In the latest Around Town column, news about the recent recovery of a dog reported missing in mid-September, notable local figures helping a nonprofit push the Palo Alto Museum past the finish line and a new COVID-19 vaccine trial.
LONG LIVE CAESAR ... Life hasn't been easy for Caesar. The terrier mix, who went missing Sept. 20 — the day he was adopted — during a trip with his new owners to Pet Food Express on Middlefield Road, where he suddenly jumped out of a cart and darted away from the store. He stirred worries for nearly seven weeks, said Sacha McDermott, foster and adoption coordinator at Doggie Protective Services. Before he was paired with a new family, Caesar was part of a group of dogs that came out of a hoarding situation and was taken in by the organization. The nonprofit quickly launched a search for Caesar. The effort ended on the morning of Nov. 7 when Palo Alto Animal Control Officer Jeanette Washington responded to a call of a stray dog near the California Avenue Caltrain station huddled behind a wall near the tracks. Washington recognized the dog as Caesar based on a flyer. "I approached the dog slowly at an angle and threw a few nice smelly liver treats," she said. When that didn't work, she placed a leash over him and slowly brought him out. "He was a sweet little dog. After we picked him up, a train came by." Aside from malnourishment and losing 5 pounds, Caesar wasn't ill, according to McDermott. He's now eating properly, thriving with foster parents and will hopefully be put up for adoption in a month.
THE FUTURE OF HISTORY ... The Palo Alto Museum, a nonprofit group that is trying to build a new museum at the Roth Building, continues to face some steep hurdles — most notably a funding shortage and a City Council that is reluctant to help it rehabilitate the historic, city-owned building at 300 Homer Ave. To boost the effort, the nonprofit welcomed this week four new honorary chairs who it hopes will help get the long-awaited project to the finish line. They will join current chair Dean Clark, son of Palo Alto's most famous architect (and Roth Building designer) Birge Clark. The new members are Clayborne Carson, a leading Martin Luther King Jr. scholar who directed the King Papers Project; Gloria Hom, a retired Asian studies professor and former member of the California State Board of Education; David M. Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor of history and literature at Stanford University; and Susan Packard Orr, a board trustee and former chair of David and Lucile Packard Foundation. On Tuesday night, Kennedy addressed the council's Finance Committee and urged them to help the city commemorate its "rich history." "It's reasonable to assume that going forward, a century from now, that history will be even richer," Kennedy said. "But if we don't step up now to preserve what we already have and create and sustain a facility for recording what's yet to come, who then, a century hence, will know where they come from? Or indeed, how will they know who we were?" The committee heard from a group of supporters of the project but stopped well short of fulfilling their request to help fund the $10.5 million rehabilitation of the Roth Building. Instead, it directed staff to help fund the "cold shell" of the building, a $6 million effort that would result in long-deferred structural and seismic upgrades but require further construction before the museum can occupy it.
TESTING UNDERWAY ... Stanford Medicine is hosting one of about 180 sites worldwide conducting tests of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, it was announced on Oct. 30. The medical school plans to enroll about 1,000 people, who will be among roughly 60,000 people taking part in the large Phase 3 trial for the vaccine by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Participants will receive either the vaccine or a placebo. "We're interested in enrolling a wide variety of participants, but we're particularly interested in those who feel like their home or workplace exposure puts them at risk," Dr. Philip Grant said in a statement. To learn more, visit ensemblestudy.com.