Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 16, 2010

News Digest

Memorial services set for Stanford climber

Memorial services will be held Sunday, July 18, for Christina "Chris" Chan, the Stanford University graduate student and climbing enthusiast who fell to her death July 9 while "free soloing" in Yosemite National Park.

Services will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at Stanford Memorial Church, according to her Facebook memorial page. Chan, 31, fell 400 feet as she was descending from the north face of Eichorn Peak (also referred to as Eichorn Pinnacle) Friday afternoon.

Chan, a fourth-year graduate student in political science, was 2008 co-president of the Stanford Alpine Club, through which Chan shared her passion for climbing with others, according to the club's website.

Her climbing partner, Jim Castelaz, also of Stanford, saw her falling and quickly descended, hoping against all odds that she was still alive, according to a posting he made on the Facebook page.

"I was in shock and horrified and helpless," he wrote.

Free soloing is climbing without a rope or safety protection and is usually practiced only by the most skilled of climbers.

Chan often spent weekends teaching beginning climbing, anchors, lead climbing and self-rescue. Her climbing accomplishments included soloing the Zodiac route of El Capitan in Yosemite and soloing the Prow and the Skull Queen routes of Washington Column in Yosemite.

Chan's academic interests included environmental policy and politics in China. As an undergraduate at Harvard University she studied biochemical sciences. She later received a master's degree from Stanford in civil and environmental engineering. She recently was working toward a doctorate in political science, according to her Stanford website.

Chan is survived by her parents, Cecil and Susie Chan, and her brother, Peter Chan.

An expanded version of this article is available at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. The story was initially posted on July 12. Channing House launches new health center

After more than five years of planning, Channing House finally broke ground on its new health center Thursday (July 15).

The retirement community in downtown Palo Alto began the lengthy process of gaining approval from the city and state to renovate its facility by building a new health center back in 2005.

Construction is set to begin by the end of the month.

The current center, on the second floor of the 11-story building, was completed in 1964 and lacks space and privacy for patients, according to the organization. Health center patients who require assisted-living or skilled-nursing care live in two- and three-bed rooms.

The project is planned in two phases. The first will be the construction of the two-story, approximately 37,000-square-foot health center with a 17,000-square-foot underground. The entire first phase is expected to take 19 months to complete, according to Executive Director Carl Braginsky.

The second phase will involve the remodeling of the second floor of the existing building where the current health care center is located. Construction on this part of the building won't start until all health center residents have been relocated to the new facilities and is anticipated to take roughly seven months, Braginsky said.

The renovation will add 14 apartments to the retirement home's 188 existing ones. There will be 12 two-bedroom and two one-bedroom apartments.

The construction will help facilitate Channing House's Aging-at-Home program, which provides services to residents so they are able to maintain independence and live in their apartments longer. Programs will include "prescribing and monitoring diet and exercise, assistance with medications and greater opportunities for mental, emotional and social stimulation that help to minimize loneliness and depression," according to the organization.

Wireless coverage boosted in Palo Alto schools

Wireless coverage in Palo Alto's public school classrooms will increase "dramatically" thanks to a recent contribution of equipment by Google, Inc., the Palo Alto Unified School District said.

Google has contributed 350 wireless-access points and other networking hardware to the Palo Alto Unified School District, the district announced.

The access points — spread throughout the district's 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools and single preschool campus — will help the district "deliver excellent educational technology to our students," Superintendent Kevin Skelly said.

The Google contribution will more than double the number of wireless-access points on the district's network, allowing students to connect to the Internet.

— Chris Kenrick

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