by Paul Gullixson

Our Town: The facts about Info Palo Alto

Publication Date: Wednesday Sep 20, 1995

Our Town: The facts about Info Palo Alto

When do the lights go up on Christmas Tree lane? Where is the Evergreen Park neighborhood? When is Palo Alto's annual bike auction--you know, that annual event when the police sell off the stolen bicycles they have recovered but have gone unclaimed?

We get a lot of these kinds of questions around here. And more often than not, I'm the one doing the asking.

When it comes to questions about the lights going up on Fulton Street, my brain goes dark. I have the same problem with remembering what time of year the Farmers' Market starts, how late the libraries stay open and whether the Recycling Center accepts anti-freeze.

I know I'm not alone, because I've shared my ignorance with many of you when you've called with these questions.

All of us here at the Weekly have asked or have been asked these kinds of questions. This is one of the reasons why those of you who live in Palo Alto are receiving in today's edition a copy of our new publication, Info Palo Alto.

In this 104-page resource guide, we offer the facts about several segments of Palo Alto life such as arts and entertainment, recreation, education and community services. Info Palo Alto includes guides on places to hike, tips on places to dance, phones numbers of people to call for various emergencies; addresses of local child care centers; and information on whom to contact for signups from everything from Bobby Sox softball to Youth Community Service.

Info Palo Alto also includes more than 20 maps--five of them in full color--four charts and a CalTrain schedule geared toward Palo Alto's two train stations.

Scattered throughout the publication you'll find what we call "The 10 Best Kept Secrets of the Palo Alto Area." Some of you may find some great ideas here. Others may be angry at us for betraying some secret local treasures. (Sorry.)

Info Palo Alto is intended to be a resource guide for both the longtime Palo Alto resident and the newcomer, which is why we have limited its distribution to Palo Alto. But for those who live outside of Palo Alto and would like to have a free copy of Info Palo Alto, you are invited to come by the Weekly sometime before next Wednesday, Sept. 27 to pick one up.

Copies will also be available at the Weekly and at local bookstores for $5.

Many are the times when Palo Alto seems like a small town. But when you take on a project like this, this community gets a lot bigger in a hurry.

Because of that, I have to say that this is not intended to be a complete guide to Palo Alto. Important segments of the community are not represented here, particularly many of the town's valuable non-profit organizations, health support services and churches. To give them the attention they deserved would have required another 100 pages.

But you will find there is no shortage of information contained in this book, which would not have been possible without the persistence of people like Associate Editor Elizabeth Howton, Marketing Director Lisa Van Dusen and Advertising Director Franklin Elieh, who brought this book to life. But particular recognition is due researcher and writer Verena Hess, who had the painstaking job of gathering and writing the heart of Info Palo Alto, Weekly Designer Frank Bravo who was the creative hand behind all of the maps and charts; and Art Director Carol Hubenthal who did a masterful job with this design challenger.

We are used to putting out reading material. But this is not meant to be read. It is meant to be used--stored on the shelf for when you want to know the closest place to go camping and how much it costs to skate at the Winter Lodge.

As I have indicated, this is our first attempt at something like this. Whether we make other attempts, we'll have to wait and see.

One thing I know for sure is that no matter how long you have been around here, there are things you just never can remember--like the fact that the lights on Christmas Tree Lane go up the second Saturday before Christmas and the Evergreen Park neighborhood is located just north of California Avenue and east of El Camino Real.

As for the Bike Auction? Well, it turns out Palo Alto has not had one for the past three years. (Where have I been?) The bicycles have been auctioned off down in San Jose. But if the Police Department recovers enough bikes this year, they may do it again soon.

Well, you learn something new every day. But don't expect me to remember.

Paul Gullixson is editor of the Weekly. 

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