Around TownART, BUT NO CIGAR ... The average Joe may not be able to view some of Anthony Montanino's paintings — the ones owned by Madonna and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — but anyone can check out the works he currently has on exhibit at the Stanford Video studio at 691 Pampas Lane on campus. Canvas clearly isn't enough for this artist's vision. Eighteen of the pieces on display are cigar-box paintings, many depicting Bay Area landmarks. The marquee at San Francisco's Roxie Theatre fits on a cigar box, as does the ocean at Pacific Grove. As for Schwarzenegger, he's said to own a cigar-box painting of the California State Capitol. The exhibition runs through the end of February, with a reception set for Feb. 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. More information is posted at www.anthonymontanino.com.
FUNDRAISING SCAM ... Midtown Residents Association Vice-Chair Annette Ashton is passing along a warning from a neighbor, George, to residents about door-to-door scammers spotted in the neighborhood: A young man knocked on a resident's door saying he lives in Fremont and is raising money to pay for a trip to London with his San Francisco State class, she wrote in a recent e-mail newsletter. The organization is a known scam company that transports groups of "salespeople" by SUV or van to targeted areas for the purpose of selling books or magazines door to door. They often trade on the names of local charities as a hook to potential buyers. "Please alert your fellow neighbors before anyone else gives their hard-earned money away to these folks, who are not turning your donations over to any charity," George wrote.
GETTING AROUND TOWN? ... Who knows better than a person with physical challenges how challenging it can be to get on or off a bus? The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is looking for three county residents to serve on the Committee for Transit Accessibility, which advises the VTA on accessibility of bus, light-rail and paratransit services. Further information on just what's required, besides attending quarterly meetings of the 21-member committee in an ADA-accessible room in San Jose, can be found online at www.vta.org or by calling 408-321-5680 or e-mailing email@example.com.
THE NAME GAME ... The Palo Alto City Council on Monday night voted unanimously to name a 2,812-square-foot plaza next to the High Street garage after Anna Zschokke, one of Palo Alto's first residents and a founder of Palo Alto's public-school system — but not without considerable discussion. City Hall watchdog Herb Borock questioned council members about the legality of the proposal, which called for dedicating the plaza as a public "pocket park." City staff said that the council could vote on naming the plaza even without dedicating the plaza as a park. According to documents that accompanied the proposal, the Palo Alto Historical Association and City Historian Steve Staiger filed an application to name the plaza after Zschokke in October 2009. Zschokke was one of five persons of historical importance considered when Heritage Park was named. The name "Heritage" was chosen because the historical association could not decide on which of the five should be honored. One council member joked about the park's name not becoming a hyphenation of all five historical persons. Councilman Larry Klein said he wanted further discussion in the future about how city properties are named.