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February 23, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Around Town Around Town (February 23, 2005)

NOT TAKING IT ANY MORE? . . . By purchasing the Palo Alto Daily News and its four sister newspapers last week, Knight Ridder essentially bought out all of the properties of Priceless LLC , Daily News publisher Dave Price 's company. But there's still an apparently unanswered question about Price's other business: Did the large corporation also purchase the properties of Midgets Against Drunk Driving ? A Weekly reporter uncovered the conspicuously named company while searching for the owner of the Daily News' various Web sites on the Web. "Midgets Against Drunk Driving" is apparently the owner of mountainviewdailynews.com , the site for an as-of-yet non-existent sister newspaper. MADD also appears to be a spoof of Mothers Against Drunk Driving . The site's owner? Dave Price of Palo Alto, naturally.

SMELLS LIKE A SKUNK . . . At last week's Palo Alto City Council meeting, before council members voted to shelve the Environmental Services Center project on the Baylands for good, resident David Bubenik joined a stream of locals advocating to preserve the pristine nature of Byxbee Park . Using an overhead projector to show a photo simulation he created of the 19-acre garbage and recycling facility resting at the end of Embarcadero Road, Bubenik humorously labeled the building "a skunk that crashes our party." Upon further inspection, his mock-up even featured a skunk-like stripe running along the middle of the building -- which Bubenik noted was coincidentally part of the design. Public Works Director Glenn Roberts , who was sitting at the staff table in the center of the room, however, disagreed with Bubenik's rendering. Every time Bubenik stated that this photo simulation was accurate, Roberts could be seen shaking his head and mouthing, "No. No. No."

GOING DOWN? . . . Barring a tragedy or a dramatic baby delivery, elevators rarely make big news. Nonetheless, the City of Palo Alto decided to put out a press release on Feb. 9 about its project to upgrade the civic plaza elevators in front of City Hall. "The plaza elevator will be out of service from February 15 through April 8, 2005," the release noted. "Any member of the public who uses this elevator for access to the parking garage should take note of the project dates. During this period, the Civic Center parking garage is inaccessible outside City Hall business hours." Amazingly, this newsy tidbit never made the cover of any of the four or five local newspapers that monitor Palo Alto. But then again, here it is in Around Town .

PRIVACY PLEASE . . . Speaking of taking any official press release and writing something about it, Stanford University officers were scheduled to "momentarily" stop anyone entering the university property on Saturday to hand them an "informational flier that states they are entering the private property of the university," according to a university press release. "The notification occurs about once every five years."

CLEANUP SHIFT . . . The ongoing efforts to remove hazardous chemicals from groundwater in the Stanford Research Park could be modified in March. That's when the state's Department of Toxics Substances Control could approve the use of potassium permanganate, a chemical used in wastewater treatment that destroys toxic chemicals, as opposed to pumping and treating. The treatment area is between Teledyne MEC and Hewlett-Packard Co. Building 15 at 3165 Porter Drive. Groundwater at the site was found to include the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser formerly used by high-tech companies and a suspected carcinogen. Cleanup at the site began in late 1993 and hasn't gotten any easier for lay people to understand in 11 years.

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