WEBSITE REVAMP . . . In a recent survey of Palo Alto Utilities' business customers, 68 percent said they had visited the city's Web site. Trouble is, only 35 percent said it was "easy to use." The score reflects the experience of many who use the city's Web site, especially its poorly designed search engine. Fortunately, as former Sen. John Edwards once said, help is on the way. The City Council voted unanimously last week to spend more than $200,000 to revamp the site over the next year.
EAST PALO ALTO NEWS..."Happy New Year!" exclaimed the banner headline from the inaugural edition of East Palo Alto Today, which was unveiled last week. Inside, the paper's second page mirrored its front page, this time in Spanish. "!Feliz Ano Nuevo!" it exclaimed. The newspaper, the brainchild of editor Henrietta J. Burroughs, is reportedly the city's first in more than 20 years. The first edition also included a center spread of photos of Officer Richard May's funeral procession and stories on topics including the city's plans to partner with a nonprofit to provide wireless Internet technology, Katrina victims in East Palo Alto and a Q&A with Police Chief Ron Davis.
MEETING . . . Got an opinion about Palo Alto's libraries? Well, Palo Altans for Government Effectiveness, known as PAGE, will be hosting two town-hall meetings on the libraries in the coming months. The first will be on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Garden Court Hotel (520 Cowper St.) from 7 to 9 p.m. Input gathered at the meeting will later be provided to the Library Advisory Commission , which is planning the future of the city's five libraries. The commission is planning to present a plan to the City Council in the spring. To RSVP for the meeting, call (650) 856-4305 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Complimentary valet parking and light refreshments will be provided, according to a PAGE press release. The second town-hall meeting will be held later in the year, tentatively in March, after the library commission reveals results from a survey regarding the libraries next week.
LETTER FOR A TROOP? . . . Got a letter for a soldier? From Jan. 29 to Feb. 14, the UPS Store in Palo Alto's Midtown Neighborhood will provide free first-class postage for 1-once valentines and letters to U.S. military personnel overseas or to veterans in VA hospitals. The shop has even named the promotion, calling it Operation: S.W.A.K. (Sealed With a Kiss).
POLLING FOR PRIORITIES . . . What's more important to Midtown residents: addressing traffic problems or having more block parties? That is one of the questions the Midtown Residents Association is pondering. To ferret out the top concerns of neighbors - and therefore the priorities of the association this year - the residents' group has posted a short online survey. Just nine questions long, the poll also asks residents whether there should be bathrooms at Seale Park and whether the undeveloped acreage of Greer Park should be turned into tennis courts, a park/picnic area, both or neither. Finally, taking a cue from Goldilocks, the association leaders want to know if the size of the neighborhood - one of the largest in the city - is too big, too small or just right. Results of the survey will help the group prepare for its general meeting on Feb. 21 at Friends Meeting Hall, 957 Colorado Ave. To take the survey, visit http://perennialsurvey.com/s.cgi?12354.
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