A Silicon Valley philanthropist has made the largest-ever donation to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund and the Almanac Holiday Fund: $350,000, shared by the two charitable programs.
Working through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the philanthropist asked to remain anonymous while giving $250,000 to the Weekly's and $100,000 to the Almanac's funds.
Both annual campaigns raise money to support the vital work of local nonprofit organizations that serve kids, families and individuals in need.
"We're stunned by this generosity," Palo Alto Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson said. "We would like to thank this individual or family for showing such care and compassion during these very difficult pandemic times."
This year, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund sought to raise $500,000.
"It's safe to say that, with this donation, that goal has been blown out of the water," Johnson said. "We couldn't be more appreciative."
Every year, hundreds of local residents contribute to the Holiday Fund. Since the Weekly and Silicon Valley Community Foundation absorb all of the costs of the program, every dollar that is donated is distributed without any overhead or expenses deducted.
Last year's Holiday Fund campaign raised and granted a record $680,000 to 74 nonprofits, bringing the total distributed over the fund's 28-year history to more than $8 million.
To make a contribution or see a list of the nonprofits supported by the Holiday Fund, go online to PaloAltoOnline.com/holiday_fund.
— Palo Alto Weekly staff
Resident defends self against alleged burglar
Palo Alto police arrested a man who allegedly broke into a home late Sunday night and attacked a man using large hedge shears, the department said Tuesday.
Officers responded to an 11:45 p.m. report of a burglary in process in the 1100 block of Oregon Avenue, just off Oregon Expressway. They found the alleged burglar walking nearby and apprehended him at 11:50 p.m., according to a press release.
Police arrested the man, a 26-year-old Half Moon Bay resident, on suspicion of residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon and being under the influence of narcotics.
The residents of the burglarized home received an alert from their motion sensor camera at their front door, according to police.
The suspected burglar used garden shears to break the glass in the front door and enter the home, occupied by a couple and their two children, according to police.
The 26-year-old allegedly swung the shears at a man who lived in the home but did not hit him. The victim grabbed the shears and struck the alleged burglar once in the shoulder before the suspect walked back out the front door.
Neither man was injured by the shears, but both were treated by paramedics for cuts from broken glass from the door.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.
— Bay City News Service
City settles with family of utility worker who died on job
Palo Alto has reached a settlement with the family of a utility worker who died of electrocution on Nov. 16, 2019, while replacing a transformer on Middlefield Road.
The city completed its settlement with the family of Donatus Okhomina last month, according to the settlement document obtained by the Weekly. Okhomina was 42 years old at the time of the incident. He was alone in the bucket of a utility truck when he was caught between two high-voltage electric phases of 4,160 volts, according to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA).
Under the settlement, Okhomina's wife, Tammy Okhomina, and their four daughters will receive $580,512 for their benefits claims, which will be paid largely through the city's life insurance company, PSI. The settlement is costing the city, PSI and the company Prism, which provides excess coverage, a total of $705,234, with $80,000 going to Okhomina's attorney, Mark Vickness.
The total also includes a $30,000 payment to Tammy Okhomina and her family to avoid a potential lawsuit stemming from the incident by Okhomina's family. The settlement states that the city is settling a disputed claim and that its payment "shall not be construed as an admission of liability on the part of the City of Palo Alto."
While the settlement offers the city protection from a potential lawsuit, Palo Alto remains under investigation by Cal/OSHA, which inspected the site after the incident and uncovered eight violations, including failure to ensure that an employee was wearing proper protective equipment, failure to keep a qualified "observer" at the site to prevent an accident and a failure to "isolate or insulate" workers during work that involves high-voltage equipment.
The city is currently appealing these citations.
— Gennady Sheyner