A BLOODY GOOD JOB ... Palo Alto resident Stan Shore will mark a milestone on Tuesday, May 23, when he marks giving18 gallons of blood to the American Red Cross at the organization's San Jose center. The 77-year-old man, who has Type A-positive blood, has donated his blood more than 100 times in the past 60 years. He remembered the first time he willing gave away the red bodily fluid in 1957 when he was a student at Baruch College, one of the 10 senior colleges of The City University of New York. He was recruited to organize an on-campus blood drive that gathered 151 pints. Shore compared getting his blood drawn to receiving a flu vaccination. After the needle is pricked into his arm, he feels nothing for about 15 minutes as a pint's worth of his blood flows out through a tube and into a bag. Once the needle's out and he's patched up, Shore always has a cup of orange juice to regain his energy before he leaves. What motivates him to keep coming back? "(Blood) is the one thing you can openly give of yourself, and it's a good feeling," Shore said. "Science hasn't figured out yet how to make blood. It has to come from a human, which makes it personal," he said.
AMERICAN IDLERS Shortly before Shelly Gordon came to City Hall on Monday night to address the City Council, she took a walk and spotted three different "idlers." Gordon, a board member at the local Sierra Club chapter, has become especially attuned to idlers — those drivers who are running their engines without going anywhere. Once the hearing about idling began, she told the council, you too will start noticing it everywhere. Her intent in addressing the council was to put the issue on Palo Alto's radar and to urge council members to pass an ordinance banning idling — an activity that she said wastes gas, wastes money and pollutes the air. In addition, idling cars spew all sorts of particulate matter into the air — particles that get lodged into a child's lungs and contribute to asthma. She had plenty of allies in her anti-idling crusade. A group of local high school students had recently monitored Hoover Elementary School over a four-day period. Gordon said they spotted 162 cars idling for more than a minute; 40 of them were idling for more than 10. Other cities, including Park City, Utah, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, had passed anti-idling ordinances, she said. "So when people say, 'I'm keeping the engine running because it's cold or hot,' — it's not a good reason," Gordon said. Her request is already getting traction. Councilwoman Karen Holman said a group of council members is already in the midst of drafting a memo about establishing an anti-idling ordinance. And the city has just updated the Natural Environment chapter of its Comprehensive Plan which now includes a new program: "Consider adopting and enforcing penalties for drivers that idle for longer than three to five minutes."
BURNING ISSUE When Palo Alto officials and residents flock to the Baylands on Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, they won't be celebrating the construction of a new park, library or playing field. Rather, they will be celebrating the impending retirement of two public servants that for decades have been performing a dirty and thankless task: the city's two sewage-burning incinerators. The retirement of the incinerators — which are among the city's most significant pollution sources — will be made possible by the construction of a new sludge dewatering facility, a project that the council approved earlier this year. Once built, the dewatering facility will allow Palo Alto to haul sludge to a regional facility for further treatment. To mark the transition, the city is inviting the public to tour the incinerators and watch the first shovels hit the ground. The event will take place at 10:45 a.m. on May 24 at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant, 2501 Embarcadero Way. The city will offer short tours of the incinerators before the ceremony and longer, 45-minute tours of the entire 25-acre plant after the groundbreaking. To schedule a tour, call 650-329-2396.