Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 7, 2012

News Digest

Palo Alto teens arrested for arson

Two teenage boys who allegedly set a 4-foot-high orange plastic construction fence and a Krispy Kreme doughnut box ablaze at Jordan Middle School were arrested Saturday, Sept. 1, for arson, Palo Alto police Sgt. Kara Apple said.

A passerby saw the boys, ages 15 and 16, near the smoke and flames at about 10:58 a.m. and called police. Officers stopped the teens about a block away from the site and located lighters that police believe were used to start the fires, Apple said.

The plastic fence surrounds a large construction area in the center of campus. No structures were damaged, but the fence was melted in places, she said.

The teens are described only as local youth. They were cited for arson and were released to their parents. The 16-year-old was also cited for possession of rolling papers, which is illegal for minors, she said. Santa Clara County Juvenile Probation Services will review the case.

Laurene Powell Jobs joins Stanford trustees

Palo Alto resident and education reform leader Laurene Powell Jobs has been elected to the Stanford University Board of Trustees, the university announced Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Powell Jobs, who earned a Stanford MBA in 1991, will begin a five-year Stanford board term Oct. 1. The widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, Powell Jobs has long been active in education reform and social justice issues.

"Her familiarity with Stanford combined with extensive experience with and powerful commitment to supporting social entrepreneurs and organizations working on behalf of underserved students will greatly strengthen the board," Stanford board chair Steven A. Denning said.

Powell Jobs is the founder and chair of the Emerson Collective, which supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in education, social justice and conservation. Recently the group has worked to help pass the Dream Act, federal legislation to create a path for undocumented students to earn citizenship.

She is also board president of College Track, an after-school program she cofounded in 1997 to prepare underserved high school students for success in college. The program, which began in East Palo Alto, now serves students in Oakland, San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Aurora, Colo.

Powell Jobs, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, also serves on the boards of NewSchools Venture Fund and Conservation International. She also has served on the board of Teach for America.

Dinah's Poolside Grill to change hands Sept. 9

Dinah's Poolside Grill, an iconic 40-year-old Palo Alto restaurant, will close after serving lunch Sept. 9 and reopen with a new operator and staff at the end of September.

The closure comes after the resolution of a months-long legal battle between the restaurant's operator, Sharon Magnuson, and Julie Handley, the owner of Dinah's Garden Hotel and the restaurant's property owner.

"It's a sad, sad day for all of us here," said Magnuson, whose family opened and has run the restaurant since 1972. "We have settled, for lack of funds. We just can't afford to keep fighting it."

Magnuson told the Weekly she will receive no compensation from the hotel in the settlement but will be allowed to sell off the restaurant equipment that belongs to her. In a letter to the Weekly, Handley wrote that the decision to change the operators and staff at the restaurant was "one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made."

"Dinah's is a full-service hotel, which means that we need to provide room service and dinner for our guests, in addition to breakfast and lunch," she wrote. "Poolside was not able to open for dinner, and it was in need of cosmetic upgrades to keep up with the other improvements that have made Dinah's successful."

Handley hopes to reopen the restaurant for breakfast and lunch Sept. 24 after making cosmetic improvements and hiring new staff. Dinner service, she said, will probably start a week after that.

Magnuson said she has received support from many of her regular customers, including a petition against the change with more than 200 signatures on it.

"We know it's not going to change the outcome, but it does show loyal support from the community," she said.

Eric Magnuson, who said he holds no ill will toward Handley in spite of the issues, said they hope to have a going away party on their last day, possibly including a German polka-style band.

"We hope to have a very busy day and say goodbye to our customers with lots of laughter, tears and hugs," he said.

— Eric Van Susteren

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