Seeking to accommodate a ballooning student population, Palo Alto officials swiftly and enthusiastically approved on Monday night, April 9, the establishment of a new day care center near the Baylands.
The council voted 8-0, with Vice Mayor Greg Scharff absent, to approve the conversion of a vacant building on East Bayshore Road into the city's newest day care facility, one that would accommodate 117 children. It would be operated by Mustard Seed, a day care center that has been offering bilingual education in English and Chinese to young students for the past 20 years. The center is currently based at Emerson School on West Bayshore Road, less than a mile away from the new site.
The council voted to support the new location for a day care center after hearing from about a dozen parents and students, all of whom praised Mustard Seed and stressed the need for more space. The demand is being driven by both a growing number of students in Palo Alto and the city's rising Asian population.
According to the city's draft Housing Element, the number of preschool children (aged 5 and under) in Palo Alto has jumped by 29 percent between 2000 and 2008. The number of school-age children (ages 5 to 17) went up by 17 percent during the same period.
The council's vote followed prior endorsements from the Architectural Review Board and the Planning and Transportation Commission, both of which approved the project with no dissent. City staff and traffic consultants had concluded that the project would not bring with it significant traffic impacts.
The council, in approving the project, also directed staff to address potential traffic backups by evaluating conditions and, if necessary, pursuing solutions such as staggered pickup schedules.
Police to hold crime-prevention, emergency prep events
Pledging to increase community involvement in crime prevention and disaster preparedness, two educational events will be hosted by the City of Palo Alto Office of Emergency Services and the Palo Alto Police Department in the coming weeks.
The first event, "Become a Block Preparedness Coordinator," occurs on Saturday, April 14, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Cubberley Community Center, Room I-A, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.
In a major disaster, block preparedness coordinators — commonly called "BPCs" — serve as the point of contact for their neighborhood and the city's Emergency Operations Center.
On a day-to-day basis, they also assist with preparing residents for disasters and with crime-prevention techniques, similar to the "Neighborhood Watch" programs of the past, according to Office of Emergency Services Director Ken Dueker.
The second event, "Crime Watch and Personal Preparedness," will take place on Tuesday, May 1, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Community Room of the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. Experts from the Office of Emergency Services and community leaders will teach residents about preparing family and home for all hazards, ranging from crime to earthquakes.
Both events are free and open to the public and are part of the Palo Alto Police Department's "Lock It or Lose It!" public-education campaign. The program focuses on how to best prevent burglaries, how to recognize suspicious behavior and how best to report suspicious behavior to police.
More information is available at www.paneighborhoods.org.
Crime information, alerts and public-meeting information are available from the department on Twitter (@PaloAltoPolice), Facebook, Nixle and rBlock.
Leaders tackle key issues at Town Hall meeting
Education, jobs, the environment, human services — all will be discussed as city leaders will come together for a Palo Alto Town Hall meeting with Assemblyman Rich Gordon on Thursday, April 19.
Each panelist will have 10 minutes to explain an issue of concern and pose questions to Gordon on how these state-wide issues impact the Palo Alto community. After the panelists make their presentations, the audience will have 25 minutes to either ask questions or offer their own opinions — all on state-related topics.
Serving on the panel are Yiaway Yeh, Palo Alto mayor; Kevin Skelly, Palo Alto Unified School District superintendent; Cynthia D'Agosta, Committee for Green Foothills executive director; Paul Wright, Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce CEO; and Leif Erickson, Youth Community Service executive director.
The panel will be moderated by Jocelyn Dong, Palo Alto Weekly editor.
The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the SDC Room of the Palo Alto Unified School District, 25 Churchill Ave., Palo Alto.
For information, call 650-691-2121.