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Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 14, 2011

News Digest

'King's Dream' to be celebrated Sunday, Monday

The life and message of civil-rights visionary Martin Luther King, Jr., will be celebrated Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Annual Community and Interfaith Celebration, followed by a community day of service on Monday, Jan. 17 sponsored by the City of Palo Alto, the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center and other nonprofit organizations.

The Sunday event will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto. The community is invited to sing along with the Interfaith Choir and a rehearsal will be held from 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Former City Councilwoman LaDoris Cordell will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which will also feature a discussion led by journalist Belva Davis; performances by Eastside College Preparatory High School's choir and the Volunteer Community Interfaith Choir; poetry recitation by Stanford University student Victoria S. Asbury; and youth awards to Costano Elementary School students.

On Monday, the city and the group Youth Community Service will accept donations of food and coats at Lytton Plaza on University Avenue Monday from noon to 3 p.m. The Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto plans to be at the plaza signing up volunteers for future service projects.

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center will offer more than 25 volunteer opportunities Monday as part of its "Mitzvah Day." Projects range from habitat restoration, making cat toys and dog biscuits for homeless pets, visiting seniors, serving meals at a shelter and working on crafts for hospitalized children to helping with the creation of a library in Botswana.

Sign ups and information about the volunteer projects are available at www.paloaltojcc.org.

"This is going to be an exciting day for Palo Alto and the broader community. We're encouraging everyone to get out there and do a service project during the holiday weekend," Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa said in a press release about Monday's day of service.

"There's something for everyone, so I hope to see a great mix of individuals, families, students, teachers, seniors, nonprofits, service organizations, faith-based groups, and members of the business community join me in volunteering on this day of service."

Jan. 17, 2011, marks the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr., federal holiday.

More information about the Palo Alto MLK Day of Service is available at www.CityofPaloAlto.org.

Two armed robberies hit Palo Alto

An armed robber stole a Palo Alto woman's purse shortly after midnight Saturday, Jan. 8, just after she had parked her car in her driveway in the 2300 block of St. Francis Drive, near Oregon Expressway, police reported.

Just two days later, a pizza deliverer was robbed at gunpoint on Ben Lomond Drive in the Greenmeadow neighborhood of south Palo Alto Monday night, Palo Alto police said.

No one was injured in either instance, police reported.

In each incident, the gunman was described as a black male in his 20s, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

"The Palo Alto Police Department would like to remind community members to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially during the evening hours. Please report any suspicious activity to the Police Department as soon as possible," police said in a press release.

Anyone with information can call the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or anonymous voice mails and text messages can be sent to 650-383-8984.

Budget cuts could mean big drop at Foothill-DeAnza

The Foothill-De Anza Community College District could be forced to serve 9 percent fewer students under the state budget proposed Monday (Jan. 10) by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Chancellor Linda Thor said it is too early to draw firm conclusions but that the governor's proposed cuts to community colleges was estimated to translate to a $10.9 million hit to her district's $182 million operating budget, atop $20 million in cuts sustained over the past two years.

Under formulas used by the Community College League of California, the proposal translates to an enrollment loss of 4,000 of the district's current 45,000 students. That would mean fewer course sections offered, Thor said.

The proposed cuts to Foothill-De Anza come at a time when Thor anticipates growing demand stemming from Brown's proposed $500 million cuts each to the University of California and the California State University systems.

The preliminary figures bandied about Monday also depend upon voter approval this spring of tax extensions sought by Brown.

"If those are not approved, there will be additional cuts of $500 million to the community colleges, so it's pretty devastating," Thor said.

— Chris Kenrick

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