Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 24, 2013

News Digest

Professor charged with felony child abduction

Annelise Barron, an associate professor at Stanford University, has been charged with felony child abduction after she left for the island of Kauai in December with her three children, allegedly without informing the children's fathers.

Barron, a professor of bioengineering, said the entire incident was the result of a misunderstanding and poor communication.

"I'm a tenured professor — I love my job, and I find it amazing that anyone would think I'd run away and not think I'd be detected," she said to the Weekly Wednesday morning.

Police reports that became available only this week state that Barron left for Hawaii on Dec. 17 with her three children and nanny, missing a scheduled court date with Judson Butler, the father of one child, on Dec. 17 and a scheduled visitation with Theodore Jardetzky, her husband and the father of two of her children, on Dec. 18.

Barron and Jardetzky, also a Stanford professor, had been in divorce proceedings for the past four-and-a-half years. Barron had full custody of the children in December.

Butler said that the children had been missing from school since Dec. 14.

Barron had not informed her lawyer or either of the men that she would miss the appointments, according to a police report. Barron's neighbor told investigating officers that she and several unidentified people had moved belongings out of her apartment and put them in a U-Haul moving van.

Raul Felipa, director of finance and administration at Stanford's Department of Bioengineering, told police in December that he had not seen Barron recently and that she had failed to turn in grades for the quarter.

"Given that she and Audino completely stopped using their cell phones, and that Barron told (the nanny) to microwave her license so it couldn't be tracked via the RFID chip, we strongly believed that Barron's intention was to flee with kids and shut off all possible contact with Jardetzky and Butler, including their court-appointed visitation with their children," the police report stated.

Barron denied the claim that she had fled to Hawaii "forever," saying instead that she had gone to Kauai for vacation and to visit her friend Nassim Haramein of the Resonance Project Foundation. She said also she had purchased a return ticket.

Barron was released on $100,000 bail and has not entered a plea yet, according to court documents.

Congdon and Crome to close after 109 years

Downtown office-supply store Congdon and Crome will close, nearly 110 years after its opening in Palo Alto in 1904.

Jim Patrick, the store's owner, said the stationery store's product mix can't generate enough sales to keep the store going in the expensive Palo Alto location.

"Closing the store is a tragedy in my opinion," he said. "The selection has really changed. We started selling a lot of file folders, then floppy discs, then thumb drives and now we're in the cloud. So you can see how the demand the product mix has changed, and it's not enough."

He said the store, which has rented its space on Waverley Street for the past nine years, would probably close in July.

Patrick said he was unable to match a $3 million offer for the space by the owner of the California Skin Institute, a collection of dermatology clinics in Northern California.

Prior to Waverley, the store was located at various addresses along University Avenue, including the site that now houses Jos. A. Banks Clothiers Inc.

The store's manager, Lisa Cone, sees the closure as part of a trend in downtown Palo Alto in which long-standing, conventional businesses that have become institutions are edged out by high rents and heavy competition for space.

"This was a shock to us, but it wasn't unexpected," she said.

Tesla repays federal loan nine years early

Tesla Motors wired the U.S. Department of Energy nearly a half a billion dollars Wednesday, paying off the entire loan it was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2010 with interest and nine years ahead of schedule.

The Palo Alto electric-car company made sure to note that with the $451.8 million repayment it became the "only American car company to have fully repaid the government," according to a company press release.

The company made the payment using the nearly $1 billion it raised last week selling common stock and convertible senior notes. Musk bought $100 million in common equity stocks in the company.

As a result of recent good news (including its first profitable quarter in 10 years and Motor Trend's 2013 car-of-the-year award) its stock prices have experienced a meteoric rise. A year ago its value was $30.74; Wednesday it closed at $87.24.

— Eric Van Susteren

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