HISTORIC 'PARADE OF CHAMPIONS' ... Saturday will be an historic day for Palo Alto when it honors Palo Alto High School's football and volleyball teams with a late-afternoon parade through the downtown area. The event begins at Webster Street and University Avenue at 4:30 p.m. and will conclude at King Plaza in front of City Hall. It is the first time in memory that any city high school team has been so honored, much less two teams. Both teams last month captured the school's first state championships in each sport. The Paly girls' volleyball team, coached by Dave Winn, got the ball rolling Dec. 4 by winning the CIF Division I state title with a five-set victory over Long Beach at San Jose State, finishing the season with a 41-1 record. The Vikings' football team, coached by Earl Hansen, followed that Dec. 17 by upsetting heavily favored Centennial-Corona, 15-13, to win the CIF Division I title in Carson, to finish the season 14-0. Both teams established school records for single-season victories, giving Paly four state championships overall. The Palo Alto boys' basketball teams also won state titles in 1993 and 2006. The parade is sponsored by the city.
HEY COACH! ... Paly's state title in football also helped earn varsity football coach Earl Hansen the ESPN RISE Cal-Hi Sports State Coach of the Year honor for the 2010 season. The honor, like the Saturday parade to acknowledge the two state-championship Paly teams, is historic for Palo Alto: Hansen is only one of six football coaches from the Central Coast Section to win the honor since 1970.
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES ... During his 18-year career in Palo Alto, Glenn Roberts had helped to maintain roughly 35,000 trees. These days, however, many residents remember the recently retired Public Works director for the 67 trees he didn't save. Roberts took much of the heat for the city's hasty removal of holly oaks on California Avenue in September 2009 — an action that violated city procedures, infuriated residents and forced Roberts to issue multiple public apologies. His career ended on a sour note in October, when the city reached a settlement with Roberts to avoid litigation. Roberts had agreed to retire and to not seek another job in the city in exchange for $130,655 and a special resolution "consistent with proclamations for other employees who have retired voluntarily from City service in good standing." The City Council is scheduled to discuss this proclamation Monday night. A draft of the proclamation, released Wednesday, doesn't mention California Avenue or the large hole in the city's refuse fund that suddenly materialized a year ago, but focuses on the positives — namely, Roberts' years of budget oversight, his efforts to improve the city's storm preparedness, prevent water pollution and encourage waste reduction.
BREAD GETS A BREAK ... Breads and cakes have gotten a last-minute reprieve. At least at Esther's German Bakery, which had been scheduled to close Dec. 31 in the San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View. The bakery is still open for business. The shopping center is remodeling, and the bakery location was to be one of the first places for work to begin. "Things change quickly around here," bakery owner Esther Nio said. "I will now be open for at least another month. And they also offered me another location in the center. Next to Daiso," she said. Nio is not sure what she will do yet. "I'm crunching the numbers," she said.
BOTTOMS UP! ... As any new parent knows, babies go through diapers faster than Dario Franchetti finishes the Indy 500. But an estimated one in three U.S. families finds buying diapers a financial hardship, if a study commissioned by Huggies is to be believed. That factoid prompted Palo Alto health and tech company HealthTap to sponsor a diaper drive, which has successfully brought in more than 14,000 (new) diapers. The drive was organized by TapMommies, the tech company's online community, with the help of nonprofit Help a Mother Out, and the diapers were handed off to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Friday (Jan. 7).