In this week's Around Town column, read about a new parents group raising awareness about sex education, a Paly alumna making waves in music and dogs sniffing around for bed bugs at city libraries.
LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX ... In Palo Alto, parents are heading to Facebook with homemade videos to mark "Let's Talk Month," a national public-education campaign celebrated in October to raise awareness about sex and sexuality. A parent-led Facebook group, "Palo Alto Parents for Sex Ed," launched in response to debate over a new sex-ed curriculum in the district last year, asked parents to post short "selfie" videos describing how they will start conversations with their children about sex. More than 25 parents have posted in response. "I'm going to start my conversation with my 9- and 12-year-olds by talking to them about equity and consent and reciprocity and respect in relationships," said Jamie Barnett, one of the parents who created the Facebook page. One mother appeared with her son, who told the camera, "This month my mom has been talking to me about mutual boundaries." Other parents said they planned to talk with their children, as young as 9 years old and as old as 14 years old, about topics such as puberty, intimacy and even Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer accused of decades of sexual harassment and assault.
MUSICAL STRIDES ... Bluegrass singer Molly Tuttle has made musical and academic achievements in recent weeks. The Palo Altan made history when she became the first woman in 27 years to become the Best Guitar Player of the Year at the International Bluegrass Music Awards in late September. It was her first time receiving the nomination (she also was in the running to be Emerging Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year). "THANK YOU to everyone who has believed in me and supported my on this musical journey. It was truly one of the biggest honors I could ever imagine to receive," she wrote in a Facebook post with photos of her with her trophy. She also walked the red carpet and performed with two of her biggest heroes — Alice Gerrard and Laurie Lewis. She also officially became a member of Palo Alto High School's Class of 2011 when she received her diploma on Oct. 12 after transferring a vocational credit from the Berklee College of Music, where she graduated in 2014. She recognized Suzie Brown, a registrar at Paly, for helping her complete her secondary education. What's next for Tuttle? She recently signed with Compass Records Group. "I've been a fan of Molly's since I heard her at IBMA's World of Bluegrass convention nearly a decade ago. Molly was still in high school but it was clear that she was a singular player and singer," Compass co-founder Alison Brown said in a press release. "Since then it's been wonderful to watch her mature into a great songwriter, guitarist and bandleader. The depth of her musicianship is extremely impressive and I'm really proud of her both for what she is bringing to contemporary bluegrass as well as the example she is setting for the next generation of female musicians."
• Read our 2010 feature about Tuttle's family band here.
NOSING AROUND ... Many people visit the library to sink their nose into a good book, but in Palo Alto, dogs will be sniffing around starting Friday in search of any bed bugs as a precaution. The inspections will begin at the Mitchell Park Library followed by the Children's Library on Monday and Rinconada Library on Friday, Oct. 27. The dogs will make their way to the Downtown and College Terrace libraries on days when the facilities are regularly scheduled to be closed. The inspections come after bed-bug infestations in September 2015 at the Rinconada and Mitchell Park locations that were discovered less than a week apart. In both cases, the little critters were found in two chairs and closed the facilities for a few days while a pest control company treated the infected spaces. Bed bugs aren't unusual visitors to libraries and can be transported through sharing books, city officials said. The Rinconada Library exchanges books in the region through the Link+system. Since then, the city library system has welcomed the bug-sniffing canines two to three times a year out of an abundance of caution. The public will not be allowed inside the libraries during the inspections.