In the latest Around Town column, read news about an event that drew both humans and robots to the Winter Lodge ice rink, disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes' recent birth to her second child and an upcoming meeting on a planned gym in Palo Alto.
TECH ON ICE ... The Silicon Valley Ice Skating Association held its third annual Robots on Ice event at the Winter Lodge in Palo Alto on Feb. 26. The event drew more than 150 participants of all ages to watch synchronized skaters perform, interact with humanoid robots, drive remote-controlled model cars and see a diverse bunch of robots make their way across the ice rink.
Palo Alto City Council member Greg Tanaka spoke at the event. He described the importance of learning science, technology, engineering and math at a young age, and shared stories about his own family.
Sarah Feldman, the co-founder of the Silicon Valley Ice Skating Association and Robots on Ice, said she was pleased with how the event turned out. "I hope people had a great time," she said, "and hopefully young kids were inspired to go pursue careers in STEM." She said the Robots on Ice event was designed to combine technology and ice rinks in an exciting, joyful way, with both human and robot performances for attendees to enjoy.
Rover robots skidded through doughnut maneuvers, carefully engineered four-legged robots trotted carefully across the rink and some robots got on the ice and toppled over, just like humans tend to do. "I really hope that people learned something about STEM, something that would bring them joy and cause them to be curious, create something for next year's event or find a new hobby for themselves," Feldman said.
A MOTHER OF TWO ... A federal court document filed Feb. 23 has revealed that Elizabeth Holmes, former Theranos CEO convicted of defrauding investors, recently gave birth to her second child and is seeking to delay the start of her prison sentence.
In a motion for release pending appeal, Holmes' attorneys argued that she isn't a flight risk given "her toddler and infant, her partner, her aging parents, her brother, and her partner's parents and siblings — are all in the United States." The court document doesn't provide further details on the second child, such as when the baby was born. Her next court hearing is scheduled for March 17 before Judge Edward Davila at the federal courthouse in San Jose.
Holmes, who turned 39 years old in early February, is currently scheduled to enter federal custody on April 27. Last year, she was sentenced to 11 years and three months in prison for four counts of wire fraud committed while CEO of the blood testing company that was based in Palo Alto.
"Unsurprisingly, after a complex trial, there are many such issues here, any one of which — if resolved in Ms. Holmes' favor — would require a new trial," the Feb. 23 court filing states.
Theranos disbanded in 2018, months after Holmes was indicted by a federal grand jury. In an earlier motion filed after her sentencing, Holmes' lawyers sought their client be kept free until a higher court looks over the outcome of her trial.
HAVE YOUR SAY ... The public can learn more about Palo Alto's proposed Recreation Wellness Center at a community meeting that will be hosted by the city on March 7.
The facility was first pitched by the Parks and Recreation Commission in late 2021 and soon after drew the interest of developer John Arrillaga, who offered $30 million for the project. The donation seemed too good to be true, but ultimately didn't materialize before the philanthropist died in January 2022. Despite this, the city remains committed to building the facility with support from private donors.
Tuesday's meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Mitchell Park Community Center at 3700 Middlefield Road, where city staff plan to cover the proposed gym's location, amenities and programs. For more information, visit cityofpaloalto.org.