Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 8, 2013

Around town

DIG THIS ... Palo Alto's City Council meeting took a brief turn toward the bizarre this week when a giant penguin, a couple of pirates and a few construction workers in hard hats interrupted the meeting with a song. This wasn't a Halloween parade, but an unscheduled public-service announcement from the Utilities Department. Led by their swashbuckling spokesperson Debra Katz, the group sang a song called "Call Before You Dig" to the tune of "Pirates of the Caribbean." The lyrics were a bit of a bummer, but the message was clear: "If you hit a wire then you could expire — so call before you dig! And leaking gas can start a fire — so call before you dig. Yo-ho! Yo-ho! Call before you dig."

HOLDIN' OUT ... The Midpeninsula Media Center needs a hero — six, actually. The center, which produces videos and media online and on public-access channels in the Midpeninsula, is soliciting nominations for its 8th annual Local Heroes Awards. Six winners will be selected and short videos about their lives will appear on the local cable channels and on the Web. Know of a streetwise Hercules or a white knight on a fiery steed? It's pretty simple to get them nominated: Just send the center your name and contact information, your hero's name and contact information and a short description of why the person is deserving. Contact Louise Pencavel at louise@midpenmedia.org or 650-494-8686, ext. 36. The deadline to submit is Friday, Nov. 22.

COMMUNITY BENCHMARK ... The mouth of the San Francisquito Creek at the Palo Alto Baylands will soon have a new spot for Palo Altans to try to spot elusive clapper rails or take a break while recreating on the Bay Trail. Friends of Palo Alto Parks are donating a bench and dedicating it to former city councilman and mayor Alan Henderson. "We are pleased to sponsor this new bench in honor of Alan Henderson and his civic involvement. Friends of the Palo Alto Parks hope that this bench, which affords a wonderful view of the Baylands, will provide a quiet spot for relaxation to the many Baylands' visitors each year," said Friends of the Palo Alto Parks President Liz Hogan. Henderson, who served on the Palo Alto City Council from 1971 to 1975 and from 1977 to 1981 and was mayor from 1979 to 1981, now resides at the Sequoias in Portola Valley.

SOD BUSTERS ... Sudden Oak Death, a dreaded disease that has killed thousands of oak trees in California, is being closely monitored in Palo Alto thanks to the help of nonprofit group Canopy. In June, volunteers surveyed California bay trees, which are carriers of the disease. Volunteers took part in U.C. Berkeley's SOD Blitz, which found that sudden oak death exists north of Woodside and east and west of Interstate 280. Eradication attempts in Atherton appear to be effective but require further monitoring. In Los Altos Hills, sudden oak death has spread eastward, however. None is currently in the residential areas from Atherton to Mountain View, according to Canopy. A disease-treatment training workshop takes place on Jan. 9, 2014, at 10 a.m. at Foothills Park in Palo Alto. Contact Sue Welch at sodblitz09@earthlink.net.

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