In the latest Around Town column, news about the Junior Museum and Zoo's flamingo naming contest, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' recent visit to Stanford and a Paly alumnus' debut on the San Francisco Giants.
NAME THESE FLAMINGOS! ... Voting is now open in the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo's flamingo naming contest.
After gathering ideas from the public between mid-February and early March, the beloved community institution has narrowed down the field to two finalist names per flamingo.
A total of six flamingos who call the Middlefield Road facility home are currently identified by a bright yellow band with a number, except for one, a female who is simply referred to as No Band. The public can choose between naming her Inagua or Floreana. She was raised with seven other flamingos, including one who also lives at the Palo Alto zoo. That flamingo is 86, a male born eight days after No Band, who the public can name either Onbie or Trinidad.
The final two names for 19 are Ruby and Yucatan. She's famously known for being the first flamingo to eat from a cup at the zoo, according to the contest webpage. The options for 36, a male, are Sal and Chatter. The final name candidates for 35 draw from a foot injury that led him to undergo laser treatment; he has since made a full recovery. The public can choose between Phoenix and Laser. Last, but not least, the name choices for 08 are Scalefoot and Yogi. The six flamingos were born in the summer of either 2018 or 2019.
The public can vote through Monday, April 25, at 11:59 p.m., online at paloaltozoo.org/Home/Flamingo-Naming-Contest. The winning names will be unveiled on April 26, which fittingly coincides with International Flamingo Day.
MEETING OF GREAT MINDS ... U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks paid a visit to Stanford last week for a discussion on the best ways the Pentagon can team up with the private industry "to create innovative defense technologies and develop solutions to America's security challenges," according to a Hoover Institution press release.
She participated in a roundtable discussion with students, faculty and military fellows at the university's Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation on April 7. Steve Blank, an adjunct professor who teaches entrepreneurship and national security innovation at Stanford, put Hicks' role into perspective in a LinkedIn post on her visit: "Think of the Deputy Secretary of Defense as the Chief Operating Officer of a company — but in this case the company has 3 million employees."
Hicks told the group that one of her top priorities is an "innovation workforce. ... The realities of today — changing geopolitical dynamics, coupled with rapid technological innovation, require different skills in our workforce and closer relationships with the U.S. innovation ecosystem," according to the Department of Defense.
She also toured the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where she viewed the Linac Coherent Light Source, Legacy Survey of Space and Time Camera Assembly and autonomous vehicle technology.
HOMECOMING ... Palo Altans now have a hometown boy to root for on the San Francisco Giants. Palo Alto High alumnus Joc Pederson signed a one-year, $6 million contract in March and made his debut with the team last weekend.
In his arena entrance on April 8, the 29-year-old outfielder rolled into Oracle Park in a San Francisco 49ers jersey — paying homage to another great local professional sports team.
Pederson was part of a trio of Bay Area natives on the opening day starting roster, the sixth time it's happened since the team moved to San Francisco in 1958, according to the team's game notes, which attributed the fact to Stats LLC. (Infielder Brandon Crawford and pitcher Logan Webb were both born in Mountain View; Webb grew up in Rocklin.)
Pederson became the 16th player to start in left field on opening day, continuing a team tradition that began after Barry Bonds was in the position during the 2006 and 2007 opening days.
The April 8 game, which ended in a 6-5 win over the Miami Marlins, marked Pederson's eighth time on an opening day roster and the start of his ninth Major League Baseball season. He was part of the World Series-winning teams while signed to the Atlanta Braves last year and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020. The 6-foot, 1-inch tall and 220-pound athlete also has previously played for the Chicago Cubs.