Our Town: Around Town

Publication Date: Wednesday Jul 5, 2000

Our Town: Around Town

LIZ BUYS LAND . . . Mayor Liz Kniss and her husband, Agilent Technologies Senior Vice President Richard Kniss, have purchased a $2 million plot of land on Page Mill Road in Palo Alto's foothills. Kniss says they're not moving from their home in the lowlands of Old Palo Alto, however. "It's an investment for when we're old and gray," Kniss said last week.

POWER TIES . . . At an afternoon community meeting, City Manager Frank Benest's tie showed a young boy looking pensively down on a dirt road and drew interested whispers from the audience. At a Monday night council meeting, Benest's tie showed a colorful montage of paintbrush and paints. It appears the self-described "risk-taker" is also pushing the boundaries of bureaucrat fashion. Stay tuned as tie watch continues . . ..

NAMES AND NOTES . . . Larry Starr, a straight-talking assistant director in Palo Alto's utilities department, will retire Monday to Flathead Lake, Montana. Starr was recognized at a June 26 council meeting for his 15 years of work for Palo Alto, during which he developed the Electric Padmount Equipment Ordinance and helped create the city's "Dark Fiber Network" of fiber-optic cables. Local companies lease the network's high-speed internet access from the city. "Palo Alto has been and still is a good place to work," Starr said, and thanked the council for supporting utilities department initiatives. After retiring, Starr said he plans to do a lot of fishing.

ANOTHER LARRY, Palo Alto Hardware owner Larry Hassett, was recognized June 26 for his commitment to running an environmentally responsible business. Palo Alto Hardware is Santa Clara County's first official "Green Business," as recognized by the county's Green Business Program. Green businesses are those that comply with environmental laws and regulations, and also take additional steps to conserve water, energy and materials and take steps to reduce waste and prevent pollution. Councilwoman Dena Mossar and others praised Hassett for his leadership in environmental and business arenas. "He's set an example not only for the city and the county, but also reached out to the business community," Mossar said. Hassett replied: "It's fun to participate with this community and the city . . .. We've formed a great partnership."

OFFICIALLY KNIGHTED . . . James Bettinger, deputy director of Stanford's John S. Knight Fellowships journalism program for the past 11 years, will become the program's director on Sept. 1. The former San Jose Mercury News editor beat out 40 other candidates to head the program, which allows 20 working journalists to study at Stanford each year. He is replacing James V. Risser, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who has run the program since 1985. When asked if he has any plans, Bettinger quipped, "To come to work every morning." He said he doesn't have any major changes in mind, other than helping journalists deal with the economic forces and technology changing the profession.

C.A.R. EXEC HONORED . . . The executive director of the Community Association for Rehabilitation, Lynda Steele, has been awarded a $5,000 scholarship from the Harvard Business School Alumni Association to spend a week at the university's Nonprofit Management Program in July. The one-week program attracts executives of nonprofit organizations from around the United States as well as internationally. C.A.R. serves infants, children and adults with developmental disabilities through a variety of programs, including early intervention, day care, swim therapy, residential services, and job placement and support. Steele has degrees in social work and economics, and has been C.A.R.'s executive director since 1994.

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