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Inside: Palo Alto Adult School spring catalog
The 2010 results reveal a changing population page 18
GENERAL EXCELLENCE California Newspaper Publishers Association
Title Pages 16
Eating Out 36
Class Guide 44
Camp Connection 48
N News District to add 40 classrooms N Arts
Concert highlights sounds of the West N Sports Stanford women open title defense
Page 3 Page 30 Page 38
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital 20th Anniversary
LECTU R E S E R I E S 4th Annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Update for:
Parents and Professionals: Bridging the Gap April 2, 2011 at 7:45am – 4:30pm This one day conference will be led by a panel of experts from our autism spectrum disorders program and will spotlight recent ﬁndings and innovative clinical approaches to treating autism. The symposium will be held in McCaw Hall in the Francis C. Arrillaga Alumni Center. 326 Galvez Street, Stanford, California 94035. Parking is free at Galvez Field (corner of Galvez Street and Campus Drive East). Registration $100. Fee includes a continental breakfast and buffet lunch. For further information, please call (650) 721- 6327 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Register online at http://childpsychiatry.stanford.edu For additional 20th Anniversary Lecture Series offerings, visit anniversary.lpch.org
The people depicted in this brochure are models and are being used for illustrative purposes only.
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BEST LOCAL NEWS COVERAGE California Newspaper Publishers Association
Local news, information and analysis
District to add 40 elementary classrooms With unexpected enrollment bump in past two years, officials scramble to add space by Chris Kenrick
ecisions may come by June on where to build up to 30 new elementary-school classrooms in Palo Alto in the next five years, school officials agreed Tuesday (March 8). An additional 10 new classrooms already are under construction or in
the pipeline at Ohlone, Fairmeadow and Duveneck schools. With an unexpected bump in elementary-age enrollment in the past two years that many believe could continue, officials are scrambling to get classrooms ready.
The need for new elementary space — particularly in the southern part of town — means that all available real estate will be scrutinized, including the city-owned former Ventura School site, the Greendell School campus now used for pre-school programs and the Hoover and Ohlone campuses, which currently house district-wide “choice programs.” Superintendent Kevin Skelly said the district must prepare itself to handle as many as 568 additional K-5
students in the next five years — the size of a large elementary school. In a four-hour study session on enrollment and facilities planning Tuesday, school-board members struggled to discern a trend in recent data, saying they hope to match location of the new classrooms to neighborhoods where the growth is occurring. In the decade before 2009, enrollment growth was fairly even around the city, but the past two years has seen a strong bump in the southern
part of town, leading to some children being “overflowed” from their neighborhood schools and sent to others. “Could it be as simple as driving down Stanford Avenue and seeing all the new houses, or driving down West Bayshore and seeing all the new developments by the JCC?” board member Camille Townsend asked. Board member Barb Mitchell argued that new housing developments (continued on page 9)
AT&T plan gets stormy reception Proposal to affix antenna to phone poles meets with opposition from residents by Sarah Trauben
A Veronica Weber
Briana (second from left), Andrea Throndson, community connections developer for the nonprofit Abilities United (center), Joaquin (right) and Michael (far right) present Dan Logan, former executive director of the YMCA in Palo Alto, with a bouquet of flowers, get-well card and cookie bouquet as part of the center’s new “Make My Day” program.
‘Make My Day’ program spreads cheer to locals Abilities United participants arrange, deliver pick-me-ups in new service by Sarah Trauben
an Logan warmly welcomed four flower- and treat-bearing visitors from the Make My Day team Tuesday (March 8). It was the third delivery for the newly formed crew of developmentally disabled Abilities United participants, who aim to spread joy by preparing and delivering a free pick-me-up or thank you to those who have helped others or are in need of some good cheer. “Wow, that’s a handful,” Logan
said as participants handed him a ribbon-bound selection of carnations, peach and yellow-toned roses, star lilies and irises. “Thank you, everyone, this is wonderful!” The Make My Day team members hone their organizational skills by preparing bouquets every other Tuesday before delivering them to honorees suggested by community members. Gently guided by communitytraining instructor Josh Pniower,
they pick up a selection of donated flowers at Michaela’s Flower Shop in downtown Palo Alto, choose and arrange their favorites and decorate a card. “I enjoy doing this with you, Josh,” a participant named Michael said. An enthusiastic helper, he sorted through donated flowers and pointed out unsafe rose thorns. Delivering their gifts personally offers participants a lesson in empathy and allows them to celebrate “unsung heroes,” Andrea Throndson, Abilities United Community Connections developer, said. “Even disabled people can know how good it feels to give back,” she added. Tuesday’s Make My Day participants flashed shy but infectious smiles as they handed Logan the bouquet along with homemade cookies-on-a-stick and a large, handdecorated get-well card. The former executive director of
the YMCA on Ross Road in Palo Alto, Logan was selected as one of the first to receive the goodies as thanks for his community service as well as to boost his spirits after some recent medical procedures. His wife works for Abilities United. “Have we succeeded in making your day?” Throndson asked. “Yes, you have!” Logan told the team. Anyone can suggest someone to be honored with the Make My Day delivery of flowers, homemade treats and a card, according to Throndson. “It recognizes people who don’t ordinarily get recognized. It brings awareness to ordinary extraordinariness,” Throndson said. More information is available by contacting Andrea Throndson at email@example.com. N Editorial Intern Sarah Trauben can be e-mailed at strauben@ paweekly.com.
n AT&T presentation intended to inform Palo Alto residents about plans to shore up spotty phone reception by installing distributed-antenna systems on existing Old Palo Alto telephone poles met with a stormy reception Tuesday night. Resident Bill Moore told AT&T officials that unless the company were to use existing residential and business Wi-Fi systems to augment coverage, he personally “will fight this ugly, ridiculous-looking tower like crazy.” His statement was met with applause by many of 50 to 60 attendees at the open house held at the Cubberley Community Center Theatre. AT&T plans to improve its coverage in areas where there are topographical and structural impediments by replacing nine traditional “macrocell” structures with shorter and smaller distributed-antenna systems fed by fiber cable from its existing central office in Mountain View. The telecommunications company currently has similar installations in Chicago and the Noe Valley and Presidio areas of San Francisco; other proposals are in motion across the Bay Area. “These technologies are being used to experiment with us,” Moore said. In addition to possible health effects, he cited concerns about aesthetics, dropping real-estate values, and the potentially noisy hum of cooling fans in the proposed installations. Several residents cited a National Institutes of Health study, published Feb. 22 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showing that cell phone usage changes glucose levels in the brain. (continued on page 9)
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GREENLIGHT Earth Day Film Festival presents
CALL FOR ENTRIES Entries must be received by
March 25, 2011
PUBLISHER William S. Johnson EDITORIAL Jocelyn Dong, Editor Carol Blitzer, Associate Editor Keith Peters, Sports Editor Tyler Hanley, Express™ and Online Editor Rebecca Wallace, Arts & Entertainment Editor Rick Eymer, Assistant Sports Editor Chris Kenrick, Gennady Sheyner, Staff Writers Sue Dremann, Staff Writer, Special Sections Editor Karla Kane, Editorial Assistant Veronica Weber, Staff Photographer Dale Bentson, Colin Becht, Peter Canavese, Kit Davey, Iris Harrell, Sheila Himmel, Chad Jones, Kevin Kirby, Jack McKinnon, Jeanie K. Smith, Susan Tavernetti, Robert Taylor, Contributors Sarah Trauben, Zohra Ashpari Editorial Interns Joann So, Arts & Entertainment Intern DESIGN Shannon Corey, Design Director Raul Perez, Assistant Design Director Linda Atilano, Diane Haas, Scott Peterson, Paul Llewellyn, Senior Designers Gary Vennarucci, Designer PRODUCTION Jennifer Lindberg, Production Manager Dorothy Hassett, Samantha Mejia, Blanca Yoc, Sales & Production Coordinators
All entries will be shown on cable TV and the Internet. Top entries in each category will be shown at the Greenlight Earth Day Film Festival Students grades 6-8, Students grades 9-12, Open (all others)
VISIT www.cityof paloalto.org/greenlight for details
ADVERTISING Walter Kupiec, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Judie Block, Esmeralda Flores, Janice Hoogner, Gary Whitman, Display Advertising Sales Neil Fine, Rosemary Lewkowitz, Real Estate Advertising Sales David Cirner, Irene Schwartz, Inside Advertising Sales Cathy Norfleet, Display Advertising Sales Asst. Diane Martin, Real Estate Advertising Assistants Alicia Santillan, Classified Administrative Asst. EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Rachel Palmer, Online Operations Coordinator Rachel Hatch, Multimedia Product Manager BUSINESS Penelope Ng, Payroll & Benefits Manager Elena Dineva, Mary McDonald, Susie Ochoa, Cathy Stringari, Doris Taylor, Business Associates ADMINISTRATION Amy Renalds, Assistant to the Publisher & Promotions Director Janice Covolo, Receptionist Ruben Espinoza, Courier EMBARCADERO MEDIA William S. Johnson, President Michael I. Naar, Vice President & CFO Walter Kupiec, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Frank A. Bravo, Director, Information Technology & Webmaster Connie Jo Cotton, Major Accounts Sales Manager Bob Lampkin, Director, Circulation & Mailing Services Alicia Santillan, Circulation Assistants Chris Planessi, Chip Poedjosoedarmo, Computer System Associates The Palo Alto Weekly (ISSN 0199-1159) is published every Friday by Embarcadero Media, 450 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (650) 3268210. Periodicals postage paid at Palo Alto, CA and additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for Santa Clara County. The Palo Alto Weekly is delivered free to homes in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, to faculty and staff households on the Stanford campus and to portions of Los Altos Hills. If you are not currently receiving the paper, you may request free delivery by calling 326-8210. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. Copyright ©2011 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Printed by SFOP, Redwood City. The Palo Alto Weekly is available on the Internet via Palo Alto Online at: www.PaloAltoOnline.com Our e-mail addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Missed delivery or start/stop your paper? Call 650 326-8210, or e-mail circulation@paweekly. com. You may also subscribe online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Subscriptions are $60/yr.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
REEL(IZE) YOUR CONNECTION
450 CAMBRIDGE AVE, PALO ALTO, CA 94306 (650) 326-8210
We don’t want to overbuild and then have lots of empty space.
— Kevin Skelly, superintendent of the Palo Alto Unified School District, on anticipating major growth in elementary-school enrollment. See story on page 3.
Around Town ENERGIZED ... When Palo Alto residents voted last fall to change the city’s elections from odd to even years, the shift created a new hurdle for proponents of a local waste-to-energy plant. The Palo Alto Energy and Compost Initiative, led by noted environmentalists Peter Drekmeier, Bob Wenzlau and Walt Hays, is spearheading a petition to “undedicate” a 10-acre portion of Byxbee Park — land that is currently slated to become parkland. The group hopes this land could be used to house a facility capable of processing local food scraps, yard trimmings and sewage sludge and generating energy. The group planned to place the petition on the ballot during a regularly scheduled City Council election this fall, but with the passage of Measure S, which shifts the next council election to 2012, the group now has to hold a “special election” this year to get the proposed undedication on the ballot. That means group members now have to gather twice as many signatures as before. Not to worry, says Carolyn Curtis, member of the group’s steering committee. Curtis said the initiative already picked up 5,287 by early this week, almost 1,000 more than what is required, though some of the signatures are duplicates (signature gathering will continue this weekend). The group also inquired with the county registrar as to the possibility of having a “mail-only” election, Curtis told the Weekly during a recent meeting. (Drekmeier, picking up on the “mail/ male” homonym, joked: “Women should be able to vote, too.”) But the registrar indicated the all-mail balloting would be too costly. Drekmeier predicted an overwhelming victory for the proponents of the new facility. The council is scheduled to discuss the preliminary results of a study for the new facility on March 21. HISTORIC HOMES ... When Allen Akin and Michelle Arden approached the city about demolishing and replacing their two-story home at 405 Lincoln Ave. in June 2007, they didn’t know that their project would become synonymous with ev-
erything that’s wrong about Palo Alto’s development process. It took them more than three years and more than $500,000 in environmental studies and permit fees to get the city’s permission to replace the inconspicuous house in the historic Professorville neighborhood. Even the City Council was shocked at the applicant’s three-year ordeal, with Sid Espinosa calling it “embarrassing” for the city. In October, the council voted unanimously to approve the project over the objections of the Historic Resources Board. Next week, the council will attempt to make sure that future applicants won’t face the same tortuous permit path. The council is scheduled on Monday to revise the city’s procedures for demolishing buildings in the Professorville District. Staff is recommending that in the future, residents who wish to demolish in this district perform an “initial study” to determine the significance of the demolished structure (rather than the full environmental review that Akin had to perform). Staff is also suggesting that the historic board review the projects earlier in the process to avoid last-minute surprises. TREE CITY, USA ... Trees are sacred in Palo Alto, and never more so than during Arbor Week, which the City Council kicked off Monday night. The council heard a presentation from Canopy, a local nonprofit dedicated to expanding the city’s urban forest, and passed a proclamation acknowledging the many roles trees play in our lives (“whether by providing oxygen, offering shaded places to rest, or contributing to the splendor and viability of our City...”). The council also acknowledged Palo Alto’s designation as “Tree City, U.S.A.” by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the 26th year in a row. “We are totally interdependent with the nature that surrounds us and that is built in the wild environment that we live in,” the city’s Planning Arborist Dave Dockter told the council Monday, as he accepted the plaque honoring the city’s arboreal accomplishments. N
Rendering by Steinberg Architects
This rendering shows how Palo Alto Commons would look after building a three-story addition to its existing 121-unit facility on El Camino Way, between El Camino Real and West Meadow Drive.
South Palo Alto to gain more senior housing City Council OKs Palo Alto Commons’ addition of 44 rental units to its existing 121-unit facility by Gennady Sheyner
aced with a graying population and a shortage of housing for seniors, the Palo Alto City Council swiftly and happily approved a plan Monday night (March 7) to expand the Palo Alto Commons development on El Camino Way. Calling it a desperately needed project, the council unanimously green-lighted a proposal by Palo Alto Commons to build a three-story addition to its existing 121-unit facility on
El Camino Way, between El Camino Real and West Meadow Drive. The new 44-unit building will feature eight studio apartments, 17 one-bedroom apartments and 19 two-bedroom apartments, as well as a lounge, a fitness room, an indoor pool and a dining room. The new building will also include an underground parking garage with 38 parking spots. Another three parking spots would be available outside.
To make the project possible, the council approved a proposal by applicant Steven Reller to extend the “planned community” (PC) zone at the site of the existing Palo Alto Commons to incorporate the proposed 0.8acre addition. The zoning designation allows developers to build at a greater density than the city normally allows in exchange for “public benefits.” Though PC-zoned projects typically entail lengthy negotiations over
public benefits and, at times, community opposition (Alma Plaza and the College Terrace Centre are two recent examples), the senior-housing proposal sailed through the city’s approval process at a comparatively brisk pace. Both the city’s Architectural Review Board and the Planning and Transportation Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the project, and the city’s planning staff also advised the council to approve it. While PC-zoned projects typically include such benefits as new public plazas, landscape improvements and public art, in the case of Palo Alto Commons, the main public benefit is the project itself. Palo Alto’s shortage of senior housing factored prominently in staff and the planning commission’s decision to support the project. “It is so dog-gone difficult to get rental housing, let alone senior rental housing, and there’s clearly a strong demand for it,” Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Samir Tuma told the council. Councilwoman Gail Price said the project helps the city achieve its goal of providing diversity in housing. Councilman Greg Schmid called it a “terrific project,” while Councilman Greg Scharff said the city is lucky to get a project like this. “Senior rental housing is something that’s very difficult to build,” Scharff said. “I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to get a project like this.” While the senior units constitute the primary public benefit, the proposal includes a scattering of secondary benefits, including pedestrian
improvements along El Camino Way, upgrades to the bus stop on El Camino Real, landscape improvements and new walkways and a crosswalk in front of the addition. Palo Alto Commons will also contribute $100,000 to the Palo Alto nonprofit Avenidas to fund an age-at-home program for low-income seniors. Though land-use watchdog Bob Moss urged the council to require the new building to include low-income housing, every other speaker who addressed the council on the subject favored the proposal. One of these speakers was Bill Hahn, who moved into Palo Alto Commons in 2007 with his wife. Hahn said his wife suffered from dementia and from arterial fibrillation. After she died in 2009, Hahn fell in love with another Commons resident, Colleen Coleman. The two got married last year. “The Palo Alto Commons has taken care of us in a very good way during this time together,” Hahn told the council Monday. Both Hahns called the proposed addition an answer to the shortage of senior housing in Palo Alto. The council agreed and voted 8-0, with Karen Holman recusing herself, to support the proposed expansion. “This is an important project for this community, and I’m glad to see it will move forward this evening,” Mayor Sid Espinosa said just before the vote. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
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Defying a Bay Area trend, East Palo Alto saw its population decrease by 4.6 percent over the past decade â€” a drop precipitated by a shrinking number of black residents, U.S. Census data shows. The data, which the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday (March 8), showed the number of people of one race who identify themselves as black or African-American falling by 30 percent between 2000 and 2010. The city had 6,796 black residents in 2000, but the number dropped to 4,704 in the new census. Black residents, who made up 23 percent of East Palo Altoâ€™s population in 2000, now make up only 16.7 percent of the city, according to the census. The dramatic drop in the number of black residents drove the cityâ€™s overall population down despite modest growth within other racial groups and ethnicities. Hispanic and Latino residents saw their number rise from 17,356 to 18,147 over the past decade (a 4.6 percent increase) and they now make up nearly two thirds of the cityâ€™s population â€” 64.5 percent in the new census compared to 58.8 percent 10 years ago. Statewide, the Hispanic/Latino population surged by 27.8 percent over the past decade, census data shows. The new census also shows that East Palo Altoâ€™s white population remained relatively flat, going up slightly from 7,962 in 2000 to 8,104 residents in the new census. The data suggests that many of these residents were also classified as Hispanic or Latino (which is an ethnicity, not a race). Of those residents listed as not Hispanic or Latino, 6.2 percent are white. East Palo Altoâ€™s population decline came at a time when most Bay Area cities experienced growth, according to the census. San Jose and San Francisco saw their respective populations go up by 5.7 percent and 3.7 percent over the past decade, while Palo Altoâ€™s population rose by 9.9 percent. For related census news, see cover story beginning on page 18. N â€” Gennady Sheyner
Elementary math task force gets the go-ahead Selection will begin later this month for members of a parent-teacher task force to explore â€œexemplary practicesâ€? in elementary school mathematics. The Palo Alto school board Tuesday night (March 8) unanimously approved formation of the task force, which will be charged with identifying materials â€” including technology â€” to challenge children who perform above grade level. More than 70 percent of Palo Alto elementary students perform at the â€œadvancedâ€? math level on the California Star Test. And in a survey last year, more than 40 percent of Palo Alto elementary school parents said their children are not sufficiently challenged in math. The task force idea stems from a Jan. 25 school-board discussion in which board members noted some campuses have developed â€œflexible groupingsâ€? and other approaches to challenge children, and urged that those ideas be shared with other schools. Superintendent Kevin Skelly cautioned that any approach suggesting â€œlaningâ€? is not appropriate at the elementary level, but that using â€œflexible groupingsâ€? to challenge students would be acceptable. The task force will be composed of one parent and one teacher representative from each of Palo Altoâ€™s 12 elementary schools, one middle school math teacher and one or two principals. Parent representatives will be selected by the site council at each school. Those interested are asked to submit letters explaining their reasons and qualifications to the school site council. Teacher representatives will be chosen by principals at each school, and participating teachers will be compensated for their time. The math task force will meet monthly starting in April or May, run through March 2012 and ultimately be asked to â€œmake achievable recommendations to the superintendent that will direct the allocation of district funding toward achievement of this mission.â€? N â€” Chris Kenrick
Cars burglarized in Palo Alto restaurant parking lots Four cars were burglarized in restaurant parking lots along El Camino Real in Palo Alto Wednesday night (March 9), Palo Alto police Sgt. Sal Madrigal said Thursday morning. All of the burglaries occurred within about one hour and laptop computers were the primary targets, Madrigal said. â€œThe vehicles had their windows smashed and laptop cases were taken,â€? Madrigal said. The first two thefts occurred in the parking lot of So Gong Dong Tofu House, 4127 El Camino Real, at approximately 7:22 p.m., he said. Two other burglaries were reported 56 minutes later in the parking lot of Sundance The Steakhouse at 1921 El Camino. Madrigal said police are investigating the thefts but have not yet identified any suspects. N â€” Tyler Hanley LETâ€™S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at PaloAltoOnline.com
Upfront In recent years, projects seeking a PC-zone designation have received an increasing amount of scrutiny from planning commissioners and local land-use watchdogs. Several recent high-profile projects with this zoning designation â€” a list that includes Alma Plaza and the College Terrace Centre â€” received approval only after heated community meetings, multiple revisions and criticism from residents who argued that the public benefits being offered are too paltry to compensate the city for the increased density. Lytton Gateway, LLC, is proposing to both exceed the cityâ€™s density regulations and its 50-foot height limit
New five-story building proposed for downtown Proposed height-limit-busting development would feature office space, retail and residences on former Shell station site
five-story building featuring offices, retail and residential units would go up on the site of a former Shell gas station in downtown Palo Alto under a proposal recently submitted to the city. The 64-foot-tall building is proposed for 355 Alma St., at Lytton Avenue. The site was occupied by the Commuter Shell Service for 42 years
by Gennady Sheyner before the gas station closed in June 2010. The new building would include four stories of office space, along with retail on the ground floor and five residential units on the fifth floor, according to city planning director Curtis Williams. The development would include both underground and at-grade parking and public open
space on Lytton. The developer, Lytton Gateway LLC, is requesting a zone change to a create planned-community (PC) zone on the site. The zoning designation allows developers to build at a greater intensity than the cityâ€™s regulations typically allow. In exchange, developers must offer the city â€œpublic benefits.â€?
for buildings. Williams said in an email that the applicant requested the increased intensity and height because of the buildingâ€™s close proximity to the downtown Caltrain station. The Planning and Transportation Commission is scheduled to review the application and consider the zone change on March 16. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be e-mailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
TALK ABOUT IT
www.PaloAltoOnline.com Do you think this is a good use of the planned community zoning? Share your opinions on Town Square on Palo Alto Online.
Economy, fitness fads throw gym a curve Curves franchise in Palo Alto illustrates trends in exercise, business
by Zohra Ashpari
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he Curves gym on Emerson Street was the first of its franchise to open in Palo Alto. Now it is the last one standing. Curves International Inc. specializes in 30-minute resistancetraining workouts for women. But in the past four years, a loss of nearly half of its U.S. franchise sites since 2007 illustrates the difficulty of maintaining a business amid changing demographics and fitness trends. Curvesâ€™ corporate communications confirmed that 4,400 branches remain, compared to 7,748 in the onset of 2007, according to a franchise-disclosure document filed with state regulators in March 2010. Two sites closed nearby: the branch on El Camino Real in Palo Alto in April 2010 and the branch on University Avenue in East Palo Alto in 2007-08, a corporate employee said. â€œFranchise trends come and go, and many of them have throughout the years. Franchises depend on demographics, consumer behaviors and economic trends,â€? said Todd Lipton, president of Fitness Acquisition Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz., a specialist in the sale of health clubs and fitness centers. The success of Curves was unusual in the fact that it was simple and carried low start-up costs, Lipton said. An owner could open up a club using credit cards alone. Curves gave working and nonworking women the chance to become entrepreneurs when they otherwise couldnâ€™t, Lipton added, noting that the demographic of women buying Curves usually consisted of those not opting for the typical co-ed club. â€œThe allure of the Curves franchise for me was that they stood for empowering women: a no-makeup-or-hair-do-required kind of place providing a comfortable and safe environment for women to get fit,â€? said Susan Empey, owner of the Emerson Curves.
Linda Jensen uses a resistance machine during her 30-minute-circuit Curves workout. Jensen, whoâ€™s been a member since 2003, typically works out three times a week. One of the reasons for the Curves closures, Lipton said, is that the proliferation of franchises quickly saturated the market. Then thereâ€™s the recession. â€œWe are seeing consumers lose purchasing power. Because they have less spendable income, they are being more frugal, willing to go with fewer services, amenities, and the market is responding,â€? Lip-
ton said. â€œThere has been a dynamic shift in the market. The up-and-coming franchises and licensing companies that we see now are priced (for membership) on the lower end of the spectrum, as low as $10-19 a month,â€? he said, adding that the mid-market clubs charging around
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Public Meeting Notice 2011 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan Public Open House and Call for Ideas
DATE: Thursday, March 24, 2011 TIME: 6:30-8:30 PM PLACE: Terman Middle School - Multipurpose Cafetorium 655 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto The City of Palo Alto and Alta Planning + Design are currently in the process of updating the existing Bicycle Transportation Plan, which will include a new Pedestrian Element. All interested parties are invited to participate in this ﬁrst community-wide forum, where staff will present a summary of existing conditions and a preliminary assessment of what projects, programs, and areas are most important for improving walking and biking conditions in Palo Alto. For further information, contact: Rafael Rius, Transportation Project Engineer email@example.com 650-329-2305
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$40 to $65 are currently hurting the most. Curves currently charges about $44 a month, a few dollars more or fewer depending on services. Butterfly Fitness Inc., a midmarket Curves competitor offering workouts for women, will be closing its Middlefield Road branch in Palo Alto on April 15. “Butterfly’s Fashion Island branch closed a few years ago. I’m sad to see ours go now. The economic situation is leading to membership declines,” said Butterfly Assistant Manager Candy Losacano. The club required a few hundred members to sustain itself as a viable business, she said.
LET’S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at PaloAltoOnline.com
Exercise trends themselves come and go, contributing to the growth or demise of businesses. Natalia Jaster, assistant editor of “American Fitness” magazine, cites Zumba, a cardio workout involving salsa and Latin dancing, as the most current trend. “It’s easy and fun, and people like to dance in a group,” Jaster said. Also gaining popularity, she added, are hybrid fitness, which features combination exercises such as koga (yoga and kickboxing); Aqua Zumba; and the elliptigo (a running and cycling device). The Curves gym on Emerson is adjusting to rising trends by including Zumba in its work-out program for a small fee. Even so, financial hardship is still being felt. “Owning this business has had its ups and downs. People are los-
ing their jobs, and exercise to some may have become a non-essential expense,” Empey said. Curves club member Anna Richert of Menlo Park said that some may have walked away because they were paying but not going to the gym. “We are really hoping to save this wonderful place. It’s convenient — only a half-hour workout, plus you get the bonus of a community of lovely older ladies wanting to stay active,” she said. “I drive all the way from San Francisco to come here three times a week. Exercise is as important to me as medication,” club member Debby Fife said. N Editorial Intern Zohra Ashpari can be e-mailed at zashpari@ paweekly.com.
CityView A round-up of
Palo Alto government action this week
City Council (March 7)
Palo Alto Commons: The council approved a request to add 0.8 acres to an existing planned-community (PC) zone to enable the construction of a 44-unit addition to Palo Alto Commons, a senior-housing complex at 4041 El Camino Way. Yes: Unanimous Utilities: The council approved long-term strategic plans proposed by the Utilities Department for electricity and gas acquisition. Yes: Unanimous
Board of Education (March 8)
Math Task Force: The board approved formation of a parent-teacher task force to explore and recommend to the superintendent “exemplary practices” in elementary school mathematics. Yes: Baten Caswell, Mitchell, Tom, Townsend Absent: Klausner Longer-day kindergarten: The board approved the trial of an optional longer-day kindergarten at Barron Park School starting this November, in which kindergartners will stay at school until 2:40 p.m. Yes: Baten Caswell, Mitchell, Tom, Townsend Absent: Klausner
City Council Policy and Services Committee (March 8)
Economic development: The committee discussed the city’s strategy for economic development, including a proposal to create partnerships with clean-tech companies to test emerging technology. Action: None Procedures: The committee discussed the City Council’s policy and procedures, including its process for study sessions. The committee asked to return with various revisions. Yes: Burt, Price, Yeh Absent: Klein
Planning and Transportation Commission (March 9)
Stanford Hospital: The commission discussed the Final Environmental Impact Report for Stanford University Medical Center’s proposed expansion of its hospital facilities. The commission continued its discussion until March 23. Yes: Unanimous
LET’S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at PaloAltoOnline.com
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Upfront (continued from page 3)
represent only part of the growth potential. Substantial enrollment increases could come from the north once the real-estate market picks up and older homeowners begin selling to young families, she said. Anecdotal evidence from new registrations for 2011-12 so far suggests â€œa lot of new home purchases, and also a lot of older people giving homes to their children,â€? the school districtâ€™s Central Attendance Director, Margie Mitchell, said. At least for the immediate future, Skelly said â€” and board members seemed to agree â€” the greatest growth pressure is in the southern part of town. Of the $98 million allocated for elementary construction in the $378 million facilities bond passed by voters in 2008, $65 million remains available to build new space or upgrade existing
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â€œThis is a game-changer,â€? Moore said. But the antennas themselves emit radiation at least 100 times below Federal Communications Commission safety limits, according to William Hammett, a consulting engineer for AT&T. In most places, emissions are more than 1,000 times below the limits that were last updated in 2006 in response to medical research. One supporter of the plan, who identified himself as a â€œfrustrated AT&T customer,â€? said the proposed antennas would reduce customersâ€™ exposure to power radiated from individual cell phones, which run at higher power when coverage is less accessible. While health risks were a popular concern at Tuesdayâ€™s meeting, in keeping with federal legislation, the City of Palo Alto cannot deny a companyâ€™s application based on concerns about the effects of radio-frequency exposure on human health. Among other concerns voiced by the audience were the possible implementation of city plans to put utilities underground (currently on hold) and the rationale behind moving forward with the controversial 8-foot antenna tower planned to be installed above St. Albert the Great Church in Palo Alto. The installations might theoretically obviate the need for the tower, but AT&T continues to seek separate and simultaneous permit application for each proposal, AT&T officials responded. â€œWireless coverage isnâ€™t magic: Itâ€™s infrastructure,â€? AT&T Strategic Affairs Adviser Lane Kasselman told reporters following the meeting. Permit applications for nine of around 80 sites were filed Feb. 7 with the city. Residents have 15 days, after being notified via mail of the city staffâ€™s decision, to request a hearing before the Planning and Transportation Commission before a final decision is made by the City Council. N Editorial Intern Sarah Trauben can be e-mailed at strauben@ paweekly.com.
class size and slash their budgets in response to state cuts. â€œPalo Alto is becoming a more attractive place for young families to bring their children,â€? Skelly said. â€œThe premium for good education is up, and surrounding high-quality districts have seen it as well. We need to assume high enrollment projections when we look at facilities.â€? Skelly said he will return to the board in May or June with more specific recommendations on where to add space, including the possible reclaiming of the Garland School site at 870 N. California Ave., now under a lease that requires three yearsâ€™ notice. N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Agenda A preview of Palo Alto government meetings next week CITY COUNCIL ... The council plans to discuss the cityâ€™s long-term financial forecast, the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission and the cityâ€™s review process for development projects in the Professorville neighborhood. The financial-forecast discussion will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, March 14, in the Council Conference Room. The study session with the infrastructure commission will follow at 7 p.m. The rest of the meeting will begin at 8 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
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PLANNING AND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION ... The commission plans to consider a proposal for a five-story building, including four stories of office space, ground-floor retail and five residential units on the fifth floor, at 355 Alma St. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION ... The board plans to discuss the Human Services Resources Allocation Process (HSRAP) and the Community Development Block Grant program. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). RAIL COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to discuss Caltrainâ€™s proposal to close the San Antonio station in Mountain View and hear a report on Larry Kleinâ€™s recent t rip to Washington, D.C. The meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, March 17, in Lucie Stern Community Room (1305 Middlefield Road). ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD ... The board plans to discuss a proposed addition to Main Library at 1213 Newell Road, a proposal by the cityâ€™s Utilities Department to replace a pump station and build a water-storage tank at El Camino Park and a proposal by Stanford University to build a 35,000 square foot addition to existing Hewlett Packard headquarters at 3000 Hanover St. at Stanford Research Park. The meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 17, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). RAIL CORRIDOR STUDY TASK FORCE ... The task force will continue to discuss the cityâ€™s vision for the Caltrain corridor. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in Lucie Stern Community Room (1305 Middlefield Road). PUBLIC ART COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the dedication of the â€œBliss in the Momentâ€? sculpture, the upcoming installation by Mildred Howard, the Youth Art Awards and the status of art to be relocated during the construction of the Palo Alto Art Center. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 17, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
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