MOST IMPROVED ... Palo Alto redeemed itself in the American Lung Association's "State of Tobacco Control" report this year by jumping from failing grades to the top class of municipalities with policies aimed at preventing and reducing tobacco use. The city's overall tobacco grade jumped from a D to an A. It turned its F in the category of "smoke-free housing" (which covers apartments, condominiums and common areas) into an A through a series of smoking restrictions, including a December 2016 ban on smoking at multi-unit residences. Under the same law, landlords and condominium sellers were required to provide tenants and buyers written notices of the smoking ban. The city also earned an A grade in the category "reducing sales of tobacco products" — an improvement that can be attributed to the council's recent the adoption of a tobacco-sellers registry administered by Santa Clara County. Palo Also addressed five of six challenges in the "Emerging Issues" category, losing a point for not minimizing the pack size of cigars. While smoking rates are declining statewide, tobacco use continues to be the "leading cause of preventable death and disease, killing nearly 40,000 Californians each year," Vanessa Marvin, vice president of of public policy and advocacy for the association's California division, said in a press release.
SPEAKING OUT ... Stanford University alumna and singer K.Flay, otherwise known as Kristine Flaherty didn't walk away with a Grammy at Sunday's award show in New York City, but took time after the annual event to acknowledge the inequality many women face in their careers. The 32-year-old was nominated for best engineered non-classical album for her latest record "Every Where Is Some Where," released in April; and best rock song for "Blood In The Cut." She was among the female nominees interviewed by music online magazine Pitchfork who weighed in on the continuing conversation surrounding sexual misconduct, a subject of widespread media attention in recent months across multiple industries. Flaherty became involved in the issue through the Time's Up movement, a celebrity-backed initiative launched this month in Hollywood against sexual misconduct. "On a day-to-day basis, I don't experience this (harassment) because I built my team. I picked them with intention, to say, 'I want to have people of color and women included even if means I have to look harder or it's a less conventional search process,'" she said. "And I think it's honestly a fundamental cultural shift inside major label buildings about why and how people should advance, or even be let in. I think it is a top-down change."
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