 4 p.m. reception will follow at Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Ave., Los Altos. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation to the Hua Kuang Chinese Reading Room, 4000 Middlefield Road, # H-4, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4739, be made in her memory.
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Friends are invited to a Celebration of Life Saturday, January 29 at 1:00 pm at St. Markâ€™s Episcopal Church 600 Colorado Avenue, Palo Alto. A reception will follow the service. William Van Orsdol, of Palo Alto, California, passed away peacefully at home on December 15, 2010. His life will be celebrated on January 29. Bill was born in Rowley, Iowa, on March 5, 1916. He attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, graduating in 1940 with a degree in Accounting and Management. Bill followed the Quaker doctrine and registered as a conscientious objector. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Coast Guard. He was sent by his Captain to OfďŹ cerâ€™s Training School and specialized in amphibious landings. After graduating and earning his commission as Ensign, he returned to Gulfport and married Marian Gordon, who was working for the USDA. Bill then shipped out to the PaciďŹ c, where he participated in the 1945 assault and occupation of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. After the war, Bill and Marian moved to Los Angeles. He passed the CPA exam in 1948 and began a career in the aerospace industry, including work at Hughes Aircraft in Los Angeles and Rohr Aircraft. In 1963, he moved with his family to Palo Alto and worked at Lockheed Sunnyvale. In 1980 Bill retired from Lockheed and started the William F. Van Orsdol CPA ďŹ rm in Palo Alto. Bill sold the ďŹ rm in the 1990s and retired. Upon retirement, Bill actively involved himself in community efforts, including the Board of Palo
Alto Cable Coop, Treasurer of Friends of the Palo Alto Libraries, Treasurer of La Comida; and through Cable Coop and the Media Center, producing a series of interviews on international relations with the late Stanford Professor Ronald Hilton. Bill was a 38-year member of Kiwanis of Palo Alto, serving as its Treasurer and President during his tenure. He thrived on the groupâ€™s camaraderie and was actively involved in Kiwanis service projects and fundraising efforts. Bill is survived by Marian, his loving wife of 66 years, brother Robert (Hendersonville, NC), daughter Karen White of Palo Alto, son Karl Van Orsdol (San Mateo, CA), and granddaughters Allison White (Austin, Texas) and Kimberly White Edelman (Santa Monica, CA). The family thanks all who were involved in Billâ€™s care during his ďŹ nal illness, especially Mrs. Loloma Feaomoeata, Dr. Cheryl Bates at the Palo Alto VA and his many friends and colleagues who visited him, sent cards and extended warm wishes. Before his passing, Bill expressed heartfelt gratitude for everyone who had made his life so fulďŹ lling and asked that services reďŹ‚ect the spirit of thanksgiving. In lieu of ďŹ‚owers for the service (details above), memorial contributions may be made to The Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto Charitable Foundation, P. O. Box 149, Palo Alto, CA 94302, TIN #710871534, The Kiwanis Foundation. PA I D
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Combining services may save cities $$ Four North County cities to explore ways to combine some public-safety services to cut costs â€” but no big mergers in sight
n exploratory initiative by Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Los Altos to see if there are ways to save money by combining some public-safety services is such a logical step forward that one wonders why it didnâ€™t happen long ago. The Palo Alto City Council Tuesday night approved the exploration as part of its consent calendar, usually reserved for completely non-controversial matters. This is where this belongs. Other city councils are adopting similar resolutions. Combining services is not new. Already the various cities have worked together on sewage treatment, waste disposal, animal services, SWAT teams and mutual aid for police and fire. We have come a long way from the early 1970s when there was no mutual aid and there were instances of fire trucks from one jurisdiction sitting across city boundaries watching neighboring firefighters struggle with fires. This actually happened before the formerly unincorporated Barron Park area annexed to Palo Alto, when Palo Alto fire trucks parked across El Camino Real while older volunteers struggled to quell a roof fire of the Cameo Club card room on an icy early-morning. It would be unthinkable today. â€œThis recommendation is made understanding that difficult financial times require an even greater focus on reducing costs while maintaining or enhancing services,ĂŽ the Palo Alto staff report to the council states. Palo Alto City Manager James Keene and the other managers â€” Kevin Duggan of Mountain View, Doug Schmitz of Los Altos and Gary Luebbers of Sunnyvale â€” deserve credit for initiating the exploration. The managers have already held informal discussions and identified potential areas to explore. The Weekly reported on the discussions several months ago when just Mountain View and Los Altos managers were involved with Palo Alto. Sunnyvale joined the talks later. Public-safety communications is a leading possibility, along with emergency planning services, on which Palo Alto has been a leading community for years but still has far to go to be really prepared for a major disaster or crisis situation. More mundane but potentially fruitful areas include arson investigation, where one highly trained multidisciplinary team of experts might move in to conduct such investigations rather than each department developing separate investigative units. Similarly, fire-prevention efforts could be done by a roving team through several communities. But there are other, still undefined areas the managers may explore, Keene made clear in his one-page report to the council. â€œAlthough the previously mentioned consolidation opportunities will be the focus of the City Managersâ€™ conversations, they are in no way limited to these criteria and are expected to explore any appropriate opportunity where cooperation can result in efficiencies, cost savings for taxpayers and increased services at less cost,â€? Keene stated. He emphasized, however, that â€œthis is purely and exploratory process and none if it is binding.â€? That assurance, though intended to assuage any concerns by residents or employee unions, does give free official rein to expand on the earlier discussions. No timeframe has been specified for returning to the respective city councils with recommendations, however. Part of that will be determined by how far the managers have gotten during their unofficial discussions. One hopes that the group returns with some effective recommendations this spring, in time to implement before the next fiscal year begins July 1. There are areas needing caution. Careful attention needs to be placed on whether estimated cost savings or service improvements are truly achievable. Side effects also need to be assessed with care. The three-city waste management partnership, known as SMaRT, turned out to be a costly burden through longstanding contracts for delivering a minimum tonnage of waste to the Kirby Canyon landfill, resulting in potentially millions in penalties due to high public support of recycling efforts that reduced landfill volumes. One might also ask whether there are other local entities, such as the Menlo Park Fire Protection District or the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto police departments, that might have areas of potentially great benefit from combining services. But that should be a matter of one-step at a time, and we should let the existing manager-level explorations bear fruit before biting off more and possibly losing focus on solid achievements. Page 12ĂŠUĂŠ>Â˜Ă•>Ă€ĂžĂŠĂ“ÂŁ]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁÂŁĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž
Spectrum Editorials, letters and opinions
Editor, Regarding your article featuring Rosalind Creasy promoting edible landscaping, I have some comments. For 30 years we have tried to do edible landscaping but squirrels and possums eat the apricots; squirrels devour the guavas, leaving a big mess; the grapefruit is so bitter we can only pick it and put it in the garbage; squirrels eat the fruit from both apple trees without minding that coddling moths got there first (in spite of traps); the dwarf Asian-pear tree grew taller than the two-story house and is unreachable; the Fuyu persimmon has been raided by both squirrels and thieves; the crabapples are too small for anything except to make the ground a nice shade of pink; the robins love the blueberries and figs; and so it goes. Herbs and vegetables have been successful. My advice: buy your fruit at farmersâ€™ markets and avoid the frustration and angst of trying to grow your own, as Creasy suggests. Jean Garrett California Avenue Palo Alto
Editor, Weâ€™ve been reading a lot lately about pedestrians being hit by vehicles making left turns onto major streets. For each reported incident there are dozens of unreported near misses. I experienced one myself in Midtown crossing Middlefield at Colorado. It seems to me that the only really safe way for pedestrians to cross is for all traffic in all directions to be stopped when the pedestrian crossing light is on. The problem is that drivers making left turns look for other vehicles and donâ€™t look for pedestrians. The crosswalks are so close to the intersections that large vehicles such as buses canâ€™t even complete the turn without entering the crosswalks. Certain traffic lights in town need to be changed to allow pedestrians to cross while all traffic is stopped. Natalie Fisher Ellsworth Place Palo Alto
Compost plans Editor, The NIMBY stance of the two writers against the proposed anaerobic digestion plant (Letters, Jan. 7) is especially ironic since the facility they want to stop would process waste from their very own backyards. Without the facility, the considerable volume of yard trimmings produced in Palo Alto must be trucked to Gilroy since our landfill is closing. The proposed facility would be located next to the existing wastewater treatment plant and would require repurposing of about 8 percent of the land currently slated for the 126-acre Byxbee Park, or about 0.4 percent of the 1,940-acre Palo Alto Baylands. It would use completely enclosed processes to convert yard and food waste into compost that could be distributed in Palo Alto parks and gardens, as well as methane gas that can generate electricity and revenue for the city. The anaerobic processes could also treat sewage sludge that currently is incinerated at the 40-year-old waste treatment plant, which undoubtedly would improve the air quality over Byxbee Park. Palo Alto voters should get to decide what is the most responsible and ecological approach, which is why Iâ€™m supporting the petition to put the anaerobic project on the November ballot. Karen Porter Greer Road Palo Alto
Composting initiative Editor, In response to letters from Emily Renzel and Enid Pearson:
â€œWhere do I sign?â€? â€œThanks for doing this.â€? These are the responses I get every time I am collecting signatures for the composting initiative. The support is tremendous. I volunteer because I create waste that can be used to provide material for healthy soil and growth. I volunteer because I want my city to be responsible for its waste and to reuse it efficiently in the service of the community. I volunteer because sending our waste to Gilroy landfill creates pollution. The research of the Blue Ribbon Task Force and the current feasibility study appointed by the city will tell us how to proceed with providing a composting facility. This initiative is to re-purpose 10 acres of land that is currently part of the landfill so that Palo Alto can continue to compost material within the city. The most realistic site for this purpose is adjacent to the sewage plant. In the current climate of growing awareness and responsibility for the environment there is no alternative to this course of action. Elaine Elbizri PA Green Energy Initiative Greer Road Palo Alto
YOUR TURN The Palo Alto Weekly encourages comments on our coverage or on issues of local interest.
What do you think? What if any precautions have you taken due to the recent wave of robberies in Palo Alto? Submit letters to the editor of up to 250 words to email@example.com. Include your name, address and daytime phone number so we can reach you. We reserve the right to edit contributions for length, objectionable content, libel and factual errors known to us. Anonymous letters will generally not be accepted. You can also participate in our popular interactive online forum, Town Square, at our community website at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Read blogs, discuss issues, ask questions or express opinions with you neighbors any time, day or night. Submitting a letter to the editor or guest opinion constitutes a granting of permission to the Palo Alto Weekly and Embarcadero Publishing Co. to also publish it online, including in our online archives and as a post on Town Square. For more information contact Editor Jay Thorwaldson or Online Editor Tyler Hanley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 650-326-8210.
SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE
by Carol Blitzer
Faced with the prospect of death, four people shift priorities while embracing life
From top left, clockwise: Ken DeLeon, Ken Byk (with his dog Riley), Sue Rinsky and Ellie Guardino are among the survivors of life-threatening illnesses and/or events.
â€˜You canâ€™t live in fear. You have to live every day ...â€™ ELLIE GUARDINO
EMEMBER THE OLD JOKE ABOUT THE MAN WHO WAS ASKED WHAT he would do if he had only a year to live? He said heâ€™d stay married to his wife because every day felt like a year. For people who have gone through a near-death experience or received a diagnosis that could shorten their life, the question of how oneâ€™s life would change in the face of death goes well beyond a punchline. Researchers have pondered the outcomes of near-death experiences for decades, especially since an early study appeared in the medical journal The Lancet in 1991: The researchers found that people who have had a brush with death tend to come out more altruistic, less materialistic and
less fearful of dying. Not only do people who have near-death experiences have beneficial outcomes, but so do people (such as ER nurses) who witness them, notes Ryan Rominger, a faculty member at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto in a fall 2009 article in the Journal of Near Death Studies. People report greater spirituality and life changes, an increased sense of purpose and meaning in life, and greater compassion for people and the environment. Though the numbers of people who have faced down death and lived to tell about it are low, four local residents who have cheated death agree with the research. Ken Byk of Menlo Park found his faith strength-
ened after two massive heart attacks and an outof-body experience. Ken DeLeon, a Palo Alto resident, and Ellie Guardino, of Menlo Park, both express a greater passion for living a meaningful life. And, they became less afraid of death. And Palo Alto resident Sue Rinsky has devoted her time to volunteering with nonprofits and her synagogue following a leukemia diagnosis. They sat down with the Weekly to share their stories.
â€˜Life is precious.â€™ KEN BYK
en Byk turned 52 last April and ran San Franciscoâ€™s Bay to Breakers 12K race two weeks later. Over the years heâ€™d (continued on page 16)
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A community health education series from Stanford Hospital & Clinics
Video-assisted Lung Cancer Surgery: Small Incisions Translate Into Big Gains For Pain Reduction and Recovery Speed Bonnie Borton had already bested one kind of cancer twice â€“ lymphoma, the kind that emerges in the bodyâ€™s lymphatic system. Sheâ€™d gone through chemo twice, lost her hair and moved back into the regular rhythm of her life. Her oncologist kept a close eye on her.
And now she was 78, not an age where the body can easily handle the traditional surgical approach to remove tumors from the lung: Long incision, ribs spread, and sometimes broken, muscles split apart, all in a procedure that can mean significant pain and several months of recovery. Borton, however, was offered by her Stanford physicians a minimally invasive option not available until relatively recently, supported by advances in technology and human expertise: a video-assisted lobectomy, or VATS lobectomy. Surgeons would make just three, one to two inch incisions into her torso and, guided by a high grade video camera, remove her tumor. Not only would it be gone, but sheâ€™d probably be out of the hospital within a few
â€œI liked Dr. Shrager the minute I met him, and with my experience, Iâ€™m a pretty good judge.â€? â€“ Bonnie Borton, patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics The chest, said Stanfordâ€™s Chief of Thoracic Surgery, Joseph Shrager, has been one of the last frontiers for minimally invasive surgery. The chest is filled with critical structures like each of the pulmonary arteries that carry half the bodyâ€™s blood flow. â€œIf you nick a muscle around the gall bladder during a minimally invasive approach, thatâ€™s probably going to be okay,â€? he said. â€œThe downside of having trouble in the chest is much, much greater.â€?
Focused Skills The field also includes surgery for esophageal cancer and other cancers of the chest. Nor had the medical profession developed, until the last two decades, the kind of training that produced surgeons who specialized in the chestâ€™s special geography. Before that training emerged cardiothoracic sur-
geons â€œwere basically heart surgeons who did a little thoracic on the side and didnâ€™t really have a dedicated interest in the lungs or in cancer,â€? Shrager said. Now there are about 20 hospitals in the U.S.â€”Stanford among themâ€”where separate groups of surgeons specialize in thoracic cancers and also carry on thoracic surgery-focused teaching and research. Shragerâ€™s special For, Bonnie Borton, 80, standard lung surgery would have been a difficult interests include miniprocedure. It requires an incision several inches long and spreading of the mally invasive techribs, which can mean a great deal of pain and a long recovery. And sheâ€™s a niques to replace those woman who values her independence. traditional operations whose long incisions The post-surgical pain is more than make them dangerous for older and a question of discomfort; it can create sicker patients and whose after-effects dangerous complications. â€œPain makes can linger long after surgery. The it difficult to cough and if you canâ€™t incisions used for the decades-old procough after a lung operation, you have cedures are â€œthe most painful in any the tendency to develop pneumonia,â€? surgery,â€? Shrager said. â€œYou divide Shrager said. major muscles, you have to spread the ribs and no matter how careful you Many people who have lung surgery are, the nerves that run between the will also need chemotherapy, and that ribs are sensitive to manipulation.â€? needs to be started as soon after surgery as possible. â€œMinimally invasive procedures mean a quicker recovery time,â€? Shrager said, â€œand in some cases, the faster you can get chemo started, the more likely you are to have a good outcome.â€?
Norbert von der Groeben
Two years after her second occurrence of lymphoma, however, a scan showed some very tiny lesions in her lungs. She opted not to have a needle biopsy, a calculated risk that left her not at all surprised when another scan several months later revealed one particularly suspicious tumor. â€œI knew at the time I was rolling the dice,â€? she said.
days and back to her usual activities in a few weeks.
Norbert von der Groeben
One of the great joys in Bortonâ€™s life is her garden. To help it flourish, she needs to keep at it: Raking, watering, removing debris and harvesting. Because her Stanford surgeon, an expert in minimally invasive thoracic surgery, was able to remove her cancerous lung lesion with just three small incisions, she was back in her garden very quickly after her operation. Page 14ĂŠUĂŠ>Â˜Ă•>Ă€ĂžĂŠĂ“ÂŁ]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁÂŁĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?Ăž
What You Should Know About Lung Cancer Âˇ Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Cigarette smoking is the cause of most lung cancers, but approximately 10% of lung cancers occur in non-smokers.
Diagnosis Âˇ Symptoms can include persistent coughing, coughing up blood, hoarseness, chest pain, wheezing, lung infection, or weight loss. A chest X-ray or CT scan may determine the first indications of illness. Âˇ PET scan, endobronchial ultrasound or mediastinoscopy, or brain MRI may be needed to track the possible spread of the disease to the lymph nodes in the chest or to distant sites in the body.
Treatments Âˇ A lobectomy is the most common operation and involves the removal of an entire lobe of the lung. In most hospitals, it is still performed with a large incision, rib-spreading procedure called a thoracotomy. At Stanford
â€œI liked Dr. Shrager the minute I met him,â€? Borton said, â€œand with my experience, Iâ€™m a pretty good judge. Also, Iâ€™d already gotten on the Internet and checked him out. I also knew that my oncologist would bend over backwards to make sure I had the very best doctors. I feel very fortunate.â€?
Shrager and his partners at Stanford are a select team. They are among an estimated 50 physicians in the U.S. trained in a particular technique called sleeve lobectomy. It allows a surgeon to remove one of a lungâ€™s lobes and then reconnect the remaining lobe or lobes. Itâ€™s another way to reduce the risks of lung surgeryâ€”by avoiding the removal of the entire lung. Shrager has performed more than 2,000 lung lobectomies in his career. His three thoracic surgeon colleagues at Stanford bring their collective experience to at least double that number.
â€œItâ€™s like putting your eye right into the chest, right next to the things youâ€™re dissecting.â€? â€“ Joseph Shrager, Chief, Thoracic Surgery and video-assisted lobectomy expert, Stanford Hospital & Clinics The VATS procedure Shrager used to treat Bortonâ€™s lung cancer isnâ€™t appropriate for every patient, he said. The cancer must be in its earliest stages, which means only one in three patients may benefit. â€œWhat you need is a tumor that is embedded in the lung tissue, but not stuck to anything or growing or spreading into other structures,â€? he said.
For more information about Stanfordâ€™s thoracic surgery program, visit: cancer.stanford.edu/thoracicsurgery or call 650.721.2086. Join us at stanfordhospital.org/socialmedia.
allow for important flexibility.
Surgical nurse Wilberto Gutierrez, RN, holds the long wand that holds a fiberoptic scope for the video camera that enables video-assisted thoracic surgery. The scope allows Stanford physician Joseph Shrager to work inside the lungs and chest with sharp and detailed visibility. Just three small incisions are needed: one for the video viewer and two for the instruments that carry the tiny removal tools. Tumors must be small enough to remove with this minimally invasive approach and they cannot be attached, growing or spreading into other body structures. This type of surgery allows recovery in weeks, not the months typical for large incision surgery. The smaller photo shows a nearly-life size view of two sizes of video lenses.
â€œHe told me heâ€™d like to use this approach,â€? Borton said. â€œHe said he couldnâ€™t guarantee that heâ€™d be able to do it and that if he couldnâ€™t, that heâ€™d have to spread my ribs.â€? As it had before, Bortonâ€™s luck held. In an operation lasting just two hours, Shrager was able to remove the upper lobe of her lung, where the 1.3 cm tumor was, and all the draining lymph nodes, with the VATS technique. The optics that guided him mean the view is magnified so â€œitâ€™s like putting your eye right into the chest, right next to the things youâ€™re dissecting,â€? Shrager said. The tools he manipulated to cut, cauterize and suture are now articulated, like the human wrist, to
Norbert von der Groeben
and a few other medical centers, surgeons have the option of VATS, video-assisted thoracic surgery, which is completed with three small incisions and without spreading the ribs. Âˇ A pneumonectomy removes an entire lung and is considered the most drastic approach. Some patients do well with this, but it can mean longterm disability because of shortness of breath. Âˇ A sleeve lobectomy is used when cancer is found at the origin of the airway to a lobe. It is the most complex type of surgery but may avoid the more injurious pneumonectomy. Âˇ A segmentectomy means just a portion of a lobe is removed and can be appropriate for some smaller tumors.
Research underway at Stanford is exploring methods for an even more detailed view of cancerâ€™s presence in the lymph nodes nearest the lungs. The Division of Thoracic Surgery is also investigating molecular aspects of lung cancer that may lead to future blood tests that could speed the diagnosis of lung cancer and build treatments that are less severe than chemotherapy and surgery.
Speedy Recovery Bortonâ€™s quick surgery was followed by a quick recovery: Shrager operated on a Wednesday; Borton was released home three days later on a Saturday. On Sunday morning, Borton woke up and went into her kitchen full with several family members and friends whoâ€™d arrived to help care for her during her recovery. â€œI recall walking around the kitchen, giving each one of them a hug and they were looking at me like, â€˜God, this woman just had major surgery!â€™ In another three days, just a week after her surgery, Borton decided she wanted to buy a replacement lounge chair. A few hours of shopping later, with the chair found and ordered, her companion asked
whether Borton thought it might be a good idea to go home. â€œI guess so,â€? Borton replied. That quick recovery was important for Borton in another way, too. â€œIâ€™m a pretty independent woman and I donâ€™t like to be a burden to my children,â€? she said. Now, three small scars are the only marks of her VATS surgery.
â€œI was walking around the kitchen and I was giving each one of them a hug and they were looking at me like, â€˜God, this woman just had major surgery!â€™â€? â€“ Bonnie Borton, patient, Stanford Hospital & Clinics Not exercising the way she once did, but perfectly capable of doing most of those things that are the great pleasures of her life â€“ taking care of the home sheâ€™s lived in for almost 50 years and tending to its garden, whose fruit trees and flowers she attentively nurtures. And, every day, she walks for at least 30 minutes, usually encountering a neighbor with a dog. She loves to read, as does her cat, apparently. As soon as she sits down with book in hand, Tippy leaps up onto her lap. She doesnâ€™t think much about her illnesses. â€œI donâ€™t worry about it. I can only live today,â€? she said. Nor is she thinking about any big moves. â€œIâ€™m where I need to be. My husband was treated at Stanford. And Iâ€™ve had enough to do with Stanford to feel very comfortable right here. Iâ€™m happy to be where I am.â€?
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 â€œAmericaâ€™s Best Hospitals,â€? 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 Childrenâ€™s Hospital at Stanford. For more information, visit stanfordmedicine.org. *>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ĂžĂŠUĂŠ>Â˜Ă•>Ă€ĂžĂŠĂ“ÂŁ]ĂŠĂ“Ă¤ÂŁÂŁĂŠU Page 15
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Second chance (continued from page 13)
completed numerous charity runs and was fit and athletic. Moments after crossing the finishing line, he suffered a major heart attack. Luckily for him, an ER nurse and an anesthesiologist were nearby and performed CPR for 20 minutes until he regained a pulse. Later that day, at the hospital, he suffered a second heart attack. Tests showed 99 percent blockage of his main arteries, and he underwent quadruple bypass surgery days later. Byk (pronounced â€œBikeâ€?) has no recollection of that day or the previous one â€” no memory of stopping by to pick up his race-registration materials or dropping off his dog at a friendâ€™s. He didnâ€™t even know what he was wearing that day until he saw the photo snapped as he crossed the finishing line. What he does recall is having an out-of-the-body experience during which he frantically searched for a person in charge who could help a man in an orange shirt who was lying on the ground. He caught someoneâ€™s attention and started taking him over to the downed man, only to realize that man was himself. Six months had passed when Byk sat down to talk to the Weekly about his heart attack, surgery and recovery, and what has changed in his life. â€œOne of the powerful things Iâ€™ve learned is I have an amazing group of friends in San Francisco and the area here,â€? he said. Friends â€œtook over my business and my dog, my parents, my life. They not only helped with the practical aspects of my life but with my emotional wellbeing. They lifted my spirits.â€? The first task his friends undertook was locating Bykâ€™s dog. â€œFortunately, I gave an emergency contact. No one takes that stuff seriously,â€? he said. That emergencycontact friendâ€™s wife went to Bykâ€™s Menlo Park home, opened his computer and found the e-mail list from his 50th birthday party. She â€œsent out a blast e-mail saying, â€˜Ken had a heart attack: Does anyone know where his car is, or his dog, Riley?â€™â€? Another friend â€” who lived in San Francisco and worked in Novato â€” drove down to the Peninsula to make sure Bykâ€™s paintingcompany employees were paid. He also contacted customers and told them about the medical emergency and minded the business for a few weeks. Bykâ€™s elderly parents drove up from Palm Desert to be with him. â€œI was moved beyond words when I realized what my friends did for my parents,â€? including finding them housing. â€œEveryone just adopted my family.â€? Post-heart attack, Byk did some soul-searching. A practicing Christian, he felt a strengthening of his faith. Defying the survival odds and â€œhaving an out-of-body experience while lying pulseless has left me no doubt about having a spirit, and a profound sense that I was saved, for whatever reason. â€œThis is why I feel so compelled to do good works and to make a differ-
ence in peopleâ€™s lives â€” things that give life much greater meaning. â€œLife is precious.â€? One way in which Byk is trying to help others is through a San Francisco nonprofit that helps at-risk youth get ready for work and life, called New Door Ventures. For 10 years, Byk has served on the board and helped with the vision and operations of two for-profit businesses affiliated with New Door, a T-shirt and embroidery business and a bike shop. But now he wants to become more directly involved with youth. So he sat down and conducted interviews with 10 kids to prepare some of the teens for a three-month internship with a law firm. â€œI was blown away. I asked one, â€˜What are your greatest strengths?â€™ He said, â€˜I donâ€™t know.â€™ A 6-year-old in Palo Alto would know. â€œThese kids were so on fire because someone was taking an interest in them, many of them for the first time in their lives. â€œYou just want to spend every day, every week there.â€? Heâ€™s also become a strong advocate for educating the world about hands-only CPR. He speaks often about the technique, which does not require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. At a recent walk sponsored by the American Heart Association, he spoke before 5,000 people, introducing a high-school group singing, â€œStayinâ€™ Alive.â€? That was no coincidence, or even a play on words. The tempo of the song sets the pace for the 100 compressions per minute required. The technique requires 125 pounds of pressure. â€œThe petite M.D. anesthesiologist broke three of my ribs doing CPR. My heart surgeon said, â€˜Be thankful for those broken ribsâ€™ because that saved my life,â€? Byk said. And heâ€™s quick to recommend that anyone with a family history of heart disease get checked out before a heart attack. Although his parents are in their 80s, his grandfather died at age 51 from cardiac arrest. The most obvious change he made was the pledge to never run a major race alone. â€œStatistically, of those who have public heart attacks and are saved by CPR, 6 percent survive. If Iâ€™d been hiking in Tahoe a month later, at a higher elevation, alone, I would have dropped dead,â€? he said. Late last year, he brought his story to Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, where he usually attends The CafĂŠ, a â€œrelaxed, contemporary worshipâ€? service where he can drop by in a T-shirt and flip flops. â€œIf one in 3,500 takes something from my story, itâ€™s worth it. Thatâ€™s why I want to share it.â€? Byk said that after what heâ€™s gone through, heâ€™s â€œnever going to say no to anything. â€œIâ€™m not going to turn down speaking opportunities, dinner invitations. Itâ€™s just grabbing everything that life has to offer. â€œI donâ€™t think twice. I go and do.â€?
en DeLeon, a 38-year-old Realtor with Keller Williams Realty of Palo Alto, has already seen more than his share of
personal tragedy. When he was 15 his 17-year-old sister committed suicide. At 26, while walking with his dad on the sidewalk in Boca Raton, Fla., he was seriously injured when a drug-crazed driver hit him at 40 mph. And at 35, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Never has his positive attitude wavered. He recently completed a memoir, â€œWhy Do Bad Things Happen to Sexy People?â€? â€œLife is dynamic, chaotic and amoral,â€? he wrote. â€œWhile we cannot entirely control circumstances, we can control our perception of and reaction to circumstances.â€? DeLeon had recently graduated from Boalt Law School and was visiting his folks in Florida when the car came out of nowhere, slamming into (and crushing) his right leg and throwing him through the windshield to land in the passenger seat. The driver, high on a drug cocktail that included Ketamine and amphetamines, yelled at him to get out while beating him with his fist. Then the driver stopped and dumped DeLeon out of the car. Seven months later, after a month in a hospital and six months of physical therapy, DeLeon acknowledged that heâ€™d never surf, or play basketball, racquetball or tennis. But â€œI can still run and walk fine,â€? he said 12 years later. Beyond healing â€” and confronting his brush with death â€” DeLeon pondered the purpose of life. â€œBefore the accident, my purpose in life was happiness. I wanted to be happy, to make friends and family happy as well,â€? he said. He soon changed his life purpose to what he calls â€œevolution, to maximize my potential, to evolve to the highest level possible.â€? Even sadness, he said, will lead to greater wisdom and evolution. â€œI see the value in sadness and tragedy,â€? he said, adding â€œIâ€™m happy a lot of times, but happiness is a by-product of a life where Iâ€™m always growing and learning.â€? DeLeon had only dated his future wife, Megan, a University of California, San Diego student, a few times before his accident. When she caught a news account of his accident, she flew to Florida. After she returned to school, the two spoke daily on the phone. â€œThe accident made us very truthful, very vulnerable. There was no need for a faĂ§ade. It was a great time to form a lifelong relationship,â€? he said. Two years later they were married. They now have four children under the age of 7 and have been married for 10 years. DeLeon eventually took a job with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a law firm in Palo Alto, and worked there two years. â€œI was good at being a lawyer (but) I did not wake up with passion. Since over half our waking hours are work, I wanted work to be fulfilling,â€? he said. â€œI realized life can end at any moment. I wanted to live the life I wanted now and not wait.â€? Instead he chose real estate, where he said heâ€™s involved with the largest transaction of his clientsâ€™ lives. â€œYou really impact them, become
IF ITâ€™S NOT IN THIS VAULT, ITâ€™S NOT SAFE.
Changing how they live Faced with a premature death, many choose to bring balance to their lives
their friends. By sharing expertise you can help them achieve their dreams,â€? he said. DeLeon said he agrees that neardeath has made him more altruistic, less materialistic and less fearful of death â€” especially the latter. â€œWith such a heightened awareness of death, Iâ€™ve gained a greater appreciation of life. I donâ€™t fear death; I fear living a mediocre life. I donâ€™t want a life filled with regrets. I try and make every moment matter because I realize it could be my last,â€? he said. Soon after the accident, he stopped what he called â€œspectatingâ€?: Instead of watching the TV show â€œFriendsâ€? he hangs out with friends. â€œThe greatest crime against life is boredom. We have only one life. It could end at any moment,â€? he said. DeLeonâ€™s positive view was tested once more three years ago when he developed a softball-sized tumor on the same right leg that was smashed in the accident. His doctor told him his lymphoma correlated heavily with the earlier trauma, involving a lymph node that drains into the same leg. Treated with chemotherapy and daily radiation, DeLeon said he was prepared for the cancer and whatever outcome prevailed. â€œI resolved no matter what to be confident and optimistic. My attitude would make chances of surviving higher,â€? he said. To keep his spirits up when his hair was falling out, he invited friends over for a head-shaving party. He sported his Mohawk for at least two days. And he continued to work, now as a Realtor. â€œI felt if I didnâ€™t dwell upon the cancer Iâ€™d feel more normal and happier,â€? he said. However, at 35, he lacked life insurance and was con-
onfronting death can be compared to a person with vertigo standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon: sheer terror. But, according to Dr. David Spiegel, a Stanford University psychiatry professor who has been studying women with advanced breast cancer, facing death can be a period of growth. Research on the effects of stress and support on breast-cancer patients has been ongoing since the 1970s under Dr. Irv Yalom, who conducted support groups for women with breast cancer that had spread, or metasticized. His concern was whether the â€œsupportâ€? groups would actually demoralize the women, Spiegel said. Instead, he found they â€œremoralizedâ€? them. â€œThey faced decisions about how to live their lives,â€? he said. Spiegel has interviewed women who have changed their lives. He said a woman who had been a frustrated poet all her life published several books of poetry by the time she died.
David Spiegel, Stanford University psychiatry professor who studies the relationship between stress and cancer growth, stands in the foyer of the Stanford Cancer Center. Another quit her job to spend time with her 5-year-old child. cerned that without his earnings his wife and children would be unable to stay in their Palo Alto house. DeLeonâ€™s positive attitude impacted both his health and his business; he sold $30 million in houses in three months. â€œI told my clients I was beating cancer and together we would destroy the housing market and successfully sell their houses. People understood and trusted me,â€? he said. His tumor was wiped out in about nine months. â€œNow thereâ€™s an 80 percent chance it wonâ€™t come back. If it does, I will face it with the same positive attitude.â€? Since his accident â€” and bout with cancer â€” DeLeon has volunteered on the speaking circuit, appearing at Jordan and Terman middle schools in Palo Alto and throughout Silicon Valley. â€œI tried to convey many lessons with the overriding theme: Although you cannot control life events, what you do with that event is within your power. â€œI want to leave as much of a positive legacy as I can so I can feel my life has meaning,â€? he said. DeLeon has chosen not to hate the driver who wreaked such havoc on his young life, instead directing his feelings toward recovery. â€œBefore I could do 10,000 things. Now I can do 9,000. Iâ€™m going to focus on what I can do. â€œLife is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you will fail, you will always be correct,â€? he said. â€œWeâ€™re all going to die. You want to make every day matter.â€?
t age 46 Sue Rinsky was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Although she had no symptoms, a blood test was
A journalist had planned in her will to help young journalists. After her diagnosis, she decided to implement her idea before she died, he said. â€œâ€™Why start after Iâ€™m gone?â€™â€? she told him. Instead, she got involved in setting up the program and meeting women to help launch their careers. A Silicon Valley engineer said sheâ€™d always wanted to be an artist. â€œIâ€™m not going to die without doing what I want to do,â€? she told him before she quit her job, went to art school and taught art. But not everyone makes a radical shift. â€œSome who feel life is pretty balanced will continue doing what theyâ€™re doing,â€? Spiegel said. â€œA big part is having the courage to face that: â€˜My life is not the same, but maybe I can make it better,â€™â€? he said. Dr. Spiegel thinks often about his own life-balance, weighing his commitment to career and work at Stanford with family. â€œIâ€™ve lost both parents in the last few years. I took time to deal with those losses, spent time with my sister. Earlier I might have worried about all that work to do. ... â€œIâ€™m behind on a number of projects. Iâ€™ll get them done, but Iâ€™m not losing sleep over it.â€? N â€” Carol Blitzer odd enough for her doctor to send her for a bone-marrow biopsy. â€œIt was a shock. There was no cancer in my family. I was 46 and always very healthy. It was pretty upsetting,â€? she said recently. She was advised that without a bonemarrow transplant, sheâ€™d have three to five years to live. That was in 1991. Rinsky spent the first year seeking a bone-marrow match but was unsuccessful because of an odd antigen that she had inherited from her mother. Without the transplant, doctors had little to offer in terms of treatment. She started on Interferon, which she described as â€œa horrid drug,â€? which led to bone and joint pain, migraines and â€œa tiredness that sleep doesnâ€™t help.â€? From the start, Rinsky was as open as she could be about her health with her three children, who were 10, 13 and 14. And she powered on, doing what sheâ€™d been doing before. â€œI was still room parent, team parent. I was PTA president. I tried to give them as normal a life as we could,â€? she said. â€œI donâ€™t know if stubbornness helps or outlook. I didnâ€™t want my children to remember me as some unhappy, bitter invalid and their childhood all screwed up.â€? While Rinsky was continuing to live her life, doing what she wanted to do, her husband kept asking what she hadnâ€™t done and where sheâ€™d like to go. An avid cook, she mentioned that sheâ€™d always wanted to do a Cordon Bleu cooking course. So he whisked her off to London for a week. And her son was an avid fan of Phantom of the Opera, which was (continued on next page)
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only playing in New York at the time. â€œIt was kind of an extravagance to take a 10-year-old to Broadway,â€? she said. But they treasured the experience. All the while, Rinsky held on to the hope that she would defy the odds. â€œWhen they told me the statistics, I just said, â€˜These are statistics. Thereâ€™s no reason to assume Iâ€™m at the bad end. All I have to do is stay healthy enough till they find a cure or something better,â€™â€? she said. So Rinsky continued her family involvement, travel and volunteer work, including serving on the boards of her synagogue, Congregation Beth Am, and of the local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She raised $40,000 for the latter. And for 16 years she continued to take Interferon, stopping only after researchers developed a more-accurate blood test, a vast improvement on the quarterly bone-marrow biopsies sheâ€™d endured. Over the years she had developed neuropathy, a sort of numbness of the feet, that she feared would ultimately put her in a wheelchair. Although sheâ€™s been off the Interferon for several years, she still has the neuropathy but it hasnâ€™t gotten worse. After living with a â€œdeath sentenceâ€? for 20 years, Rinsky has had to adjust her thinking to accept her illness as chronic, not fatal.
â€œWhen I was diagnosed, I worried that I wouldnâ€™t be around for any high school graduations, much less other significant events in my childrenâ€™s lives,â€? she said. But sheâ€™s seen her kids well beyond graduations to marriages and parenthood. â€œItâ€™s like God knew I needed to hang around to plan weddings, holiday celebrations and be a grandparent!â€?
llie Guardino was dressing for a womenâ€™s cancer-center gala in 2008, checking in the mirror that no straps were showing in back, when she spotted a small mole that she thought had changed. The fair-skinned Guardino, a breast-cancer specialist on the Stanford Medical School faculty, went every six to 12 months for skin checks. But in just a few months that mole had evolved to Stage 3 melanoma â€” meaning her lymph nodes were involved and there was a high likelihood of the cancer having spread. Guardino was 43, married to a cardiologist and the mother of children aged 5, 8 and 10. Suddenly she was confronted with the possibility that she might not see them grow up. Guardino, who earned an M.D./ Ph.D. from Georgetown University, had earlier studied in Southern California with Dr. Don Morton, who had pioneered sentinel lymphnode screening. He performed her surgery, removing 31 additional nodes, and leaving her with drains in her back and under arm for nine
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weeks. â€œI spent a lot of time with my husband trying to decide what to do next with my own health and with my life,â€? she said. At first, she thought sheâ€™d have to make major changes to her life. But she reflected upon what she had accomplished in her life, the many patients she had cared for and the research sheâ€™d done. â€œI donâ€™t think I could ever change my work. This is who I am. Iâ€™m not going to be happy doing something that isnâ€™t that passionate and important to me, to make this world a better place.â€? The first year, Guardino went through treatment â€” first surgery, followed by a year of Interferon. She echoes Rinskyâ€™s experience with the drug: â€œIt was like having the worst flu you can imagine every day for a year.â€? And for someone who hadnâ€™t let a day go by without exercising, Guardino struggled to walk up a flight of stairs. â€œIt was amazing how hard it was on my body,â€? she said. But she managed to do treatments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and still recover enough to see patients on Tuesday and Thursday â€” with occasional absences. â€œWhat was remarkable, not only did I maintain my practice, my patients were committed to being there. â€œThese women were amazing. I had been there for them during their treatment; they also wanted to be there for me.â€?
During that year, Guardinoâ€™s work was â€œa godsend. I donâ€™t think I could have made it through a year of treatment if I didnâ€™t have that purpose, that drive and that passion and that support. By helping others youâ€™re helping yourself.â€? With support from family and her larger community, mainly at St. Raymondâ€™s Parish and St. Josephâ€™s School where her kids attend, Guardino survived the hellish treatment year â€” learning a lot along the way about patient care and the value of support. â€œUntil youâ€™ve gone through those things yourself you canâ€™t fully understand. Now the kind of advice I can give to my patients is remarkable,â€? she said. â€œThereâ€™s no question that the psychological aspect was incredibly challenging,â€? she said. Once recovered, she thought a lot about the importance of having better treatments. â€œYou realize how horrible the experience is to try to do everything to save your life. Thereâ€™s still a significant risk that this disease will come back. ... We need better drugs and less toxic drugs,â€? she said. Guardino now is limiting patient care and spending most of her energy doing global research at Genentech, working with the FDA to develop new treatments for breast cancer. â€œYouâ€™d think I would work on melanoma, but thereâ€™s lots of people working on melanoma. â€œBreast cancer is a passion. ... I can do a lot of good for this other
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disease that Iâ€™ve been passionate about for a long time.â€? Her Genentech project concerns chemotherapy that is directed straight at the tumor. â€œI was excited about an opportunity to work on something that I think will be important not only for breast cancer but all kinds of cancer, a new treatment approach that doesnâ€™t have as many side effects.â€? Sheâ€™s also developing a website (www.breastcancerbasics.org) that offers information for breast-cancer patients to become better advocates for themselves. She has seen patients who â€œmight not have had the kind of excellence in care that they get in an academic center like ours,â€? who donâ€™t have access to key information about treatment options. Her bout with cancer has made her bolder, Guardino said. â€œIâ€™ve always been a strong person, but even more Iâ€™m more likely to speak my mind and not feel scared to take things head on, in all aspects of my life, and also try to empower other women to do the same,â€? she said. The possibility of recurrence, or metastasis, of melanoma is a constant presence in Guardinoâ€™s life. When it recurs, she said, itâ€™s usually as lung or brain cancer. She has interval scans â€” PET, CAT, MRI â€” done along with blood work and checks in with her oncologist regularly. â€œI call myself a â€˜limited Stage 3.â€™ If you look at all comers for Stage 3, the five-year survival is about 50 percent. ... Iâ€™m always the optimist that Iâ€™ll be in the more favorable category.â€? But even feisty Guardino sometimes succumbs to mild panic. One week she had a headache that lasted five days. She was going to call her doctor after a week. Still, she said, â€œYou canâ€™t live in fear. You have to live every day and be with your family, love your family, take that trip.â€? N Associate Editor Carol Blitzer can be e-mailed at cblitzer@ paweekly.com.
About the cover: On the cover: Portraits of (from top left, clockwise) Ken DeLeon by Veronica Weber; Sue Rinsky, Ken Byk and Ellie Guardino by Vivian Wong. Cover design by Shannon Corey.
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Arts & Entertainment A weekly guide to music, theater, art, movies and more, edited by Rebecca Wallace
Photos by Veronica Weber
Clockwise from left: LaDoris Cordell plays an emotional tribute to Billie Holiday at the Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto; Cordell playing; a four-hand piece played by Cordell and Josephine â€œJodiâ€? Gandolfi; the pair in close concentration.
A mission of music Local musicians aim to raise awareness about African-American composers with a benefit concert by Rebecca Wallace
hereâ€™s a special kind of harmony that comes from sharing a piano bench. As LaDoris Cordell and Josephine â€œJodiâ€? Gandolfi play a duet arrangement of Betty Jackson Kingâ€™s â€œSpring Intermezzoâ€? â€” four hands, one piano â€” they often breathe in time. The piece is gentle, with some delicate dissonance sprinkled in, and Cordellâ€™s hands chase Gandolfiâ€™s down the keyboard. Their shoulders lean together amiably. At the end, they look at each other and smile. â€œI can hear her breathing,â€? Cordell says. While the piece, part of Kingâ€™s â€œFour Seasonal
Sketches,â€? was written for one person, Gandolfi has arranged it for a pair. This way, the longtime Menlo Park piano teacher gets to team up with her student and friend. Itâ€™s been a fruitful musical partnership. Cordell, a former Palo Alto City Council member and retired judge, has been studying piano with Gandolfi for six years. A few years ago, Gandolfi, Cordell and other students including Deanne Tucker began exploring music by African-American composers. They knew some spirituals and jazz, but were shocked to realize how few black composers they knew, especially of classical music. (continued on page 20)
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Arts & Entertainment
(continued from page 19)
Sitting in the theater at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, Cordell and King list examples. William Grant Still, a pioneering symphony composer. Betty Jackson King, who wrote and arranged spirituals and other vocal and instrumental music. Valerie Capers, a New York composer of cantatas, song cycles and pop and jazz songs. And these are just for starters. â€œI had never heard of these composers â€” as a black person growing up with a black piano teacher,â€? Cordell says.
On Jan. 30, Cordell, Gandolfi and Tucker will present their third concert of music by African-American composers, together with several other musicians: soprano and East Palo Alto native Yolanda Rhodes, clarinetist Carol Somersille, violinist Susan C. Brown, and cellist Victoria Ehrlich. The 3 p.m. performance will be at the Eastside Prep theater, with all proceeds benefitting the schoolâ€™s music department. â€œWeâ€™re on a mission: to bring these talented composers to the world,â€? Cordell says. The program encompasses 11 composers and one world premiere. Composer Joshua McGhee, 24,
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NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING of the City of Palo Alto Historic Resources Board Please be advised the Historic Resources Board shall conduct a meeting at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 in the Civic Center, Council Chambers, 1st Floor, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, California. Any interested persons may appear and be heard on these items. NEW BUSINESS: Public Hearings Major Project 285 Quarry Road [10PLN-00398]: Request by Stanford Hospital and Clinics on behalf of The Board of Trustees for the Leland Stanford Junior University for Historic Resources Board review of exterior renovations to Hoover Pavilion, a component of the Stanford University Medical Center Facilities Renewal and Replacement Project. Existing Zone District: PF (Public Facilities). OTHER BUSINESS: CertiďŹ ed Local Government Report 2009-2010 Review: HRB and staff review of the CertiďŹ ed Local Government Report 2009-2010 submitted to the State OfďŹ ce of Historic Preservation in December 2010. Questions. If interested parties have any questions regarding the above applications, please contact the Planning Division at (650) 329-2441. The ďŹ les relating to these items are available for inspection weekdays between the hours of 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and staff reports will be available for inspection at 2:00 PM the Friday preceding the hearing. The City of Palo Alto does not discriminate against individuals with disabilities. To request accommodations to access City facilities, services or programs, to participate at public meetings, or to learn more about the Cityâ€™s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), please contact the Cityâ€™s ADA Coordinator at 650.329.2550 (voice) or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Steven Turner, Advance Planning Manager
who recently earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in music with a composition emphasis at California State University, East Bay, will premiere his work â€œWhere Freedom Rings.â€? Itâ€™s a setting of his own text for soprano, piano, violin and cello. McGhee has been writing melodies as long as he can remember. He started piano lessons late, in the ninth grade, but before then he had already become fascinated by â€œFĂźr Eliseâ€? and taught himself the piece by ear. â€œI donâ€™t know. It just was kind of natural,â€? the affable McGhee said in a recent phone interview. â€œBy my senior year in high school, I had about 11 instruments checked out to me. I played every single one â€” not well, but I played them. ... I would mess around with it, learn the fingering.â€? McGhee now writes orchestral pieces: sometimes â€œreally artsy symphonic work,â€? sometimes â€œmusic thatâ€™s more like film scores.â€? â€œWhere Freedom Ringsâ€? is his first commissioned work. Gandolfi, Cordell and Rhodes met with him at school, told him about the concert and asked him to write a piece for it.
Composer Joshua McGhee, 24, is premiering his work â€œWhere Freedom Ringsâ€? at the Jan 30 concert. struggle.â€? After Cordell wrote the words, The text begins: â€œCome my Gandolfi sent them to Capers. In a mother / come my son / let us flee thrilling moment for Cordell, she this brutal storm. / May the sun says: â€œValerie loved it! She even shine tomorrow / and nurture the asked permission to record it.â€? She strength theyâ€™ve seen / let us go to beams. â€œOf course.â€? where freedom rings.â€? The program also includes spiriBack at the Eastside Prep the- tuals by Jacqueline B. Hairston ater, Gandolfi pulls out the music and Hale Smith, the Betty Jackson â€œI had never heard for â€œWhere Freedom Ringsâ€? and King four-hand arrangements, and plays some excerpts of it on the instrumental chamber music by of these composers piano. Parts are hymn-like; parts William Grant Still: â€œVignettesâ€? â€” as a black person are rhythmic and minimalist. She for trio and the third movement of praises the pieceâ€™s â€œrichness,â€? add- the Suite for Violin and Piano. growing up with a ing, â€œThe harmonic vocabulary is Still (1895-1978) is perhaps the black piano teacher.â€? quite sophisticated.â€? best-known composer on the proCordell takes a solo turn at the gram. The Mississippi native is in piano, demonstrating another piece the American Classical Music Hall â€” Pianist LaDoris Cordell on the upcoming concert program. of Fame, and is said to have been Inspiration came in part from With emotion, her eyes half-closed, the first black composer to have a â€œMy Country â€˜Tis of Theeâ€? and she sings and plays a musical trib- major orchestral work performed ute to Billie Holiday called â€œBil- by a major United States orchestra part from the concept of freedom. (his Symphony No. 1, in 1931). â€œI started thinking about how lieâ€™s Song.â€? Valerie Capers wrote the piano In 2009, when Gandolfi and her there are so many people around the world who arenâ€™t free,â€? McGhee piece, and Cordell put lyrics to it. students performed their first consaid. â€œThe text of the piece, the â€œA song just for you / if only you cert of works by African-American underlying theme, is about perse- knew / how much you touched composers, at the Palo Alto Art verance, overcoming some kind of our hearts ... â€œ she sings in a low, Center, Stillâ€™s music was the centersmooth voice. piece. Gandolfi ordered the music through the composerâ€™s daughter. Then the group decided to further explore more works by black composers. â€œThere was such a richEcole internationale de la PĂŠninsule ness, such a wealth of literature,â€? Gandolfi says. They performed another concert at Eastside Prep last year, to a packed house in the 200-seat theater. Cordell smiles. â€œJodi said, â€˜If we play it, they will come.â€™â€? N
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