In the latest Around Town column, news about the Barron Park donkeys noticing the social distance between them and their visitors and two Paly students who've turned data on the coronavirus into a digital project.
ADMIRE FROM AFAR ... Social distancing has made a significant impact on many members of the Palo Alto community — even the Barron Park donkeys. While Perry and Jenny continue to go on walks four times a week and stop by Bol Park every Sunday to interact with their fellow citizens, they have clearly noticed differences in their lack of interactions with their visitors. "They're very smart, they're very sociable," Barron Park Donkey Project Coordinator Jenny Kiralti said. She encourages people to come by every day to 3590 Laguna Ave. and say hello to the famous duo, as long as they abide by the recent "no petting" rule (while there is no evidence that shows the virus is transmitted between people who pet the same animal, Kiralti said the rule is in place as a precaution). Visitors must also make no contact with the gate, which children tend to hang on to. The donkeys have had fewer visitors of late. On a typical Saturday morning, about 40-50 people drop by the donkeys' home, but on March 28 they saw fewer than 10 visitors, according to Kiralti. "They're looking out, wondering where all their pals are," she said. "Jenny in particular ... just looked a little forlorn." The public can still find them at Bol Park from 10-11 a.m. on Sundays, and so far people have been good about maintaining 6 feet of distance between the animals and one another. "Just being near the donkeys is calming and relaxing with these times," Kiralti said.
MAPPING THE VIRUS ... Two Palo Alto High School students have taken on a new extracurricular activity while they're sheltering at home: offering real-time coronavirus data from across the nation. Jonathan Kao and Victor Lin, the duo behind the website clearcov19.com, call themselves "two high school seniors who mess around with all things web development, AI and computer science!" They're giving users information on cases searchable by ZIP code or county. The information is displayed through a "minimalist and user-friendly interface," according to the site. The results show confirmed cases and deaths (users also can find out the increase from the past week or month) for their county; positive and negative test results for their state; and the severity of the coronavirus in their county (compared to the rest of their state) and in their state (compared to the rest of the U.S.). The county's confirmed cases and deaths also are visualized through line graphs that can be viewed by the past week, month or three months. Site visitors also can sign up for daily emails updates on new data from their county. Days after launching the online resource in late March, the website received more than 2,000 unique visitors and support on platforms such as Nextdoor, a neighborhood social networking service, they told the Weekly in an email. "We never thought we would receive such a positive response from the Palo Alto community, and it's gotten us thinking that we have something that could be of value to so many more," they wrote.
SPREAD POSITIVE VIBES ... As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold at home and around the world, we want to share positive stories from our readers for upcoming Around Town columns. Have you witnessed a random act of kindness or watched the community form bonds while maintaining a safe social distance? Or have you seen a creative project come about as many stay at home? Send us your story in 250 words or fewer by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos are also welcome. We look forward to hearing your stories!
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.