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Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 2, 2012

News Digest

Family surprises burglars on Fife Avenue

When a Palo Alto mother and her 5-year-old child returned home on Tuesday, Oct. 30, they heard voices in the house. The family fled, only to watch two men leave after stealing their valuables, a Palo Alto police spokesman said.

The burglary occurred at around 12:20 p.m. in the 1000 block of Fife Avenue between Boyce and Addison avenues. The mother had parked the car in the garage, leaving the garage door open. She heard male voices in the house, grabbed her child and fled to a neighbor's house, where they called police.

The two men exited through the open garage and ran southbound on Boyce. They took an iPad, jewelry and watches of as-yet-undetermined value, the police spokesman said. Police set up a perimeter but the men escaped.

The burglars are described as two Hispanic males about 18 years old. One is 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 160 pounds and has dark hair; the other is 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, 160 pounds and also has dark hair. Both burglars wore dark, hooded sweatshirts, blue jeans and carried dark-colored backpacks.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the police department at 650-329-2413.

Gas-pipe project could snarl Palo Alto traffic

A prominent stretch of Junipero Serra Boulevard may see major traffic-backups this month because of an ongoing effort by PG&E to replace a natural-gas transmission line in Palo Alto.

The project targets Line No. 109, which travels through Palo Alto, Stanford and Menlo Park. Work on the replacement project began in late September and is expected to last another month, according to the city's Utilities Department.

While the work will not close entire roads, the project will lead to one lane being closed, prompting two-way traffic to take turns flowing through one lane, according to the city.

"For Palo Altans this may result in significant back-up of traffic on the Foothill Expressway approaching Page Mill Road and heavier traffic on Page Mill Road heading toward El Camino as some commuters will choose not to continue across to Junipero Serra," the Utilities Department's announcement stated. "This will be true especially during the late afternoon/early evening commute hours."

The city is advising drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to use alternate routes when possible.

Additional information about the project is available on the department's website, www.cityofpaloalto.org/utilities.

Residential compostables program planned

Looking to reduce the amount of organic waste that residents end up throwing in their trash, City of Palo Alto Zero Waste will hold a series of public meetings to discuss options for a pilot program that collects compostable materials.

The kickoff meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 7, will review the options of either bi-monthly garbage collection in addition to the weekly organic-materials pick-up or eliminating garbage cans entirely.

Approximately 44 percent of residential "garbage" is organic material, according to Zero Waste officials. Most of this material can be diverted from landfills and composted to create a useful, marketable soil amendment.

Tentatively scheduled to start next spring, the pilot program would run for one year in a small portion of the city and would include approximately 500 to 600 residences. The location is still under consideration.

The meetings will take place Nov. 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Cubberley Community Center, 4000 Middlefield Road; and Saturday, Nov. 10, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road.

The city and GreenWaste, Palo Alto's trash-collection contractor and processor, will evaluate the feasibility, benefits, challenges and costs of weekly residential compostables collection along with a change in garbage service. The options were chosen based on Palo Alto City Council direction, study of collection in other communities, and what GreenWaste can accommodate, officials said.

Option 1 offers weekly collection of all organic waste that will rot or smell and yard trimmings in green carts. All other recyclables would be collected in the blue recycling carts. There would be less frequent collection of the remaining non-compostable garbage, such as foil beverage pouches, granola bar wrappers, metallic paper, ceramics, hoses and rubber bands in the black garbage carts.

Option 2 would have weekly collection of all organic and recyclable materials, but the black garbage can would be eliminated. The small amount of non-compostable garbage would be put in with the recyclables, all of which would be sorted out at a processing facility.

More information is available online at www.zerowastepaloalto.org or by calling 650-496-5910. An online survey will also be available for residents who cannot attend the meetings.

— Sue Dremann

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