ON THE AWARDS CIRCUIT … Molly Tuttle, a Grammy Award-winning Palo Alto native, singer and songwriter, has been nominated for the second year in a row in the Grammy category of Best Bluegrass Album. Tuttle is the daughter of local bluegrass legend Jack Tuttle, a Palo Alto music educator with whom she was also once in a band.
She won last year in the same category and was nominated for Best New Artist. The album she was nominated for this year, titled “City of Gold,” was her fourth studio album. Interested in seeing the local star perform live? Tuttle and her band Golden Highway will be stopping by Menlo Park's Guild Theater for several shows Dec. 14 through Dec. 17 — though only the Dec. 14 one is not yet sold out. Her U.S. and United Kingdom tour will begin in Maine on Nov. 16 and wrap up just before the Grammys on Feb. 4.
EAT SLEEP BOXING … Dante Kirkman has been boxing since he was 10 years old and was taught to “eat sleep boxing” throughout his athletic career. Now, the 22-year-old Stanford University senior and Palo Alto native might be on his way to the Olympics for the sport. Kirkman was recently selected for the 2024 Olympic trials for boxing, which are set to take place Dec. 2 through Dec. 9 in Lafayette, Louisiana. “It’s a great honor to be part of this select group — I’m one of just a dozen fighters in my weight class nationwide who were invited to compete at the trials,” he told the Weekly in an email.
Kirkman’s boxing coach, professional boxer Eddie Croft, said he hasn’t seen anyone of Kirkman's age with the same level of talent. “Besides being an incredible athlete, Dante's tremendous versatility in his boxing skills and his deep knowledge of strategy and technique set him apart. He's the smartest amateur today in boxing, hands down,” he said in a press release. But aside from the skill Kirkman’s built up and training that has gotten him far in his boxing career, Kirkman said he’s also drawn to the sport for the power he has seen it to have in empowering and uplifting marginalized communities.
“When African-American Joe Louis defeated German Max Schmeling in 1938, it was an undeniable rebuke to Nazi claims of superiority,” he said. He said his father introduced him to the sport when he was in diapers and likely saved him from a “common path to death or prison” when he was growing. “I stuck with it because I was inspired by the challenge of getting in the ring to take on and outclass my opponents,” he said.
CARRY THE WEIGHT … Flanked by a small group of military veterans and firefighters, Palo Alto firefighter John Preston kicked off on Veterans Day an arduous and emotional 700-mile walk to raise awareness about mental health and high suicide rates among veterans and first responders. He was joined by a few supporters, including his wife, Cory, and his friend Izzak, and picked up others along the way as he walked through Paris Island and Buford in South Carolina on the first day of the trek, which will conclude in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his family is from.
He was carrying a 50-pound weight, a reminder of the burdens that military veterans often carry in silence. The group shared the pack, which serves a reminder that it's OK to ask for help. "We're going to put our bodies through hell to show what hell looks like," Preston said in an Instagram post. Preston, a U.S. Marine veteran, became committed to the cause after his older brother, a fellow Marine veteran, died by suicide in 2016, he told KTVU in an interview.
The epic hikes have become a tradition for Preston. His prior journeys included a 625-mile walk from Palo Alto to San Diego in 2020 and a 24-hour journey from Livermore to Alameda in 2021 to honor two Alameda firefighters who died by suicide. Preston chronicles his treks with regular social media posts that detail the challenges that the group is facing, like bad weather and blisters, but also spread his hopeful message.
On day 4, as they walked through Allendale, South Carolina, he said: "Find someone you haven't spoken to in a long time. Tell them you love them." The following day, they celebrated reaching the 100-mile mark. Preston showed no signs of slowing down. "We're going to go out there and do everything we can to reach as many people as we possibly can," he said. "And we can all do this together."