Around Town | September 9, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 9, 2022

Around Town

IN THE LIMELIGHT ... TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has found a new executive director in Debbie Chinn, who will officially begin her new role on Nov. 15. The theater company, which puts on shows in Palo Alto and Mountain View, announced the leadership change on Aug. 24. "On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we welcome Debbie's infectious enthusiasm and energy as she returns to regional theatre at this crucial time in our history," board chair Holly Ward said in a statement. Chinn, who has lived in the Bay Area since the early 1990s, enters the role with leadership experience from a variety of organizations, including Anna Deavere Smith Projects, Opera Parallele, Carmel Bach Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Center Stage in Baltimore and the Shakespeare Theater in New Jersey. She serves on the boards of the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Community Music Center and Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco. "This is an exhilarating moment for all of us in the arts industry as we come together to design a whole new model for what it means to be a regional theater and a meaningful member of the communities that we serve," Chinn said in a statement. Chinn succeeds Phil Santora, who ended his time at TheatreWorks in late July. "I have admired Debbie Chinn from afar for many years and am excited to begin our partnership," TheatreWorks Artistic Director Tim Bond said. "I am energized by her passion, uplifted by her life story, and inspired by her innovative perspectives."

POWER INTERRUPTIONS ... Palo Alto Utilities had a busy week with three separate major power outages that occurred in a roughly 33-hour span. The first happened on Monday, when 4,462 customers in the southern end of the city found themselves without service starting around 10:30 p.m. A majority of them had their power restored by 1:50 a.m. Tuesday, except for 13 customers who got power back hours later at about 9 a.m. The outage was caused by a bad transformer and cable, according to the Utilities Department. The next outage on Tuesday was in response to a state energy emergency alert implemented by the California Independent System Operator due to the heat wave. CAISO runs the state's power grid and expected to see electricity demand hit a historic all-time high, which led to warnings of potential rotating power outages that evening. About 1,700 customers in the Midtown, Old Palo Alto and Industrial Park neighborhoods were without power at around 6:30 p.m. Their service resumed about 30 minutes later, well ahead of the initial estimated restoration time of 9 p.m. The third outage occurred on Wednesday after a squirrel reportedly made contact with an underground cable, causing 4,462 customers downtown to lose power for about two hours starting around 7:30 a.m. Utilities staff called to the area found a squirrel near the underground cable, which had to be replaced before electricity could be restored at around 9:30 a.m.

HIGH HONOR ... Michael McFaul, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University, was recently honored with a state award from Ukraine, which celebrated its Independence Day last month. He was among dozens recognized for "significant personal merits in strengthening interstate cooperation, support of state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an Aug. 23 decree. This list includes notable figures such as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour and actor Ben Stiler. The awards came as the Russian invasion of Ukraine surpassed the six-month mark. McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador and a longtime scholar of Russia and Ukraine, was deeply grateful for the recognition. "President Zelenskyy, Ukraine's warriors and all Ukrainians are leading the fight for democracy, freedom and sovereignty against tyranny, repression, and imperialism," McFaul said in a Sept. 1 article on FSI's website. "They are heroes. Not just for Ukraine, not just for Europe, but for the entire world."

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