News Digest | July 8, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 8, 2011

News Digest

Art Center groundbreaking set for July 16

The Palo Alto Art Center will break ground on its $7.9 million renovation project with a free public celebration on Saturday (July 16) from 1 to 3 p.m., the city announced Tuesday.

The afternoon event will feature official groundbreaking by Mayor Sid Espinosa and other city officials as well as participatory art projects, art tours and free Foster Brothers ice cream.

Local artist Judy Gittelsohn will head up the creation of a mural that will decorate the center's construction fence through the center's re-opening in summer 2012. Community members of all ages will be able to paint sections of the mural.

Planned renovations to the Art Center include a new children and youth wing, gallery shop, redesigned classrooms, upgraded lighting and exhibition space, sustainable landscaping designs and access for the disabled.

More information is available at the Art Center's website,

Anti-gang coalition targets Nortenos, Surenos

Federal, state, county and local law-enforcement agencies have joined East Palo Alto police to dismantle gangs blamed for a 3-month-old infant's killing, police announced Wednesday (July 6).

Vowing justice for Izack Jesus Jimenez Garcia, killed as a result of a feud between the Norteno and Sureno gangs on June 5 in East Palo Alto, the agencies' officials announced a concerted plan to dismantle the gangs in the Bay Area.

More than 70 officials from agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. and California Attorneys General, San Mateo County District Attorney's Office and County Sheriff, California Department of Corrections and local city police departments took part in the half-day-long conference, which was closed to the media but opened afterward for a press briefing.

East Palo Alto police Chief Ronald Davis said the law-enforcement agencies are holding the Nortenos and Surenos responsible for the death of Izack, who was allegedly shot in the head by 17-year-old Fabian Zaragoza, a purported gang member. Zaragoza allegedly mistook Izack's family for gang members who beat him May 31 in Redwood City.

"The murder of a 3-month-old is completely beyond humanity. There has to be a response to it so that every shot caller, every leader — regardless of whether he or she is in prison — has to know when something like that happens, the world comes down on them," he said.

The coalition began identifying key leadership within the gangs during Wednesday's meeting, he said, and will put pressure on the gangs from Daly City to San Jose. Law enforcement will focus on disrupting the cash flow of gang leaders, whether those leaders are in or out of prison, he said.

Many gangs started in prisons, and San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks said roughly 20 percent of the 1,000 prisoners in that county's jails are validated gang members. There are 58 counties in California with similar problems, he noted.

The problem of how to control their activities will only grow as the state realignment of prison populations pours thousands of inmates into the county systems. Many of those prisoners will undoubtedly be gang members still working their outside connections, he said.

Private plane lands on I-280, strikes car

The California Highway Patrol on Monday released a few more details about the emergency landing of a small aircraft on northbound Interstate 280 on Sunday.

The pilot, Scott Bohannon, 53, of San Mateo, was forced to land on the highway north of Farm Hill Boulevard after the plane suffered a mechanical failure, according to the CHP.

Bohannan had taken off from the San Carlos Airport on a test flight and was on his way back when the mechanical failure occurred, CHP Officer Art Montiel said. Bohannon radioed the airport as he was landing.

The CHP began to receive reports at 7:13 p.m. that a small aircraft had landed on the highway. As officers were responding, the airport also contacted the CHP about the incident.

The plane's landing gear struck the roof of a 2009 Mercedes coupe driven by Wendy Kwon, 47, of Sausalito, that was also traveling north directly below the landing aircraft, CHP officials said.

Kwon was alone in the car. The rear window of the car was broken, the roof was dented and the car was towed away from the scene, but there were no injuries.

The plane, a 1975 Cessna, landed safely and was able to come to a stop on the highway's shoulder. Traffic was light and was only moderately affected. The plane was towed to the airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the plane was conducting a photo mission when it lost engine power.

— Bay City News Service


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