Vol. XXXV, Number 8 N November 29, 2013
Palo Alto sees revenue windfall Page 5
Donate to the HOLIDAY FUND page 8
Transitions 15 Eating 22 Movies 24 Title Pages 27 Holidays 29 N Arts Palo Alto lights Windham Hill founderâ€™s ďŹ re
N Home Home tour inspires creative holiday decor
N Sports Menlo, Palo Alto advance in volleyball
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BRIAN CHANCELLOR (650) 303-5511 | email@example.com www.ChancellorHomes.com | BRE # 01174998
RECENT TRAN SAC TION S Frederick Avenue Greenwood Avenue Southampton Drive Lisa Lane West Bayshore Road Laurel Avenue Walnut Drive Middlefield Road Middle Avenue Dana Avenue Moreno Avenue Vista Verde Way Lowell Avenue Warwick Street Tuolumne Lane Robinhood Court Hawthorne Way Arbutus Avenue Vista Verde Way Walter Hays Drive Barbara Drive Melville Avenue Homer Avenue Channing Road Edison Street El Camino Real Seneca Street Middlefield Road Whisman Park Drive Shafer Drive Hamilton Avenue 3rd Ave Webster Street *
Atherton Palo Alto Palo Alto Los Altos Palo Alto Menlo Park Palo Alto Palo Alto Menlo Park Palo Alto Palo Alto Portola Valley Palo Alto Redwood City Palo Alto Los Altos Millbrae Palo Alto Portola Valley Palo Alto Palo Alto Palo Alto Palo Alto Burlingame San Mateo Palo Alto Palo Alto Palo Alto Mtn. View Santa Clara Palo Alto Redwood City Palo Alto
co nfid ent ial s a le s no t i nc l ude d
$200,000,000+ sales volume in the last 2 years.
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Local news, information and analysis
Palo Alto sees revenue windfall Showing ‘solid’ post-recession recovery, strong tax returns will help city fund infrastructure repairs by Gennady Sheyner f California’s economic out- according to the recently relook is warming up these leased Comprehensive Annual days, Palo Alto’s is downright Financial Report for fiscal year sizzling. 2013. The numbers have come as With the local economy boom- a bit of a surprise to city officials, ing and just about every revenue who raised their budget expectacategory experiencing growth, tions in March, only to see the the city is charging into the new real numbers climb $3.5 million year on a happy financial note, above the adjusted projections.
At the Nov. 19 meeting of the City Council Finance Committee, the city’s Chief Financial Officer Lalo Perez noted that the city’s revenues are now higher than they were before the Great Recession of 2008. This includes a record high in documentary-transfer tax, which is derived from real-estate transactions and which spiked from $4.8 million in 2012 to $6.8 million in 2013, a 41 percent increase. Hotel-tax revenues rose
by 11.3 percent, from $9.7 million to $10.8 million; sales taxes jumped by 15.8 percent from $22.1 million to $25.6 million; and property taxes increased by 8.3 percent, going from $26.5 million to $28.7 million. “We continue to see revenues returning from the recession years, with strong growth in virtually all of our major tax revenues, particularly sales tax and transientoccupancy tax (also known as
hotel tax),” David Ramberg, assistant director of the Administrative Services Department, told the Finance Committee. Like other jurisdictions across the country, Palo Alto is now “in a solid recovery mode,” a report from the department states. “In the past year, there has been a rebound in economically sensitive revenue sources such as sales VÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊ£Ó®
Rulings deal financial blow to high-speed rail Monday decisions by Sacramento judge force rail authority to revise its funding plan by Gennady Sheyner
Marc Rodenas, left, with his mom, Montse Guasch, steps into the festively decorated Paperwhirl store on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto Wednesday. Some stores will be participating in Small Business Saturday this year, a push to encourage people to support mom-and-pop retailers.
Palo Alto shops look to Small Business Saturday One toy store has partnered with Google Shopping Express to capture online sales by Elena Kadvany
he holidays go hand-inhand with a massive push for shopping, driven by special sales and offers. With shoppers’ focus grabbed by larger retailers, the local, independently owned stores find themselves doing more to compete. “I think you’ve seen some of the major retailers start early,” said Russ Cohen, executive director of the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional
Association. “They’ve started even Black Friday specials before the traditional Black Friday. I don’t think the smaller retailers can compete with that.” In efforts to better vie for shoppers’ dollars, for the first time Palo Alto is participating in Small Business Saturday, a nationwide event dedicated to supporting small businesses. The event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 30, in downtown Palo Alto.
Small Business Saturday was launched by American Express in 2010 in the hopes of reminding people to “shop small” and support local businesses during the holiday shopping season. American Express gives cardholders a $10 credit when they spend $10 or more at participating stores. Small Business Saturday always takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving, VÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊ£ä®
alifornia’s proposed highspeed-rail system ran into a legal barrier Monday when a Sacramento judge ruled the funding plan for the $68 billion project must be rescinded, and he refused to endorse the selling of bonds for the project. The two rulings by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny dealt what opponents of the project described as “dual body-blows” to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is charged with building the rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The project received a major boost in 2008, when state voters approved a $9.95 billion bond for the project, and another one in July 2012, when the state Legislature authorized spending the first $2.7 billion from this bond, as well as $3.2 billion in federal grants, on the line’s first segment. The Monday rulings, spurred by a lawsuit from Central Valley, threaten to halt the project in its tracks. One of them orders the rail authority to rescind the 2011 business plan that the Legislature had relied on to authorize the funds for the first segment of the line, a 130mile stretch between Fresno and Bakersfield. In late August, Kenny ruled that the business plan violated state law because it listed only the available funds for this $6 billion “construction segment,” rather than the first segment that could actually be used, as required by law. The first usable segment would cost
more than $20 billion under current estimates and would stretch either from Bakersfield to San Jose or from Merced to the San Fernando Valley. The rulings came in response to a lawsuit from a group of Central Valley plaintiffs — John Tos, Aaron Fukuda and Kings County — represented by local attorney Stuart Flashman; and to a request from the rail authority to “validate” the issuance of more than $8 billion in bonds. In both cases, Kenny sided with opponents of the rail project, though in some cases he didn’t go as far as the plaintiffs had hoped. He declined, for instance, to order the rail authority to rescind its existing two contracts for the construction of the first segment, which total about $1.1 billion. He also did not challenge the rail authority’s ability to spend the federal funds, despite arguments from Flashman that doing so would commit future expenditure of “matching funds” from the state. Rail authority Chair Dan Richard said in a statement that the agency is “reviewing both decisions to chart our next steps” and stressed that the judge did not invalidate the bonds and that the court “again declined the opposition’s request to stop the highspeed-rail project from moving forward.” Even so, the rulings could delay, if not derail, a project that has become hugely unVÌÕi`ÊÊ«>}iÊ££®
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Candlelight Service An Annual Community Gathering of Remembrance Each year Kara invites the community to join together to remember loved ones and signiﬁcant others who have died. This is a non-denominational, interfaith service open to all. A time of fellowship and refreshments will follow.
With candles of love, hope, memory and courage we remember. Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 7pm First Presbyterian Church 1140 Cowper Street, Palo Alto (directly behind the Kara ofﬁce on Kingsley Avenue)
For more information on Kara or our Candlelight Service, call 650-321-5272 or visit www.Kara-Grief.org
Upfront 450 Cambridge Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 326-8210 PUBLISHER William S. Johnson (223-6505) EDITORIAL Editor Jocelyn Dong (223-6514) Associate Editor Carol Blitzer (223-6511) Sports Editor Keith Peters (223-6516) Express & Online Editor Eric Van Susteren (223-6515) Arts & Entertainment Editor Rebecca Wallace (223-6517) Assistant Sports Editor Rick Eymer (223-6521) Spectrum Editor Tom Gibboney (223-6507) Staff Writers Sue Dremann (223-6518), Chris Kenrick (223-6512), Gennady Sheyner (223-6513) Editorial Assistant/Intern Coordinator Elena Kadvany (223-6519) Staff Photographer Veronica Weber (223-6520) Contributors Andrew Preimesberger, Dale F. Bentson, Peter Canavese, Kit Davey, Tyler Hanley, Iris Harrell, Sheila Himmel, Chad Jones, Karla Kane, Kevin Kirby, Terri Lobdell, Jack McKinnon, Jeanie K. Smith, Susan Tavernetti Intern Kimberlee D’Ardenne ADVERTISING Vice President Sales & Advertising Tom Zahiralis (223-6570) Multimedia Advertising Sales Christine Afsahi (223-8582), Adam Carter (2236573), Elaine Clark (223-6572), Connie Jo Cotton (223-6571), Janice Hoogner (223-6576), Wendy Suzuki 223-6569), Brent Triantos (223-6577), Real Estate Advertising Sales Neal Fine (223-6583), Carolyn Oliver (223-6581), Rosemary Lewkowitz (223-6585) Inside Advertising Sales David Cirner (223-6579), Irene Schwartz (223-6580) Real Estate Advertising Assistant Diane Martin (223-6584) Legal Advertising Alicia Santillan (223-6578) ADVERTISING SERVICES Advertising Services Manager Jennifer Lindberg (223-6595) Sales & Production Coordinators Dorothy Hassett (223-6597), Blanca Yoc (223-6596) DESIGN Design Director Shannon Corey (223-6560) Assistant Design Director Lili Cao (223-6562) Senior Designers Linda Atilano, Paul Llewellyn, Scott Peterson Designers Rosanna Leung, Kameron Sawyer EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Online Operations Coordinator Ashley Finden (223-6508) BUSINESS Payroll & Benefits Susie Ochoa (223-6544) Business Associates Elena Dineva (223-6542), Mary McDonald (223-6543), Cathy Stringari (223-6541) ADMINISTRATION Assistant to the Publisher Miranda Chatfield (223-6559) Receptionist Doris Taylor Courier Ruben Espinoza EMBARCADERO MEDIA President William S. Johnson (223-6505) Vice President & CFO Michael I. Naar (223-6540) Vice President Sales & Advertising Tom Zahiralis (223-6570) Director, Information Technology & Webmaster Frank A. Bravo (223-6551) Major Accounts Sales Manager Connie Jo Cotton (223-6571) Director, Circulation & Mailing Services Bob Lampkin (223-6557) Circulation Assistant Alicia Santillan Computer System Associates Chris Planessi, Chip Poedjosoedarmo
The Palo Alto Weekly (ISSN 0199-1159) is published every Friday by Embarcadero Media, 450 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (650) 326-8210. 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 3268210. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. ©2013 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. The Palo Alto Weekly is available on the Internet via Palo Alto Online at: www.PaloAltoOnline.com Our email addresses are: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Missed delivery or start/stop your paper? Call 650 223-6557, or email email@example.com. You may also subscribe online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Subscriptions are $60/yr.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
If you’re the captain of the Titanic and you’ve just been hit by two icebergs, what do you do? —Stuart Flashman, a local attorney, on two Superior Court rulings against the California High-Speed Rail Authority. See story on page 5.
ROLLING IN THE GREEN ... Palo Alto leaders wax ecstatically about the city’s achievements in the field of sustainability, from a carbon-free electricity portfolio and an aggressive green-building code to a freshly adopted requirement that all new homes be prewired for electricvehicle chargers. Now, the city is preparing to jump into the ring with other eco-conscious communities, with the goal of finding out who is the greenest of them all. The City Council will consider on Dec. 2 a staff recommendation to enter the Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, a three-year effort to boost energy efficiency. It’s not just bragging rights on the line. The winner in this wonkish war would get a prize of $5 million, which would be set aside for further energy-efficiency efforts. Communities with populations between 5,000 and 250,000 are eligible to compete. If the Palo Alto council agrees to enter the fray, the city will be asked to put together a long-term energyefficiency plan and to demonstrate sustainability over a two-year period. Between August 2014 and August 2016, the communities will see who can most greatly reduce residential and municipal use of electricity and natural gas (savings will be tallied by taking total usage in these buildings and dividing it by the number of accounts). City Manager James Keene is asking the council to submit a letter of intent to participate in the competition, which according to a Keene staff report seeks to “develop an implement innovative, replicable, scalable and continual reductions in residential and municipal energy use.” BECAUSE WHY NOT? ... It’s been a good week for the Cardinal in the age-old contest over Bay Area bragging rights between Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley’s Golden Bears received a sound thrashing in last Saturday’s 6313 Big Game loss, leaving the Stanford Axe, the Big Game’s trophy, on Palo Alto’s side of the Bay for the fourth year straight. It was the 116th time the two schools had squared off. On Monday, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American scholars that would travel to study at Oxford University
under the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, another opportunity for the big schools in the U.S. to flex their brain power. Stanford had three students chosen for the program and Berkeley had one. To compound the ache of these two bruises, Stanford Magazine on Tuesday tweeted a link to a list that ranked the schools in the U.S. with a Rhodes scholar by the success of their football programs. In the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, which Cal and Stanford share, the list put Stanford at the top (with the double whammy of the bestranked team and the most Rhodes scholars) and Cal at the bottom. The Magazine’s sly comment to accompany the link? “Because why not?”
MONEY IN THE BANK ... Supporters of the Aurora lightsculpture project were biting their nails this week, watching the clock tick by on a Kickstarter campaign that needed to raise $35,000 by Tuesday, Nov. 25, at midnight, or else would lose all the money that had been donated via the crowd-sourced funding website. But they made it. The project was fully funded around 8 or 8:30 on Monday night, said project organizer Harry Hirschman, and actually surpassed the $35,000 mark, raising a total of $36,155. The funds will pay for expenses the artist who designed Aurora, Charles Gadeken, has already incurred for installation of the piece in front of Palo Alto’s City Hall. The interactive light sculpture’s server was also down for a few days but is now running smoothly, Hirschman said. FEELING FESTIVE? ... Saturday, Nov. 30, will be Palo Alto’s day to celebrate the holiday season, and it’s doing so with a raft of events and activities at Lytton Plaza from 4 to 7 p.m. This year’s new addition is a mini snowman-building contest, in which contestants can provide their own materials to create and dress up 12-inch snowmen. Leave your portable freezers at home: The city will provide the snow. There will be live music from five local student groups and a lighting of the city’s 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. Attendees can slurp some hot cider to warm up and are invited to bring a warm coat to donate to Palo Alto’s nonprofit Downtown Streets Team to help those in need. N
Upfront HOLIDAY FUND
Finding a voice through film
n “Janet and Wendy’s Story,” two students at Menlo-Atherton High School talk to a video camera, held by a fellow student, about being teen mothers. The camera follows them into intimate situations: their families’ homes, one baby’s 1-year birthday celebration, the other’s bath time. The eight-minute documentary, made by Nimsi Garcia, is one of many films that have been created by students in New Voices for Youth, an after-school media-production training program based out of Menlo-Atherton High School. Other documentary topics — all brainstormed and chosen by the students themselves — have included cliques, de-facto social segregation and transitioning to high school. New Voices for Youth, organized by the Leagues of Women Voters of South San Mateo County and Palo Alto, teaches groups of 10 to 12 students each year how to create a short documentary film, from start to finish. Twice a year, students are recruited, with pizza meetings and film showings, for the voluntary program. Each session runs for eight to 10 weeks. New Voices received a $2,500 grant last year from the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, to support the program’s current film project, which focuses on young men and sexual responsibility.
by Elena Kadvany Though the films, all about 10 minutes in length, are the tangible end products, New Voices for Youth’s larger purpose is all in the name. “We wanted to give kids a voice,” said Kathleen Weisenberg, one of the League of Women Voters members who created the program in 2004. “We wanted the kids to focus on an issue that they really cared about and could educate the rest of us about.” Two program directors — Tanuj Chopra, a filmmaker from Palo Alto, and Ana Angel, service coordinator and technology education specialist with the Palo Alto Housing Cor porat ion — teach the ins and outs of filmmaking once a week: how to use a camera, interview someone, research, edit in Final Cut Pro, upload footage online. “We don’t try to hover over too much on them, which is cool because they end up coming up with something that they want to do,” Angel said. “I’m a little less interested in them making the perfect or the greatest or the best production,” Chopra said. “I want them to have exposure and feel like they created it themselves. That’s the gen-
eral philosophy.” Most New Voices students have never been exposed to film production before. “There’s still a gap between what these kids are capable of doing and what’s available to them in the classroom a lot of times,” Chopra said. “The kids who do want to make videos and (do) editing are filmmakers by heart; they’re in those classes specifically. But I think that a lot of these kids, especially a lot of girls in this program, they don’t always get opportunities with technology in the classroom.” Erik Amaya, a Menlo-Atherton graduate, joined New Voices with no film experience but left the program having interviewed for, filmed and edited multiple documentaries. “I fully expressed the message that I wanted (to get) across,” Amaya said of the three films he made. The first film was about transitioning into high school and balancing new academic demands with “fun time.” “How do you manage?” he said he wanted to find out from fellow youth. In the end, he said: “It felt great, having the ability to create a documentary and deliver a message that you wanted to deliver. I believe that was one of the greatest feelings I (had) had in such a long time.”
An after-school program teaches high schoolers how to make documentaries, tell their stories
Menlo-Atherton High School juniors Jasmine Ibarra, left, and Michelle Tu watch the footage they shot for a music video they are producing for New Voices for Youth. Amaya is now a freshman at Cañada College in Redwood City but stayed on with New Voices as an intern. Nimsi Garcia, the student behind the teen mothers movie, said filmmaking taught her better time management. But more importantly, it gave her insight into other people’s lives. Garcia said she used to misunderstand teenage girls who get pregnant, assuming they had made poor decisions or were “not really thinking about their lives.” “But once I got to know (the girls in the film) ... they’re people who are struggling and they’re still doing so well,” She said. “It’s really cool. (The film) definitely made me aware of more things around me, and I think if a lot more people got into film it would open up doors to their community that they might not have known. It really connects people.” Garcia and another student’s
film, also on teen parenting, were screened at an annual Youth Tech Health Conference held in San Francisco this April. The two films are also shown in freshman sexual education classes at Menlo-Atherton and other schools in the Sequoia Union High School District, Angel said. “It felt good to know, even though we have this small cluster of kids, that we could reach out well beyond it and hopefully have an impact,” she said. New Voices recently launched an Indiegogo.com campaign, aiming to raise $15,000 by Dec. 31. “We have been struggling with funding, and in order to be able to continue at M-A, we have to be successful with this campaign,” Angel said. N Editorial Assistant Elena Kadvany can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the Holiday Fund, including how to donate, can be found on page 8.
Schools loosen purse strings after property-tax revenue jumps Years of belt-tightening give way to added staff, raises for teachers by Chris Kenrick
alo Alto school officials are loosening the purse strings for the first time in years as a booming real-estate market has boosted property-tax revenues more than 6 percent yearly for two years running. Without a pay raise since 2008 — except for the automatic, seniority-based “step and column” increases in the union contract — teachers are likely to get two salary hikes this year totaling 7 percent, plus bonuses. The first, a 3 percent raise plus 1.5 percent bonus, was awarded in May, retroactive to fall 2012. The second — to be voted on next month — gives teachers, staff and administrators an additional 4 percent raise for 2013-14, plus a 2 percent bonus. In addition, the Board of Education last week approved $1.9 million in new spending under the district’s $180 million operating budget, mostly for the hir-
ing of new teachers and technology support. That comes atop a $2.6 million package of additional spending approved in April, which has gone primarily to boost principals’ discretionary funds and add teachers. The district also has set aside $5 million to be spent over three years on professional development for teachers and staff. The prospective 4-percent raises will cost an ongoing $5 million, according to Cathy Mak, the district’s chief budget official. The raises apply to all teachers, staff and administrators except for Superintendent Kevin Skelly. The board did not propose a raise for Skelly this year but did propose a 3 percent, one-time bonus on his regular pay of $287,163. The raises, scheduled for a Dec. 10 vote, would bring the salary of an entry-level teacher from $52,965 to $55,083, plus a one-time bonus of $1,059. A mid-
career teacher would go from $85,924 to $89,360, plus a onetime bonus of $1,718. The most senior teachers on Palo Alto’s salary schedule now earn $106,951, and an additional 4 percent would bring them to $111,229, plus a onetime bonus of $2,139. In addition to good news on property taxes — which comprise 72 percent of school district revenue — the school district will gain $2.4 million annually for the next six years due to last November’s passage of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which boosted state sales tax by 0.25 percent for four years and increased personal income tax of Californians with incomes of more than $250,000 for seven years. On the other hand, Brown’s new Local Control Funding Formula, which shifts state resources toward low-income schools, means an ongoing annual loss of $7.5 million to the Palo Alto district.
State funds now account for only 11 percent of revenue to the school district — slightly lower than the share provided by an annual $613-per-parcel tax, approved by voters in 2010, on residential and commercial property owners. As a so-called “basic aid” district funded primarily from local resources, Palo Alto does not get revenue on a “per-pupil” basis as most other districts do. Thus, officials are constantly on edge that enrollment growth will outpace revenue growth and cause a drop in per-pupil spending. However, this has not happened in the past decade except for the years 2010-11 and 2011-12. “We had some bad years on property taxes and now we have a good one this year, but we don’t know how long that cycle will be either,” board member Melissa Baten Caswell said at the Nov. 19 meeting.
“We just have to be prudent as we go forward and keep checking and verifying along the way. It would be awful to put things in place and have to pull them out again, so I want to make sure we’re making good decisions on additional investment.” Palo Alto remains far better off than the vast majority of California’s 1,000 school districts. Perpupil spending here is between $13,000 and $14,000, compared to a statewide average in recent years hovering around $8,600. According to a 2012 analysis by the National Journal, California is among the 10 lowest-spending states on a per-pupil basis. Higher-spending states include Vermont ($17,847); New Jersey ($15,116); Connecticut ($13,959); New Hampshire ($13,519) and Massachusetts ($13,361). N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be emailed at ckenrick@ paweekly.com.
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Support our Kids with a gift to the Holiday Fund. Last Year’s Grant Recipients 10 Books A Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Abilities United . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Ada’s Café . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$25,000 Adolescent Counseling Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Art in Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Breast Cancer Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 California Family Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 CASSY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Cleo Eulau Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Collective Roots . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7,500 Community School of Music & Arts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Community Working Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Creative Montessori Learning Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Downtown Streets Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 DreamCatchers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15,000 East Palo Alto Kids Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Environmental Volunteers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Family Connections. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7,500 Family Engagement Institute. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$4,000 Foothill College Book Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$4,000 Foundation for a College Education. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Friends of Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Hidden Villa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 InnVision Shelter Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 JLS Middle School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Jordan Middle School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Kara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15,000 Magical Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$25,000 Mayview Community Health Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Music in the Schools Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 New Creation Home Ministries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 New Voices for Youth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,500 Nuestra Casa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 One East Palo Alto (OEPA). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Palo Alto Art Center Foundation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Palo Alto Community Child Care. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Palo Alto Housing Corporation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Palo Alto Humane Society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$1,500 Peninsula Bridge Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7,500 Peninsula College Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Peninsula Youth Theatre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Project WeH.O.P.E. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Quest Learning Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Racing Hearts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,500 Raising A Reader. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Ravenswood Education Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Silicon Valley FACES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7,500 South Palo Alto Food Closet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$2,000 St. Elizabeth Seton School. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$7,500 St. Francis of Assisi Youth Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 St. Vincent de Paul . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$6,000 TheatreWorks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 YMCA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000 Youth Community Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10,000 Youth United for Community Action (YUCA) . . . . . . . . . . .$5,000
ach year the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund raises money to support programs serving families and children in the Palo Alto area. Since
the Weekly and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation cover all the administrative costs, every dollar raised goes directly to support community programs through grants to non-profit organizations ranging up to $25,000. And with the generous support of matching grants from local foundations, including the Packard, Hewlett, Arrillaga & Peery foundations, your tax-deductible gift will
Give to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund and your donation is doubled. You give to non-profit groups that work right here in our community. It’s a great way to ensure that your charitable donations are working at home.
be doubled in size. A donation of $100 turns into $200 with the foundation matching gifts. Whether as an individual, a business or in honor of someone else, help us reach our goal of $350,000 by making a generous contribution to the Holiday Fund. With your generosity, we can give a major boost to the programs in our community helping kids and families.
CLICK AND GIVE
Donate online at siliconvalleycf.org/ paw-holiday-fund
Enclosed is a donation of $_______________ Name _________________________________________________________ Business Name _________________________________________________ Address _______________________________________________________ City/State/Zip __________________________________________________ E-Mail __________________________________________________
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All donors and their gift amounts will be published in the Palo Alto Weekly unless the boxes below are checked.
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_____________________________________________________________ (Name of person)
Non-profits: Grant application and guidelines at www.PaloAltoOnline.com/holiday_fund Application deadline: January 10, 2014 Page 8ÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊÓ]ÊÓä£ÎÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°V
Please make checks payable to: Silicon Valley Community Foundation Send coupon and check, if applicable, to: Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation 2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300 Mountain View, CA 94040 The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. A contribution to this fund allows your donation to be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
5 Anonymous ...........................470 Gwen Luce ...................................* Janis Ulevich ............................100 Solon Finkelstein......................250 Eric and Elaine Hahn ....................* Teresa Roberts ..................... 2,000 Craig & Sally Nordlund .............. 500 Meri Gruber and James Taylor .......* Art & Helen Kraemer ....................* Barbara Riper...............................* Betty Gerard ............................100 Bob and Diane Simoni .............. 200 Carolyn and Richard Brennan ........ * Gerald and Donna Silverberg ..... 100 Hersh & Arna Shefrin ....................* Jim & Alma Phillips ...................250 Lawrence Naiman.....................100 Leif & Sharon Erickson ............. 250 Mr. George Cator ....................100 Ray & Carol Bacchetti ...................* Rita Vrhel.................................250 Steve & Karen Ross .....................* Susan & Doug Woodman ..............* Tad Nishimura ..............................* Tom and Neva Cotter ............. 2,000 Al & Joanne Russell..................250 Alice Smith ..............................100 Caroline Hicks & Bert Fingerhut 100 Drew McCalley & Marilyn Green . 100 Iris Harrell ...................................* Jan & Freddy Gabus......................* Joe and Nancy Huber ................ 100 John & Olive Borgsteadt ...............* Lynn & Joe Drake .........................* Patricia M. Levin ......................100 Robert and Josephine Spitzer.... 100 George & Betsy Young ..................* Harriet & Gerald Berner ................* Hugh O. McDevitt .....................200 Mary Lorey ..................................* Nancy Steege........................... 100 Sheryl & Tony Klein ......................* Sue Kemp ...............................250 Andy and Liz Coe ..........................* Ben & Ruth Hammett ...................* Hal & Iris Korol ............................* Jessie Ngai ..............................100 John and Mary Schaefer ........... 100 Mahlon and Carol Hubenthal .........* Peter and Beth Rosenthal .............* Maria Basch ..............................55 Owen Vannatta ...................... 5,000 Gennette Lawrence ..................500 The Havern Family ................. 4,500 Brigid Barton ...........................250 Donald & Adele Langendorf ...... 200 Gil and Gail Woolley ..................300 Greg & Penny Gallo ..................500 Hugh MacMillan .......................500 Mike and Jean Couch ............... 250 Nancy Hall ............................1,000 Page & Ferrell Sanders ............. 100 Peter & Lynn Kidder..................100 Peter S Stern ...............................* Robert & Barbara Simpson ...........* Scout Voll ....................................* Stephen Berke .............................* Tom & Ellen Ehrlich......................* Art and Peggy Stauffer.............. 500 Bill Johnson and Terri Lobdell .... 500 Carroll Harrington .....................100 Richard Zuanich ....................... 200 Daniel Cox ...............................200 Michael & Frannie Kieschnick........* Richard Hallsted and Pam Mayerfeld .............. 100 Steve and Nancy Levy ...................* Xiaofan Lin ................................50 Diane E. Moore ............................* Ellen & Tom Wyman ..................200 Roger Warnke ..........................300 Stu & Louise Beattie ....................* The Ely Family ..........................250 Bob & Ruth Anne Fraley ..............50 Ellen Lillington .........................100 Jerry and Linda Elkind .............. 250 Linda & Steve Boxer .....................* Tony & Judy Kramer ......................* Keith & Rita Lee ....................... 100 Roy & Carol Blitzer .......................* John & Barbara Pavkovich ......... 200 Tish Hoehl ...............................100 Don & Ann Rothblatt .....................* In Memory Of Bob Makjavich .............................* Carol Berkowitz ............................* Bob Donald ..............................100 Alan K. Herrick .............................* Don and Marie Snow ................ 100 Kathy Morris .........................1,500 Helene F. Klein.............................* Pam Grady ...............................150 Ruth & Chet Johnson ....................* Robert Lobdell .............................* Henry Radzilowski ........................* John Davies Black ................. 1,000 Yen-Chen and Er-Ying Yen .......... 250 Ernest J. Moore............................* Florence Kan Ho...........................* Joe, Mary Fran & Stephen Scroggs ..* Steve Fasani ............................100 David Sager .............................100 William Settle ..........................500 Dr. David Zlotnick .....................200 Boyd Paulson, Jr ..........................* Al and Kay Nelson ........................* In Honor Of Karen Ross..............................100 Shirley Sneath Kelley ................ 100 Foundations, Businesses & Organizations Packard Foundation ............. 25,000 Hewlett Foundation.............. 25,000 Arrillaga Foundation ............. 20,000 Peery Foundation ................ 20,000 The Milk Pail Market .....................* Alta Mesa Improvement Company .......................... 1,200
REAL ESTATE TRENDS
Through Nov. 22nd, 122 donors have contributed $131,550 to the Holiday Fund
by Samia Cullen
Cost Versus Value for Your Home Remodeling Projects
Palo Alto murderer dies after ‘compassionate’ parole Kenneth Fitzhugh was convicted in 2001 of killing his wife, a music teacher by Sue Dremann
enneth C. Fitzhugh Jr. had always claimed innocence after being convicted in one of Palo Alto’s most brutal murders, even fighting his case in the California Supreme Court. He ultimately obtained his freedom, but not through exoneration. He received compassionate-release parole from San Quentin Prison in February 2012 due to a terminal illness. And 8 1/2 months later, on Oct. 27, 2012, he died, according to state prison officials. Fitzhugh was convicted in 2001 for bludgeoning and strangling his wife, Kristine, a music teacher, in their Southgate neighborhood home. The trial had exposed an unraveling 33year marriage and an affair and money as motives for the crime. It included an admission by his wife that one of the couple’s two sons was fathered by a friend,
according to prosecutors. He received 15 years to life in prison for the second-degree murder, which occurred on May 5, 2000. He would have had his first chance at parole in 2015. Fitzhugh was paroled in 2012 after multiple stays in the San Quentin hospital. He had been transferred there Kenneth from High DesFitzhugh ert State Prison in Susanville for medical care, state prison officials said. He died in Santa Clara County, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner’s office. During Fitzhugh’s trial, pros-
If you are a homeowner who is thinking about selling your home within the next year, you are probably wondering whether there are any remodeling projects that will provide a good return on your investment. Optimizing the use of space in a home will not only attract more buyers but also give sellers a good return on their investment. You must ﬁrst decide on the size of the project you are willing to tackle. Creating a memorable ﬁrst impression often can be accomplished through small-scale projects. For example, a nice entry door replacement or a garage door replacement will bring a good return on your investment. Adding a master suite or a room in the attic is a more extensive project that also offers a good return. Be sure to hire a good architect to help you come up with a functional ﬂoor plan. Having a family room that opens to
a kitchen is highly favored by most buyers. A remodel that opens the kitchen to the family room or even to the formal existing living room is another project with a good return on investment. Formal living rooms, as well as formal ofﬁces with wood cabinets, are not in high demand in today’s market. Upgrading kitchens and baths is still a smart bet. However, home owners usually will beneﬁt more by foregoing super deluxe projects in favor of mid-range kitchen and bath remodels. Judicious home remodeling is still worth the investment. Discuss your future remodeling plan with your agent before you start the remodeling project. Your agent can help you plan a remodel that will bring buyers to your home and increase the return on your investment.
If you have a real estate question or would like a free market analysis for your home, please call me at 650-384-5392, Alain Pinel Realtors, or email me at email@example.com. For the latest real estate news, follow my blog at www.samiacullen.com
(continued on page £Î)
Schola Cantorum Presents
Public Agenda A preview of Palo Alto government meetings next week
Holidays Are For Singing! A fun, family concert with Oxford Street Brass
CITY COUNCIL ... The council plans to hold a closed session to discuss potential litigation involving the Mitchell Park Library and Community Center. The council then plans to hold a study session with the Parks and Recreation Commission and discuss initiating a community conversation on the future of the city, including the Comprehensive Plan, planned-community zoning, parking and traffic strategies, and related matters. The joint meeting will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). The rest of the meeting will follow in the Council Chambers. COUNCIL FINANCE COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to discuss the financial results from the first quarter of fiscal year 2014; consider modifications to the city’s street-sweeping program; and discuss a longrange financial forecast for the years 2014 to 2024. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). UTILITIES ADVISORY COMMISSION ... The commission plans to discuss the PaloAltoGreen gas program and consider approving three new gas-rate schedules; consider the department’s 2014 legislative guidelines and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of residential gas-to-electric fuel-switching options for appliances and vehicles. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.). ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW BOARD ... The board plans to discuss 500 University Ave., a request by Thoits Brothers for a review of a new 26,806-square-foot, three-story office building that would replace a one-story building. The project includes a request to exceed the 50-foot height limit by 11 feet. The board also plans to discuss 1050 Page Mill Road, a proposal for four two-story office buildings that would replace two existing buildings in the Stanford Research Park; and 385 Sherman Ave., a proposed three-story mixed-use building. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Council Chambers at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
Our traditional afternoon of Carols and Hymns, both tender and funny, guaranteed to get you in the mood to decorate the tree!
Sunday, December 8 at 3 PM Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Free parking Tickets $16-$30 Order by phone at (650) 254-1700 or online at scholacantorum.org
COUNCIL RAIL COMMITTEE ... The committee plans to hear an update on California’s proposed high-speed-rail system. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5, in the Council Conference Room at City Hall (250 Hamilton Ave.).
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Upfront Twenty Years Transforming Lives
the king’s academ y CHRIST-CENTERED COLLEGE PREPARATORY *UNIOR AND 3ENIOR (IGH 3CHOOL s 'RADES
OPENHOUSE Sat. December 7, 11:00 a.m. SCHEDULE A SCHOOL TOUR OR STUDENT SHADOW TODAY!
Contact Marissa Lockett, Admissions Assistant 408.481.9900 x4248 or firstname.lastname@example.org 562 N. Britton Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 (Near Fair Oaks and Hwy 101)
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between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. “We are really stressing the ‘shop small’ idea because that’s the way we compete with the larger retailers,” Cohen said. “The more you shop local, the better off your local services (funded by sales taxes) will be.” Cohen said the City of Palo Alto also moved up its annual holiday tree-lighting event to coincide with Small Business Saturday. From 4 to 7 p.m. at Lytton Plaza, there will be live music, various holiday activities and coat donations. Stores will have “Shop Small” doormats and give away free, reusable shopping bags. Other local businesses stay competitive during the holidays by doing everything the big box retailers do — and more. Palo Alto Sport Shop and Toy World, for example, started hosting
its own early morning Black Friday for the first time last year and will do so again this year. The store opens at 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25. Eric Hager, who has been the manager at Palo Alto Sport Shop and Toy World for 26 years, said: “There’s always competition.”
‘We are really stressing the “shop small” idea because that’s the way we compete with the larger retailers. The more you shop local, the better off your local services (funded by sales taxes) will be.’ —Russ Cohen, executive director, Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association “It’s just different types of competition,” he added. “Online is probably more competitive for us than, say, a big-box retailer. But we also offer things that other places don’t.” The sport goods and toy store offers in-store services such as
Join us for a personal introduction to Palo Alto’s exciting new concept in senior living. Come see what’s The Avant is where active brewing at The Avant. and independent seniors will find a wealth of Coƛee & Cookie amenities and activities to Tuesdays live life to the fullest while 11am-3pm maintaining financial control. With just 44 rental units, this is a rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor.
Visit our sales oƛice at:
OPENING IN 2014 Page 10ÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊÓ]ÊÓä£ÎÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°V
free gift-wrapping. The store also participates in Google Shopping Express, an online platform that provides same-day shipping from local Bay Area businesses. Hager said Palo Alto Sport Shop and Toy World was a test store for the service, which launched
3441 Alma Street, Ste. 150 Palo Alto, CA 94306 theavantpaloalto.com 650.320.8626
in late September and is available only in the Bay Area. The only other two Palo Alto stores listed on Google Shopping Express are Staples and Office Depot. Other participating stores, not in Palo Alto, are all chains: Target, REI, Walgreens, Staples, Costco, Whole Foods Markets, Nob Hill Foods, American Eagle Outfitters and Guitar Center. “We always have to remain competitive, of course,” Hager said. “It’s not any one competitor as much as we always try new things. That’s how we stay in business.” The holiday shopping season is also dictated by when the holidays themselves fall each year. A late or early Thanksgiving can make all the difference for smaller stores, said Charlie Affrunti, vice president of University Art Center in Palo Alto. “For us, it’s just hard because it hurts November a lot whenever Thanksgiving is late,” he said. Last year, Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22. This year, it’s six days later. Hanukkah was also early this year, the first night starting at sundown on Nov. 27 (versus last year on Dec. 8 and the year before, Dec. 20) “It definitely hurts November sales because people start thinking Christmas right after the (Thanksgiving) holiday,” Affrunti said. Fred Ebert, owner of Edwards Luggage at the Stanford Shopping Center, said he started preparing for the “tighter season between Thanksgiving and Christmas” by doing some holiday buying in July and bringing in a holiday gift selection three weeks earlier than usual. He said the luggage store also experienced a slightly slower November for the first three weeks. “This last week really makes a big difference,” he said. But Hager said he’s of the belief that there’s not much stores can do to deal with the impact of a later Thanksgiving. “You really just have to roll with the holiday punches,” he said. “You can’t change people’s behavior that much just because Thanksgiving is a week later. You just change a little bit of your expectations.” N Editorial Assistant Elena Kadvany can be emailed at email@example.com.
North Koreans holding American, officials say
popular in various parts of the state, including sections of the Peninsula, but that continues to garner the support of Gov. Jerry Brown. Last year’s funding allocation came by a single vote in the state Senate, with several Democrats joining every Republican in opposition. Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park had all been involved in lawsuits against the rail authority, with Flashman representing them in those efforts. The Palo Alto City Council, which supported the project in 2008, has since taken an official and unanimous stance against it. Flashman called the Monday rulings “major roadblocks.” “If you’re the captain of the Titanic and you’ve just been hit by two icebergs, what do you do?” Flashman told the Weekly. “It seems like what (rail authority board Chair) Dan Richard is saying is, ‘Full speed ahead!’” N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
There has still been no contact with Merrill E. Newman, the 85-year-old Palo Alto man whose family and friends say has been held in North Korea since Oct. 26, and U.S. State Department officials said the Swedish Embassy has not been allowed access to him. North Korean officials this week acknowledged they have detained an American. Newman, a Korean War veteran who had traveled with a friend to North Korea as part of a tourist group, was removed from an airplane headed to Beijing just five minutes prior to takeoff. He has not been heard from since. On Monday, his wife, Lee, released a statement regarding the incident: “We were heartened to hear that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) has advised the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang that they are holding an American citizen who clearly appears to be Merrill Newman. “We remain concerned about his well-being,” she said, referencing Newman’s heart condition. “We hope the DPRK will quickly confirm that he is being looked after, is in good health, and that he has received his medication. We also hope that it will be possible to resolve this misunderstanding so that he can quickly rejoin his family.” The United States does not have a diplomatic relationship with North Korea, and the Swedish Embassy in North Korea handles cases related to Americans who are detained, ill or who have died in the country. Swedish officials have requested consular access to Newman on a daily basis, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press briefing on Nov. 22 that access has not been granted. N —Sue Dremann
Builder gets a legal boost against city Seven years after the development company Sterling Park received Palo Alto’s blessing to construct a condominium complex on West Bayshore Road, the project remains in legal limbo, with the developer and the city clashing over affordable housing. But thanks to a recent ruling from California’s highest court, Sterling Park can proceed with the project even as it continues to challenge Palo Alto’s requirements that it devote 10 units of the 96-condominium project to below-market-rate housing and contribute funds toward the city’s affordable-housing program. The October ruling from the state Supreme Court reversed two prior rulings from the Superior Court and the state Court of Appeals, both of which sided with the city. The two courts had concurred that Sterling Park cannot challenge the conditions of approval laid out in its 2007 agreement with the city because the 90-day statute of limitation had long expired. Sterling Park first challenged the city’s affordable-housing requirement in 2009. The Supreme Court ruled that the Mitigation Fee Act applies. The act allows developers to contest fees imposed to support parks, libraries and other city infrastructure or defray some of the cost of the new development to the city. Under this act, the statute of limitations doesn’t kick in until after the city notifies the developer of the fees owed and the right to protest. In this case, Sterling Park claimed it never received such a notice and the time limits thus don’t apply. The Supreme Court’s decision means the case will now return to the appeals court. N — Gennady Sheyner
READ MORE ONLINE PaloAltoOnline.com
A longer version of this article has been posted on PaloAltoOnline.com.
Renewable-energy plant debuts in north San Jose A facility that can turn people’s food scraps and yard trimmings into energy and compost opened in north San Jose Nov. 22, and some Palo Alto leaders are hailing it as an encouraging sign that the city might be able to build one, too. The low-lying, concrete-and-steel structure sits atop 23 acres of San Jose’s former landfill, next to the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge off Highway 237. It is the world’s largest plant to employ a technology called “dry-fermentation anaerobic digestion,” according to Zero Waste Energy Development Company, which built the plant. Using bacteria and an oxygen-deprived environment, the process breaks down matter so that it releases a gas, methane, that can be used for electricity and auto fuel. The remaining waste is treated, turning it into compost. Two years ago, Palo Alto voters agreed to set aside 10 acres in the Baylands as the potential site for a facility that would convert the city’s organic waste — the refuse that is neither recyclable nor considered garbage — into energy and compost. At the time, proponents of Measure E cited anaerobic digestion as a promising technology. In early 2014, Palo Alto staff is scheduled to update the City Council on plans for the Baylands site. The city has been reviewing proposals from local waste-management companies to build the Baylands waste-to-energy operation, or otherwise handle the city’s organic waste, which would also include sewage sludge. N — Jocelyn Dong ÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°VÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊÓ]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 11
tax, which was driven by department store, electronics and auto sales,” the report states. “Increased business and real estate activities within the city resulted in higher transient-occupancy tax and documentary-transfer tax revenues.” The trend is expected to continue in fiscal year 2014, which began on July 1. On Wednesday, the city released the financial results from the first quarter of 2014 (the Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss this report on Dec. 3). The numbers
are even more stark. Sales taxes are up by 48 percent when compared with the first quarter of 2013, having risen from $3.7 million to $5.4 million. Hotel taxes, meanwhile, jumped from $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2013 to $2 million in the first quarter of 2014, a 57 percent increase. The surging revenues helped offset a 31 percent dip in service fees, a trend related to the renovation of the city’s golf course (which resulted in a dip in golf fees) and a $1.2 million decrease in plan-check fees, which indicates less building activity. City officials also expect the
PALO ALTO CITY COUNCIL CIVIC CENTER, 250 HAMILTON AVENUE BROADCAST LIVE ON KZSU, FM 90.1 CABLECAST LIVE ON GOVERNMENT ACCESS CHANNEL 26 ***************************************** THIS IS A SUMMARY OF COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS. THE AGENDA WITH COMPLETE TITLES INCLUDING LEGAL DOCUMENTATION CAN BE VIEWED AT THE BELOW WEBPAGE: http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/knowzone/agendas/council.asp
(TENTATIVE) AGENDA – SPECIAL MEETING – COUNCIL CONFERENCE ROOM MONDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2013 - 5:00 PM CLOSED SESSION 1. Potential Litigation 2. Labor STUDY SESSION 3. Joint Meeting with Parks and Recreation Commission SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY 4. Selection of Candidates to be Interviewed for the Storm Drain
documentary-transfer revenues to continue their upward climb. Joe Saccio, deputy director of Administrative Services, told the committee on Nov. 19 that the high number of real-estate transactions the city has been seeing in recent months is forcing the city to revise its projections. “We are going to be raising it (projected documentary-tax revenues) in the midyear considerably, and it is going to exceed $6.8 million, we believe, based on what we’re seeing now,” Saccio said. He noted that the number of realestate transactions are up almost 10 percent from the prior year, and that property values involved in the transactions are exceeding the prior year’s. It also doesn’t hurt that the city has several new hotels preparing to open their doors, including at the downtown site of the recently shuttered Casa Olga and on the former Palo Alto Bowl site near the southern edge of the city. The committee welcomed the financial news, with Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd lauding the fact that revenues are now higher than they were before 2008 and Councilman Greg Schmid congratulating staff on the revenue outlook. “We seem to be in the midst of a very nice period,” Schmid said. The committee’s discussion came at a time when state and county officials are also shaking off the doldrums of the recent economic meltdown. The nonpartisan
Oversight Committee for Three Terms Ending on October 31, 2018 CONSENT CALENDAR 5. Approval of Amendment No. 1 to Contract No. C13148737 with Advanced Design Consultants, Inc. in the Amount of $84,786 for a Total Not-to-Exceed Amount of $319,655 for Design of Fire/Life Safety and Sprinklers for the Lucie Stern Community Theater and Community Center as Part of the Lucie Stern Buildings Mechanical 6.
/ Electrical Upgrades Project PE-14015 636 Waverley Street [13PLN-00262]: Approval of Continuation of Council Consideration of an Appeal of the Director of Planning and Community Environment’s decision to approve the Architectural Review of a new mixed-use development. The proposed four-story 10,278 sq. ft. building includes 4,800 sq. ft. of commercial uses on the ﬁrst and second ﬂoors and two residential units on the third and fourth ﬂoors in the CD-C(P) zoning district; the project provides 20 parking spaces in a below grade garage. Environmental Assessment: Exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) per Section 15303 (STAFF REQUEST THIS ITEM BE CONTINUED) Approval of Amendment Number 2 with Waste Management of California, Inc. that will reduce the City’s annual “Put or Pay” tonnage commitments through 2021 and modify other terms and conditions of the 30 year disposal agreement. Second Reading: Adoption of an Ordinance to Add Chapter 16.61 to the Municipal Code to Establish a Public Art Program for Private Developments (First Reading: November 12, 2013 PASSED: 8-0 Burt absent) Notiﬁcation of Pending Participation in the Georgetown Energy Prize
10. Certiﬁcation of the Election Results STUDY SESSION 11. Initiating a Community Conversation on the Future of the City, including the Comprehensive Plan, Planned Community Zoning, parking and trafﬁc strategies, and related matters STANDING COMMITTEE MEETINGS The Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 7:00 P.M. to discuss: 1) First Quarter Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Results, 2) Proposed conceptual plan for modiﬁcations to Palo Alto’s Street Sweeping and Cleaning Programs, and 3) CalPERS Annual Valuation Reports for the City’s Miscellaneous and Safety Pension Plans as of June 30, 2012 The Rail Committee will meet on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 9:00 A.M.
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City of Palo Alto general fund revenue 1st quarter actuals (000’s) FY 2014
Charges for services
Utility user tax
Transient occupancy tax
Documentary transfer tax
Permits and licences
All other revenue sources Total revenue
Source: City of Palo Alto
‘We now find that California’s state budget is even more promising than we projected one year ago.’ —Legislative Analyst Office report Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report earlier this month that projects a $5.6 billion surplus in the state’s budget reserve. Much like the city, the state has revised its expectations upwards in recent months. The report cited the “restrained state budget” that Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature agreed on for 2013-14 and notes that the office’s “forecast of state revenue collections has increased
CityView A round-up
of Palo Alto government action this week
City Council The council did not meet this week.
Palo Alto Uniﬁed School District Notice to Bidders NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that proposals will be received by the Palo Alto Uniﬁed School District for: Bid # 13-P-12-SN: Vended Lunches for Terman Middle School There will be a Mandatory Walk-Through on December 6, 2013 @10:20 AM sharp. Proposals must be received at the Purchasing Department, 25 Churchill Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306, by 10AM on December 18, 2013. All questions concerning the proposals should be directed to Denise Buschke by mail or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. BY ORDER of the Business Department of the Palo Alto Uniﬁed School District, Palo Alto, California. Dated: November 15, & November 22, & November 29, 2013
since last year.” “Accordingly, we now find that California’s state budget is even more promising than we projected one year ago,” the LAO report states. In Palo Alto, the brightening outlook is expected to give the city a big boost in addressing its backlog of infrastructure problems, which include more than $200 million in needed new facilities. These include a new police headquarters to replace the small and seismically unfit one at City Hall and the rehabilitation of two obsolete fire stations. A specially appointed Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission also identified about $42 million in needed maintenance, work that the new revenues are expected to help fund. In addition to approving the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the committee agreed to transfer $8.9 million from the city’s General Fund to the Infrastructure Reserve, bringing the total amount of surplus funds transferred between the two to $16.5 million since 2012. Even after the transfer, the city ended fiscal year 2013 with a General Fund reserve of more than $30 million. “Those are healthy contributions to the infrastructure priority as set out by Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission and also the City Council,” Ramberg told the committee. “Clearly, there is still a liability on the infrastructure side that must be addressed, but these are opportunities for us to contribute in the years that we’ve recently had and again this year.” It helped, Ramberg said, that the city had achieved greater savings than expected from City Hall staffing vacancies. Furthermore, recent negotiations with labor groups, which resulted in greater cost-sharing on medical expenses and new contributions for health care by employees, are expected to save the city nearly $9 million annually. N Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@ paweekly.com.
ecutors alleged he killed his wife because he was angry that she planned to tell their eldest son that Fitzhugh was not his biological father. In addition, the Fitzhughs’ finances had collapsed over the two years prior to the murder. Evidence showed the family’s three investment accounts plunged from nearly $400,000 in early 1998 to approximately $11,000 in May 2000. On the day of her death, Kristine Fitzhugh had returned to her house on Escobita Avenue around noon, bringing home coffee and two muffins. She was in the kitchen eating and reading classroom papers when she was attacked, according to Palo Alto police. She was struck from behind on the head seven times with a blunt instrument and beaten in the face while being strangled with one hand. She died of several head wounds; strangulation was a contributing factor, according to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner. Fitzhugh said he had received a phone call from Addison Elementary School in Palo Alto, alerting him that his wife had not shown up to teach her afternoon class. Although he told police he had then called his wife on her cell phone and at the house, caller ID records showed he had not, according to police. Instead, he went to the home of two friends in Palo Alto and asked the women to accompany him to find out why his wife could not be reached. Prosecutors said Fitzhugh had staged his wife’s death and brought the friends with him to “discover” her body. After killing her in the kitchen, he had moved her to the bottom of the basement stairs to make it seem as though she had fallen. Her injuries were not consistent with a fall down the stairs, the coroner found. Forensic testing found blood spattered throughout the kitchen. Much of it had been cleaned up prior to the arrival of police. Kristine Fitzhugh’s blood was on running shoes, a towel and a shirt belonging to Fitzhugh, which were found in his Chevrolet Suburban. Fitzhugh had said the shoes were in his closet, and he could not explain the presence of the bloody items in his car, police said. Prosecutors also dismantled Fitzhugh’s alibi. He had said he was in San Bruno looking at a vacant property for a client when the murder was committed. But cell phone calls he received that afternoon were routed through an antenna on University Avenue in Palo Alto, which proved he was in the area at the time, they said. Fitzhugh claimed an intruder killed his wife. He appealed his case. The California Supreme Court rejected his appeal in 2006. The Fitzhugh family did not return a request for comment for this story. N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@ paweekly.com.
Online This Week
These and other news stories were posted on Palo Alto Online throughout the week. For longer versions, go to www.PaloAlto Online.com/news.
Lawsuit filed against driver who struck boys A Menlo Park family has filed a lawsuit against the driver of a car that reportedly jumped a curb and pinned two 6-year-old twin brothers against a wall near Walgreen’s on Santa Cruz Avenue. (Posted Nov. 27, 11:17 a.m.)
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City advances to next round to buy post office Palo Alto’s effort to buy the downtown post office from the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will advance to the next round after the city was selected to make a second bid for the historic Birge Clark-designed building, officials announced Monday. (Posted Nov. 27, 9:11 a.m.)
Teen injured in East Palo Alto shooting A teenager was injured in a drive-by shooting in East Palo Alto on Tuesday evening, according to police. (Posted Nov. 27, 9:09 a.m.)
FDA orders 23andMe to stop selling DNA tests The Food and Drug Administration has ordered Mountain View-based 23andMe to immediately stop marketing its DNA sequencing kits directly to consumers. (Posted Nov. 26, 2:37 p.m.)
Robotics builds community for Space Cookies A 5-foot-tall, 120-pound, Frisbee-throwing contraption that was built by a group of Girl Scouts and is being pitted in competitions around the country might make some Girl Scout cookie buyers do a double take. (Posted Nov. 25, 1:22 p.m.)
Shots fired at occupied vehicle Shots were fired Sunday afternoon at a parked vehicle in Menlo Park that was occupied by two young children and their mother. (Posted Nov. 25, 10:03 a.m.)
Man found dead at Opportunity Center A Palo Alto man who lived at the Opportunity Center was found dead in his room, according to a spokesperson for InnVision Shelter Network, which runs the adjacent Opportunity Services Center on 33 Encina Ave. (Posted Nov. 25, 9:57 a.m.)
Three from Stanford to be Rhodes scholars A Stanford University senior as well as two recent graduates are among the 32 Americans who will head to Oxford University next fall as Rhodes scholars. (Posted Nov. 25, 9:45 a.m.)
Photos show devastation in sister city New photos show the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan to Palo Alto’s Philippine sister city, which a local volunteer organization said was 90 percent destroyed by the disaster. (Posted Nov. 22, 1:06 p.m.)
Palo Alto woman dies after car crash A 57-year-old Palo Alto woman has died after suffering injuries in a car crash on Wednesday in Menlo Park. (Posted Nov. 22, 12:05 p.m.)
Want to get news briefs emailed to you every weekday? Sign up for Express, our new daily e-edition. Go to www.PaloAltoOnline.com to sign up.
22nd Annual Photo Contest CALL FOR ENTRIES DEADLINE Jan. 3, 2014 For information and to enter, visit PaloAltoOnline.com/photo_contest
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Symphony No. 3
Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra
Mozart Jean Sibelius
A weekly compendium of vital statistics
POLICE CALLS Palo Alto
8pm* Saturday, December 7, 2013 * 7:30pm Pre-concert talk
(general / senior / student)
4000 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA
at the door or online
Violence related Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Domestic violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Family violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Theft related Commercial burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Credit card forgery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Grand theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Identity theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Shoplifting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vehicle related Abandoned bicycle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Bicycle theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Driving w/ suspended license . . . . . . . 2 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Misc. traffic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Vehicle accident/mnr. injury . . . . . . . . 11 Vehicle accident/prop. damage . . . . . . 5 Vehicle impound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Vehicle/stored . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Alcohol or drug related Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Possession of paraphernalia. . . . . . . . . 1 Miscellaneous Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Misc. penal code violation . . . . . . . . . . 3 Outside assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . 2 Town ordinance violation . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Warrant/other agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Unattended death. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Menlo Park Nov. 19-25
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Page 14ÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊÓ]ÊÓä£ÎÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°V
Violence related Assault w/ a deadly weapon. . . . . . . . . 1 Battery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Strong arm robbery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Shoot at occupied dwelling . . . . . . . . . 2 Theft related Commercial burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Petty theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Residential burglaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Vehicle related Auto recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Driving w/ suspended license . . . . . . . . 7 Hit and run . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Theft from auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Vehicle accident/mnr. injury . . . . . . . . . 2 Vehicle accident/prop. damage . . . . . . 8 Vehicle tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Alcohol or drug related Drug activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Drunk in public . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Drunken driving. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Possession of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Under influence of drugs . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Miscellaneous Disturbance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Disturbing/annoying phone calls. . . . . . 1 Found property. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Info. case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Located missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Lost property . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Misc. penal code violation . . . . . . . . . . 1 Missing person . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Other/misc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Possession of stolen property . . . . . . . 1 Property for destruction . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Psychiatric hold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Suspicious circumstances . . . . . . . . . . 1 Vandalism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Warrant arrest. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 CPS report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
VIOLENT CRIMES Palo Alto Pasteur Dr., 11/20, 3:08 p.m.; Domestic violence 300 Pasteur Dr., 11/21, 7:20 a.m.; Battery Middlefield Rd., 11/23, 7:33 p.m.; Family violence University Ave., 11/23, 1:02 a.m.; Battery Alma St., 11/23, 8:33 a.m.; Family violence 0 block Churchill Ave., 11/23, 6:17 p.m.; Battery Greer Rd., 11/23, 11:00 p.m.; Family violence
Jing Lyman, activist and former Stanford first lady, dies at 88
Elizabeth â€œJingâ€? Lyman, the â€œfirst ladyâ€? of Stanford University from 1970 to 1980 and an activist in her own right, died Thursday, Nov. 21, at Channing House in Palo Alto after a two-and-a-half year illness. She was 88. Lyman, wife of Stanfordâ€™s seventh president Richard Lyman, who died last year, was a key player in launching the universityâ€™s institute for gender research. She was â€œa social network unto herself, long before the invention of computerized social networks,â€? said the instituteâ€™s founding director Myra Strober, a labor economist and retired professor of education. â€œItâ€™s not too strong to say that if it were not for Jing, there would be no Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford.â€? She arrived at Stanford in 1958 with her husband, who had accepted a position teaching British history, and four young children, aged 1 to 8 years old. The family was bound up with Stanfordâ€™s for more than 20 years, as Richard W. â€œDickâ€? Lyman rose through the professorial and administrative ranks. As the universityâ€™s â€œfirst lady,â€? she was known for her ready smile, quick wit and warmth, and as a skilled and gracious campus hostess. Friends described her as energetic, ebullient, efficient and generous with her time. Friends and family said Lyman was known for her knitting, which accompanied her everywhere, including meetings and sports events. At her 80th birthday party, people wore their own Jing-made sweaters. The Lymans left Stanford in 1980 when Dick Lyman became president of the Rockefeller Foundation. They returned in 1988 â€” moving to downtown Palo Alto â€” when he was asked to develop a forum for interdisciplinary research on international issues, now known as the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Jing Lyman was born Elizabeth Schauffler in Philadelphia on Feb. 23, 1925. But for reasons her mother was never able to explain, she said â€œAh, the Lady Jingly Jonesâ€? when she was presented with her daughter eight hours after her birth, Lyman said. It was the name of a character in an Edward Lear nonsense rhyme. Lyman attended high school at the Putney School, a boarding school in Vermont. She met Dick Lyman at Swarthmore College, where she earned a bachelorâ€™s degree in English, with a minor in history, in 1947. The couple married that same year. She battled a local discrimina-
tory housing initiative in the early 1960s and later became a national figure in community development and womenâ€™s economic empowerment. Among the many groups she helped organize and sustain were Midpeninsula Citizens for Fair Housing, Stanford Midpeninsula Urban Coalition, Women and Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. and the National Coalition for Womenâ€™s Enterprise in New York. She was a member of the Women of Silicon Valley Donor Circle of the Womenâ€™s Foundation of California in San Francisco and a trustee and member of the executive committee of Enterprise Com-
munity Partners in Maryland. She is survived by her sons Christopher â€œCricketâ€? Lyman of Searsmont, Maine, Timothy Lyman of New Hartford, Conn.; daughters Jennifer P. Lyman of Washington, D.C., and the Rev. Holly Lyman Antolini of Cambridge, Mass.; and four grandchildren. Memorial services are pending. In lieu of flowers, Jing Lyman requested that donations be made in her name to the Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing advocacy organization, or to the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford.
November 1926 â€“ October 19, 2013 Born in Oakland, went to Oakland High and Pomona College, graduating in 1948 with a BA in Art. Pam worked at Yosemite before she married Reed Keyes in 1950, and they moved to Palo Alto in 1954. Landscape Designer for Congressman Pete McCloskey and others, then a local Travel Agent for 25 years â€“ during which time Pam and Reed traveled extensively. Member of P.A. Garden Club, Neighbors Abroad, Co-Op Council. Local Precinct Inspector. Survived by four children (William, Beverly, Carolyn and Gary), and three grandchildren. Memorial 10:30 am Sat. 12/7, First Congregational Church in Palo Alto. OBITUARY
Donald L. Tasto, a resident of Atherton, CA, passed on November 21 at the age of 70. Dr. Tasto was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up in Denver, CO. He moved to the Bay Area in 1978. He received his PhD in Psychology at St. Louis University in 1967. He worked as a college professor, researcher at the Stanford Research Institute, and then as a clinical psychologist in Menlo Park. He received his law degree from the New College of California School of Law in 1998. He worked as a private-practice attorney in Redwood City for the past 15 years. His personality and zest for life far exceeded his professional accomplishments. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Flores Tasto of Atherton, CA; his son Joseph Tasto of Rockville, MD; his daughter Jennifer Thenhaus of Denver, CO; his two sisters Mary West and Patricia Schmitz; eight grandchildren; and numerous nephews and nieces. A Memorial Mass will be held on Friday, November 29 at 11:00 AM at The Church of the Nativity, 210 Oak Grove Ave, Menlo Park, CA. The family requests that in lieu of ďŹ‚owers, contributions be made to Live2GiveYou c/o 98 McCormick Ln, Atherton, CA 94027. PA I D
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Alice Powell June 4, 1936-November 19, 2013 Alice Evans Powell, 77, of Rogers, Ark., passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. She was born to the late George and Elma Evans on June 4, 1936, in Palo Alto, Calif. Alice graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1954. She resided in the San Francisco Bay area until her retirement in June of 1998. Alice worked for Hewlett Packard, Zack Electronics, and then Storm Products until she retired and relocated to Carson City, Nev., where she became very active as a volunteer at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center and the Childrenâ€™s Museum of Northern Nevada. In 2006, she received the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service in Carson City. In 2007, she moved to Mesa, Ariz., to be closer to her daughter, Patricia Higgins. In 2011, Alice moved with Patriciaâ€™s family to Rogers, AR. She continued her years of volunteer service in both Arizona and Arkansas. She volunteered at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, and at the Northwest Regional Medical Center of Bentonville, AR. She also delivered meals for Meals on Wheels with her granddaughter and served at the Christ the King Lutheran Church food bank. Alice was a member of St. Paulâ€™s Lutheran Family in Carson City, Our Saviourâ€™s Lutheran Church in Mesa and the Christ the King Lutheran Church of Bentonville. Alice is survived by one child, Patricia Higgins, wife of Warren Higgins, of Rogers, AR. and by six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Alice is an absolutely fabulous Mom, Grammy, GreatGrammy, Hero, and Best Friend Forever! A memorial service will be held in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Mesa Cemetery. In lieu of ďŹ‚owers, Alice requests that donations be made to your local Humane Society, the Wild Horse Protection Agency or Guide Dogs of America. PA I D
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Guy Miller was Palo Alto’s first city historian. The city’s archives are now named after him. treetcar tracks run down University Avenue. A horse and wagon roll through Professorville. A suffragette wears a sash over her dress that reads “Voter.” If someone had handed these photos to Guy Miller in 1913, when he started his job as Palo Alto’s first city historian, might he have momentarily wondered: “Are these historic?” These were just scenes of life around him. History, of course, has a way of sneaking up on us. A hundred years ago, Miller was maintaining Palo Alto’s archives, clipping out articles and obituaries from newspapers that dated back 60 years. A hundred years later, his own world is part of the same archives
that now bear his name. Miller had file cabinets and books and a typewriter; today’s city historian, Steve Staiger, has file cabinets and books and a desk that looks a lot like Miller’s did, if you cover up the PC. Staiger also has a century more of perspective and the futuristic technology to make his artifacts instantly available globally. Some 4,000 of the Palo Alto Historical Association’s 13,000plus photographs can be viewed through the organization’s website. Type in “nineteen tens” for your decade of choice, and you see the streetcar tracks, the horse, the suffragette. You also get the Novelty Theatre on University
Avenue, where people caught the latest motion pictures; the Palo Alto Poultry Market (listed as “location unknown” — could it have been in your neighborhood?); a man in a three-piece suit driving a load of lumber down Alma Street. Drop in on Staiger, who works Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Guy Miller Archives, and he may be able to tell you the backstory of your Palo Alto neighborhood, your street, maybe even your house. He might have a menu from the restaurant where your grandparents went on their first date. He could find your greatgrandmother’s obituary in his collection of 30,000. These are very specif ic, loca l searches in a world where the Internet has everything. And perhaps that’s part of the enduring appeal of a small municipal historical society. The nonprofit Palo Alto Historical Association has been around for a century in one form or another (it was founded in 1948 as a successor to the city’s historical society that began in 1913). Technology comes and goes, but a city historian is still minding the store, keeping track of Palo Alto. The association conSteve Staiger, who was a longtime Palo Alto reference librarian before becoming tinues to publish city historian, looks at an old municipal map. books and an offiPage 16ÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊÓ]ÊÓä£ÎÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°V
cial newsletter, along with putting on talks and exhibits and working with the city to preserve historic places and structures. As the society marks 100 years, those fascinated by the history of Palo Alto say the past is still very much with us. Fundraising efforts are in progress to open a new Palo Alto History Museum in the 1932 Roth Building. “The Roth Building restoration project is ‘shovelready,’” said Karen Holman, a city councilwoman and the museum’s former director. In addition, PAHA board members Jeanne McDonnell and Doug Graham are at work on the association’s newest book project, a history of the city of Mayfield that first neighbored Palo Alto to the south and then became part of it in 1925. As Staiger and others are quick to point out, that’s why a city the size of Palo Alto has two downtowns: California Avenue (formerly Lincoln Street) used to be Mayfield’s main drag. In addition, Staiger said the number of visitors and inquiries to the archives is still healthy and in fact seems to be increasing. When asked why, he said that PAHA’s active website makes the group easy to find. In addition, local history just plain remains interesting, especially to longtime residents of a city. In his office in the archives, which are temporarily housed at Cubberley Community Center while the main library is being renovated, Staiger picks up the 1989 book “History of Palo Alto: The Early Years,” by Pamela Gullard and Nancy Lund, and reads a quote from Wallace Stegner: “Local history is the best history, the
history with more of ourselves in it than other kinds. It is immediate, intimate, personally apprehended, and least in America it is by definition recent.” Staiger smiles. Local history, he adds, “doesn’t scare people as much.” t was rare in 1913, and even for several years after that, for a city as small as Palo Alto to have its own historical association, Staiger said. In many California cities it wasn’t until the 1940s, when the state’s centennial was approaching, that there emerged a strong interest in local history. Staiger himself came to Palo Alto in 1984, after growing up in Marin and going to library school at U.C. Berkeley. He worked for Palo Alto as a reference librarian until retiring 12 years ago and staying on in his current job. Some of that time overlapped with his work at the historical association. He’s now PAHA’s only staffer amongst volunteers and interns. Family ties sparked his interest in local history, he said. “I had two grandparents born in California. They were here during the (1906) earthquake,” he said. “They had histories and stories to tell.” Palo Alto is a pretty interesting place for a historian as well. Early on, it became clear that the city would become more than just another 19th-century farm town. For one, Staiger pointed out, it has long owned its own utilities, a rare thing for a city and one that has paid off financially. “A hundred and 10 years ago, it was expected that utility com-
Cover Story panies would dominate, but Palo lumbering and the construction at Alto did it itself,” he said. The Stanford, with a social life bound financial rewards helped make up with its schools, churches the city blossom, contributing to and fraternal lodges,” Winslow such municipal resources as five wrote. libraries and a multitude of parks, (The lumbering legacy lives on he added. in the street signs for Page Mill Palo Alto, too, has been bol- Road, which was named after stered by donations from residents lumberman William Page. The over the decades, including just a road was built as a thoroughfare few odds and ends from Lucie for transporting wood down from Stern, the Depression-era philan- his yard into Mayfield.) thropist whose dollars supported Officially incorporated as a theaters and a community cen- town in 1903, Mayfield had its ter, among other growing pains, well-appreciated not the least of donations. which was an ¼ÊÌ½ÃÊiÝÌÀiiÞÊ In addition, ongoing comsince 1885, the petition with its «ÀÌ>ÌÊÌÊÜÊ city has had northern neighhow this land that the inf luence bor. of neighboring Palo Alto was Üi½ÀiÊÛ}ÊÊ >ÃÊ Stanford to enswiftly being rich it culturally LiiÊÌÀ>ÃvÀi`°Ê seen as a uniand academically versity town, And what does it — and financialintellectual and ly. (It was two attractive, while i>ÊÌÊÕÃÊÌ`>Þ¶½ Stanford profesMayfield for a – Jeanne McDonnell, sors, Charles while had no lu“Daddy” Marx crative businessPAHA board member and Charles Benes other than its jamin Wing, who saloons. Real-eswere instrumentate development tal in developing the city-owned and population influx slowed in utility service.) Mayfield, Winslow wrote. The Stanford has also had other ef- Bayside Cannery on Park Boufects on Palo Alto’s history that levard (its building now houses are less well known. In the early Fry’s Electronics) was a major years of the 20th century, Palo employer for several years, but Alto was home to many teeto- its fortunes turned as the Santa talers, and even after the repeal Clara Valley’s orchards dwindled. of Prohibition the city remained In May 1925, Mayfield’s citizens largely dry for several years, voted 357 to 288 to be annexed thanks to a state law that banned into Palo Alto. the sale of hard liquor near colWinslow’s book had a chapter lege campuses of a certain size. on Mayfield, and PAHA’s McMeanwhile, “San Mateo County Donnell and Graham are in the was one of the wettest counties in midst of creating the complete the country,” Staiger said. Mayfield book, which they hope will be published next summer. lso positively sloshy — at “I’m being reintroduced to least for a time — was the Mayfield. It’s really quite a thrill,” town of Mayfield, which said McDonnell, who has been on once had so many saloons that PAHA’s board for six years and is Stanford students sometimes also the historian for The Womsang a drinking song about the an’s Club of Palo Alto. She and “road to Mayfield,” according to Graham are currently immersed “Palo Alto: A Centennial His- in research for the book, going tory,” a tome published by jour- through archives and newspapers nalist Ward Winslow and PAHA and, especially, photos. Later, in 1993. they’ll formalize the structure of Unfortunately for the barflies, chapters. Mayfield succumbed to the dry “To me, pictures say a lot more spirit and voted in a saloon ban than words. There are some really that took effect on New Year’s good pictures of the houses that Day of 1905. are quite amazing for that era,” No history of Palo Alto would McDonnell said. “But mainly you be complete without a look at look at the people there. That’s Mayfield, which emerged as a what matters.” town in the 1850s. Its first school As McDonnell does her rewas established in 1855, in a log search, she’s constantly asking cabin. By the early 1890s, when herself, “Why?” neighboring Palo Alto was taking “Why did they come there in form, Mayfield “lay somewhat the first place?” she muses about isolated, dependent on farming, Mayfield. “The ecology is terri-
From the archives: A 1935 advertisement for the Peninsula Creamery, taken from a city directory.
bly important. You had to have former site of Mayfield Farm, on a water source, good soil — to La Selva Drive. some extent you grew your own “We are what we were,” food — and having the train right McDonnell said about her there was important. What made abiding interest in hislife what it was there? Why did tory. “We didn’t start people come there, and what did out on an original they create that was so vital?” basis anywhere Photos in “Palo Alto: A Cen- in the world. It’s tennial History” give clues about extremely imthe vitality of the community. portant to know Mustachioed misters pose with how this land their instruments in an 1889 that we’re livphoto of Mayfield’s University ing on has Brass Band. A woman in a bustle been transcurtsies at a dance academy. Pic- formed. And tures in PAHA’s archives show a what does it Fourth of July grand marshal on mean to us horseback, Rosenblum’s General today?” Merchandise Store, Jane Lathrop r o m Stanford’s Mayfield Free Kinderh e r garten and an unusually snowy seat day in 1887. However, no photo is known to on the Palo exist of one of Mayfield’s most Alto City influential residents, Sarah Arm- C o u n c i l , strong Montgomery Green Wallis Karen Hol— the very Sarah Wallis who has man also does a park named after her off Cali- a lot of thinkA circa-1980s jacket from the defunct ing about how fornia Avenue. She came west to San Francisco local history Cameo Club on El Camino Real might become in 1844 as an 18-year-old bride, affects what part of an exhibit when the Palo Alto History later remarking that “it was a de- she does today. Museum opens. lightful trip except when we got Many in Silicon into the mountains,” Staiger wrote Valley think about history in the Hostess House gave me an underin a Weekly column about Wallis sense of making it — creating standing of the care with which in 1999. While her early marital the latest high-tech something development ... should be respectlife was checkered (her first hus- that will echo down the years (or ful of that building (that is) listed band left for Hawaii and never months). But as a council member, on the National Register, designed returned; her second had another Holman has to be immersed more by a revered female California arwife), she eventually found solid in the concrete, the brick-and- chitect and first home to the Chilnuptials with justice of the peace mortar history of local buildings dren’s Theatre,” Holman said. As another example, she added and state senator Joseph Wallis. and streets and neighborhoods. “Having a good understanding that knowing the background of She also became a leading advoof how we got to where we are to- Cubberley Community Center cate for women’s rights. For many years, the Wallis day, what guidance was laid out helps determine how to govern family lived in the Palo Alto area. previously, provides a good foun- its future. The south Palo Alto Sarah Wallis was an investor in dation in how to approach current center, now a home to numerous cultural and educational organithe San Francisco and San Jose and future actions,” she said. Holman cited a current propos- zations, was originally opened in Railroad — and a major reason why today’s California Avenue al to build a downtown office and 1956 as Cubberley High School train station is where it is. “They theater complex at 27 University but closed in 1979 in the wake of were going to put the train station Ave. The plan would displace the declining enrollment. Most of it is on the corner of Churchill and building that houses the MacAr- still owned by the school district Alma,” McDonnell said. “But thur Park restaurant, a structure and leased by the city; with the the local people and Sarah Wallis designed by Hearst Castle archi- lease expiring at the end of the next year, the center’s future is an wanted the station in their town tect Julia Morgan. “Knowing the history and im(Mayfield), so they could get to it. (continued on next page) portance of the Julia Morgan She was a leader in that sense.” McDonnell added: “She was also very prominent in getting good schools established. That wasn’t always common in those days.” The Wallises lived first on Mayfield Farm in what is now the Barron Park area of Palo Alto, and then moved to a smaller house in Mayfield after the economic downturn of 1875. Sarah Wallis Park marks the site of that home. Long interested in women’s history, McDonnell has been fascinated with Wallis for years, and helped get a historic plaque put up The University Brass Band in Mayfield celebrates the Fourth of July in 1889, in her honor at the depicted in a Palo Alto Historical Association photo. ÜÜÜ°*>Ì"i°VÊUÊ*>ÊÌÊ7iiÞÊUÊ ÛiLiÀÊÓ]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 17
Cover Story VÌÕi`ÊvÀÊ«ÀiÛÕÃÊ«>}i®
open question. Holman is looking ahead to a future that includes a new Palo Alto History Museum downtown. While she stepped aside as executive director last year and PAHA board member Rich Green now heads the museum, she clearly remains passionate about the need for the facility. The museum would “serve as a core resource to connect people from around the world to our city’s dynamic past,” she said. “It will be a place of great inspiration, designed to help us better understand and more effectively influence the world in which we live.” As planned, the museum would house the city’s archives as well as exhibits on such topics as the local history of education, technology, sports and the arts. Classes for children and adults are also envisioned, along with joint programs with such organizations as the Stanford Historical Society and history classes at local schools. The museum’s proposed home, the Birge Clark-designed Roth Building at 300 Homer Ave., has plenty of history of its own. Besides formerly housing the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, the structure holds the dubious honor of sparking Palo Alto’s first traffic jam. Victor Arnautoff’s Art Deco murals created a commotion in 1932 for depicting half-naked patients in the examination room; after the San Francisco Chronicle ran a critical article in the Sunday paper, “everyone drove by after church to see for themselves,” Staiger said. Today, the museum project has been approved by the City Coun-
cil and the Historic Resources Board and is simply awaiting sufficient funding to break ground, Holman said. The museum’s board is still studying what its final fundraising goal will be and is consulting with potential donors, Green said. “Funds are needed for rehabilitation of the Roth Building, operations, a reserve and an endowment. Construction funds to complete the rehabilitation of the building are estimated to be in the area of $2.5 million.” Green said the board is also looking for funds for the first two to three years of operations. “The expectation is that our campaign will be aggressive,” he said. or Staiger, the close of that campaign can’t come soon enough. He gets a little dreamy when he talks about a new history museum, one that could be part of a historic district in the neighborhood of the Museum of American Heritage, the Hewlett-Packard garage and the Woman’s Club. While the archives have more commonly housed two-dimensional artifacts, Staiger also keeps an eye out for items that would look good in a museum display case. Those include the black satin jacket that hangs on the wall of the archives, sporting the logo “Cameo Club.” The cardroom used to be on El Camino Real in south Palo Alto. The jacket is probably from the 1980s. Other items include a host of pens and pencils with logos for the city’s utility department and libraries. Everyday, perhaps, but they could mean something more. “This could be part of an exhibit
The city archives contain many menus and other items from Palo Alto’s restaurant history, including this menu from the bygone L’Omelette (which was later known as Chez Louis).
about the branding of Palo Alto,” Staiger said. Giving a visitor a tour of the archives, he ambles between rows of file cabinets labeled by subject. One is marked “Organizations,” with the Peninsula Women’s Chorus, the Parents’ Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, the Rainbow Girls, the Rebekahs. At 30,000 strong, the obituaries take up a lot of space in the cabinets. More prominent Palo Altans like Birge This photo from the Palo Alto Historical Association shows police and protesters Clark get bigger, in a 1960s war protest. “obituaries-plus” from San Francisco, where would files; his folder also contains an cific photos. autobiography and a genealogy of Another possible reason why he stay, what would he eat? “We his family. fewer recent photos are being showed him city directories, old Staiger also points out files of donated is that they’re often shot menus, where the character could houses listed by address. They digitally and never printed. PAHA get alcohol,” Staiger said. Mission accomplished. And yet, might include details on when and is fine with receiving digital imhow an early-20th-century house ages — its website’s wealth of as any historian — or gumshoe — was built or something as recent images attests to that — but one knows, there is often a part of the as last week’s newspaper listing. technology-related challenge it is story that remains unknown. “He was very excited with the “One of the things we most avidly still grappling with is how best to collect is real-estate ads,” Staiger share high-res versions with the information,” said Staiger, who then looked a little disappointed. said. Ads can give great insight public. into architectural styles that were Technology evolves, but many “But we never saw the book.” N popular in a given era, or just of the questions that visitors ask Arts and Entertainment Editor tell how many bathrooms people the city historian remain the same. liked to have. People still ask about their own Rebecca Wallace can be emailed Also prevalent are old phone genealogy, who built their house at firstname.lastname@example.org. books; old newspapers stored on and when. Kids still love historic microfilm, some of them defunct mysteries; when Staiger gives pre(the Palo Alto Live Oak, anyone?); sentations at third-grade classes, and old Polk’s city directories that the students love speculating listed a person’s name, address, about why Mayfield landowner phone number and profession. A Peter Coutts built the medieval The Palo Alto Historical phone book from the turn of the Frenchman’s Tower in 1875. (It’s Association’s archives are 20th century combined Palo Alto still a mystery.) currently housed in Room with the whole county, because For decades, Staiger has kept H-5 at the Cubberley Comthere were only about 100 tele- track on index cards of all the munity Center, 4000 Midphones in the entire county. inquiries he receives each year. dlefield Road, Palo Alto, And there are lots of yearbooks. The cards show the numbers are and open Tuesdays from 4 to A city historian can never have growing, he said. As an example, 8 p.m. and Thursdays from too many yearbooks. They’re he pulls out his neatly inked card 1 to 5 p.m. great for looking up past fashions from fiscal year 1994-95: 266 inPAHA also presents and hairstyles, but they can also person visitors, 161 phone inquifree public programs at provide important insight into ries, 13 mail or other (“other” is its monthly general meetgenealogy and changes in demo- probably email). That’s a total of ings the first Sunday of the graphics, Staiger said. 440 for one year, compared to 40 month. The next is 2 p.m. So Staiger would like your for September 2013 (15 in-person, Dec. 1 at the Lucie Stern yearbook, if you don’t want it any- 10 phone, 15 mail or email). Community Center, 1305 more. Especially if you graduated Some of the most interesting Middlefield Road, Palo after 1970, which is when the col- inquiries are the most specific. Alto. lection starts to drop off. One man had a passion for vinFor details, go to This is true of the archive as a tage menus, Staiger said, pulling pahistory.org. Information whole. It’s less strong on docu- out his menu file. A pink one for about the Palo Alto History ments, photos and other items a restaurant called Blum’s offers Museum project is posted from more recent years, perhaps Ham Steak Dixie with candied at paloaltohistorymuseum. because people don’t think their sweet potato for $1.50. org. own “present-day” things are rePalo Alto author Meg Waite ally historic. Staiger estimates that Clayton worked with Staiger to fewer than 10 percent of the ar- do research for her novel “The chives’ photos are from the 1990s Wednesday Sisters,” about five or beyond. “We’re always asking women living in Palo Alto in the About the cover: In a people to send photos of things 1960s. “She thanked me in her accirca-1913 photo drawn that might be historic or paint a knowledgments,” he said. from Palo Alto’s city picture of a place or time, even if Then there was the man who archives, Harry Brown and they don’t think it’s worth any- came in because he was writing a C.C. Walker sit in Brown’s thing,” Staiger said. “Guy Miller noir novel about a Sam Spade type car on University Avenue would say, ‘Let me throw it away in the 1930s and ‘40s. The charnear the Eagle Drug Co. for you.’ I say, ‘Let me recycle it acter was going to come through (next to the bicycle), which for you.’” PAHA has even enlisted Palo Alto, and the author wanted Walker owned. people to go out and shoot spe- to know: How would he get here
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Stanford Continuing Studies presents
Fire and Ice: Robert Frost’s Dark Woods This year is the 50th anniversary of Robert Frost’s death, and the passing years have not displaced him from his standing as one of America’s favorite poets. His poems invest commonplace realities with eerie significance, give voice to bittersweet ironies in crisp vernacular language, and cultivate a sense of wonder (and often elegiac loss) in a mythic New England landscape. Monday, December 2 7:30 pm Cubberley Auditorium School of Education Stanford University Free and open to the public
Frost’s poems are often little dramas, quirky soliloquies and darkly comic monologues, plain spoken, deceptively simple yet complex and ambiguous—perfect for the stage.
In Fire and Ice, Frost’s poems will be performed as dramatic readings in a unique production assembled and produced by Hilton Obenzinger and directed and performed by
Kay Kostopoulos with acclaimed actor James Carpenter. The performance will be followed by a discussion with Professor of English Emeritus Albert Gelpi on Frost’s reputation and the understanding of his work in the 21st century.
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
For more info: continuingstudies.stanford.edu
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A weekly guide to music, theater, art, movies and more, edited by Rebecca Wallace
Guitarist Will Ackerman, who grew up in the College Terrace neighborhood, returns to Palo Alto for a Dec. 7 guest appearance.
Seasoned producer and Windham Hill Records founder credits Palo Alto for lighting his musical fire by Rebecca Wallace
p in the mountains of Windham County, Vt., Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road Studios has a fine Steinway and sweeping views. There, the guitarist and founder of Windham Hill Records finds fulfillment in producing a variety of acoustic music, much of it meditative and bright. But when Ackerman thinks about his own musical roots, he sees not the autumn colors of the Northeast but the Stanford hills and the fields that surrounded Palo Alto’s College Terrace neighborhood when he was growing up there. Born in 1949, Ackerman lived in Palo Alto for the first 13 years of his life. That’s where he started playing guitar, and where he fell for folk and acoustic sounds. As a kid, he would ride his bike over to the old Stanford student union to watch musicians playing there. The crowds could be small, but some of the names were about to be big. “I watched the Kingston Trio come up,” he said in an interview.
The trio’s Dave Guard went to Stanford, and Ackerman regularly watched the group try out new material on campus. By the time the trio did a benefit concert up at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, Ackerman was such a “crazy fan” that one of the managers got him a box seat, he said. He was 12. Even before that, when he was small, a favorite sitter (whom everyone called “the beatnik babysitter”) would take him to downtown Palo Alto to see Joan Baez sing at an underground coffee house in downtown Palo Alto. The city was a major hub of folk music then, Ackerman recalled. “That was what really colored my early life and got me into guitar.” Next month, Ackerman will head west to return to his Peninsula roots. On Dec. 7, he’s set to perform at the Unity Palo Alto church at a CD-release party for Marin guitarist Shambhu. Ackerman co-produced Shambhu’s new record, “Dreaming of Now.” Shambhu describes his sound as world music or, like Ackerman’s
music, contemporary instrumental. (Ackerman is not fond of the term “New Age.”) The new record, Shambhu wrote in a press release, is also meant to be inspiring. “I wrote ‘Dreaming of Now’ as a feeling of how the world could be, right now — imagining a peaceful planet in this very moment with music that aims to touch the perfection, beauty and diversity that we are as a people and a global home,” he said. The album also shows Shambhu’s versatility, Ackerman said. “He’s done serious rock music, he’s done electric, he’s done real jazz, and is a really fine player and has a tremendous range,” he said. “The record we just did is probably more jazz-influenced than anything I’ve been involved with in a long time.” Most of the music Ackerman produces has a focus on melody and harmony, and is typically acoustic. “With Shambhu you also have real rhythm and interesting time signatures,” he said. “It’s adventuresome. It was such
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great fun to produce.” As for Ackerman, he says his role at the Dec. 7 concert will be as guest musician to Shambhu’s main act: playing three or four songs, and a duet or two with Shambhu. Other musicians from the new album will join the two on stage: percussionist David DiLullo, bassist Dewayne Pate, keyboardist Frank Martin, drummer Celso Alberti and Premik Russell Tubbs on wind instruments and Jeff Oster on flugelhorn. Listeners will probably hear at least one of Ackerman’s most popular songs, like “The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter,” which can be heard on albums including 2008’s “Meditations.” “I haven’t done a new record in many years, although I feel the stirrings of it now,” Ackerman said. A new Ackerman recording would become part of an ample and popular collection. The platinum-selling artist has released 14 albums of his lyrical, graceful work, going back to the 1976 recording “In Search of the Turtle’s
Navel.” His 2004 album “Returning” won a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, and “Meditations,” “Hearing Voices” (2001) and “Sound of Wind Driven Rain” (1998) were also nominated for Grammys. His guitar sometimes blends with strings, horns and other sounds, or even electric bass or subtle vocals. Ackerman has also published a book, “The Will Ackerman Collection,” with 14 songs transcribed note for note. Earlier this year, Ackerman also netted the Lifetime Achievement Award, among other honors, at the ZMR Music Awards in New Orleans. The Zone Music Reporter is a website that monitors radio airplay of acoustic instrumental, world, ambient and other genres. Ackerman had no idea he was up for the award until he saw his picture up on the screen at the ceremony, along with videos of friends and colleagues singing his praises, he said. “I just burst into tears. It was so lovely.” Throughout his career, some elements of Ackerman’s music have remained the same: an emphasis
Arts & Entertainment
Info: The CD-release concert, put on by East West Bookstore, goes from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7 at Unity Palo Alto, 3391 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Go to eastwest.com or call 650-988-9800.
Will Ackerman, left, co-produced the new album by guitarist Shambhu, above. Both will perform at the Unity Palo Alto church at a CD-release party for “Dreaming of Now” on Dec. 7.
on melody, the use of a variety of tunings. It’s an approach that’s served him well. After growing up in Palo Alto, he attended Stanford for a time, then worked as a homebuilder. But he continued to play the guitar and write songs, and after he released “In Search of the Turtle’s Navel” to acclaim, he founded Windham Hill Records. Well-known Windham Hill artists included George Winston, Alex de Grassi and Michael Hedges, and Ackerman’s own recordings found success. But he ultimately decided to leave life as a record-label executive, moving to Vermont and building Imaginary Road Studios in 1993, continuing to write and record his own songs while bringing others’ visions to vinyl. Many musicians who have worked with Ackerman the producer have high praise. “Will simply brings you to heights you’d never reach alone, and guides you to performances you never knew you had inside,” said Oster, the maker of ambient flugelhorn music who will be among the performers on Dec. 7. Ackerman has found it inspiring and sometimes a little daunting being surrounded by top musicians with different skill sets. In the end, he’s at peace with his musical vision. “I’m a very clean player, but I’m not the technical player that de Grassi is or the innovator that Michael Hedges was,” he said. “It’s not about gymnastics. It really is all about heart.” Over the years, Ackerman has played venues large and dramatic, from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl to the open-air Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver, where one night Ackerman, Hedges and the group Shadowfax had the lights turned off to play under a full moon. These days he prefers intimate house concerts that remind him of his early days. Clearly, the joy of connecting closely with his audiences remains one of the highlights of Ackerman’s life as a musician. He periodically writes essays that he hopes to turn into a book, and one of the essays, posted on his website, speaks of his gratitude to his listeners. “People have written me over the years saying how much my music has mattered to their lives ... There are the stories of how my music helped them through heartbreak and loneliness,” he wrote. “Then there are the ones that tell me that a husband, wife, father or mother, brother or sister chose to listen to my music as they left this earth. There is no honor that could ever fall to someone more beautiful than this and I have tears in my eyes as I write this. I have been lucky.” N
Inspirations a guide to the spiritual community FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UCC £nxÊÕÃÊ,>`]Ê*>ÊÌÊUÊÈxä®ÊnxÈÈÈÈÓÊUÊÜÜÜ°vVV«>°À}Ê Sunday Worship and Church School at 10 a.m.
This Sunday: Ready, Set ... Wait! Rev. David Howell preaching Evening in Bethlehem, Dec. 8th, 6-7:30pm An Open and Affirming Congregation of the United Church of Christ We celebrate Marriage Equality!
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No ice for this cream Scoop Microcreamery makes small-batch ice cream with liquid nitrogen Story by Elena Kadvany Photos by Veronica Weber
et another ice cream shop in Palo Alto? It’s a crowded field, but it would be wrong to dismiss Scoop Microcreamery, a small-batch, momand-pop ice cream shop that opened on University Avenue in late September. Scoop is owned by Dave and Cindy Somasunderam, New Jersey transplants who clearly love making ice cream. Cindy, who has been making ice cream at home for years, makes two flavors of her own vanilla extract (classic and bourbon vanilla). The pair use homegrown herbs to make their sorbets. And she refers to herself and her husband as “Mr. and Mrs. Scoop.” But Scoop is not conventional.
With two giant tanks of liquid nitrogen on hand, the folks at Scoop make all their ice cream throughout the day, freezing it on-site in small batches at minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit. This method of making ice cream is gaining popularity in the Bay Area because it creates a product that is said to be denser, creamier and more flavorful than traditionally churned ice cream. The couple got the idea from an episode of “Shark Tank,” an ABC television show that searches for unique businesses. One episode featured Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt, a Utah-based franchise that uses nitrogen to make madeto-order frozen treats. “My husband said, ‘We gotta
do something like this,’” Cindy said. “But we didn’t want to do one serving at a time, because we don’t want people to have to wait for it. We also want people to be able to taste it. We wanted to do it not just for the novelty of having it made to order, but to make really good ice cream.” Their daughter, a scientist, got them some liquid nitrogen to play around with. “Cindy whipped up some of her ice cream recipes and we froze it with the nitrogen,” Dave said. “It was amazing, and at that point we knew we wanted to combine the best ingredients with the best ice cream technology.” The two shuttered their frozen-yogurt shop in New Jersey and moved to the Bay Area a few years ago, making the final move to Palo Alto this summer. They’ve taken over a space in downtown Palo Alto that used to house Haagen Dazs, adding personal touches along with two giant metal tanks of nitrogen behind the counter.
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Coffee ice cream at Scoop. Cindy said that they blend all their ingredients — starting with Strauss Family Creamery organic cream, eggs and sugar — in advance, so the ingredients are ready to be frozen. Ingredients are poured into a bowl that resembles a KitchenAid mixer that’s hooked up via a hose to the nitrogen tanks. As the nitrogen does its job, what looks like dry-ice vapor envelops the area surrounding the bowl. It takes approximately five minutes to make a batch of ice cream. “It’s nice because it’s freezing it so fast, it doesn’t have time for the ice crystals to form,” she said. “Conventional methods of churning are a little slower. With nitrogen, there’s no air pumped into it so it’s creamy and dense. It really is a beautiful, velvety texture.” Dave said they make numerous “tiny” batches of each flavor throughout the day. Nothing is carried over from one day to the next in order to preserve freshness — one of Scoop’s main commitments. “We try to do everything the best quality possible,” Cindy said. “We’re not a big space but we’re trying to do as much from scratch as we can.” Cindy’s homemade vanilla extract, made from Madagascar vanilla beans, goes into Scoop’s classic vanilla bean and chocolate. Her other extract, made with bourbon, makes what she said is their most popular flavor, vanilla
bourbon with salted caramel. It costs $4.50 for one scoop, up to $5.75 for three scoops. Flavors vary from day to day. They include mint with brownies (made with real peppermint oil), maple bacon crunch (so popular they started selling the crunch concoction, similar to bacon brittle, on its own), pumpkin with ginger streusel, dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, saffron and “hella Nutella,” a play on the Northern California slang word. Vegan options come in the form of sorbets, including strawberry-peach balsamic, raspberryhibiscus and chili-mango. The chili-mango sorbet drew Jennifer Real, a Fremont native who works at Stanford University, into Scoop on a recent afternoon. “I saw this interesting flavor — chili-mango sorbet — and tried it. I think it’s amazing, but I wasn’t in the mood for mango.” So she left with a single scoop of Biscoff cookies n’ cream (made with Biscoff cookies and Biscoff spread). “It’s very light and not sweet at VÌÕi`ÊÊiÝÌÊ«>}i®
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Elena Kadvany can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-owner Uday Somasunderam makes pumpkin ice cream using liquid nitrogen.
Info: Scoop Microcreamery 203 University Ave., Palo Alto 650-323-1203 facebook.com/ScoopMicrocreamery
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all,â€? she said. â€œItâ€™s very subtle in flavor but not as creamy as regular ice cream.â€? Real didnâ€™t opt for any toppings, but Scoop offers quite a few: Cindyâ€™s homemade brown sugar caramel sauce; hot fudge; a drizzle of honey, maple syrup or olive oil; whipped cream; Nutella or a chocolate shell. There are also almonds, carob coconut clusters, toasted coconut, peanuts, roasted cashews, â€œcorn-
flakes nâ€™ milk crunchâ€? (from Mrs. Scoopâ€™s secret recipe) and chocolate toffee almonds. All toppings and sauces are 75 cents each. And thereâ€™s more. Create a sundae for $6.95 or a â€œfruit twister,â€? essentially a smoothie, for $6.25. The milkshakes â€” chocolate, vanilla, coffee or avocado for $6.25 â€” are touted on the menu board with this slogan: â€œThe best ice cream makes the best shakes.â€? N
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