Menlo ParkMountain ViewPalo Alto April 21, 2015

Palo Alto Area Celebrates Earth Day

Several nonprofit organizations in and around Palo Alto are hosting events and activities this week in honor of Earth Day, which is on Wednesday, April 22.

Tuesday, April 21

Tuolumne Film & Culture Fest

6:30-9 p.m. at Menlo-Atherton High School, The Center for Performing Arts, 555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

The Tuolumne Film & Culture Fest will celebrate water, culture and community through art, music, dance and the premiere of Leah Rogers’ documentary on the Tuolumne River. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Tuolumne River Trust. For more information, call Rebecca Stievater at 415-882-7252, email or visit

Wednesday, April 22

Planet Earth New Play Festival

7:30 p.m. at Stanford’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Laguna Drive

In honor of Earth Day, Planet Earth Arts will host an evening of original plays related to the environment. The Planet Earth New Play Festival features works by emerging playwrights whose aim is to inspire audiences to recognize environmental sustainability as the most critical issue of our era. Among the works featured at the festival include “Preapocalytica” by Erin Marie Panttaja, in which environmental crisis drives one character to madness, and “The Universe on Ice” by Maury Zeff, set in a frozen polar landscape populated by talking penguins and polar bears. The performance will be followed by a panel discussion featuring some of Stanford University’s leading scientists and researchers. For more information, go to or call 510-677-2648.

Free Community Earth Day Fair

10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 3rd Regional Support Command, 230 R. T. Jones Road, Mountain View

The U.S. Army Reserve 63rd Regional Support Command invites community members to attend its Earth Day Fair and celebrate the army reserve’s 107th anniversary. The free event will include live music, vendors, food trucks, family activities, education booths, a free raffle and e-waste drop off and more. For more information, call Mike Strauss at 925-858-3354 or email

Thursday, April 23

Greenlight Film Festival

7-8:30 p.m. at Cubberly Theater, 4000 Middlefield Road

Greenlight Film Festival is celebrating its 10-year anniversary with films produced by local artists with an emphasis on student-produced work. The films included in the festival address five topics, including zero waste, litter, food waste, California drought, climate change and energy. For more information, go to

Friday, April 24

Planet Earth New Play Festival

8 p.m. at Roble Theater, 374 Santa Teresa St.

Planet Earth Arts will host a second evening of original plays related to the environment. See listing above, on Wednesday. The Friday event will not feature a panel discussion. For more information, go to or call 510-677-2648.

Saturday, April 25

Residential solar PV workshop

9:30-11:30 a.m. at Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road

The City of Palo Alto is hosting a residential solar photovoltaic workshop for people interested in installing a system in their homes. For more information, go to or call 650-329-2241.

East Palo Alto Community Earth Day Celebration

9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Cesar Cesar Chavez School, 2450 Ralmar Ave.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to the citywide Community Earth Day Celebration in East Palo Alto. The event, dubbed “Think Green and Keep Our City Clean,” will feature activities including a tree tour walk, city beautification projects, bike repairs, arts and crafts and creek monitoring activities, as well as outdoor gear giveaways and speakers, including Mayor Lisa Gauthier, state Assemblyman Rich Gordon and Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo of Stanford University. Please bring a hat and reusable water bottle. For more information, email To register, visit

Compost basic workshop

10 a.m.-noon at Cubberley Community Center, Room H-1, 4000 Middlefield Road

A free compost workshop will teach people to use compost in their gardens to improve soil quality and enhance the garden’s health and vitality. To register, call 408-918-4640.

Mountain ViewPalo Alto March 18, 2015

Family Fun in Los Altos and Mountain View

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Altos, Mountain View and surrounding cities. From concerts to plays, following are some of the options.

‘Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale’

The Peninsula Youth Theatre production, directed by Ken Boswell, follows Pecos Bill and partner Slue-Foot Sue as they protect the town.

Performances are scheduled 9:30 and 11 a.m. March 20 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. March 21 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

For tickets and more information, call 903-6000 or visit

Palo Alto Philharmonic Orchestra,
 Concert III

Featuring internationally known piano soloist Sandra Wright Shen, the orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 for Piano and a variety of other pieces, including Lee Actor’s “Divertimento for Small Orchestra” and Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7.

The concert is scheduled 8 p.m. Feb. 27, with a pre-concert talk set for 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $24 adult, $20 senior and $12 student.

For tickets and more information, call 903-6000 or visit

‘Carnival of the Animals by
 Camille Saint-Saëns’

The visually illustrated concert and ballet features a string ensemble and two grand pianos conducted by Derek Tam, accompanied by a dance performance by Bay Pointe Ballet. In addition to the concert, an animal-mask-making workshop and an instrument petting zoo – an opportunity to see, hear and touch instruments – are slated before and after the concert.

Concerts are scheduled 10 a.m. and noon March 1 at the Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall on the campus of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto.

Advance tickets are $18 general admission, $15 members and children 3-12; all tickets are $20 at the door.

For tickets and more information, call 223-8664 or visit

‘Les Misérables’

Peninsula Youth Theatre’s musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel follows Jean Valjean as he struggles to redeem his past sins, with the ruthless Inspector Javert in hot pursuit.

Shows are scheduled 2 p.m. March 7 and 14; 7:30 p.m. March 7, 13 and 14; 1 p.m. March 8 and 15; 6:30 p.m. March 8; and 9:30 a.m. March 12 and 13 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

Tickets are $22 adult, $18 senior and children 12 and under.

For tickets and more information call 903-6000 or visit

Easter Egg Hunt

Children ages 1-10 are invited to participate in the Los Altos Village Association’s annual Easter Egg Hunt in downtown Los Altos.

Participants should bring their own baskets. Activities include an appearance by the Easter Bunny, crafts, a balloon artist, face painting and games.

The hunt is scheduled 10 a.m. to noon March 28 at Main and State streets.

For more information, visit

Firebird Dance Theatre Benefit Performance

Join the Firebird Dance Theatre troupe for a performance highlighting a multitude of dance styles – from traditional folk dances to ballet and ballroom. Choreographed by Lotta Lysaya Burton, the performance features students from ages 4 to 25.

The performance is scheduled 5 p.m. March 29 at the Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall on the campus of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto.

Tickets are $20 general, $15 members and $25 at the door.

For tickets and more information, call 223-8664 or visit

Big Bunny 5K

People of all fitness levels are invited to participate in the 5K run. Children can join in the Kids Fun Run, where everyone is a winner. Awards and raffle prizes will be distributed at the end of the event.

The run is slated 9 a.m. April 4 at the Cupertino Civic Center, 10300 Torre Ave. Preregistration is required by April 3.

To register, visit

For more information, call (408) 777-1305. ✦

Palo Alto January 16, 2015

Palo Alto events Commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly

Celebrations honoring civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. are set to begin Friday. Here is a list of events in the Palo Alto area.

King Institute open house: On Friday, Jan. 16, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University will host its annual open house and celebration of the civil-rights leader’s life and work.

The event starts at noon and will highlight the institute’s newest publication, “The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Volume VII ‘To Save the Soul of America, January 1961 – August 1962,'” which documents King’s early relationship with President John F. Kennedy and his efforts to remain relevant in an increasingly militant protest movement.

The event will also feature entertainment from 3 to 5 p.m. from acclaimed jazz pianist Tammy Hall and Stanford University alumna Jessica Anderson, a former member of the Stanford Gospel Choir and co-founder of the Afro-Fusion Jazz ensemble Chicago Collective. Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, professor emerita, author and activist, will be present to sign her new book, “Destiny’s Child: Memoirs of a Preacher’s Daughter,” which traces 200 years of African American history through Gibb’s own family and personal story. She will also talk about her memories of dating King during the early 1950s when they were both students in Boston. For more infomration, visit

MLK Freedom Day: Heartbeat Earth and Silicon Valley Families is holding its MLK Freedom Day on Saturday, Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Onetta Harris Community Center, 100 Terminal Ave., Menlo Park. The event, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee of First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, Youth Community Service, Reach and Teach and PAN African City Alive, will feature games, expressive art and guest speakers. Entrance is free, but a $5 donation to benefit Youth Community Service, an organization that offers students ways to get involved in the community, is suggested. For more information, visit

Day of service: Join the nonprofit Youth Community Service and the City of Palo Alto Recreation Department for a community-wide day of service as part of a nationwide event to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The event will take place on Monday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King Plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.

Freedom Train: Caltrain will run the annual chartered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Train on Monday, Jan. 19, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil-rights leader’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The train is chartered by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley and will depart from the San Jose Diridon Caltrain Station at 9:45 a.m. and will travel to the San Francisco Caltrain Station. There is no special southbound service, but Freedom Train tickets will be accepted on southbound trains departing San Francisco after 1 p.m. that day. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased through the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley

Palo AltoPlanned Construction January 15, 2015

Palo Alto Bike Bridge Designs Wows

by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly

One cries for attention with its prominent red arch and a row of changing lights. The other is an understated ribbon that tries to blend into the Baylands. The third is inspired by a kayak, even though it’s meant for bicycles.

The designs offer starkly different visions for Palo Alto’s “iconic” new bike bridge, the subject of a recent design competition, but the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission agreed on Wednesday night that any of the three would represent a big win for the city.

“I think it’s hard to go wrong with either of the choices,” Commissioner Michael Alcheck said during Wednesday’s discussion of the new bike bridge.

“I think we have three awesome bridges here,” concurred acting commission Chair Adrien Fine vat the end of the discussion. “Palo Alto would be lucky to have any of them.”

The three finalists were chosen out of a pool of 20 proposals that the city received as part of its design competition for a bridge that would span U.S. Highway 101 at Adobe Creek, giving south Palo Alto residents year-round access to the Baylands.

On Dec. 17, 2014, a jury chose as the winner the boldest and loudest of the three the arch concept proposed by HNTB Engineering, 64North, Bionic Landscape Architecture and Ned Kahn. The jury agreed that this design comes the closest of the three to achieving the City Council’s stated goal of creating a prominent landmark structure that would serve as a gateway to the city.

The final choice will be made by the council, which will consider the jury’s recommendation in late February. And while the planning commission waxed ecstatically about all three designs, members refrained from taking strong stances in favor of any of the three.

Instead, the general consensus was that despite their stark differences, any of the three would make for a proud addition to Palo Alto. Only Alcheck expressed an opinion about his preferred choice, giving the nod to the subtlest of the three proposals: the ribbon-like bridge designed by Moffat and Nichol, Steven Grover and Associates, Lutsko Associates, JIRI Strasky and Mark Thomas and Co.

Fine, who last week was elected vice chair and who ran the meeting in the absence of newly elected Chair Greg Tanaka, offered words of high praise for all three proposals. He was a bit puzzled, however, by the kayak shape of the design proposed by Endrestudio, OLIN, SBP and Biohabitats.

“It might not come across as a bike bridge – the fact that it’s imitating a kayak,” Fine said. “It’s nice to know a bike bridge is a bike bridge.”

Roy Snyder, a bicyclists and birder who lives in the Palo Verde neighborhood, made a pitch for keeping things simple and focusing on the bridge’s function rather than the frills. The overcrossing, he said, “is the means, not a destination, nor the attraction itself.”

“Nor should it be a distraction from the natural Baylands environment,” Snyder said. “The Baylands are where the action is. The Baylands is where we want to go. We want to get there as expeditiously and easily as possible.”

Commissioner Mark Michael expressed similar leanings. He called all the designs “impressive” but wondered if the HNTB design, known as “Confluence” is a little “too grandiose” and suggested that there might be a benefit to having a bridge that is simpler and has a lower profile.

“I do like the arch but I’m worried that it’s gonna be quite the landmark,” Michael said.

But after calling both the arch and the Moffat and Nichol proposals “impressive and inspiring,” he concluded that they’d “both be terrific for different reasons.”

“It’s a shame there has to be a winner and someone who doesn’t win,” Michael said. “But whoever gets the second place, maybe that bridge should be considered for the span between Town & Country and Paly.”

He wasn’t the only one who struggled to pick a favorite. Judith Wasserman, a former member of the Architectural Review Board and chair of the jury that selected the arch proposal, said she was “blown away by how beautiful and poetic all of these were.”

The decision, she said, was very difficult to make. Ultimately, the jury went with the arch so as to best comply with the council’s hunger for a prominent icon. The subtlest design finished second in the voting and the kayak third.

“That’s what most people who preferred the arch said that you will see this more than the other bridge,” Wasserman said. “The other bridge was very elegant, structurally amazing, and looked like it was self supporting. We looked for sky hooks and didn’t see them.”

But much like the planning commission, Wasserman had nothing but love for all three bridges.

“I personally felt that you can close your eyes and throw darts and come out good,” she said.

Palo Alto November 19, 2014

City of Palo Alto’s 4th Annual Tree Lighting

Presented by City of Palo Alto – Community Services Department

November 29, 2014

Kick off the holiday season with fun at Lytton Plaza. Bring the whole family, and listen to live bands, bell ringers and carols. Decorate your own tree ornament, and visit with the elves. Goodies from Whole Foods Palo Alto and Cafe Venezia will keep you warm as Mayor Nancy Shepherd and our generous sponsor Stanford Federal Credit Union light the tree. This event will be held rain or shine.

Uncategorized November 5, 2014

Modest Bay Area Homes Hit Mind-Boggling Prices

Excerpts From Article Written by Pete Carey – San Jose Mercury News

Two years of tight supply and intense demand have pushed prices for modest Bay Area homes in trendy neighborhoods to mind-boggling heights.

In Palo Alto, tiny homes sell for multiple millions of dollars. In Oakland’s sought-after Rockridge district, a home
just sold for $500,000 over the asking price.

On both sides of the bay, it’s the location that commands the biggest price, even as the amount paid per square foot reached new peaks in more than a third of 155 Bay Area ZIP codes analyzed for this newspaper by CoreLogic DataQuick.

With the price of homes in Palo Alto skyrocketing, Ken Plourde, a 79-year-old retired jazz bass player, decided it was time to sell the home he bought for $35,000 in 1970. “I was sitting on a gold mine,” said Plourde, whose income from music gigs has been declining with his advancing years and changes in the live music business.

The 992-square-foot-home within walking distance of Stanford University was snapped up in one day by a wealthy Stanford graduate in China for $3 million, a price that comes to just over $3,000 a square foot.

“They’re going to flatten it, but what the hell, I can’t do anything about that. Life goes on,” said Plourde. “It’s a fortune to  me, for a guy who’s never made more than $30,000 a year.”