Around Town | June 7, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 7, 2019

Around Town

STANFORD SEXUAL ASSAULT SURVIVOR TO PEN MEMOIR ... Her words captured the world's attention in June 2016. And now, the young woman who was sexually assaulted by former Stanford University student Brock Turner in 2015, known anonymously as Emily Doe, will be writing a memoir about her experience. Viking Books announced Wednesday that it would publish the book, according to media outlets. The memoir is set to come out Sept. 27. Viking Books is owned by Penguin Random House. Doe's 7,390-word victim impact statement, which she read in a Palo Alto courtroom in June 2016, drew international attention. It became a manifesto of sorts, before the height of the #MeToo movement, for those who were outraged by Turner's sentence and the prevalence of sexual violence more broadly.

Former Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, who was recalled last year, sentenced Turner to six months in county jail and three years of probation for the sexual assault, which took place on the Stanford campus in 2015. Turner was released from jail three months later and unsuccessfully tried to appeal his conviction. In a press release, Viking Books editor-in-chief Andrea Schulz said: "Emily Doe's experience illuminates a culture built to protect perpetrators and a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable." In the book, Doe will "share her experience in emotional, honest and eloquent detail," Schulz said. "Her story continues to be a testament to the power of words to heal and effect change." Viking Books declined to comment on whether she will use her real name in the memoir, according to the Associated Press.

SPELLING BEE BUZZ ... Palo Alto was represented at recent state and national spelling bee competitions through two students — one who became the last man standing and another who was just shy of making the top 50. Sixth-grader Vayun Krishna of Challenger School - Middlefield survived 11 rounds to become this year's winner of the California State Elementary Spelling Bee held on May 11. He surpassed about 55 competitors in fourth through sixth grades by correctly spelling "rapport." He walked away with a $250 gift card to Barnes & Noble in addition to an Amazon Kindle Fire and spelling bee backpack. Newly minted Greene Middle School graduate Rohan Phanse also vied for first place at last week's Scripps National Spelling Bee held in National Harbor, Maryland near Washington, D.C. He joined 22 other contestants from the Bay Area who participated in the annual competition. He made it to the third round, correctly spelling "emendation," meaning "the process of making a revision or correction to a text," according to Oxford Dictionaries. Rohan's winning streak ended on Wednesday, May 29, when he tied for 51st place out of 567 spellers, just missing the cutoff to qualify for the semifinals. However, the experience was a positive one, Rohan told NBC. "I'm having fun. I'm learning a lot from other spellers, and I think one thing that's recurring is everybody is really nice, they're really supportive." When his head's not buried in a dictionary, Rohan is in many ways like any other 14-year-old. He is learning "Stairway to Heaven" on his electric guitar, makes stop-motion videos with Legos and hosts his own YouTube channel, Roar Films.

MONEY STREAMS IN ... East Palo Alto received a $17.3 million grant from the California Office of Emergency Services to build a levee system aimed to prevent flooding from the San Francisco Bay and San Francisquito Creek, the city announced Tuesday. The project is estimated to take three years to complete, and will protect about 1,500 houses, businesses, schools, churches and other buildings that are located in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) floodplain map. The city will collaborate with the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, among others, to complete the levee. More than half of East Palo Alto's land is located in the FEMA floodplain, putting residents at a greater risk of being impacted by environmental factors including heavy rain and rising sea levels. Projects to address the escalating risk have been in the works for years now, and include plans that will benefit both the local community and wildlife at the Baylands.

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