Around TownTURN IT DOWN! ... The Federal Communications Commission gave U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo a birthday present Dec. 13 when it issued rules that broadcasters must follow to comply with Eshoo's CALM Act. The act, whose acronym stands for Commercial Advertising Loudness Mitigation, targets annoyingly loud television commercials. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, who was celebrating her 69th birthday that day, said it was gratifying to see the approval take place on her special day and lauded the CALM Act for addressing one of the most common (and most ignored) consumer complaints. The act, which cleared the Congress and was signed into law a year ago, mandates that commercial volumes not exceed the highest decibel level of regular programming. Broadcasters have one year to comply. "More than anything, it's an acknowledgement that consumers across the country have been clamoring for a long, long time," Eshoo told the Weekly. "While the country has huge challenges before it and the Congress is being held in such a low esteem, there is this one small bright spot."
OPEN DOORS ... Downtown Palo Alto's bookworms have a reason to rejoice these days. The newly refurbished Downtown Library is about to add an extra day of operations. The city announced this week that starting Jan. 5, the library would be open on Fridays, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (the same hours as Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; Thursday hours will be noon to 6 p.m.). Library Director Monique le Conge said in a statement that library officials have been getting requests from patrons to extend hours ever since the downtown library reopened last summer, equipped with better lighting, a new community room, better furniture and other amenities. "It's obvious that our customers are enjoying the changes," le Conge said. "I'm thrilled that we're able to meet the demand." The city's library-renovation effort is also scheduled to receive a major boost on Monday night, when the Palo Alto Library Foundation is set to present a $1.9 million check to the city for furniture and equipment at the new Mitchell Park library, currently under construction.
CALENDAR PUP ... Gizmo, a 4-year-old toy Yorkshire terrier from Palo Alto, appears to be achieving his 15 minutes of fame — in Workman Publishing's 365 Puppies-A-Year 2012 calendar. Loura Kobza, Gizmo's owner, says her husband loves to take pictures of Gizmo running around the backyard. "I always bought the puppy calendars and knew that you could submit photos, so we submitted one of my husband's photographs. Three years later, we received a package with the calendar and a letter saying Gizmo had been chosen!" Kobza says Gizmo, who has caramel whiskers and a jet-black body, has grown into one of the "most fabulous dogs." "When we bought him he was 1 pound, 4 ounces. Now he weighs 6 pounds and thinks he is bigger and stronger than our two beagles, Roxy and O.D.," Kobza says. Workman Publishing assembles a year's worth of the "most-talented, best-looking and most interesting canine and feline companions" submitted to them from around the globe, according to its press announcement. Gizmo shares his spotlight, Nov. 5 and 6, with pictures of 23 other terriers in the November section of the calendar.
A NATURE APP-ORTUNITY ... Eager to walk the Baylands? There's an app for that. A new free app for a self-guided walking tour of the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve has been created by the nonprofit Environmental Volunteers. The Baylands Walking Tour app directs users to eight different locations throughout the preserve, offering short audio narrations about a range of topics, including the importance of bay marshes, the preserve's flora and fauna, and the history of the preserve and the San Francisco Bay. It also features more than 100 pictures from local photographers. Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa officially launched the app Wednesday with a group of students guiding him.