Around Town: support for new playground; Oscar-worthy material


In this week's Around Town column, find out which Palo Alto school is adding a Magical Bridge Playground and a Stanford alumna's role in an Oscar-nominated film.

SUPPORT FOR NEW PLAYGROUND ... Palo Alto is set to add another all-inclusive Magical Bridge Playground at Addison Elementary School through a $300,000 grant approved by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. The county funds are part of an $8 million fund established last year to build more of the play structures throughout the county. The groundbreaking playgrounds for children and parents with physical or cognitive disabilities started three years ago in Palo Alto at Mitchell Park. While the Addison project has a "reduced" scope compared to the five other projects, one in each county district, it will serve as a model for other school districts to create all-inclusive playgrounds. "These projects are distributed throughout the county, and they really 'move the needle' in setting a new standard for playgrounds," Board President Joe Simitian said in a press release. The Addison site was ideal since the campus is already planning major renovations being funded by a private, anonymous donor, except for the playground. "We've made so many great gains in education, one area that's stagnant is playgrounds. It's such an important and often overlooked part of education," Principal Amanda Boyce said in a press release. "My older child has had growth motor challenges, so it took longer to do things like climb the monkey bars," she said. Staff have recommended using district funds to match the grant.

OSCAR-WORTHY MATERIAL ... Congratulations are in order for Kristen Nutile, a Stanford University alumna who edited "Heroin(e)," a 39-minute film on Netflix following three women facing the opioid epidemic in Huntington, West Virginia, that was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary short subject. Nutile, who graduated from The Farm with master's degrees in documentary film and video, is now based in New York City and teaches at the New York Film Academy. The picture was directed by Elaine McMillon Sheldon and created in collaboration with The Center for Investigative Reporting. "When I was approached by Elaine, I was very moved by this particular problem and that is why I took on the project," Nutile said in an academy blog post in September when the film debuted. "I loved how she was following three women trying to make a difference. I love how it was female-centric." Nutile previously worked on "The Bullish Farmer," "Deep Run," and "Unfinished Spaces," among other films and documentaries. She also founded Soft Spoken Films in 2001. The 90th Academy Awards is scheduled for March 4 at 5 p.m.


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