In this week's Around Town column, find out which Palo Alto park could add an off-leash area for dogs, an upcoming leadership change at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and how a teen skater is turning a setback into a lesson.
ROOM TO ROAM ... Palo Alto's dog owners, rejoice! Your faithful companion will soon have a new place to frolic without a leash. After nearly a decade of talking about the need to add dog parks, the city is getting ready to actually build one at Peers Park. On Tuesday, the Parks and Recreation Commission is set to approve a "park improvement ordinance" to create an off-leash area at the back of the park, near to the Caltrain tracks. After the council does the same, the city will solicit bids for a contractor and then construct the 0.72-acre park, which will include a vinyl-clad chain-link fence, separate enclosures for large and small dogs; picnic tables; trash receptacles; a bag dispenser; water fountains for dogs; and wind screens for the adjacent tennis courts. The project is part of the city's broader effort to expand the city's meager inventory of dog parks, which currently includes little green slivers at Hoover and Greer parks (each is less than 0.15 acres in area) and a larger off-leash area at Mitchell Park (0.52 acres). A new parks plan that the council adopted earlier this fall calls for these three dog parks to be expanded. It also identifies other local parks that could accommodate exercising canines: Eleanor Pardee Park, Bowden Park, Robles Park, Kingsley Island, Werry Park, Juana Briones Park and Heritage Park. In the past, city officials had encountered some resistance from neighbors of parks where they considered putting dog runs. That does not appear to be the case at Peers Park.
CORPORATE SHAKE-UP... Former California governor hopeful Meg Whitman will be stepping down as CEO of Palo Alto-based Hewlett Packard Enterprise, effective Feb. 1. She will be replaced by Antonio Neri, who currently serves as the company's president. "I'm incredibly proud of all we've accomplished since I joined HP in 2011. Today, Hewlett Packard moves forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their respective markets," Whitman said in a press release Tuesday. "Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE. I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future." Her six-year tenure is filled with many changes -- notably the organization's split from HP Inc. in 2015 and plans to take its global headquarters south to Santa Clara made public on Nov. 2. Neri, an HP employee since 1995 when he was hired as a computer service engineer, has worked closely with his soon-to-be predecessor, said Pat Russo, chair of HPE's board of directors. "HPE is in a tremendous position to win, and we remain focused on executing our strategy, driving our innovation agenda, and delivering the next wave of shareholder value," Neri said in a statement.
RISING ABOVE... Palo Alto's own Vincent Zhou is a living example of bouncing back from low points: case in point -- his reaction to a ninth-place finish at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Internationeux de France on Nov. 17-18. The 17-year-old fell twice during his short program performance to "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. Despite the mishaps, he redeemed himself in his free skate to "Nature Boy" from the "Moulin Rouge" soundtrack. He ended the performance with a triple Lutz-single loop-triple flip combination, according to U.S. Figure Skating. The athlete, who's in his first Grand Prix Series this season, earned 222.21 points overall last weekend. When the competition was over Vincent neatly hand-wrote a two-page letter to sort out his feelings and later posted the message on Twitter. "Today, I fought. I performed with all the passion and spirit I could muster. I made mistakes, I failed my expectations, and I am disappointed with the results. However, I am Vincent Zhou. I am young, ambitious, hungry, and motivated. But most importantly, I am still learning," he wrote in a message at 12:17 a.m. He continued his soul searching on the next page written at 12:36 a.m. "I am doing my best to handle all I go through, dawn till dusk, so that I may one day meet my standards and group my seemingly impossible dreams."