Around Town | February 28, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 28, 2014

Around Town

NO MORE TOBACCO ... Though Stanford University has yet to join the ranks of smoke-free college campuses across the country, it did recently take a small step in that direction, asking campus vendors to cease all sales of tobacco products. The change will be effective as of March 1. Currently, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes are available for purchase at two places on campus: a Valero gas station on Serra Street and at Tresidder Express inside Tresidder Union. Both vendors have agreed to stop selling the products, the university said. "The university is an advocate for the health and well-being of its entire community, and tobacco sales are inconsistent with our many programs that support healthy habits and behaviors," Susan Weinstein, assistant vice president for business development, said in a press release. University policy bans smoking in all classrooms, offices, enclosed buildings and facilities (including dorms) but allows outdoor smoking in areas more than 30 feet from buildings (except during organized outdoor or athletic events). The Stanford School of Medicine — inside and outside the building — has been smoke-free since 2007; Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital followed suit in January 2010. According to a January report by the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, there are now at least 1,182 colleges and universities that are 100 percent smoke-free. Of these, 811 are 100 percent tobacco-free.

SNEAK PEEK ... Curious how construction is going for the new Stanford Hospital building and parking garage? Check it out for yourself: A public viewing platform has been installed overlooking the construction site, the project posted on its Facebook page on Feb. 25. The raised platform (also wheelchair accessible) is located outside of the elevators of the Pasteur Visitor Garage (PS4) at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. Work currently underway for the project, which broke ground in May 2013, includes pouring the new building's foundation and building the third level of the parking garage. More information is posted at

HOLLYWOOD BOUND ... A Stanford University senior will be one of six lucky aspiring filmmakers chosen from nearly 2,000 hopefuls to hand those little gold men to presenters and escort winners off the stage at the 86th Academy Awards this Sunday, March 2. Tayo Amos made the cut after submitting a one-minute video titled "I Want to Be a Part of the Movement" about her interest in making socially conscious movies and eventually getting through a Skype interview with the event producers. They asked a no-brainer: how she would feel to get to be onstage at the Oscars. "I would die of happiness," she said. "Well, you're one of them," they replied. Amos — a double major in Iberian & Latin American cultures, and science, technology and society — doesn't even need to stress about what she'll wear Sunday; she and the other five winners will get the full treatment from the Oscars' costume department.

FIXER-UPPER ... Aurora, the 35-foot-tall interactive tree sculpture that's been lighting up the entrance to City Hall since November, has hit a few expensive hiccups since installation. This means the city's Public Art Commission is dropping dollars on maintenance — $3,000 to be exact, more than twice the initial $1,200 the commission gave to back the project and pay for permit and insurance costs. A number of Aurora's branches recently stopped functioning properly and were replaced, Public Art Manager Elise DeMarzo said at the commission's Feb. 20 meeting. The tree's interactive portion, meant to allow anyone near the tree to control the color and patterns of its slow-pulsing lights, was only working with iPhones and was also "acting up," she said. The creator of Aurora, San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken, has since redesigned the software and implemented a new system that works on all devices. People should now open an Internet browser on their smartphones, go to and follow a set of directions that will appear. Aurora will remain at City Hall until November.


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