Our Town: Around Town

Publication Date: Wednesday Jun 17, 1998

Our Town: Around Town

SPARE THE AIR . . . El Nino brought record rain and flooding to Palo Alto this year, and now experts believe the big, bad weather phenomenon is poised to bring more smog to the city and the whole Bay Area. Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District predict the unusual weather pattern this year may bring as many as 20 Spare the Air days, which are called when ozone levels exceed state health standards. The first one was predicted to be Monday of this week. Based on data going back 30 years, air pollution has hit higher levels for more days during El Nino years. Scientists say El Nino generally brings hot, dry summers with little wind, conditions conducive to smog. The best way to spare the air on those days is not to operate gas-powered lawn mowers and other equipment, postpone summer barbecues and cut down on driving by walking, carpooling or taking mass transit.

PRESIDENTS GALORE . . . For what is thought to be the first time ever, two different heads of state visited Stanford facilities on the same day last Friday, albeit miles apart, says university President Gerhard Casper. South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung was giving a speech at Memorial Auditorium at the same time that President Bill Clinton was visiting Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Clinton's visit was part of the national conference on oceans.

CONTROVERSIAL STATUE . . . In time for last weekend's commencement ceremonies on campus, Stanford officials dusted off a bronze statue of Leland Stanford Jr., flanked by his parents. The statue has been in storage for two decades, since women on campus objected to the message of subservience that they said was conveyed by Jane Stanford's kneeling pose. Staff at the conservative student newspaper The Stanford Review lobbied university officials to restore the statue to public display next to the Mausoleum.

CHILI DEADLINE . . . Only two more days to gather your cayenne pepper, cumin and chili powder and sign up your team for the Palo Alto Fourth of July Chili Cook-off. Teams consist of three cooks and an unlimited pit crew, and must supply all ingredients to prepare eight gallons of chili for tasting. More than $2,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded for a range of categories, from Best Spirit to Best Booth. Entry deadline is June 19; entry forms and checks payable to the city of Palo Alto Recreation Chili Cook-off should be sent to the cook-off headquarters, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. For more information, call 329-2121.

NAMES AND NOTES ... Palo Alto resident Lisa Van Dusen won the Palo Alto Unified School District's Kids Count drawing grand prize of a trip for her and her family to Maui. Leslie Kim and Linda Kraemer won weekend trips to Pajaro Dunes and Princeton by the Sea, respectively. The campaign raised $65,000 from over 1,000 donors. Funds raised for Kids Count go to the 15 district schools ... Stanford resident Julie Swanson has published a how-to article in this month's issue of "Highlights for Children" magazine about a math project for kids . . . Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback received the Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for exceptional service to the university.

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