Behind the Headlines


Behind the Headlines: Schools ordered to close because of COVID-19

Board of Education's Todd Collins and Shounak Dharap discuss decision to shut schools for weeks
Palo Alto Unified's decision to close schools for one month to slow the spread of coronavirus is the topic of this webcast with school board President Todd Collins and Vice President Shounak Dharap.

March 13, 2020 | 33 comments
Behind the Headlines: Impact of the coronavirus

Disease is impacting daily life on the Peninsula, from schools to theaters
With the number of coronavirus cases rising tenfold in Santa Clara County, Weekly journalists talk about what public health departments and other agencies are doing to keep the virus from spreading.

March 6, 2020 | 17 comments
Behind the Headlines: Critical juncture at auditor's office

Retired city auditor: Move would create a system without proper oversight
The City Council is preparing to outsource the city auditor position. Former City Auditor Sharon Erickson doesn't think it's a wise move.

February 28, 2020 | 3 comments
Behind the Headlines: Exploring the art of trees

Palo Alto Art Center Director Karen Kienzle talks about an exhibit featuring 20 artists whose work offers various interpretations on the significance of trees. She also discusses the center's unique programs to help foster creativity.

February 21, 2020 | No comments yet
Behind the Headlines: A playground for all

Two women behind Magical Bridge playground discuss growing momentum of innovative physical space
Magical Bridge playground co-founders Olenka Steciw Villarreal and Jill Hoffspiegel Asher discuss how their universal playground redefines what it means to play.

February 14, 2020 | 1 comment
Behind the Headlines: Teens tackle sexual assault

Paly seniors leading group of students working to minimize jokes on sensitive topic
Palo Alto High School seniors Alexa Alami and Katherine Buecheler talk about their new student-advocacy group and the importance of education on consent, healthy relationships and sexual violence.

February 7, 2020 | No comments yet
Behind the Headlines: New plans for Ventura

Proposal for area around Fry's Electronics will be refined in the coming months
Dramatic proposals to redevelop a 60-acre site in the Ventura neighborhood are stirring hopes and anxieties among its residents and other Palo Altans.

January 31, 2020 | No comments yet
Behind the Headlines: Mike Price's big idea

Palo Alto man explains proposal for Churchill Avenue rail intersection to alleviate traffic once Caltrain increases service
Southgate resident Mike Price discusses his proposal to improve the Churchill Avenue rail crossing by building a road underpass -- an idea that received a boost from the City Council last Tuesday.

January 24, 2020 | 4 comments
Behind the Headlines: A tidal phenomenon

King tides can rise up to 9 feet, more than 2 feet higher than the average tide
City Naturalist Corinne DeBra speaks with Weekly staff about how king tides occur and how the local flora and fauna are impacted. Another round of these tides is expected on Feb. 9.

January 17, 2020 | No comments yet
Behind the Headlines: Inside nonpublic schools

Local parents say schools offer flexibility, individualized attention for most vulnerable students
Jody Miller, head of Esther B. Clark School at the Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, talks about why nonpublic schools exist and the unique ways in which they serve students with special needs.

January 10, 2020 | No comments yet
Behind the Headlines: The highs and lows of 2019 film

A roundup of the year's most notable movies and performances
Weekly film critic Peter Canavese and Tim Sika, host/producer of the radio show Celluloid Dreams, share their lists of 2019's best films and the movies worth seeing in theaters.

January 3, 2020 | No comments yet


Year in Review

A look back at the defining stories, individuals, trends and phrases of 2019
Weekly journalists wrap up 2019 by recapping the biggest news and the most surprising trends of the year -- and the decade.

December 27, 2019 | No comments yet
Podcast: Fixing commissions; Middle school math

City exploring changes on how its boards function; Palo Alto Unified to roll out redesign of mathematics
Weekly journalists discuss Palo Alto's effort to reform its commission system and a proposal to dramatically shift how math is taught in Palo Alto middle schools.

December 13, 2019 | 1 comment
Rising wildfire risks

Organizations are taking steps to reduce the danger
Fire agencies warn that the Santa Cruz Mountains could produce a large-scale blaze, similar to recent wildfires in the north bay, under the right conditions.

December 6, 2019 | 2 comments
Holiday entertainment highlights

Concerts, shows, dance performances and more experiences in store on the Midpeninsula
Palo Alto Weekly Associate Editor Linda Taaffe chats with music writer Yoshi Kato and Arts and Entertainment Editor Karla Kane about the many upcoming holiday-themed performances and events on the Midpeninsula this season.

November 29, 2019 | No comments yet
The Churchill dilemma

Improving safety at intersection is key consideration in grade-separation project
Should Palo Alto close Churchill Avenue to cars near the railroad tracks as part of a broader plan to redesign the rail corridor? Weekly staff dive into this question, which has pitted neighborhoods against each other.

November 22, 2019 | 23 comments
Debate over Foothills Park

Proposal to expand access at open space heads to City Council
Ryan McCauley, a member of Palo Alto's Parks and Recreation Commission, talks about a new proposal to open up the city's pristine and exclusive Foothills Park to non-residents.

November 15, 2019 | 14 comments
Stanford's plan hits dead end

Journalists discuss how Stanford University's bid to expand its campus came undone
Palo Alto Weekly reporter Gennady Sheyner, Editor Jocelyn Dong and Publisher Bill Johnson discuss why Stanford University on Nov. 1 withdrew its ambitious application to expand development on campus.

November 8, 2019 | No comments yet
Talking transportation

New Palo Alto official discusses upcoming initiatives including bike-share program
Philip Kamhi, Palo Alto's newly hired chief transportation official, talks to the Weekly about the city's plans to revamp its parking policies and launch a scooter-share program, among other projects.

October 25, 2019 | 17 comments
Woman breaks silence about Harvey Weinstein

After 21 years, Rowena Chiu goes public with her story against film mogul
Palo Alto resident Rowena Chiu, who says movie mogul Harvey Weinstein attempted to rape her when she was his assistant in 1998, speaks about her decision to come forward.

October 18, 2019 | No comments yet
Reflecting on Palo Alto

Residents share memories of their hometown and thoughts on what has changed
As the Palo Alto Weekly celebrates its 40th anniversary, we highlight work by the editorial staff to commemorate the milestone, including a project titled "When I think of Palo Alto, I think of ..."

October 11, 2019 | No comments yet
Vaping's rise and risks

Devices can easily appear as fitness trackers, smartwatches
Kyle Greenman of Adolescent Counseling Services' Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, discusses the growing prevalence of vaping among local teens and what parents, school employees and public officials should know about the phenomenon.

October 4, 2019 | 1 comment
How one school went phone-free

San Mateo High Assistant Principal Adam Gelb explains steps administrators took to roll out new policy
San Mateo High Assistant Principal Adam Gelb talks with education reporter Elena Kadvany about the school's decision to prohibit cellphones during school hours.

September 27, 2019 | No comments yet
A hospital for the future

Dr. George Tingwald calls Stanford project a 'huge transformation' for institution
Dr. George Tingwald, medical planning director for Stanford Health Care, gives an overview of what's inside the new Stanford Hospital and gives insight into the planning involved to help the institution deliver top-notch medical care.

September 13, 2019 | 1 comment
Staying heart healthy

One of the nation's first cardiac therapy programs running out of Palo Alto helps members through rehabilitation
Robin Wedell, director of the HeartFit for Life program, joins Weekly staff to give an overview of the program's cardiac therapy service as the organization approaches its 50th anniversary.

September 6, 2019 | No comments yet
Reimagining Ventura

Former City Councilwoman Gail Price gives insight into planning effort for 60 acres
Former Palo Alto City Councilwoman Gail Price joins Weekly staff for a discussion about the goals, challenges and latest complications in Palo Alto's effort to craft a vision for the Ventura neighborhood.

August 30, 2019 | 3 comments
The state of the Ravenswood school board

At retreat, two longer-serving members say they've felt dismissed by new leadership
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss tensions between Ravenswood City School District board members and the implications for a district in transition.

August 23, 2019 | 3 comments
Palo Alto's superintendent, one year in

Don Austin details goals for the district, differing timelines to redevelop Cubbberley Community Center
Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Don Austin joins Weekly journalists to discuss his vision for the district and upcoming issues for the new school year.

August 16, 2019 | No comments yet
The story of Glory

One of East Palo Alto's last bastions of affordable housing set to close by 2020
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the potential closure of Glory mobile home park in East Palo Alto, which housing advocates argue would remove needed low-income housing from the city.

August 9, 2019 | No comments yet
The rise of pickleball

USA Pickleball Association ambassador looks at local popularity of paddle sport
Monica Williams, president of the Palo Alto Pickleball Club, joins Weekly staff for a discussion about the city's fastest growing sport, pickleball, and ongoing efforts to build more courts and attract more players.

August 2, 2019 | No comments yet
The power of ketamine

Local psychiatrist has administered more than 1,000 infusions of drug to patients, 87% of whom have seen significant improvements
Palo Alto psychiatrist Rameen Ghorieshi joins Weekly journalists to discuss the potential of ketamine to treat severely depressed patients, who have seen remarkable results.

July 26, 2019 | 1 comment
Meet the Peninsula Foodist

Food blogger and editor Elena Kadvany talks about the rise of food journalism and the role of diverse cuisines in the fabric of Silicon Valley life
Meet the Peninsula Foodist, aka Weekly education reporter Elena Kadvany. On July 17, she launched a new e-newsletter covering the Peninsula dining scene, from parking-lot food stands to Michelin-starred restaurants.

July 19, 2019 | No comments yet
Who are the RV dwellers?

Reporters share their experiences of interviewing people living in controversial vehicles
Weekly journalists discuss the diverse community of people living in recreational vehicles along El Camino Real and the various circumstances that brought them there.

July 12, 2019 | 13 comments
On the trail of a killer

John Arthur Getreu is accused of killing two women found dead on Stanford property in the 1970s
Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss the cases against John Arthur Getreu, 74, a convicted killer and rapist who is charged with two murders of young women on Stanford University land in the 1970s.

June 21, 2019 | No comments yet
The plastic ban; Hacker sentenced

A reporters roundtable on the week's top headlines
Weekly journalists break down Palo Alto's new ban on plastic straws and produce bags and recap this week's sentencing of Ross Colby, who in 2015 hacked into and temporarily took down Palo Alto Online and its four sister websites.

June 14, 2019 | No comments yet
Housing at Cubberley?

Proposal for dilapidating campus sparks passionate debate
Palo Alto Weekly staff delve into a divisive proposal to build housing at Cubberley Community Center as part of a redevelopment project at the aged campus.

June 7, 2019 | No comments yet
Growing concerns over Stanford's expansion

University seeks county's approval of application to build academic space, housing
Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian joins Weekly staff to highlight the key areas of contention around Stanford University's ambitious expansion plan, which is facing increasing scrutiny from local leaders and Stanford students.

May 31, 2019 | No comments yet
Students speak out 2019

Board of Education representatives for Paly, Gunn High share views on post-high school plans, college admissions scam
High school students Claire Cheng, Caroline Furrier, Ben Gordon and Arjun Prabhaker discuss issues impacting students in Palo Alto with education reporter Elena Kadvany.

May 24, 2019 | No comments yet
RV parking program takes off

Alicia Garcia of the nonprofit Project WeHope talks about East Palo Alto's pioneering new Safe Lot program, which is giving people living in their RVs a safe place to park overnight, along with offering them critical services.

May 17, 2019 | 14 comments
Conflict over Stanford-expansion process

Palo Alto Weekly journalists explain recent and controversial developments in Stanford University's application process under the county of Santa Clara.

May 10, 2019 | No comments yet
Preventing the next creek-flood disaster

Palo Alto resident Tom Rindfleisch discusses long-awaited recommendations on how to keep the San Francisquito Creek from overflowing its banks and flooding streets and homes. Palo Alto Weekly journalists Jocelyn Dong and Gennady Sheyner join him for the conversation.

May 3, 2019 | No comments yet
Recycling at the crossroads

Phil Bobel, Palo Alto's assistant director of Public Works, talks about the uncertainty facing the city's recycling operation since China has become unwilling to buy recycled items that are considered "contaminated."

April 12, 2019 | 2 comments
State bills on housing

Three California bills aimed at creating housing opportunities -- AB 302, SB 4 and SB 50 -- are discussed by Palo Alto Weekly journalists.

April 5, 2019 | No comments yet
Debate over SB 50

Palo Alto Vice Mayor Adrian Fine and Greer Stone, vice chair of the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, join Weekly journalists for a discussion of state Senate Bill 50, a contentious legislative proposal that seeks to increase housing construction in transit-friendly and jobs-rich areas.

March 29, 2019 | 5 comments
The charter school challenge

Weekly journalists discuss what the rapid rise of charter schools means for traditional school districts, including the K-8 Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto.

March 22, 2019 | No comments yet
Unpacking the college admissions bribery scandal

Palo Alto college adviser John Raftrey discusses with Weekly journalists the implications of a multimillion-dollar nationwide admissions bribery scandal.

March 15, 2019 | 6 comments
Mayor pushes back on SB50

Palo Alto Mayor Eric Filseth discusses with the Weekly his concerns with Senate Bill 50, which aims to boost California's housing stock, and his own ideas for addressing the state's housing shortage.

March 8, 2019 | 18 comments
Ravenswood upheaval; VTA's new bus plan

Weekly journalists discuss the leadership battle at Ravenswood City School District, where the schools superintendent was just placed on leave, and explain why Palo Alto is so frustrated with Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's latest bus plan.

March 1, 2019 | No comments yet
Shedding light on region's black pioneers

San Jose author Jan Batiste Adkins talks about the struggles and successes of Santa Clara County's early African-Americans featured in her new book "African Americans of San Jose and Santa Clara County."

February 22, 2019 | No comments yet
Charter school expansion debate; downtown office cap repealed

Weekly journalists delve into the Ravenswood City School District debate over a charter school's expansion proposal; recap Palo Alto's move to allow more commercial development downtown; and discuss Gov. Gavin Newsom's new vision for California's high-speed-rail project.

February 15, 2019 | 2 comments
The new Cubberley

Palo Alto City Councilwoman Alison Cormack joins Weekly journalists for a discussion about the community effort to create a new vision for Cubberley Community Center.

February 8, 2019 | No comments yet
The dilemma of deception

When a loved one has dementia, is it act of kindness to tell them a lie? "Behind the Headlines" guest Barton Bernstein, a caregiver for his wife and an emeritus history professor at Stanford University, talks about the ethics of what some call "compassionate deception."

February 1, 2019 | No comments yet
Building affordable housing

Palo Alto Housing CEO discusses projects, state of home construction in region
Randy Tsuda, CEO and president of the nonprofit Palo Alto Housing, talks about the recently approved 59-apartment Wilton Court project in Palo Alto and the challenges and opportunities for solving the Bay Area's housing crisis.

January 25, 2019 | 7 comments
Restaurant critic retires

Seasoned reviewer bids farewell
Longtime critic Dale Bentson looks back on 18 years of reviewing restaurants for Embarcadero Media.

January 18, 2019 | No comments yet
Nonprofit's plans for Animal Shelter

Pets In Need set to take over operations in February
Al Mollica, executive director of the nonprofit Pets In Needs, talks about what Palo Alto pet owners can expect once the organization takes over operations of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter in February.

January 11, 2019 | No comments yet
Best movies of 2018

A roundup of the best films from the year
Palo Alto Weekly film critic Peter Canavese and Tim Sika, host/producer of the radio show Celluloid Dreams, review their picks for the top 10 movies of 2018 with Weekly Editor Jocelyn Dong.

January 4, 2019 | No comments yet

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