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Veronica Weber

Palo Alto’s new chief information officer, Jonathan Reichental, is leading the city’s effort to transfer information from bulky servers, seen here, to the digital cloud.

Palo Alto looks to hackers and social networks to transform City Hall by Gennady Sheyner

“T

he last thing you need is a bureaucracy,” Steven Levy wrote in his landmark 1985 book, “Hackers.” “Bureaucracies, whether corporate, government, or university, are flawed systems, dangerous in that they cannot accommodate the exploratory impulse of true hackers.” The line, which comes out of a chapter on “the hacker ethic,” captures the historic tension between hackers and governments. The former are thought of as nimble, creative and committed to transparency, their secretive nature notwithstanding. The latter are often seen as sclerotic organizations that hoard information and take far too long to get anything done. So there was something ironic and significant about Feb. 11, the night Palo Alto Mayor Yiaway Yeh rushed from Fraiche Yogurt to Stanford University’s Arillaga Alumni

Center, where about 30 software wizards worked their magic during a 24-hour “Hackathon.” Participants split up into small teams, with each team working on a project that was pitched to members at the beginning of the event. Yeh’s mission? To get to Fraiche before it closed at 11 p.m. and to deliver frozen yogurt to a three-member team of hackers working on a new digital tool for the city. He barely made it. Two weeks later, during his State of the City Address, Yeh unveiled the result— an online catalogue of every Palo Alto street, complete with its “Pavement Condition Index.” Called StreetViewer, the website scores streets from 0 to 100; higher numbers indicate a better condition. This year, as Palo Alto embarks on its “year of infrastructure renewal and investment,” the council is considering a recommendation from a specially appointed citizens com-

mittee to get every street in the city to a 60 or above, a tall task for a city with aged streets and years of projected budget deficits. The website also allows users to look up streets by scores and to snap and upload photos of their streets. Though the street-repair project is a colossal multi-year affair, the speed at which StreetViewer was assembled is almost unheard of for a city as notoriously thorough as Palo Alto. And it could be a sign of the future. The project, Yeh said at the State of the City speech, “symbolizes our willingness to solve problems in a new way.” He thanked the three Stanford students who coded through the night, and he put in a plug for the “Super Happy Block Party” — a 12-hour hacker festival and coding party this Saturday in downtown Palo Alto, which the city is co-sponsoring. Yeh called this mash-up of government officials,

artists and hackers “the next step in making city data available to technologists to create innovative solutions that benefit the community.” Palo Alto’s newfound alliance with hackers is the latest evidence of a philosophical shift that has rumbled through City Hall over the past year. The shift is apparent when City Manager James Keene talks about his “open data” initiative; when the city’s Facebook and Twitter updates flutter like snowflakes during council meetings; when the city’s newly hired chief information officer (whose position didn’t even exist last year) talks about exchanging the IT department’s bulky email servers for a digital cloud; and when the council signs contracts with companies like OPower and rBlock for social-media tools that residents can use to keep track of, respectively, energy use and neighborhood news.

Some of these efforts have already borne fruit. StreetViewer, for example, went live last week, and city officials have just hosted their second “Twitter Q&A” event Thursday. Many other initiatives will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months as the city completely overhauls its much maligned website (long a sore spot for the city and a sorer one for the website’s users), releases new sets of public data for local software wizards to fiddle with, further beefs up its social-media efforts and develops mobile apps aimed at making life a bit easier for local residents. If things go as planned, residents will soon be able to use their phones or tablets to pay parking fines, obtain permits and take photos of potholes or graffiti that they can instantly send to the city’s Public Works Department. (continued on next page)

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Jonathan Reichental, left, chief information officer, coordinates Palo Alto’s first Twitter Q&A event on Feb. 27, while Linda Clerkson, public communications manager, City Manager James Keene and Mayor Yiaway Yeh look on.

Digital city

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They will be able to open their laptops and take virtual tours of the city’s public art or its bike paths. And if they don’t like any of these efforts, they will have more digital tools than ever to give their elected officials an earful. The movement is a convergence of several related trends. The City Council has been talking about getting residents more involved in city government for years (it even adopted “civic engagement� as an official priority in 2008 and 2009), and social media is a part of this strategy. This is also the year when the council is focusing on slimming down the city’s $42 million deferred-maintenance backlog and on replacing aged public-safety facilities — an effort that will likely involve voter-approved bonds. The effort received a major boost in De-

cember with the release of the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Task Force report — a detailed survey that was put together by a 17-member citizen commission following 18 months of meetings. The report, which encompasses roughly 1,300 projects and 90,000 data entries, has given the city heaps of public data to play with — data that the city would like to see transformed into more userfriendly modes (like StreetViewer). Keene’s “open data� movement now has plenty of ammunition. The city’s fiscal situation also plays a major role in the shift. Though Palo Alto’s tax revenues have rebounded after a Great Recession freefall, they are being outstripped by the sharply rising costs of employee pensions and health care. A recent financial forecast projects General Fund deficits of $2.1 million, $3.7 million and $4.1 million in fiscal years 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. The financial pressures are forcing the city to come up with new

and more efficient ways to deliver services, said Jonathan Reichental, the city’s recently hired chief information officer. “One obvious way you can tackle a problem is to throw more bodies and throw more money at it,� Reichental said. “That’s not the way of the future. We’re not going to make the changes we need through this traditional path. You just start to incur more and more costs. You build more of a complexity which, in of itself, creates more cost. “You’ve got to break out of that cycle. You’ve got to do things differently. That’s the mindset I’m trying to bring here.�

R

eichental’s physical office in many ways reflects his feelings about the office of the CIO. Its clean, minimalist aesthetic would have made Steve Jobs proud. “I have a vision for the city, which is to build and enable a leading digital city,� Reichental said at a recent

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interview. “Had you come to this office six months ago, there would have been large shelves, lots of large files, lots of old books. But really, everything we need to get our work done today we can digitize.� “I want to be a poster child for this for the city. I want to say, ‘Come to my office and you’ll see that, as best I can, I want everything to be digital.’�

trative Services Department. Last year, City Manager James Keene decided to make IT a standalone department and to create a cabinetlevel position to oversee it. Now, in addition to keeping computers running at City Hall, the department is charged with re-invigorating the city’s digital presence and leading the “open dataâ€? movement that Keene touted in a presentation to the City Council in the beginning of the year. ÂŞ=SYÂŤZIKSXXSFVIEOSYX The movement, which sprouted SJXLEXG]GPI=SYÂŤZIKSX out of discussions between Keene and Reichental, aims to harness the XSHSXLMRKWHMJJIVIRXP] yottabytes of brainpower from Palo 8LEXÂŤWXLIQMRHWIX-ÂŤQ Alto’s engineering community for what city officials often refer to as XV]MRKXSFVMRKLIVIÂŤ “social good.â€? It’s also a practical ÂŚ.SREXLER6IMGLIRXEPGLMIJ manifestation of Reichental’s genMRJSVQEXMSRSJJMGIVGMX]SJ4EPS%PXS eral philosophy about government data: It should be easily available to Reichental is Palo Alto’s first- and accessible by the public. ever chief information officer. He “When we think about open data is an affable technologist with two in the public domain, the vast madecades in software design and a re- jority of the data we have belongs to sume that includes stints at O’Reilly the public and we should treat it that Media (which happens to be the pub- way,â€? he said. “Technology for sevlisher of “Hackersâ€?) and Pricewater- eral decades has not allowed ease of houseCoopers and a TEDx talk on access. What we see is — with the digital privacy. He has contributed emergence of Internet technology his thoughts on technology to NPR, — the ease with which we create CNBC and Forbes and various other a channel that allows outside parnational publications. Last year, he ticipants to consume data that lives beat out close to 150 applicants for within the organization now allows the new position, which he assumed us to do new things. It has a terrific in December. context in the public sector.â€? “Silicon Valley, and Palo Alto At times, as Reichental discusses specifically, have a particular mean- his plans to revamp the IT departing and a particular influence in IT ment, he sounds like an Apple innovation in the United States and, executive looking for ways to cut frankly, globally,â€? he said, explain- manufacturing costs. But instead ing his decision to accept the job. “It of China, the recipients of the city’s was a compelling area of work and business would be companies like a very compelling community of Google that provide cloud-based technologists and technology com- services at low or no cost. His vision panies and entrepreneurs.â€? calls for outsourcing the tedious Now, he is shepherding the city’s nuts and bolts of the city’s IT operadigital efforts and bridging the gap tion to private vendors and to rely on between City Hall and the city’s rich “freemiumâ€? services like Gmail — ecosystem of software engineers, services that offer basic services for entrepreneurs and designers. He is free and then charge customers who also leading a 30-member team that want to go beyond the basics. until recently was subsumed in the bureaucracy of the city’s Adminis(continued on next page)

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Celestine Johnson, creative director of the venture company Innovation Endeavors, was a key player in organizing Saturday’s “Super Happy Block Party� hackathon.

   



  

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The city, which has about 1,000 employees, is far smaller than many of the private companies that rely on cloud-based business software, he noted recently. In some cases, he said, it could obtain products at a cost that is far lower than it currently incurs by running, patching and maintaining its own systems. He is also exploring subscriptions and pay-per-use models for obtaining IT services. In the coming months, he plans to upgrade the city’s telephone systems and to replace most desktop computers at City Hall with laptops (which, he is quick to note, use 90 percent less energy). The point, he said, is to add flexibility, cut costs and get the city’s small IT staff to focus on “higher-value work.� Virtuous hackers play a major role in this strategy.

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“I don’t have 10 software developers sitting outside who can work on this, but the city has amazing software engineers, some of the best of the world,� Reichental said. “So we say, ‘We’ll give you the data. Can you help us build an app?’ Because they want to. It’s community service.� StreetViewer was the first example and is almost certainly not the last. Reichental came up with the idea (though not the name) for the product after Yeh mentioned the idea of participating in the Stanford event, which the mayor learned about through a Google search. Reichental quickly sketched out the idea on a storyboard and gave it to Yeh, who then pitched it to the Stanford students. The three Stanford programmers worked through the night to slap the site together. It was refined in the coming days and went live this month at almost no cost to the city. Though it remains to be seen how many people use the new website (potholes are one of those things everyone cares about but few care to stare at), few can accuse the city of splurging or dragging its feet. “This isn’t your typical government six-month, 12-month or 18month project,� Reichental noted. “The only cost here is effort.� Other examples will flow from this initial offering. The city will soon be releasing new data sets and asking local software engineers for help in making sense of it all. Though officials have yet to decide exactly what data will be released, Reichental and Yeh were adamant in recent interviews that residents’ privacy would be protected. Much like photos of local streets, the data would be utterly public in nature, they say. (continued on page 42)


Cover Story

Veronica Weber

Veronica Weber

Joel Franusic, right, co-organizer of the “Super Happy Block Party,” and Carly Spoljaric, event manager, work on finishing touches at Innovation Endeavors on March 23. Above: Sticky notes, fill a whiteboard at Innovation Endeavors as plans jell for the “Super Happy Block Party.”

Hackers plan to take over downtown Palo Alto block City teams up with local entrepreneurs, coders for 12-hour ‘Super Happy Block Party’ Saturday by Gennady Sheyner

T

States in 2011. The “result has been a wave of innovation and new businesses,” the article stated.

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Risberg has participated in hackathons both as an engineer and as the “ideas” man — the person who pitches ideas for coders to work on. These events, he said, have stretched in duration from about eight to 54 hours. Those on the longer side allow participants to go home in the evenings. The

“Wired” article shows youths sleeping on the floor, a paper plate with pizza slices and various energy-boosting quaffs — coffee, Coca Cola and Red Bull, the events’ unofficial drink. Goals can range from winning cash to landing a job to getting noticed by a potential investor. Risberg recalled one hackathon held at Facebook pitted software engineers from Stanford University against those from University of California, Berkeley. The Stanford hackers got to go home and rest, Risberg recalled. Those who didn’t have cars and who took the bus to the event (mostly Berkeley students) slept on the couch, he said. Sam King, who has organized hacking events at Stanford since February 2009, has termed his events “code jams” to combat the popular image of hackathons as hubs of junk food and caffeine. In February, Palo Alto

Manouri Nissanka

o the world at large, the word “hackers” is loaded with sinister connotations evoking computer viruses, stolen data and — thanks to “The Social Network” — young Ivy Leaguers sabotaging their university servers to rate sorority girls. To a hacker, the world at large misses the point. The overwhelming majority of hackers, as numerous technologists have pointed out in recent interviews, are more like digital pioneers — more interested in improving existing products and developing new ones than in wreaking havoc on civilization. “It’s sort of like an explorer exploring a new world,” said Jeffrey Risberg, cofounder of TIBCO Software, who regularly participates in “hackathons,” marathon coding sessions typically featuring small teams of hackers working to develop products. “The word ‘hackers’ refers to a person in an exploration party who is hacking through the jungle with a machete.” Downtown Palo Alto will welcome many such explorers Saturday afternoon, March 31, when it closes a block of High Street between University and Hamilton avenues and hands it over to coders, artists and venture capitalists. The event, dubbed “Super Happy Block Party,” is described by organizers as a mash up of a block party and a hackathon, with creative types mingling with software engineers, entrepreneurs pitching ideas and coders gathering at three “hacking spaces” to work their magic under the “day star” (known to non-hackers as “the sun”). Food trucks, pitching booths and coding lessons for children will round out the day of hacking fun. “It will have the ad hoc style (of a hackathon), but we’re throwing creatives into the mix,” said Frederik Hermann, a vice president for communications of Talenthouse, one of the hosts of the event. Hackathons aren’t new to Palo Alto, though they have generally remained under the radar. Various computer giants, including Facebook and Google, have been known to host them to spark innovation and uncover talent. A recent article on the subject in “Wired” magazine estimated that more than 200 hackathons were held in the United

Jeff Risberg, left, leads a team of Stanford University graduate students and Sustainable Silicon Valley volunteers in a 24-hour hackathon Feb. 11 at Stanford’s Arrillaga Center. Their goals was to develop an app for environmental-decision analysis.

Mayor Yiaway Yeh attended one of King’s events to pitch the idea of building an online index of local streets and their conditions (see main story). Three students worked through the night to bring his vision to reality. King, 24, isn’t a typical hacker, even if there is such a thing. The Stanford senior wasn’t even really interested in computers when he enrolled in the university. In high school, he was a policy debater who thought social change would be achieved through political science, philosophy and medicine. King said in a recent interview that he began thinking about the potential of computer science to spur social change when he was a freshman, after speaking to his adviser at Stanford. The first “code jam” he organized coincided with a dance marathon that was raising funds to combat AIDS. “Computer scientists didn’t party very much,” King said. “The thought was — there are all these people here who have all these skills that can make the world a better place, and they can make it a better place in ways other than dancing.” Since the first event, King has been organizing two code jams per academic quarter. He has garnered national attention for his efforts, including recognition from the Clinton Global Institute University. People from Google and other tech giants regularly come to his events, which typically feature about 30 hackers. King is also working with other universities that have expressed interest in replicating his efforts, including Northwestern University and Berkeley. “I’m now looking to scale this on a national level,” King said. King said one of his ambitions is to give coders an avenue for making social change. “One of the reasons I’m so passionate about this is because there’s a lot of computer scientists who are interested in using their skills for the social sector, but they just don’t know where the opportunities are.” Like King, the organizers of the Super (continued on next page)

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Digital city

Hackers

(continued from page 40)

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Yeh said the focus of future products would likely be infrastructure. One idea, he said, is to create a searchable index for local sidewalks. Others include creating a digital tour of Palo Alto’s public art or to create a website on which bicyclists equipped with helmet cameras can record their favorite local trails. The exact nature of future projects remains fuzzy, but city officials emphasize their development will be an “iterative process” with baby steps, frequent tweaks, private-sector involvement, resident feedback and little financial risk for the city (Yeh paid for the frozen yogurt from his own pocket).

T

Jeff Risberg

Happy Block Party are thinking far beyond the Palo Alto event. The party is a brainchild of Innovation Endeavors, the venture capital firm in downtown Palo Alto that was founded by Google Chair Eric Schmidt and that focuses on startups with game-changing ideas. Celestine Johnson, a self-described “creative instigator” at Innovation Endeavors, said a major goal of the event is to “pioneer new forms of innovation.” Her company is hosting the event along with Talenthouse. Other sponsors are the Super Happy Dev House, Institute for the Future and the city. “Palo Alto has some of the most innovative companies in the world, and I see the block party as a template for innovation,” Johnson said. Through their efforts, Sam King, Innovation Endeavors, Talenthouse and the City of Palo Alto are also doing their part to erase the negative connotations that the word “hacker” has long enjoyed throughout the nation (even in some parts of Silicon Valley). In some ways, they are helping to spur the culture change. In other ways, they are being spurred by it. Steve Levy, who popularized the term in his 1985 book, “Hackers,” noted a decade later

Stanford students participate in CodeTheChange, a 24-hour hackathon on Feb. 11. Stanford grad student Sebastian Tilmans (left) is the team’s domain expert for the app project. in an afterword that “the tide has turned” with the computer revolution and that “more people have learned about the spirit of true hacking.”

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“Not only are the technically literate aware of hacker ideas and ideals, but they appreciate them and realize ... that they are something to nurture,” Levy wrote.

Palo Alto officials would surely agree. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.

he downtown Hackathon follows a similar model (see sidebar). Though the city is co-sponsoring the “Super Happy Block Party,” it was pitched and organized by young, downtownbased companies well versed in the language of startups — Innovation Endeavors and Talenthouse. One goal of the event, Yeh said, is to develop applications for the city. But Yeh said the event would also allow the city to send a message — a pitch to coders to apply their talents for the social good. The block party is also intended to create a forum for Palo Alto’s creative types to mingle. The vision is to break the barriers between artists and coders, not to mention the tradi-


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Amy Welker, account manager; Eric Perron, director of customer support; and Laura Fitzpatrick, social media manager, work at the new downtown Palo Alto location of Talenthouse, co-host of Saturday’s “Super Happy Block Party.� harness private-sector talent. Risberg is the cofounder of TIBCO Software, a Palo Alto-based tech giant that specializes in infrastructure software and cloud computing. After leaving TIBCO, he took a break for three months before diving back into the world of startups and technology. A veteran software engineer and a serial entrepreneur, he now advises two startup companies, InsideVault and RallyOn. The latter company, which makes games with a health care theme, just moved into its new Menlo Park headquarters last week. Risberg is also working with the city to solve one of its most pressing, complicated and divisive issues: what to do with the city’s waste. The subject has risen to the forefront in the past three years as Palo Alto (continued on next page)

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time interaction. “We focus on businesses that want to change the world,� said Dror Berman, a managing partner at the firm, during a recent interview at the company’s headquarters. Johnson said she was walking down the street with Roman Scharf, co-founder of Talenthouse (a social network for creative talent), when the idea of closing down a downtown Palo Alto block for a hacking event occurred to them. The reaction from Yeh, Keene and Reichental was an enthusiastic: “Let’s do it.� “We were blown away,� Johnson said. “Typically, when you work with a government it’s very slow and often frustrating. This time, it was a pretty amazing experience.� While it’s too early to say whether technologists will respond to the call from City Hall, Jeffrey Risberg sees plenty of upside in the city’s effort to

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tional dividing line between hackers and their traditional nemesis — the government. “What we want is to create networking and to build on the magic that happens in Palo Alto between entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and the like,� Reichental said. Celestine Johnson, creative director of Innovation Endeavors, was thinking along the same lines two months ago. Her venture company occupies a suite on High Street, about two blocks from City Hall. Founded in 2010 by Google Chair Eric Schmidt, the company invests in small startups with huge ideas (“Marginal change doesn’t interest us,� the company’s LinkedIn page proclaims). Its recent investments include VideoGenie, a Menlo Parkbased startup that offers users a video-management platform, and Shaker, a social network for real-

academic summer enrichment courses with independent in-depth and project-based morning and afternoon week-long programs for children ages 4-12. June 18 - August 24 sExperience innovative and inventive learning sYoung Explorers (Play School) sConstructivist Math sScience Masters’ Series: da Vinci, Galileo, and Edison sTyping for Kids sCreative Sewing, and more!

bea part of it now

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725 Portola Rd., Portola Valley (650) 851-1114 www.springdown.com

Register online

www.sfhs.com/summer *>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ÞÊUĂŠ>Ă€V…ÊÎä]ÊÓä£ÓÊU Page 43


Cover Story

Digital city

& Teen Aca

demies

(continued from previous page)

CREATE VIDE

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STANFOR D WATER POLO CAMPS

ONE® APPS!

Ages 7 and up. New to the sport or have experience, we have a camp for you.

PROGRAM R OBOTS!

Half day or full day option for boys and girls. All the camps offer fundamental skill work, position work, scrimmages and games.

MAKE MOVIE

60+ UNIVER

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SITIES. AGES

650-725-9016 stanfordwaterpolocamps.com

7-18.

Stanford UC Berkeley Santa Clara Princeton UCLA

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USSportsCamps.com

Camps for preschoolers through teens at the Oshman Family JCC t4QFDJBMUZDBNQTJODMVEJOH"SDIFSZ 0OUIF4FU 3PDL#BOENPSF t&YDJUJOHUSBWFMDBNQTUP-BLF5BIPFBOE %JTOFZMBOE t"WBSJFUZPGBDUJWJUJFTBUPVSUSBEJUJPOBMDBNQT t-FBEFSTIJQQSPHSBNTGPSUFFOT

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1-800-NIKE CAMP (1-800-645-3226)

K-12 LEARNING AND FUN

MORNING ACADEMICS

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AFTERNOON ACTIVITIES

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Grades K-6

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Summer Institute

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closed down its landfill at Byxbee Park and began exploring the feasibility of building a waste-to-energy plant in the Baylands. The debate over the new plant culminated in Measure E, a ballot measure that voters approved in November that “undedicates” a 10-acre parcel in Byxbee Park and makes it available for the new waste plant. The plant would convert organic waste, compost and possibly biosolids into energy. Risberg operates on both sides of the startup-bureaucracy divide. He has participated in seven Hackathons (including the Feb. 11 event at Stanford), both as a coder and as an entrepreneur looking for coders. As part of his work with Sustainable Silicon Valley, Risberg is now working with Stanford graduate students and a panel of environmental experts to evaluate the impacts of the proposed anaerobic-digestion plant on Palo Alto and surrounding cities. The panel includes Phil Bobel, Palo Alto’s assistant director of Public Works. “The graduate students are developing new technologies for environmental treatment,” Risberg said. “No city operates on its own. What we did was come up with a tool that would help measure and model the potential benefits of utilizing these technologies and how they would impact waste streams around the City of Palo Alto.” Though the project involves a collaboration of public agencies, private interests and Stanford coders, it is nothing like StreetViewer. The complexities of coming up with a model to track environmental impacts of waste-management technologies is such that progress can only be measured in years, not weeks, Risberg noted. But much like the StreetViewer, it suggests that Palo Alto’s effort to tap into the altruistic impulses of its hacker community could pay off in a big way. Risberg, for one, believes the city is on to something good. Many major corporations now have pro bono sections in their business operations. Some companies also follow the Microsoft model of giving employees time off to work on social issues. “I think it’ll be a very valid model,” Risberg said. “I believe the City of Palo Alto is tapping into a very useful stream.”

P

OTHER PROGRAMS

www.paloaltojcc.org/camps Oshman Family JCC 3921 Fabian Way | Palo Alto, CA youth@paloaltojcc.org | (650) 223-8622 Page 44ÊUÊ>ÀV…ÊÎä]ÊÓä£ÓÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞ

· Sport Camps · Swim School

· English Language Institute for International Students

summer.harker.org Held on our beautiful lower and upper school campuses

campinfo@harker.org | 408.553.0537

alo Alto’s digital revolution will not be televised. It will, however, be streamed on the city’s website, which is now going through a wholesale makeover. The current website, cityofpaloalto.org, perfectly captures many of the qualities that frustrate residents when it comes to local government. It is static, text-heavy and loaded with bland stock images. A user who clicks on the link to “Know Zone” (the online depository of staff reports, press releases and project updates) is greeted by a large photo of an empty Council Chambers — as good a symbol as any of the site’s “civic engagement” factor. The site’s redesign has been a laborious multi-year process involving


Cover Story staff and an advisory committee of citizen volunteers. Though the site has seen gradual tweaks over the past few years, a typical user would see little change other than the fact that the background changed from black to white. In the coming weeks, the city will roll out the beta version of the city’s new site. Though officials are coy about discussing the new features before the official release, the site will feature more videos, brighter colors, analytics galore and a prominent social-media component. Reichental said the city will “soft launch� it by offering on the existing site a link to the new site and giving the users a choice as to which site to use. Reichental said the launching of the city’s revamped site, much like most of its new digital initiatives, should be an iterative process with lots of user feedback and frequent revisions — small steps leading toward major changes. The “iterative� philosophy also applies to social media. On Feb. 27, Yeh, Keene and Reichental hosted the city’s first Twitter Q&A, a 30minute tweet-fest that allowed residents to pose questions and receive answers in 140 characters or less. The first questioner wrote, “Govts have a tremendous chance to leverage operational data to provide better svcs to citizens.What opps do u see for PaloAlto?� Keene responded in the cryptic language typical of Twitter exchanges: “Open data to public = grassroots solutions.� Other participants asked Yeh and Keene about things like bike sharing, the California Avenue streetscape project and city priorities. After eight questions, time was up. Reichental called the first Twitter Q&A a “decent first go� that provided two valuable lessons. “Maybe we shouldn’t do it during the day, when people are working and are otherwise distracted,� he said. “Also, 30 minutes just seemed

to fly.� They decided to schedule the next Twitter Q&A for the evening and to make it an hour-long event, he said. Though the primary goal of the event is to answer residents’ questions, there is also the broader goal of building buzz around the city’s digital presence. “Whether you’re a city or a big billion-private company, when you don’t have champions, when you don’t have people who believe in this stuff and really maintain it, and evangelize the benefits and keep it current, that’s going to be a massive weakness. “One of the reasons I’m following up with the Twitter Q&A is that

I want to build momentum,� Reichental said. “I want to build the zeitgeist about doing government differently.� N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.

TALK ABOUT IT

www.PaloAltoOnline.com What do you think of the city’s new direction with technology? Talk about the issue on Town Square, the online discussion forum, at Palo Alto Online.

About the cover: Cover illustration by Shannon Corey.

SUMMER FUN FOR EVERYONE YMCA Day & Overnight Camps YMCA OF SILICON VALLEY

Your child will discover hidden talents, experience QHZDGYHQWXUHVJDLQFRQžGHQFHDQGPDNHODVWLQJ IULHQGVKLSVDQGPHPRULHV

,ETTHE&UN"EGIN Summer Fun 2012 at PACCC Palo Alto Community Child Care The Best in Child Care Begins With Us

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SIX CAMP OPTIONS - June 11 to August 3 Each offering exciting themes and activities! Kindergarten to Grade 6 Activities Include:

Join today: SupportLocalJournalism.org

Swimming - Bike Rides - Field Trips - Organized Activities

Camp details at www.paccc.com

Give blood for life! b l o o d c e n t e r. s t a n f o r d . e d u

Today’s news, sports & hot picks

Fresh news delivered daily Sign up today www.PaloAltoOnline.com *>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ÞÊUĂŠ>Ă€V…ÊÎä]ÊÓä£ÓÊU Page 45


TH3UCCESSFUL9EAROF3UMMER#AMPS@)NDIA#OMMUNITY#ENTER EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT ends March 31

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For more information about these camps, see our online directory of camps at http://paloaltoonline.com/biz/summercamps/. To advertise in a weekly directory, contact 650-326-8210

Athletics Bald Eagle Camps

Mountain View

Bald Eagle Camps is the only camp Approved by the nationally recognized Positive Coaching Alliance, teaching their principles to every camper through our Certified Coaches. We offer 3 uniquely FUN Summer Camps, each of which exude our encouraging team culture: Non-Traditional Sports Camp(1st-8th), Basketball Camp(3rd-8th), and Leadership Camp(7th8th only). Come experience our positive atmosphere, great coaching, unique structure, inspiring life message and 5-STAR service. Bald Eagle Camps is guaranteed to be a highlight of your child’s summer. www.baldeaglecamps.com 888-505-2253

Earl Hansen Football Camp

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Kim Grant Tennis Academy & Palo Alto/ Summer Camps Menlo Park/Redwood City Fun and Specialized junior camps for Mini (3-5), Beginner, Intermediate 1&2, Advanced and Elite Players. Weekly programs designed by Kim Grant to improve players technique, fitness, agility, mental toughness and all around tennis game. Camps in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Redwood City. Come make new friends and have tons of FUN!! www.KimGrantTennis.com 650-752-8061

Nike Tennis Camps

Stanford University

Dick Gould’s 43rd Annual Stanford Tennis School offers day camps for both juniors a&dults. Weekly junior overnight & extended day camps run by John Whitlinger & Lele Forood. Junior Day Camp run by Brandon Coupe & Frankie Brennan. www.USSportsCamps.com/tennis 1-800-NIKE-CAMP (645-3226)

Oshman JCC

Palo Alto

Exciting programs for preschool and grades K-12 include swimming, field trips, crafts and more. Enroll your child in traditional camp, or specialty camps like Pirates, Archery, Runway Project, Kid TV and over 25 others! www.paloaltojcc.org/camps 650-223-8622

Art Classes Private Lessons, Classes & Ensembles

Spartans Sports Camp

Mountain View

Spartans Sports Camp offers multi-sport, week-long sessions for boys and girls in grades 3-5 as well as sportspecific sessions for grades 6-9. There are also strength and conditioning camps for grades 6-12. Camps begin June 11th and run weekly through July 27th at Mountain View High School. The camp is run by MVHS coaches and student-athletes and all proceeds benefit the MVHS Athletic Department. Lunch and extended care are available for your convenience. www. SpartansSportsCamp.com 650-479-5906

Preschool Program Vacation Camps Concerts & Exhibitions

Spring Down Equestrian Center

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All ages, all levels, all aspirations! Finn Center, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View | 650.917.6800

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Palo Alto

No tagline, no logo, just football. Earl Hansen Football camp is a non-contact camp for participants ages 9 to 14. Develop fundamental skills with proven drills and techniques. Sessions are 9:30 to 3:00, July 30 to August 3. Save 10% with Early Bird registration through April 30. Four morning practice days and 7 on 7 games in the afternoon. Lunch provided daily. Palo Alto High School Football Field. www.earlhansenfootballcamp.com 650-269-7793

Portola Valley

Spring Down camp teaches basic to advanced horsemanship skills. Ages 6-99 welcome! Daily informative lecture, riding lesson, supervised hands-on skill practice, safety around horses, tacking/untacking of own camp horse, and arts/crafts. www.springdown.com 650.851.1114

Stanford Water Polo Camps

Stanford

Ages 7 and up. New to the sport or have experience, we have a camp for you. Half day or full day option for boys and girls. All the camps offer fundamental skill work, position work, scrimmages and games. stanfordwaterpolocamps.com 650-725-9016

Summer at Saint Francis

Mountain View

Sports & Activity Camp (ages 6-12): This all sports camp provides group instruction in a variety of field, water and court games. Saint Francis faculty and students staff the camp, and the focus is always on fun. The program is dedicated to teaching teamwork, sportsmanship and positive self-esteem. After camp care and swim lessons available. www.sfhs.com/summer 650-968-1213 x650

Summer at Saint Francis

Mountain View

Advanced Sports Camps (5th-9th grades): We offer a wide selection of advanced sports camps designed to provide players with the opportunity to improve both their skill and knowledge of a specific sport. Each camp is run by a Head Varsity Coach at Saint Francis, and is staffed by members of the coaching staff. www.sfhs.com/summer 650-968-1213 x650

YMCA of Silicon Valley

Peninsula

Say hello to summer fun at the YMCA! Choose from enriching day or overnight camps in 35 locations: arts, sports, science, travel, and more. For youth K-10th grade. Includes weekly fieldtrips, swimming and outdoor adventures. Accredited by the American Camp Association. Financial assistance available. www.ymcasv.org/summercamp 408-351-6400

Academics GASPA German Summer School Camp

Menlo Park

Learn German by way of Fairytale! GASPA is taking Summer Camp into the world of fairy tales and everything that comes with it‌in German of course! Offering a 4 week program for children ages 3-12. www.gaspa-ca.org 650-520-3646

Harker Summer Programs

San Jose

K-12 offerings taught by exceptional, experienced faculty and staff. K-6 morning academics - focusing on math, language arts and science - and full spectrum of afternoon recreation. Grades 6-12 for-credit courses and non-credit enrichment opportunities. Sports programs also offered. www.summer.harker.org 408-553-0537

iD Tech Camps Summer Tech Fun!

Stanford

Take hobbies further! Ages 7-17 create iPhone apps, video games, movies, and more at weeklong, day and overnight programs held at Stanford and 60+ universities in 27 states.. Also 2-week, Teen-only programs: iD Gaming Academy, iD Programming Academy, and iD visual Arts Academy (filmmaking & photography). www.internalDrive.com 1-888-709-TECH (8324) (continued on next page)


G U I D E TO 2012 S U M M E R C A M P S F O R K I D S

n n o e C c p t i o m n a C

CELEBRATING OVER 30 YEARS

OF

GROWTH & CHANGING STUDENT LIVES

Summer 2012

For more information about these camps, see our online directory of camps at http://paloaltoonline.com/biz/summercamps/. To advertise in a weekly directory, contact 650-326-8210 Castilleja Summer Day Camp

Academics (continued from previous page)

iD Teen Academies

Stanford

Learn different aspects of video game creation, app development, filmmaking, photography, and more. 2-week programs where ages 13-18 interact with industry professionals to gain competitive edge. iD Gaming Academy, iD Programming Academy, and iD Visual Arts Academy are held at Stanford, and other universities. www.iDTeenAcademies.com 1-888-709-TECH (8324)

ISTP’s Language Immersion Summer Camp ISTP Summer Camp is designed to give participants a unique opportunity to spend their summer break having fun learning or improving in a second language. Students are grouped according to both grade level and language of proficiency. Our camp offers many immersion opportunities and consists of a combination of language classes and activities taught in the target language. Sessions are available in French, Mandarin, Chinese and English ESL and run Monday through Friday, 8am-3:30pm, with additional extnding care from 3:30-5:30pm. www.istp.org 650-251-8519

Mid-Peninsula High School Summer Program

Menlo Park

Mid-Peninsula High School offers a series of classes and electives designed to keep students engaged in learning. Class Monday-Thursday and limited to 15 students. Every Thursday there’s a BBQ lunch. The Science and Art classes will have weekly field trips. www.mid-pen.com 650-321-1991 x110

Summer at Saint Francis

Mountain View

Summer at Saint Francis provides a broad range of academic and athletic programs for elementary through high school students. It is the goal of every program to make summer vacation enriching and enjoyable! www.sfhs.com/summer 650-968-1213 x446

Synapse School & Wizbots

Menlo Park

Cutting-edge, imaginative, accelerated, integrated, and hands-on academic summer enrichment courses with independent in-depth, project-based morning and afternoon week-long programs for children ages 4-12. Young Explorers, Thinking Math, Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions, Nature Connections, Girls’ & Soccer Robotics, and more! synapseschool.org/curriculum/summer 650-866-5824

Write Now! Summer Writing Camps

Palo Alto

Emerson School of Palo Alto and Hacienda School of Pleasanton open their doors and offer their innovative programs: Expository Writing, Creative Writing, Presentation Techniques, and (new!) Media Production. Call or visit our website for details. Also Pleasanton. www.headsup.org 650-424-1267, 925-485-5750

Arts, Culture and Other Camps Camp Imagineerz

Mountain View/ Los Altos

Building i-can attitudes....In a FUN environment, children discover that when you believe you can, you can! Creating and performing original stories, building/ making with recycled materials and lots of outdoor play. Grades 1- 4. Fabulous Early-bird discount up to March 15. See website for details www.imagineerz-learning.com 650-318-5002

Palo Alto

Castilleja Summer Day Camp (grades 2-6, CILT grades 8-9) offers age-appropriate activities including athletics, art, science, computers, writing, crafts, cooking, drama, music classes and field trips. Two and four week sessions available. www.castilleja.org 650-470-7833

Community School of Music & Arts (CSMA )

Mountain View

50+ creative camps for Gr. K-8! Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Musical Theater, American Idol Workshop, more! Two-week sessions; full and halfday enrollment. Extended care available. Financial aid offered. www.arts4all.org 650-917-6800 ext. 0

Creative Kids Camp

India Community Center Palo Alto/ Sunnyvale/ Summer Camps Milpitas/Olema Join ICC’s Cultural Camps which give campers a quick tour of India and its vibrant culture. These camps include arts, crafts, folk dance, bollywood dance, music, yoga, Indian history and geography. Over 10 different camps all through the summer for Grades K-12. To register or for more details visit: www.indiacc.org/camps 408-934-1130 ext. 225

Palo Alto

PACCC summer camps offer campers, grades kindergarten to 6th, a wide array of fun opportunities! K-1 Fun for the youngest campers, Nothing But Fun for themed-based weekly sessions, Neighborhood Adventure Fun and Ultimate Adventure Fun for the more active and on-the-go campers! Swimming twice per week, periodic field trips, special visitors and many engaging camp activities, songs and skits round out the fun offerings of PACCC Summer Camps! Registration is online. Open to campers from all communities! Come join the fun in Palo Alto! www.paccc.com 650-493-2361

TechKnowHow Computer Palo Alto/ & LEGO Camps Menlo Park/Sunnyvale Fun and enriching technology classes for students, ages 5-14 Courses include LEGO and K’NEX Projects with Motors, Electronics, NXT Robotics, 3D Modeling, and Game Design. Many locations, including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Sunnyvale. Half and all day options. Early-bird and multi-session discounts available. www.techknowhowkids.com 650-638-0500

Theatreworks Summer Camps

SUMMER SCHOOL June 25 - July 27, 2012 OPEN HOUSE APRIL 21

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www.mid-pen.com

Menlo Park

Children entering Grades 1 to 8 are invited to explore the arts July 16 - 20, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Workshops available in guitar, dance, voice, and songwriting. Put together a musical from start to finish. Performance on Friday night. Register online. www.mppc.org 650-323-8647

Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC)

MID-PENINSULA HIGH SCHOOL

Palo Alto

In these skill-building workshops for grades K-5, students engage in language-based activities, movement, music, and improvisation theatre games. Students present their own original pieces at the end of each two-week camp. www.theatreworks.org/educationcommunity 650-463-7146

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Goings On The best of what’s happening on Art Galleries

‘Aotearoa’ The Portola Art Gallery presents “Aotearoa: A Photographic Journey of New Zealand” by Frances Freyberg. The color photographs feature landscapes from across New Zealand’s North and South Islands. Mon.-Sat., March 1-31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Portola Art Gallery, 75 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Call 650-321-0220. www.francesfreyberg. com ‘Marsh’ Photography by Aki Mori Gallery 9 presents digital color photography by Bay Area artist Aki Mori. Mori seeks to capture the cycle of life through her photos. The reception is Thursday, March 8, 6-8 p.m. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m-5 p.m.; Sunday 12-4 p.m. Gallery 9, 143 Main St., Los Altos. www.gallery9losaltos.com ‘Tote-ally-Art’ Mixed-media artist Jane Ferguson is exhibiting new wall artwork and tote bags that feature figures from her favorite paintings. The gallery is open Mon.-Sat. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays until 3. Through March 31. Free. Viewpoints Gallery, 315 State St., Los Altos. www.viewpointsgallery.com Contemporary Art Tour This tour focuses on the contemporary art collection in the Friedenrich Family Gallery, which features works from the 1950s to the present and reflects the art’s innovations. Second Saturday of each month. March 17, 3 p.m. Cantor Arts Center, Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford. museum.stanford.edu/visit/public_tours.html Dr. Seuss Scholarship Art Exhibition Dr. Seuss Scholarship Finalist artworks are on exhibit at Peabody Gallery. Eight local and regional finalist students compete for this $10,000 scholarship. Visitors can vote for their favorites. March 2 - March 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. No Charge. Peabody Fine Art Gallery, 603 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park. Call 408-390-5177. peabodygallery.com Gallery House “Land & Water, Flow & Form” is a show of recent landscapes by Charlotte Coqui, Starr Davis, Dan McLean, Patricia Nojima, Kevyn Warnock and Trevlyn Williams. Reception with live music on March 9 from 6 to 8

the Midpeninsula

pm. Exhibit runs March 6-31: Tue.-Wed. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thu.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Gallery House, 320 California Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650326-1668. www.galleryhouse2.com Hanna House Tour The Hanna-Honeycomb House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1930s for Jean and Paul Hanna. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and exemplifies Wright’s contribution to American culture. Tours are open to the public four times per month with three tours per day. $10. Hanna-Honeycomb House, Stanford. hannahousetours.stanford.edu/ Memorial Church Tour Located in the Main Quad, a few minutes’ walk from the Center, the Stanford Memorial Church is the physical heart of the campus, replete with stained glass windows, mosaics, and stone carvings. Fridays at 2 p.m., rain or shine. 2 p.m. Cantor Arts Center, Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford. museum.stanford.edu/visit/public_tours. html Michelle Jader “Ready of Not,” an exhibit of new paintings by artist Michelle Jader, is a body of figurative works. The exhibit runs March 1-31, open Tues.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays until 7. A reception is set for March 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. Free. Bryant Street Gallery, 532 Bryant St., Palo Alto. Call 650-321-8155. bryantstreet.com Outdoor Sculpture Around the Museum This tour begins in front of the Cantor Arts Center with marble statues, dating from 1891, that flank the main entrance. The tour continues with the work of Auguste Rodin, Beverly Pepper, Mark di Suvero, and Andy Goldsworthy. Third Sunday of each month at 11:30 am. 11:30 a.m. Cantor Arts Center, Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford. museum.stanford.edu/ visit/public_tours.html Outdoor Sculpture Walk This tour explores the Stanford campus and its extensive outdoor collection of 20th-century sculpture in the quad and south campus area. First Sunday of each month at 2 p.m., rain or shine. 2 p.m. Cantor Arts Center, Lomita Drive at Museum Way,

OF NOTE OF NOTE

The Paul G. Allen Art Spaces Gallery features paintings by artists Jose Allen and Wayne Jiang, and photographs by Terry Thompson. Smallhead style The art, including “Semana Santa”(above) by Jose Allen, will be Caption style available for viewing weekdays, April 13-June 21. There will be a reception on Friday, April 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Paul G. Allen building, 420 Via Palou, Stanford. For more information go to http://cis.stanford.edu/~marigros or call 650-725-3622.

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Paintings and photos at Stanford Art Spaces

Stanford. museum.stanford.edu/visit/ public_tours.html Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden Tour Created on-site at Stanford by artists from Papua New Guinea, the garden contains wood and stone carvings of people, animals, and magical beings that illustrate clan stories and creation myths. Third Sundays of the Month, 2 p.m., rain or shine. Meet on the corner of Santa Teresa and Lomita Drive. 2 p.m. Cantor Arts Center, Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford. museum.stanford. edu/visit/public_tours.html Rodin Sculpture Garden and Galleries The B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden features 20 bronzes by Auguste Rodin, including The Gates of Hell, and is open to the public. The Center also devotes three indoor galleries to the work of Rodin. Wednesdays at 2 p.m., Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., rain or shine. Cantor Arts Center, Lomita Drive at Museum Way, Stanford. museum.stanford.edu/visit/public_tours.html Tony Grant Exhibition featuring 25 of Tony Grant’s documentary photographic images printed on metallic paper. Through April 1, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 to 3. Free. Community School of Music and Arts, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. Call 650917-6800, ext. 306. www.arts4all.org

Benefits

Canary Challenge Bike Ride 2012 Registration is now open for the Canary Challenge 2012 Fundraising bike ride. 100 percent of funds raised go to Stanford Cancer Institute. 6 a.m.-6 p.m. $100 registration and $400 minimum fundraising per participant. VMWare parking lot, 3401 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto 94304. Call 650-646-3200. canarychallenge.com

Classes/Workshops

‘Double Digging and Bed Preparation’ Double-digging is the first step in a Grow Biointensive garden. Students will learn what makes soil healthy and how to create it. March 31, 2-4 p.m. $31. Common Ground Garden Supply and Education Center, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-493-6072. doublediggingandbedprep.eventbrite.com/ ‘Growing Cymbidium Orchids’ Weegie Caughlan will tell attendees about growing orchids: temperature, sunlight, growing medium, watering, nutrition and pest control. March 31, 9:30-11:30 a.m. $30 members, $40 non-members. Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Call 650-329-1356 ext. 201. www.gamblegarden.org ‘Seed Propagation’ This class will explain how to make planting soil along with transplanting, pricking out seedlings from flats, and proper watering. March 31, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $31. Common Ground Garden Supply and Education Center, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-493-6072. seedpropagation2012. eventbrite.com/ ‘Yoga Bliss Thursday’ Anusara-inspired yoga with stretching and breathing awareness. Taught by Patricia Becker on Thursdays, 5:45-7:15 p.m. $17 per class for drop-ins. California Yoga Center, 541 Cowper Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-4941620. patriciajoy.wordpress.com/community-classes/ Arthritis Join Little House’s arthritis certified exercise program focusing on gentle activities to help increase joint flexibility, range of motion, increase blood circulation and to help maintain muscle strength. 9:45-10:45 a.m. $60/$64. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 650-326-2025, ext. 222. www.penvol.org Caliente Latin Dancing The public is invited to come and learn the style, steps, timing and music of cha cha, swing, samba, and meringue. 7-7:45 p.m. $40/$12 Drop-In. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 650-3262025, ext. 222. www.penvol.org

CALENDAR LISTINGS For complete Calendar listings or to submit a Calendar listing, go to www.PaloAltoOnline.com and click on “Master Community Calendar” For News submissions for possible use elsewhere in the paper, e-mail editor@paweekly.com or call (650) 326-8210 www.PaloAltoOnline.com

Communication Workshop (ToastMasters Orbiters) Toastmasters meet every first and third Thursdays to work on communication skills in a friendly environment. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free. Mountain View Community Center, 210 South Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View. Call 408-571-1844. orbiters.freetoasthost.us Creative Movement and Storytelling Great for soccer stars, princesses, space explorers, to develop strength, coordination, verbal ability, rhythm, and imagination. Movement, music and make believe create a magical class. For boys and girls ages 4-6. March 8, 5-5:30 p.m. $60/4 classes. Mountain View Masonic Lodge, 890 Church St., Mountain View. Call 650969-4110. www.livelyfoundation.org Feldenkrais A class to enhance posture, balance, flexibility, and brain function through the practice of specific structured movement explorations that involve thinking, sensing, moving and imagining. 11 a.m.-12 p.m. $50/$55. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 650-326-2025, ext. 222. www. penvol.org Genealogy Attendees can learn the skills, computer sites, and programs to help do the research to discover the history of ancestors. March 27, 10-11:30 a.m. $90/$99. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 650-326-2025, ext. 222. www.penvol. org Mom and Baby Yoga In Blossom’s MomBaby yoga classes, moms can meet other women and experience the benefits of yoga without worrying about babies bothering others. Mondays from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., and Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 to 11:15 a.m. $90 for six classes; $17 drop-in. Blossom Birth, 299 S. California Ave., Suite 120, Palo Alto. Call 650321-2326. blossombirth.org/index.html Pure Barre Pure Barre is a ballet barre based workout combining elements of ballet, pilates & yoga in a 1-hour workout. Grand opening Saturday, March 31. Attendees should sign up online and bring socks to wear in class. March 23, $100 New Client Promo: 30 days, unlimited classes. Pure Barre, 299 N. California Ave., Palo Alto. www.purebarre.com/ CA-paloalto Raising Resilient Children in a Complex World Parenting workshop led by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet. Learn essential life skills children need to navigate a complex and demanding world. Pre-registration required. March 28, 7-9 p.m. $35. Parents Place, 200 Channing Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-688-3040. http://www.parentsplaceonline.org/peninsula/classes/ raising-resilient-children-complex-world7-essential-life-skills-5-12-years Summer Music Workshops Workshops are open to musicians ages 6 to 14 of all instruments. Directed by ECYS associate conductor Michail Gelfandbein, the workshops will feature orchestra, smallensemble and music-theory instruction. Brochure and registration form available online. Registration due June 1. $450. Palo Alto. www.ecys.org/summer_workshops.html URASTAR - TV Studio Production Workshop Attendees learn all the crew positions to produce their own half-hour studio show with other students in their class. March 29, 6-10 p.m. $145. Mid-

peninsula Community Media Center, 900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto. Call 650494-8686 ext. 18. midpenmedia.org Video Production Workshop Attendees produce a short video, learn camera operations, audio and lighting in the field, editing with Final Cut Pro and burning a DVD and uploading to Youtube. Class is all day on Saturday, March 24, half day Sunday, March 25, field shoot on Saturday, March 30 and then all day the following Sunday, March 31. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. $145.00. Media Center, 900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto. Call 650-4948686. midpenmedia.org Woodworking Attendees can learn how to use tools safely and appropriately. Attendees can create a project, repair an heirloom, or create one for future generations. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. $40/$45. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 650-326-2025, ext. 222. www.penvol.org Yoga for Relaxation To Open the Body, Calm the Mind & Feel Great. March 14, 5:30-7 p.m. $148/12 Week Session. Little House Activity Center, 800 Middle Ave., Menlo Park. Call 650-326-2025, ext. 222. www.penvol.org

Clubs/Meetings

American Christian Writers Association The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the American Christian Writer’s Association meets bimonthly. Workshops presented on writing craft, professional development and industry expertise. Guests welcome. Saturdays, March 17-May 19, 10 a.m.-noon. $10 guest/$5 members. Palo Alto Church of Christ, 3373 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. acfw.com Model Railroad Club Open House The West Bay Model Railroad Association holds monthly open houses the fourth Wednesday of every month, and the club is currently seeking new members who are interested in model railroading, regardless of their skill level in the hobby. 7-10 p.m. Free. West Bay Model Railroad Association, 1090 Merrill St., Menlo Park. Call 650-322-0685. wbmrra.ning.com Toastmasters International Training and practice for public speaking and leadership. First and third Thursdays of the month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mountain View Community Center, 201 South Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View. Call 408-623-3543. orbiters.freetoasthost.us/

Community Events

‘Coffee, Art & Chocolate’ Coffee, chocolate and art talk with artists and others. Fridays through Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free. Pacific Art League, 668 Ramona St., Palo Alto. Call 650-321-3891. www.pacificartleague.org St. Raymond School Rummage Sale St. Raymond School Rummage Sale. Saturday, March 31, 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 1, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Raffle prizes and special discounts starting Sunday at 2 p.m. St. Raymond School, 1211 Arbor Road, Menlo Park. Call 650322-2312. www.straymond.org

Concerts

‘Carnival of the Animals’ Students at the Community School of Music and Arts perform this classic by Camille Saint

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Goings On (continued from previous page) Saens, under the direction of CSMA instructors Carrie Campbell (conductor) and Alla Dobrish (coach). April 3, 7-8 p.m. Free. Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA), 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. www.arts4all.org/attend/ mohrgallery.htm Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’ The Congregational Oratorio Society and Orchestra, conducted by Gregory Wait, with Joe Guthrie on the organ, performs the “St. John Passion (Johannes-Passion)” by Johann Sebastian Bach. The ensemble features chorus, soloists, chamber orchestra and organ. April 1, 2-5 p.m. $15 general/$10 student and senior. First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. Call 650856-6662 . www.fccpa.org/FCCPA_Site/ Concerts.html Flute Music of the Bach Family Robert Stallman and Isabelle Chapuis, both Flute Virtuosos will give a performance at the French Film Club of Palo Alto on the occasion of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Birthday Month. March 30, 7-10 p.m. Advance: Adults $25 Seniors $20 Students $15. All Saints Church Sanctuary, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto. Call 650-380-6932. www. frenchfilmclubofpaloalto.org Palo Alto Philharmonic and Gunn strings For this concert the string section of Gunn High School’s orchestra will join the Philharmonic to perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Vaughn Williams’ “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” and the premiere of a new work by Lee Actor. April 14, 8-10 p.m. $20 general, $17 seniors, $10 students. Spangenberg Theatre, Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. Call 408-395-2911. www.paphil.org/orch4.php

Dance

International Folk Dance Class Classes taught by Marcel Vinokur. Mondays through April 2, with beginning at 7 p.m. and intermediate at 7:45. Request dancing at 8:45. No partners necessary. Featuring dances from the Balkans and Israel. Monthly parties 3/24, 8 p.m.: $9 with free refreshments. $58 ($44 for Menlo Park residents), $7 drop-ins. Arrilaga Family Recreation Center, 700 Alma St., Menlo Park. Call 650-327-0759. Social Ballroom Dancing Friday Night Dance at the Cubberley Community Center Pavilion. Lessons at 8 p.m. are Rumba for beginning and intermediate levels, followed by general dancing from 9 p.m. to midnight. No experience or partner necessary; dressy casual attire is preferred. March 30, 8 p.m.-12 a.m. $9 includes refreshments. Cubberley Community Center Pavilion, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Call 650-395-8847. readybyte. com/fridaynightdance Tap Dance The studio For the Love of Dance offers a tap class for teens and adults. Students will learn routines to upbeat music. Fridays, Jan. 6-June 22, 5:30-6:30 p.m. $60 per month. For the Love of Dance, 2483 Old Middlefield Way, Suite B, Mountain View. Call 650-9616715. fortheloveofdancemv.com Twirlybirds Square Dance Class A adult beginners’ modern square-dancing class (no experience necessary) will be taught by John Caywood with Linda Caywood. Sundays from Jan. 8 through Aug. 26, 7-9 p.m. $4 per class. Recreation Hall, 425 Lotus Lane, Mountain View. Call 408-274-3833.

Exhibits

‘Antique Toys, 1870-1930’ In addition to early American toys, the exhibit also features turn-of-the-century toy trains and accessories from European toymakers such as Marklin and Bing. Through April, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Museum of American Heritage, 351 Homer Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-321-1004. www.moah.org ‘Clear Story’ The Palo Alto Art Center presents “Clear Story,” a temporary site-specific installation by artist Mildred Howard, on view through August, 3-5 p.m. Free. Palo Alto City Hall’s King Plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-329-2366. www.cityofpaloalto.org/ artcenter ‘LawnBowls’ The Palo Alto Art Center presents Bay Area artist Judith Selby Lang’s “LawnBowls,” the next new temporary site-specific installation in its series exploring art in public and community spaces. The installation will be up through February 2013 on the grounds of the Palo Alto Lawn Bowl. 10 a.m.-5

p.m. Free. Palo Alto Lawn Bowls Club, 474 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. cityofpaloalto.org/artcenter ‘Memory and Markets: Pueblo Painting’ In the 1930s, the formation of the Studio at the Santa Fe Indian School formalized the training of generations of Native painters. This exhibit features about 20 paintings, plus pottery that exemplifies earlier artistic styles. Wed.-Sun., Feb. 22May 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thursdays until 8 p.m.). Free. Cantor Arts Center, 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford. museum. stanford.edu ‘Object-Oriented Programming’ A solo exhibition by Stanford native Katie Herzog, a mixed-media artist in residence at the Whittier Public Library. The show combines art and “disjunctive librarianship” through knowledge, narrative and information culture to comment on the object, language and symbols of human communication. Exhibit is open weekdays through March 30, 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Free. Palo Alto Research Center, 3333 Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto. katieherzog. net ‘Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin’ Artist Harriete Estel Berman’s pencil sculpture about the impact of standardized testing is a 28-foot-wide and 15-foot-tall bell curve. The show runs weekdays, March 5-30, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Anita Seipp Gallery, Castilleja School, 1310 Bryant St., Palo Alto, CA 94301. Call 650-5717726. www.harriete-estel-berman.info/ contact.html ‘Playing Grown-Up: Toys from the Harry P. Costa Collection’ This exhibition will explore toys from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s that allowed children to mimic the activities of adults. Toys will include an antique pedal fire truck and airplane, Tonka work trucks, and an electric 1929 Lionel Stove & Oven. Feb.14-Dec. 31, Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $5 adults, $3 seniors/students, free for children 5 & under, free for association members. San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Call 650-2990104. www.historysmc.org ‘Sculpture from the Fisher Collection’ This exhibit features pieces by John Chamberlain, Sol LeWitt Claes Oldenburg and Martin Puryear, together with Carl Andre’s Copper-Zinc Plain, a floor piece composed of 36 tiles; and John Chamberlain’s Bijou, a large early work made of crushed automobiles and paint. Wed.-Sun.; Feb. 29-Oct. 13, 2013; open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Thurs. until 8 p.m.). Free. Cantor Arts Center, 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford. museum.stanford.edu ‘Shaped by Water: Past, Present & Future’ This family-friendly exhibit focuses on the history and future of water in the Santa Clara Valley. Topics include the indigenous tribal people; the Spanish, Mexican, and Gold Rush immigrants; and the present-day population, as well as the uncertain future of local water resources. Through April 22, Thurs.-Sun., Noon-4 p.m. Free. Los Altos History Museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. losaltoshistory.org ‘Skateboard Art’ Garden Fresh restaurant presents an exhibit of recycledskateboard art by Nicky Gaston. March 10, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Free. Garden Fresh, 460 Ramona St., Palo Alto. Call 650-493-0967. www.gardenfresh.us Skateboard Art Garden Fresh restaurant presents an exhibit of recycledskateboard art by Nicky Gaston. March 10, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Garden Fresh, 460 Ramona St., Palo Alto. Call 650-4930967. www.gardenfresh.us Stanford Art Spaces Paintings by Sagi Erez, paintings by Jean-Marc Brugeilles and paintings by Lu Jianjun are on exhibit at the Paul G. Allen Art Spaces Gallery. Open weekdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free. Stanford Art Spaces, 420 Via Palou, Stanford. Call 650-725-3622. cis.stanford.edu/~marigros Walker Evans American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975), with his direct and unsentimental images of life on small-town streets, in New York subways, and on sharecroppers’ porches, helped shape contemporary art. This exhibition features photos from his 50-year career. Through April 8, Wed.-Sun. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thurs. until 8. Free. Cantor Arts Center, 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford. museum.stanford.edu

Family and Kids

‘Fantastic Trash Workshop’ The Museum of Craft and Folk Art will present

a educational workshop in which participants will create recycled sculptures using scavenged objects from home or the library. Preregistration required. For ages 5 and up. March 29, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Free. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-851-0560. www.smcl.org First Tuesdays Art Truck Attendees can visit the Art Truck at Edgewood Eats and participate in an art activity while enjoying the gourmet food truck fare. March 6, 5-8 p.m. Edgewood Plaza Shopping Center, 1161 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. Call 650-329-2366. cityofpaloalto. org/artcenter Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo Ongoing exhibits at the museum and zoo include “Bobcat Ridge,” “Africa’s Bats,” exhibits on physics and math, and a “Buzzz” display on insects and spiders. Museum hours: Tue.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 1-4 p.m. Free. Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo, 1451 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. www.friendsjmz.org Robots, Robots, Robots Attendees celebrate National Robotics Week with the robotics team from Sequoia High School. The members of this award-winning team will demonstrate their new robot, answer questions and allow children to take turns driving it. Ages 4 and up. April 9, 4-5 p.m. Atherton Library, 2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane, Atherton. Call 650-328-2422. www.smcl.org Toddler Storytime Designed for children 18 months to 3 years old, Toddler Storytime features songs, stories and movement activities to encourage children to listen and read. On the third Tuesday of the month there will also be an age-appropriate craft. Tuesdays, March 6-April 24, 10:30-11 a.m. Free. Portola Valley Library, 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-851-0560. www.smcl.org

Film

‘Final Friday Flicks’ Atherton Library hosts “family-friendly” films the last Friday of the month. This month’s feature is the new “Winnie the Pooh” movie. March 30. 7-8:15 p.m. Free. Atherton Library, 2 Dinkelspiel Station Lane, Atherton. Call 650-328-2422. www.smcl.org ‘The Future of Food’The San Mateo County Library presents the documentary film, ‘The Future of Food,’ with an appearance by the director, Deborah Koons Garcia. April 5, 3-4 p.m. Atherton Library, 2 Dinkelspiel Lane, Atherton. Call 650-328-2422. Love Translated Attendees experience the personal journey of ten men who are determined to find a spouse during their dating tour to the city of Odessa, Ukraine. April 1, 7-9 p.m. $10-$12. Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Call 650-223-8609. www.paloaltojcc.org/ arts

Health

‘Rest, Replenish, Renew’ This weekly group teaches students to express themselves through movement, drawing, creative writing and mindfulness activities designed to help tap into innate creativity. Wednesdays from Jan. 18 on, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Free. Cancer Support Community, 455 Whisman Road, Suite 300, Mountain View. Call 650-968-5000. www.cancersupportcommunity.net

and takes a hostage. An investigative journalist is granted the interview of a lifetime. This taut game of cat and mouse between terrorist and reporter: What’s the truth? March 23-April 15. $16-$30. Dragon Theatre, 535 Alma St., Palo Alto. Call 1-800-838-3006. dragonproductions.net ‘Now Circa Then’ Carly Mensch, the story editor of the television series “Weeds,” wrote this offbeat comedy play about two historical re-enactors, and the results when their modern romance collides with their 19th-century counterparts. March 7-April 1. $19-$69. Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. www. theatreworks.org

Outdoors

Portola Valley Weed Pull Attendees can help pull invasive, flammable French broom along Portola Valley roads. Bring gloves and meet at Historic School House, Portola Valley Town Center. Equipment and refreshments will be provided. March 17, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. 765 Portola Road, Portola Valley.

Religion/Spirituality

‘Meditation and Inspiration’ Weekly group with spiritual discussion and community sharing, breathwork, chanting and a 15-20-minute guided meditation. Taught by Connie Habash. Thursdays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. Free. Subud, 330 Melville Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-996-2649. www.awakeningself.com Bob Dylan Sabbath Service When there are five Fridays in a month, Etz Chayim does something different with services. He turns the prayerbook upside down and pours out most of the traditional prayers. Then he refills the service with songs on the same themes as the prayers backed by our band. March 30, 7:30-9 p.m. Etz Chayim, 4161 Alma St., Palo Alto. Call 650-813-9094. etzchayim.org Insight Meditation South Bay Shaila Catherine and guest teachers lead a weekly Insight Meditation sitting followed by a talk on Buddhist teachings. 7:30-9 p.m. donations accepted. St. Timothy’s/ Edwards Hall, 2094 Grant Road, Mountain View. Call 650-857-0904. imsb.org

Special Events

‘Wild Crush 2012’ This event features wine-tasting from six vintners as well as a chocolate tasting. The reception is followed by a catered dinner and a live auction supporting the Environmental Volunteers, a Palo Alto nonprofit. April 29, 5-10 p.m. $175. Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. Call 650-961-0545. evols.org

Sports

Glenoaks Stables Summer Riding Camp In its 12th year, Glenoaks Stables Riding Camp is a week-long, smallgroup horse program. Campers learn riding, pony games, vaulting, arts and crafts and general horsemanship. Afterhours care is available for an extra fee. Camps are planned for the following dates: June 18-June 22, July 9-13; July 16-20; July 30-Aug. 3; and Aug. 6-10, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $500. Glenoaks Stables, 2629 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Call 650-854-4955. glenoaksequestrian. com/summercamps.htm

Group runs The running store On Your Mark has organized four weekly running groups, with runners of all ages and skill levels welcome. No registration necessary. All runs are three to five miles with the start and finish behind the store. Mondays at 6 a.m., Wednesdays at 6:30 a.m., Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Free. On Your Mark, 378 Main St., Los Altos. Call 650-209-5526. www.onyourmarkperformance.com

Support Groups

‘Teens Who Stutter’ The new TWST (Teens Who Stutter) group is for teens ages 14 to 19 to hang out; play foosball, ping pong and other games; snack and talk. Part of the National Stutterers Association. For fun, not therapy. Teen-run, adult-supervised. Meeting every fourth Tuesday starting Feb. 28, 6-8 p.m. Free. Palo Alto Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real , Palo Alto. Call 650-938-6356. Alateen Support Meetings Alateen is a community of young people (12-20 years) whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Participants focus on learning how to help themselves, whether the alcoholic continues to drink or not. Confidential, anonymous, nonreligious and based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sponsored by Al-Anon. Wednesdays, 7-8:15 p.m. Free. Trinity Parish Church, 330 Ravenswood Ave., Tierney Room, Menlo Park. Call 650-464-1925. midpeninsula.org Tourette Syndrome This support group for adults with Tourette Syndrome meets the fourth Sunday of the month in Palo Alto. Members will network, swap stories and share strategies for coping with tics and other symptoms. Reservations required (details will be given upon RSVP). 3-4:30 p.m. Free. Palo Alto. Call 650-843-0413.

Talks/Authors

‘Clean-Tech Breakfast’ The event will include a presentation of case studies on “sustainable living” in Quebec. March 29, 8-10 a.m. $59 ($25 members). SAP, 3410 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto. www.svforum.org

Teen Activities

‘Hunger Games Experience’ At this after-hours event for teens and adults, the library will host activities with a “Hunger Games” theme. Costumes, races and trivia events. March 30, 7-9 p.m. Free. Downtown Library, 270 Forest Ave., Palo Alto. Call 650-329-2436. www.cityofpaloalto.org/library

Volunteers

‘Light the Night Walk’ Volunteers are being sought to form a team for the “Light The Night Walk” planned for Sept. 22 at Palo Alto High School. The event benefits research on leukemia and lymphoma. Call 408-490-3135. lightthenight.org/sj Tutor with JustREAD JustREAD is a nonprofit, literacy program dedicated to improving the reading/writing skills of students. Volunteers are trained by JustREAD and work one-on-one with students. 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. JustREAD Tutorial Center, 1299 Bryant St., Mountain View. Call 650-691-0416. justREADcenters.org

Live Music

CD Release Concert with Noel Catura and Joanne LeBlanc CD Release Celebration for two musicians local to the South San Francisco Bay: award-winning saxophonist Noel Catura and blues vocalist Joanne LeBlanc. LeBlanc’s band will play music from her debut blues CD “Found & Lost””. Noel’s band will play music from his debut CD “Soulful Situation”. 2-5 p.m. Donation of $5.00 at the door. Community School of Music, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View. Call 408-234-2608 . jleblancmusic.com Healing the Heart A conversation with German and U.S. scientists who are trying to heal hearts with stem cells. A reception and jazz concert will follow featuring one of the scientists on piano. Vocalist: Dr. Christina Jaschkowiak, pianist: Dr. Gustav Steinhoff, panelists: Dr. Robert Robbins, Dr. Joseph Wu. March 30, 4-6 p.m. Li Ka Shing Center, 291 Campus Dr. 2nd floor, Stanford. Call 415-396-9117.

On Stage

‘Cat’s-Paw’ In this play by William Mastrosimone, an eco-terrorist obsessed with the pollution of the world’s water supply bombs the EPA, kills 27 people,

The online guide to Palo Alto businesses

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Eating Out FOOD FEATURE

What’s for dinner? Gobble offers same-day ordering for healthy, home-cooked meals by Carol Blitzer

O

Weekly file photo

gobble.com, check out “What’s for dinner?” and choose from five or six entrees (ranging from $10.95 to $14.95) plus a $2.95 delivery fee. There’s always a child’s meal, such as Chef Tricia’s Whole Wheat Sliders & Cake Pops or Chef Mara’s Chicken Milanese Tenders, at $8.95 each, or Chef Tricia’s Whole Wheat Mac & Cheese at $9.95. Garg is no stranger to start-ups. A 2009 Stanford grad, she sold her employer-student match service Anapata to LawWorks in 2010 and earned an Inc. 30 Under 30 award by 2011. In February, Gobble expanded its online meal-ordering to same-day service, Gobble Instant. “You can order up to 7:30 p.m. and we’ll have dinner on your doorstep within half an hour,” she said. Meals can be delivered from Mountain View north to Atherton. As founder and CEO, or what she fondly calls “chief eating officer,” Garg spends much of her time with customers or future customers, checking out what’s working.

“It’s a very well-known mantra in Silicon Valley to make something people want. One thing that should take priority is to talk to customers. That’s more important than meeting with an investor, solving a design bug on a website,” she said. Responding to customer comments, Gobble is now offering GobbleUP, where $14.99 covers unlimited delivery for a month. The delivery fee is the same, whether one orders one meal or several, from one chef or more. “It’s not unusual for family members to want different meals,” Garg said, noting that the company can even accommodate some food issues, such as gluten-sensitivity. She’s also learned that offering eight to 10 entrees daily is too much, that people can be overwhelmed with choice. Garg asserts that there’s no excuse not to personalize every experience. “I know what you ordered last week. ... I know allergies, what hour you eat, what day you eat. All this information should be respect-

Veronica Weber

oshma Garg has fond memories of coming home from school to find her dad, an endocrinologist and head of nutrition at a medical school in Dallas, singing and cooking in the kitchen. Healthy, home-cooked meals were the norm in her household — and something she missed when she went off to college. At Stanford University, while earning a degree in biomechanical engineering, she found herself more often snacking on chicken nuggets at 2 a.m. Longing for those home-cooked, more healthful meals — with fresh ingredients — she posted an ad on Craigslist, looking for people willing to cook an occasional meal. “I got a flood of responses,” Garg said. She held chef tastings for a month, inviting her friends to sample. Caption Soon she created a master calencaption dar, matching chefs with friends. And the rest, she says, is history. In mid-2011, Garg founded Gobble, a web-based food homedelivery company. People can go to

Above: Mara Ferraro, AKA Chef Mara, adds the finishing touches to her eggplant and spinach parmigiana before presenting the dish to taste testers at Gobble in February. Left: Ferraro and Gobble CEO Ooshma Garg, center, talk about Ferraro’s two side dishes while taste testers, from left, Ryan Romanchuk, Dixie Xue, Lucy Sarmento and Donna Pereira sample the eggplant dish. Three days a week the company hosts taste tests for new dishes.

Veronica Weber

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Veronica Weber

Veronica Weber

ed and used to help the customer have a seamless and happy meal experience whenever they want,” she said. She contrasts that with calling for take-out where you have to repeat your order every time. Gobble’s model appears to be paying off. “We heard from our customers that they love the homecooked food on Gobble. That’s why we started, but it’s wonderful to hear. They order multiple times per week because of the way the food is cooked, when the ingredients are purchased, the quantity they’re cooked in,” she said. Gobble has meals left over at the end of the day, but that doesn’t appear to concern Garg. “Olive Garden aims to have 9 percent waste every day. ... In the food world, the rule is, you should have leftover meals. If not, you have under-prepared for demand. The goal is not to sell out, but figure out how many meals you’d like left over,” she said. Leftover meals are donated to a local homeless shelter, she added. Although the company isn’t breaking even yet, Garg says that “every day we’re selling more meals.” For now, she’s focusing on customer service and recruiting new chefs, constantly increasing the variety of food offerings. The chefs set the entree prices. So far, she has recruited more than 40 chefs, who present their proposed dishes at chef tastings — now at the California Avenue office rather than her home. Most work part-time, creating their specialties in nearby commercial kitchens, delivering to hubs where drivers then drop them off to customers. Among them is Chef Mara, whose real name is Mara Lisa Ferraro. The mother of two lives in Burlingame but cooks in a commercial kitchen in Redwood City two days a week. Ferraro grew up with Italian family cooking. “My grandmother was an avid cook; she cooked for family and friends. As a little girl, I watched my mom and grand-

mother cook,” she said. She augmented her love of cooking with travel to Italy, visiting different regions and checking out how they prepared different styles of Italian food. Now she prepares 30 to 40 meals a week, shopping and cooking on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Among her favorite dishes is chicken parmesan, two large chicken breasts in a tomato sauce, served with peas and a slice of sourdough to sop up the sauce. Friends told her they were looking for home-cooked meals, but not necessarily from restaurants where they are cooked in mass quantities. Gobble chefs offer small-batch cooking. “It loses a little flavor in larger quantities,” she said, noting that there’s more control. “We’re putting a little more TLC into our food.” Ferraro bakes her dishes, then packages them in airtight, microwaveable containers (with clear heating instructions), then drops them off at her California Avenue hub. Besides the cooking, what she loves is setting her own hours, deciding how many meals she wants to make each day. It’s not exactly earning a living, but “for me, it’s extra spending money. You have to really do it every day to make it work financially. Not everyone is looking for that,” she said. “For me, right now, I have a 6-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. It’s a perfect balance. I wanted to get back to work,” she added. “A lot of people don’t have time to cook, or their kids’ schedule — they run around and come home at 5:30. It’s wonderful to have healthy choices. “When I used to travel and worked in sales, I would come home and not want to eat in another restaurant for two weeks,” she said. N Palo Alto Weekly Associate Editor Carol Blitzer can be emailed at cblitzer@paweekly. com.

Above: Mara Ferraro’s chicken Milanese with bowtie pasta and pesto with baby carrots was recently approved as a Gobble offering. Left: Her eggplant and spinach parmigiana is served with mixed greens and bread.

MAY 1, 2012 | PALO ALTO, CA

Learn Learn from from the the people people and and companies companies who who invented invented social media! media! Learn directly from industry leaders how to connect with potential customers and maintain relationships with your loyal customers. We will have guest speakers from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and others to help you navigate the world of social media. If you're new to social networking, you'll learn all that you need to get started. If you have experience, even better! You'll learn all kinds of time-saving tricks and have your questions answered.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Registration: 7:00am - 8:00am Conference: 8:00am - 5:00pm Networking Reception: 5:00pm - 7:30pm Chamber member price: $197 Standard ticket price: $297

www.chambermv.org/ socialmediaconference2012

Oshman Family Jewish Community Center 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto Event sponsored by:

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JAPANESE & SUSHI Fuki Sushi 494-9383

of the week

4119 El Camino Real, Palo Alto Online Ordering-Catereing-Chef Rental Sushi Workshops-Private Tatami Rooms Online Gift Card Purchase fukisushi.com & facebook.com/fukisushi

MEXICAN

AMERICAN

CHINESE

Armadillo Willy’s 941-2922

New Tung Kee Noodle House

408 California Ave, Palo Alto

1031 N. San Antonio Rd., Los Altos

947-8888

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Range: $5.00-13.00

520 Showers Dr., Mountain View

Palo Alto Sol 328-8840

(inside San Antonio Shopping Ctr.) Hobee’s 856-6124 4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

Special Pearl Drinks $2.75 Noodle Soups/ Egg Roll/ Rice Plates Meals starting at $5.00

Also at Town & Country Village, Palo Alto 327-4111

Su Hong – Menlo Park Dining Phone: 323–6852

Burmese

To Go: 322–4631 Winner, Menlo Almanac “Best Of”

Green Elephant Gourmet

8 years in a row!

494-7391 Burmese & Chinese Cuisine

INDIAN

3950 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto (Charleston Shopping Center) Dine-In, Take-Out, Local Delivery-Catering www.greenelephantgourmet.com

Darbar Indian Cuisine 321-6688 129 Lytton, Downtown Palo Alto Lunch Buffet M-F; Open 7 days

PIZZA Spot A Pizza 324-3131 115 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto Voted Best Pizza in Palo Alto www.spotpizza.com

POLYNESIAN Trader Vic’s 849-9800 4269 El Camino Real, Palo Alto Dinner Mon-Thurs 5-10pm; Fri-Sat 5-11pm; Sun 4:30 - 9:30pm Available for private luncheons

855 El Camino Real

Lounge open nightly

#1 Town & Country Village www.scottsseafoodpa.com

Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4-6 pm

CHINESE

Janta Indian Restaurant (650) 462-5903 Fax (650) 462-1433

Chef Chu’s 948-2696

SEAFOOD

369 Lytton Ave., Downtown Palo Alto

1067 N. San Antonio Road

Lunch Buffet M-F;

Cook’s Seafood 325-0604

on the corner of El Camino, Los Altos

www.jantaindianrestaurant.com

751 El Camino Real, Menlo Park Seafood Dinners from

2010 Best Chinese MV Voice & PA Weekly

ITALIAN

$6.95 to $10.95

Jing Jing 328-6885

La Cucina di Pizzeria Venti

STEAKHOUSE

443 Emerson St., Palo Alto Authentic Szechwan, Hunan Food To Go, Delivery

254-1120 1390 Pear Ave, Mountain View

Sundance the Steakhouse

www.pizzeriaventi.com

321-6798

Fresh, Chef Inspired Italian Food

1921 El Camino Real, Palo Alto

www.jingjinggourmet.com

Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:00pm Spalti Ristorante 327-9390

Dinner: Mon-Thu 5:00-10:00pm

Ming’s 856-7700

417 California Ave, Palo Alto

Fri-Sat 5:00-10:30pm,

1700 Embarcadero East, Palo Alto

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Sun 5:00-9:00pm

www.spalti.com

www.sundancethesteakhouse.com

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Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 7 days a week 650-323-1555

Search a complete listing of local restaurant reviews by location or type of food on PaloAltoOnline.com


Palo Alto Weekly 03.30.2012 - Section 2