BLACKED OUT ... When Wikipedia and Reddit temporarily shut down Wednesday to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo was quick to rally to their cause. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, has emerged in recent months as one of the leading opponents of the act, which seeks to curb online piracy but which opponents argue amounts to censorship and an attack on small companies that would need to hire teams of lawyers to defend themselves if the act were to pass. Eshoo also used her own website to signal her displeasure with SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act), SOPA's counterpart in the Senate. Visitors to her official site saw a black screen featuring the words, "STOP SOPA/PIPA." She also issued a statement: "Members of Congress need to hear about the consequences of SOPA, and when they do, they'll learn of the serious consequences to the Internet the bill poses. It's time to pull up the emergency brake on this legislation."
THOUSANDS OF DONUTS ... As high school students across Palo Alto sweated out first-semester finals this week, student government came up with goodies to try to lighten the load. At Gunn, student leaders provided 2,000 donuts Tuesday "to relieve the stress of finals," student Gurpal Virdi reported to the Board of Education. At Paly, students were to celebrate the end of finals Thursday afternoon with cookies and hot chocolate in the quad. "It's kind of a new thing, and the big question is whether people will bother to go," student Alex Carter said. "I predict a lot of people will just be happy to go home."
FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE ... Palo Alto's firefighters shifted their focus from battling blazes and providing medical service to another urgent cause: breast cancer. The firefighters on Jan. 13 held a formal ceremony in front of City Hall to present a $4,000 check to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that raises money to combat breast cancer. The money was raised as part of the Fire Department's "Passionately Pink for the Cure" campaign. "We are honored to present this check to the Susan G. Komen foundation," Palo Alto Firefighter Jesus Zuniga said in a statement. "While all firefighters have made a commitment to dedicate their lives to help people in their most trying times, the Palo Alto Fire Fighters have consistently went above and beyond, helping raise over $17,000 this past year for various causes in the community."