Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 29, 2010

News Digest

Dalai Lama to visit Stanford, East Palo Alto

The Dalai Lama will visit Stanford University and East Palo Alto's Costano School in October to remind all those who listen that compassion deserves a priority place in the world.

Stanford announced Monday that Tibet's exiled political and spiritual leader will deliver an Oct. 14 talk on "the centrality of compassion in human life and society."

In East Palo Alto, he will meet with all seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Ravenswood City School District, which serves East Palo Alto and eastern Menlo Park.

The Dalai Lama will spend two days at Stanford at the invitation of School of Medicine Dean Philip Pizzo.

On Oct. 15, he will participate in a day-long conference on "Scientific Explorations of Compassion and Altruism," sponsored by the medical school's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

The Dalai Lama helped pay for the creation of the research center with some of his book proceeds, said Rev. Scotty McLennan, dean of the Office for Religious Life.

Pizzo said the Dalai Lama's participation will "help further promote our understanding of compassion and altruism in scientific, medical and spiritual domains.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama is one of the world's most renowned and respected spiritual and moral voices and has inspired generations and millions of people throughout the world about the fundamental underpinnings of a caring and compassionate life."

The Dalai Lama also will participate in several "small, private gatherings" with groups, including Stanford's Ho Center for Buddhist Studies.

A city where trees make news

A group of "tree heroes" were recognized last week by the Palo Alto-based tree-advocacy organization Canopy, which held a reception to honor the memory of Betty Meltzer, a longtime Canopy leader who launched the "Dream of a Thousand Trees" to be planted along the Palo Alto stretch of El Camino Real — complementing a similar project in Menlo Park.

Awards presented included:

o The Arnold Soforenko Award to two finance people: former City Councilman Jack Morton, who provided financial advice and services to Canopy through his firm, Morton & Associates, and Bob Golton, business manager of the Palo Alto Unified School District, for helping save large oaks at Gunn High School and working on greener landscaping plans overall.

o A special award to the Ad-Hoc California Tree Citizens' Group for "focusing attention on the sudden removal of California Avenue trees" and facilitating "a creative tree replacement plan for this vital street" in an effort spearheaded by Fred Balin, a College Terrace resident.

o "Out-on-a-Limb" awards were presented to three persons: Bob and Kay Schauer who as longtime volunteers completed the most surveys in a citywide tree survey; and Annette Glanckopf Ashton "for her outstanding efforts as a "Neighborhood Tree Ambassador" on Bryant Street in the Midtown area, hosting "dozens of muddy volunteers in her driveway last January and preparing a slide show for the City Council.

o A "Student Forester Award" went to Javier Magana of the East Palo Alto Tree Initiative Project during his three years with the Canopy Youth Staff, for his "digging, planting, staking, tying, pruning, training, watering, weeding, mulching and surveying" work.

Bob Meltzer's full remarks are on www.PaloAltoOnline.com.

Palo Verde Elementary principal to retire

Lupe Garcia, the principal at Palo Verde Elementary School in Palo Alto, will retire at the end of the school year, Superintendent Kevin Skelly announced Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting.

Garcia was hired in 1973 to teach Spanish at Jordan Middle School. In 1979 he started teaching Spanish at Palo Alto High and Wilbur Junior High, eventually working at Gunn High as an instructional supervisor, Paly as a teacher on special assignment, and Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School (formerly Wilbur) as an assistant principal. In 1997 he became the principal of Juana Briones Elementary and later served as principal at Jordan, El Carmelo Elementary, and beginning in 2008, at Palo Verde.

"That certainly is a huge loss for the district. He has many, many years of service," Skelly told the board.

In addition, Barron Park Principal Cathy Howard is taking a medical leave until the end of the current school year, Skelly said. Teacher Magdalena Fittoria will serve as interim principal.

The announcement follows the notice that six other administrators are retiring, including Gerald Larvey, assistant principal at J. L. Stanford Middle School (JLS); Carmen Giedt, principal at Terman Middle School; Carol Zepecki, the district's director of special education and student services; Linda Common, assistant superintendent of administrative services; Burton Cohen, the district's director of secondary education; and Barbara Lancon, summer school coordinator.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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