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November 09, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Around Town Around Town (November 09, 2005)

IN ITS DNA ... Digital DNA, the egg-shaped sculpture made from computer circuit boards now sitting in Lytton Plaza could be moving. Vandals have been scratching it, tarnishing it with graffiti, and removing some of the panels. Rather than continually asking the artists, Adriana Varella and Nilton Maltz to fix the damage, the Palo Alto Public Art Commission might move the sculpture to the lawn of the Art Center or another public outdoor location that would leave it less open to sabotage, according to commission Chair Ron Cooper. The project has been one of the commission's most controversial and talked-about pieces. An original version of it was destroyed in a warehouse fire last year, sparking allegations from the commission against city employees. And a separate plan for the plaza, to install a fountain and benches, competed for officials' and the public's attention for much of last year. (That plan is still going through the city's elaborate planning process.) If Digital DNA were to move, it would be the second relocation of a significant structure from Lytton Plaza. The green French toilet that had been there was recently carted off to the Caltrain station.

PAPER NOR PLASTIC? . . .Tired of being asked your preference of bag at the supermarket? Then Saturday's free, cloth-bag giveaway is for you. In honor of America Recycles Day, staff members from the City of Palo Alto's recycling program will be at JJ&F Market in College Terrace and Safeway in Midtown from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. handing out cloth bags to be used and reused for grocery shopping. Staff will also be at Andronico's at Stanford Shopping Center and Albertsons in Edgewood Plaza from noon to 2 p.m. According to the city, the Recycling Center collected 35,920 pounds of plastic bags last year. The City Council recently adopted a "zero waste" strategy, signaling their intention for city residents and businesses to learn to use as little material as possible, and to recycle or reuse the items they do use. The city's goal is to divert 90 percent of its waste from landfills by 2021.

CRUISE-SHIP LIVING IN PALO ALTO? ... "It's like being on a fantastic cruise ship that has the advantage of never leaving port," longtime Palo Altan William (Bill) Bloom said of his recent move into the Hyatt Classic residences -- which held a lavish grand opening/dedication event Nov. 3. Bloom and his wife, Jane, were among scores of new residents and hundreds of guests and officials who enthusiastically joined in the 4-7 p.m. dedication of the 388-unit luxury development at Sand Hill Road and Arboretum Drive in Palo Alto -- on land leased from Stanford University. More than 320 of the units (83 percent) have already been reserved in what is billed as "the most elaborate retirement community in the country" -- and one of the most expensive. Penny Pritzker, president and CEO of Hyatt Classic Residences, said in a rare public appearance that the dedication is "a homecoming for me" in that she was raised in the area. She recalled riding her bike across the bike bridge to Menlo Park to go to the Stanford Shopping Center, attending Castilleja School, then Stanford law and business schools. Pritzker said she "spent hours in the Stanford Art Museum -- it was my place of refuge." . She added the design by architect Rob Steinberg. -- also a lifelong area resident -- incorporated sandstone blocks from the original pillars to the Leland and Jane Stanford home. She said she has known Steinberg "since I was born,"as their fathers worked together. Among her many thanks was a special thanks to Stanford officials and a mixed thanks to the Palo Alto city officials. She said the project could not have materialized "without their cooperation and support -- and their were times when they weren't cooperating and supportive."

FLU-SHOT RUSH HITS ... Lines and waiting times grew long Saturday as a sudden rush of patients seeking flu shots jammed the Urgent Care Center at Palo Alto Medical Foundation -- using up all the 1,000 number-cards available -- so some patients had to remember their assigned numbers. About 1,500 patients in all received flu vaccinations on Saturday, according to Jill Antonides, PAMF's director of public affairs. She said an equal number showed up for the four-hour vaccination clinic on Sunday, but the flow was smoother. The weekend clinics are for PAMF patients only -- others may obtain shots from their physicians or area pharmacies. A "Find a Flu Shot" Web site ( has been established by the American Lung Association to help locate times and locations.

FRONT-PAGE CAMPAIGN ADS A PERK? ... Some residents did a double take Tuesday when a campaign ad for Harold (Skip) Justman showed up on the front page of the Palo Alto Daily News. Turns out the paper has offered the front-page slots as a perk for any candidate who spent more than $3,500 on other ads in the paper.

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