READY FOR AN UPGRADE ... Palo Alto quietly advanced this week its plan to replace the aged and undersized fire station near Mitchell Park, one of the few remaining projects in the City Council's 2014 infrastructure plan. While construction won't kick off for some time, the council on Monday approved a $797,178 contract with the firm Brown Reynolds Watford Architects for design services associated with the $10.7 million project. Fire Station 4, which is located at 3600 Middlefield Road, was one of two fire stations that was identified as in need of a replacement. The other one, Fire Station 3 near Rinconada Park, was completed in March 2020. A report from the Department of Public Works notes that the structure, which was built in 1954, "does not serve the current needs of the Fire Department and does not effectively use the current 0.6-acre portion of the property." Much like Fire Station 3, the new Mitchell Park station will have drive-thu bays for Fire Department vehicles and a training room for firefighters. Brown Reynolds Watford Architects was selected from a field of eight proposals, according to staff. According to Public Works staff, one of the firm's references lauded the firm for designing a fire station that "fit well into the neighborhood by complementing the surrounding areas" while another shared positive experiences in "value engineering" so that the project could fit within the agency's budget. The council approved the design contract unanimously, with no discussion. If things go according to plans, Palo Alto expects to kick off construction in spring 2024.
UNITED FOR UKRAINE ... It's been over three months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and there appears to be no signs of the conflict ending anytime soon, but local support for the war-torn country hasn't waned. On May 8, the Ukrainian Student Association at Stanford held a Lighthouse event, one of many held around the world. The local gathering raised more than $20,000 to support various missions in Ukraine. The event featured food, art, music and speakers, including Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and director of the university's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). "In my opinion, Putin has already lost this war. ... He may win some battles but the big war, the objectives, he's already lost," McFaul said. He appaluded attendees for their support of Ukraine and stressed that the fight isn't over. After his remarks, organizers presented McFaul with a statue of a trident, which is featured in Ukraine's coat of arms. Other attendees included Francis Fukuyama, an FSI senior fellow at Stanford, and Dmytro Kushneruk, consul general of Ukraine in San Francisco.