News Digest | February 26, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 26, 2010

News Digest

Repairs, delays ahead for San Antonio overpass

Palo Alto and Mountain View are preparing to fix up the San Antonio Road overpass — a project that officials say will require lane closures and cause traffic delays.

The project, which is funded largely through a federal grant, includes repairs to railings, curbs and sidewalks at the San Antonio Road crossing at Alma Street and Central Expressway. About two-thirds of the overpass is located in Mountain View, while one-third is in Palo Alto.

Karen Begard, a project manager in the Palo Alto Public Works Department, said the overpass has seen substantial wear and tear over the years. Concrete has gotten chipped, leaving steel reinforcement bars exposed. In 2005, Caltrans included the overpass on its list of "structurally deficient" bridges.

Jack Muench, the project manager from the Mountain View Department of Public Works, said he expects the work to conclude in April. Some of the lanes on San Antonio would be temporarily closed, as would the two ramps leading from San Antonio to Alma; the lane and ramp closures would only occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., he said.

The San Antonio Road overpass was built in 1961 and seismically retrofitted in 1994.

Mountain View is overseeing the $861,000 project and contributing $174,000 for the repairs. Palo Alto is chipping in $90,000. The cities also received $597,000 for the repairs from the Federal Highway Bridge Program grant.

Palo Alto lawyer, fiancee, die in plane crash

A prominent Palo Alto patent lawyer and his fiancée were killed last Friday after the private plane he was piloting hit a tree, caught fire and crashed near Yosemite National Park.

Sgt. Jeff Wilson, spokesman for the Tuolomne County Sheriff's Department, said the plane crashed at about 7:17 p.m. Feb. 19, killing Albert Halluin, 70, and Judy Perchonock, 60.

Halluin, a biotech patent lawyer at Palo Alto firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, owns a house in Groveland, near the crash site. The company's website describes him as "one of the nation's most prominent biotechnology patent lawyers and strategists."

The website also noted that Halluin was an "instrument-level pilot" — a certification issued to pilots who have received extra training and are authorized to fly in conditions of low visibility.

But Wilson said authorities believe the foggy weather was largely responsible for Halluin's crash. He was trying to make a second approach to landing because he couldn't see the airfield, Wilson said. Halluin's vision may have been obstructed by rain and fog, he said.

Albert Halluin and Perchonock, of Redwood City, had been planning to get married on May 12 — their three-year anniversary, Marcus Halluin said.

California Avenue fountain plans make progress

Plans for a new fountain at the eastern end of South California Avenue are moving forward. In coming weeks, a panel consisting of art experts and community members will convene to select three to five fountain designs as finalists for the project, Palo Alto Public Art Commission Chair Elise DeMarzo said.

Once the finalists are chosen, their designs will be displayed and put to a public vote, possibly via Palo Alto's Open City Hall service. The Public Art Commission will then take the public's choice under consideration while making the final decision on the fountain.

"We want to make sure that everyone's voices are heard and that we get the right input," DeMarzo said.

Visiting student dies from bike-crash injuries

A memorial service for bicyclist Yichao Wang, an exchange student who died after being struck by a car on the Stanford University campus Feb. 3, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to noon at Spangler Mortuary Mountain View Chapel, 799 Castro St., Mountain View.

Wang, a 25-year-old Chinese national, sustained massive head trauma and had been in a coma after his bicycle collided with a car at Palm Drive and Museum Way. He died Feb. 19.

He had been attending Stanford for the winter quarter through the Singapore-Stanford Partnership, a research/teaching program between Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Stanford's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, according to Stanford officials.

Wang's parents held a vigil by their son's side at Stanford Hospital for a week prior to his being pronounced dead, traveling from Harbin in far northern China, where Wang was raised. His wife of two years, Gao, a fellow student in Singapore, also was with him.

Wang's parents have no money to cover his medical bills. The Chinese Mutual Aid International Network (CMAIN), a nonprofit organization, has raised $50,000 from 900 donors since Feb. 10. Persons wanting more information or to donate can visit the website,

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


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