In the latest Around Town column, news about the city of Palo Alto's holiday decoration contest, the effort to restore Stanford Memorial Church's stained glass windows and an award for Mollie Stone's Markets in recognition of its community service.
DECK THE HALLS ... While many people send warm wishes to one another during the holidays, it's also a time for some friendly competition, as seen through shows like "The Great Christmas Light Fight." The city of Palo Alto is hosting a holiday decoration contest that'll surely get folks into the spirit of the season.
Community members are invited to deck out the outside of their home or business, front door and/or window with holiday decorations, such as the life-sized inflatable of Frosty the Snowman that's been stored in the garage all year long or with ornaments and lights radiating from the front yard tree. Anyone interested in entering must apply by the end of the day on Dec. 15. Judges will vet the entries Dec. 16-20 in three categories: home, business and people's choice.
Along with bragging rights and photos of their decor shared on the city's social media accounts, the winner in each category will be awarded a $50 gift card to a Palo Alto restaurant of their choice. The results will be announced on Dec. 23. For more information and to register, visit cityofpaloalto.org.
PIECE BY PIECE ... Stanford Memorial Church is arguably one of the most mesmerizing places on the university's campus, from the stone carvings to the mosaics that all captivate both locals and visitors from around the world. People have also admired the church's stained glass windows, which were restored last week.
The "Lilies of the Field" window, located at the front of the church, had been damaged by multiple wine bottles that were thrown at the piece, breaking three layers of glass, engineer Mindy Dinh said in a Stanford News Service article.
The vandalism over the summer was found during a routine survey by the university's Land, Buildings and Real Estate Maps and Records team. The windows had been reinstalled in 1912 following damage from the 1906 earthquake.
Church conservator Lesley Bone supervised the restoration project, which involved a team taking all the glass to Helios Art Glass, a studio in Berkeley, and examining each piece with help from stained glass expert Connie Levathes.
"It's quite a complex color theory exercise that took place in making these windows," Bone said in the article. "You're sort of using light as the vehicle for mixing colors." The project also led Levathes to travel to Los Angeles and find the right pieces. The reinstallation work took place on Nov. 16 and was timed around the Mass schedule.
AT YOUR SERVICE ... There can be something special about visiting a neighborhood grocery store, whether it's finding your favorite baked good or striking up a conversation with the cashier as you bag your items.
It's even more special knowing that the grocery store has invested in the community. That's the case with Mollie Stone's Markets, which was recognized earlier this month with the Outstanding Corporate Grantmaker Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Golden Gate Chapter.
Founded in 1986, the family-owned chain runs nine locations in the Bay Area, including one in Palo Alto's California Avenue business district, and has about 700 employees. "Our markets have been fortunate to grow within amazing communities and amongst wonderful neighbors," the company said in a press release.
The company has given back to a variety of places, including hospitals, food banks, schools, nonprofits and first response agencies in the form of finances, food, personal protective equipment, volunteer time and customer match programs, according to the release.
"There is no greater need during one's lifetime than to support our community," owner and CEO Mike Stone said. "If I can make a difference in one persons' life, what greater gift is there?"
The award was announced on Nov. 18, which was National Philanthropy Day. The award comes amid AFP Golden Gate's 50th anniversary. The association marked the milestone by honoring organizations and businesses in the region that have paid it forward to their communities.