In the latest column, news about a local woman's recent 105th birthday, a retired judge in the running for a California Book Award, a local school district's Take Home Tech Program and next month's citywide yard sale.
BIRTHDAY BLISS ... It's a celebratory time for Palo Alto resident Grace Lee, who turned 105 years old on Wednesday, April 20.
Lee is a resident of The Avant senior living community in the Ventura neighborhood. She's an accomplished woman who served in the Air Force during World War II and speaks five languages (English, Mandarin/Cantonese, German, French and Russian). Lee said she doesn't have any regrets in life, except one: "not knowing how to play the piano." This centenarian considers being a mother one of her biggest accomplishments, according to Jenny Huynh, director of activities at The Avant.
Lee has a passion for baseball and swimming and tries to be active in as many activities as possible despite the limits to her physical strength. Lee maintains her health by practicing yoga and Tai Chi and doing daily exercises. While she admitted to having a love-hate relationship when it comes to technology, Lee acknowledged that it has kept her engaged and broadened her mind's horizons, "hence why she is so sharp for her age," Huynh said.
Lee is a third-generation Californian who was born in Oakland, attended high school in Stockton and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, according to a 2017 interview with the Weekly ahead of her 100th birthday. She was an administrative manager at Stanford University, where she worked for 28 years until her retirement in 1991 at 72 years old.
So what's this newly minted 105-year-old's secret to her longevity? "The best advice I can give to anyone who wants a healthy long life is to exercise and be happy," she said.
AN HONOR FOR 'HER HONOR' ... Retired Santa Clara County Superior Court judge and former Palo Alto City Council member LaDoris Cordell is a finalist in The Commonwealth Club of California's 91st annual California Book Awards.
Cordell's memoir, "Her Honor: My Life on the Bench," is one of five works selected in the nonfiction category. One of the oldest and most distinguished literary award programs in the nation, the Book Awards selects 25 outstanding books as finalists in six categories — fiction, first fiction, poetry, nonfiction, young adult and juvenile — out of hundreds of titles submitted. From these finalists, the book award jury will choose Gold and Silver Medal award winners and announce them next month.
"WOW!!" Cordell said in an Instagram post. "Just being a finalist makes 'Her Honor' a winner in my book!"
BUILDING CONNECTIONS... The Ravenswood City School District has launched an initiative, dubbed the Take Home Tech Program, so all students have access to district-owned devices in the classroom as well as having one at home, according to an April 11 district newsletter.
The district has started handing out student devices for home use to all sixth through eighth graders who indicated a need. Ravenswood will next provide home Chromebooks to second through fifth graders, and home iPads for students in transitional kindergarten through first grade, plus Wi-Fi hot spots. It also can now provide a hot spot to district instructional staff who have poor quality or no broadband internet at home.
"The Take Home Tech Program will help accelerate learning at Ravenswood by providing students a home device for homework, connectivity to curriculum, and easy access to eBooks," the newsletter states. New Chromebooks and Wi-Fi hot spots were purchased using a federal stimulus-funded Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) grant.
GOT JUNK? … The Palo Alto Citywide Yard Sale is back and seeking residents who want to make money while helping the environment. If you've got unwanted stuff that can become someone else's treasure, city organizers urge you to keep it out of the landfill by offering it up for reuse.
The sale is set for Saturday, June 4, and the deadline to register for it is May 13. You'll receive a fact sheet with tips for a successful sale. For would-be shoppers, the map and sale listings will be online by May 24 and will be printed in the June 3 edition of the Palo Alto Weekly. For more information, email email@example.com or call 650-496-5910.