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February 23, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2005

News Digest News Digest (February 23, 2005)

Fallen oak tree damages house

A 90-foot live oak tree fell over last Friday, slightly damaging a house at Lincoln Avenue and Waverley Street in Palo Alto. The city called a tree crew to cut up the tree later in the morning. The house lost part of its gutter when the tree grazed it while toppling.

Library offering ebooks

The Palo Alto Library began offering eBooks through a Web site last week. Approximately 700 titles, including many bestsellers, are available as text documents to be read on PDAs or as audio books for MP3 players.

The Web site where the books can be downloaded is

Customers with valid Palo Alto library cards can download up to five titles at a time. The "loan" period is three weeks, after which the book's file becomes unusable. Eventually, customers will be able to search the titles from within the library's catalog.

Library Director Paula Simpson said the city is part of a California library consortium that bought the service from an online vendor.

"It's a godsend for [Palo Alto], as it would have been very nearly impossible for us to devote the staff time to launching this service from scratch," Simpson wrote in an e-mail. Other consortium libraries include the Peninsula Library System (which includes Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and Redwood City), Sunnyvale and Pleasanton.

The cost for a one-year test is approximately $4,000, Simpson said. For more information, visit the library's Web site at

-- Bill D'Agostino

Police, commission to hold forum

The Palo Alto Police Department and the city's Human Relations Commission will hold a community forum next Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 E. Charleston Road.

Among the issues to be discussed are the department's collection of racial information, the department's citizen complaint process and actions the department is taking to improve community relations. The public is invited to attend.

-- Don Kazak

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