Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 19, 2012

News Digest

Credit union robbed on El Camino Real in Palo Alto

Palo Alto police are searching for a man who allegedly vaulted over a counter at Star One Credit Union, removed cash from teller drawers and made off with an undisclosed amount of money Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The robbery occurred at about 11 a.m. at 3903 El Camino Real. Officers received calls from witnesses, including a customer who was at the credit union and who fled when he realized that a robbery was in progress. By the time the officers arrived, the robber had run away eastbound on Ventura Avenue.

According to police, officers were unable to locate the suspect despite "an extensive check of the area." No one was injured during the robbery.

Police said one witness reported possibly seeing the suspect holding a handgun. No one else saw a weapon.

Witnesses described the robber as a black male, about 25 to 30 years old, between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches and sbout 175 to 180 pounds. He reportedly had close-cropped hair and was wearing a pair of reflective Oakley-style sunglasses, a short-sleeved dark polo shirt, baggy blue jeans and blue-and-white tennis shoes.

Police had also captured a surveillance photo of the alleged robber.

Anyone who recognizes the man or has information about the incident is asked to call the police at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can also be sent to paloalto@tipnow.org or through text messages or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

Worker plunges 25 feet into elevator shaft

A construction worker in the Stanford Research Park was injured Wednesday morning, Oct. 17, after falling 25 feet down an elevator shaft, the Palo Alto Fire Department said.

The 46-year-old man had plunged through an opening in the second-story floor at 3401 Hillview Ave., the site of the company VMware.

Paramedics treated the man for his injuries, prepared him to be removed from the shaft and then transported him to Stanford Hospital, Battalion Chief Doug Conn said.

The injured worker is an employee of Swinerton Builders, a construction company working on the site, said Patricia Ortiz, spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

On Thursday a spokesperson for Swinerton said the employee is stable and in intensive care. His doctors are continuing to evaluate his progress, and his family is with him.

The investigation is ongoing.

Palo Alto student stays home pending court ruling

An 11-year-old Palo Alto boy is home from school pending an Oct. 25 court hearing on whether his genetic condition poses a risk to other students at Jordan Middle School who have cystic fibrosis.

The dispute appears to reflect conflicting judgments about the risk of "cross-infection" among students who have cystic fibrosis or are at genetic risk for the disease.

Saying they had consulted with medical experts and were acting on concerns about student safety, school officials last week — eight weeks into the school year — asked the family of Colman Chadam to transfer the boy to Terman Middle School.

They believe his condition creates a risk of dangerous "cross-infection" of other Jordan students who have cystic fibrosis.

Insisting that their son does not have cystic fibrosis, just a genetic condition that's being monitored, Colman's parents went to court Oct. 12 to try to stop the transfer.

Colman's mother, Jennifer Chadam, told the San Francisco Chronicle Colman never has had a clinical diagnosis of cystic fibrosis. She had disclosed the genetic condition on a school health form required at the start of the school year.

"They (the school district) made the decision without seeing one medical record on my son," Chadam told the Chronicle.

She told NBC News' Today Show that her son has attended other schools with cystic-fibrosis children, and "It's never been an issue — never."

"Why take a child who is new to the district, who's just making friends, who's just building a support network ... who's been well his whole life — why stigmatize him?" his father, Jaimy Chadam, said on Today.

"I was sad, but at the same time I was mad because I understood I hadn't done anything wrong," Colman said on the show. "It feels like I'm being bullied, in a way that's not right."

— Palo Alto Weekly staff

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