Around Town | October 28, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 28, 2011

Around Town

ALL SHOOK UP ... The Palo Alto Public Art Commission meeting was cut short a week ago Thursday evening when a magnitude 4.0 earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay Area. Trish Collins, a member of the commission, stopped mid-sentence and announced: "We've got a big earthquake, let's go." She jumped up immediately as the other members present sat and looked up to the walls and ceiling of the council chambers. "Should we go?" Collins asked her stationary colleagues. "Do you want to wait until the building collapses?" Commissioner Terry Acebo-Davis seemed unfazed. "I'm a California girl," she said, calmly. One meeting attendee added: "I'm afraid to go down to the parking lot to get my car." The question for adjournment was raised, but official formalities were forsaken in favor of hasty departure.

NOT A BIT RATTLED ... A crowd of students gathered Monday on an outdoor staircase at Foothill College, peering and pointing and taking photos on their iPhones. The object of their interest: a yellow-and-tan snake. The crowd wanted to move the little guy out of the way of tromping feet, but no one knew what to do. One man after another strutted over to gallantly grab the reptile — then jumped back when it coiled and hissed. Finally a woman lost patience and simply lifted the snake with a stick and placed it in the grass. The would-be heroes left in a hurry, looking a tad sheepish.

COOL ART ... An eye-popping art installation is planned for a central plaza between the renovated Palo Alto Art Center and Main Library. Six sculptures — a sphere, sea star, a pear shape and other natural forms — will be placed throughout the plaza. Steel cutouts in the sculptures will spell words, and lights within the sculptures will animate the space by projecting the words onto the sidewalk at night, according to Elise DeMarzo, the Public Art Commission staff liaison who presented the plan to the Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday (Oct. 25). Each sculpture will change color when touched. The sculptures are designed by Joe O'Connell and Blessing Hancock of Tucson, Ariz. The Art Commission issued a request in July for sculpture ideas, and received 101 submissions. The artists want to work with the community to choose phrases and placement for the sculptures, which will be installed after facility renovations are completed.

BEDBUGS IN PALO ALTO? ... A group of Palo Alto parents stepped up their protest of the Palo Alto school district's academic calendar for 2012-13, which moves to an Aug. 16 school start date in order to fit in the first semester before the December holidays. Several of the parents, who have formed a group called Time to Thrive Palo Alto, told the school board Tuesday that the new fall schedule will be too stressful to kids, undermining the Developmental Assets, a youth wellness framework recently adopted by the school district. "With the new calendar, you have made a bed that is full of bedbugs, and you expect our students to lie in it," parent Lauren Bonomi said. In an emotional 3-2 vote in May, school board members adopted the revised calendar, saying the downside of the earlier August start and pre-holiday finals were worth the upside of giving students a clean, work-free chunk of time to de-stress over the December break.

LAST CHANCE FOR 'LAW' ... Aspiring lawmakers have one last chance to suggest new California legislation in State Sen. Joe Simitian's 11th — and final — "There Oughta Be A Law" contest. Simitian announced Wednesday that the deadline for the contest will be extended to Nov. 15. "Since this is the last year, I wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to participate," Simitian stated in a news release. His time in the California State Senate will end in 2012 because of term limits. Since the contest's introduction, 18 "Oughta Be" ideas have been signed into law, including a driving-safety rule that requires headlights be turned on when windshield wipers are needed; outreach programs for veterans in need of treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder; and privacy protections in regards to electronic records of library activity, among others. Simitian said the contest has spawned "proposals that are striking in their diversity." More information about the contest is posted at


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Bedbugs in Palo Alto?

Thanks for bringing this to the forefront, Lauren.

I spent all week looking for this online, but found it today in the print version. I think this shows that the school calendar debate is not settled and the school board have not, as yet, come through with their follow up from staff.

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