For the first time since its founding in 1957, the district is moving away from at-large elections, in which voters across the district pick all five trustees, to an area-based system.
The trustees voted 4-1 on Monday to approve a map that draws trustee areas based on underlying city boundaries and voted by the same margin to create the order in which each region will come up for a vote. Gilbert Wong cast the lone dissenting vote on both motions.
— Zoe Morgan
COVID cases decline in schools as omicron surge subsides
The number of COVID-19 cases in the Palo Alto Unified School District continues to drop substantially as the omicron wave subsides, although infection rates are still above what was seen last semester.
Last week, 38 students and four staff members tested positive, according to the district's online data dashboard. That's down dramatically from a peak of 227 students and 41 staff members who tested positive during the second week of January.
The district updates its COVID-19 case data on Tuesdays for the prior week.
Since the high point in January, COVID-19 cases in local schools have been consistently declining each week. That's in line with what's been seen more broadly, with cases in Santa Clara County also plummeting.
Despite conditions improving, more cases were still recorded last week in Palo Alto schools than in any seven-day period the previous semester. Before the omicron variant took hold, the district saw at most 11 students test positive in a single week this school year, according to the online dashboard.
With cases dropping, California has lifted its indoor mask requirement in most settings for those who are vaccinated, but continues to require masking at K-12 schools. Santa Clara County has kept its mask order in place for the time being.
As for wearing masks outdoors, Palo Alto Unified dropped its own outside face covering requirement earlier this month.
— Zoe Morgan
Police arrest man with $500 worth of allegedly stolen bras under his clothes
A sharp-eyed Victoria's Secret worker at Stanford Shopping Center helped to nab two people from southern California who police say stole $18,000 worth of merchandise from various stores in an organized retail theft operation.
Shoplifting is considered "organized retail theft" under California penal code when merchandise is stolen from one or more retailers with the intent to sell, exchange or return the merchandise for value.
Palo Alto police at 6:43 p.m. on Feb. 10 received a call reporting in-progress shoplifting at the Victoria's Secret store at the shopping center at 180 El Camino Real, according to a department press release.
A store employee told police a man was stuffing merchandise down his pants to conceal it as he appeared to shop with a female accomplice.
Police said the pair then left the store without paying for the items and went to their vehicle. A store employee followed them.
Police officers were able to detain the pair, a 59-year-old man from Van Nuys and 62-year-old woman from North Hollywood, in their vehicle without incident.
Investigators determined the man shoplifted more than $500 worth of bras from Victoria's Secret.
Following a search of the vehicle, police located several trash bags filled with suspected stolen property. Police said there were almost 400 separate pieces of name-brand clothing from Express, Hollister and J. Crew valued at more than $18,000 recovered.
The pair were arrested on suspicion of organized retail theft, felony possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools, according to police. The penalty for one count of organized retail theft is one year in county jail, according to California penal code.
— Bay City News Service
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