AIRSICK ... The call came from the cockpit: "Is there a doctor or a nurse on the plane?" No response. The pilot tried again. "Is there anyone on the plane with medical training?" This time, the pilot lucked out. Palo Alto Fire Chief Eric Nickel, who was on his way back from Chicago last month, sprung into action. The victim, he said, appeared extremely sick, possibly with stomach problems. Two of the three flight attendants were new to their positions, and the plane's medical equipment, which is generally used on heart-attack victims, offered little assistance. Nickel, who worked for 13 years as a paramedic, assessed the victim and checked her vital signs every 10 minutes. Ultimately, he and the crew decided that the plane needed to land so that the victim could go to the hospital, where Nickel said she stayed for two days. On Monday, City Manager James Keene mentioned Nickel's flight heroics during the City Council meeting and read aloud the letter the city received from American Airlines expressing gratitude to Nickel. "Without a doubt, you greatly improved a difficult situation," it stated. The letter also came with a free-transportation voucher, which Nickel promptly handed over to the City Clerk's Office, Keene said.
WRITE ON! ... Recent Palo Alto High School graduate Elana Loeb was one of nine teen playwrights chosen by The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in its 2013 VSA Playwrights Discovery Award Program. Elana described her play, "Sertraline Lullabies," as a conversation between two teenagers waiting in a hospital parking lot while their friend, who's just had a suicide attempt, is inside. She wrote the play last year as part of the annual Palo Alto Theatreworks Young Playwrights Project. Now a freshman at Cornell University, Elana describes herself as "a big sister, a singer-songwriter, and an avid Shakespearean."
IN OUR RIGHT MINDS? ... You'd have to be "out of your mind to live in Palo Alto," Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp told Tim Wu of the New York Times in a design profile of Karp's recently renovated Brooklyn loft, which tends toward "ancient bricks, weathered concrete, blackened steel and reclaimed oak" with few high-tech gadgets in sight. The 27-year-old Karp sold Tumblr to Yahoo for $1.1 billion in June. Wu argues that "New York tech has more style than its West Coast counterpart," quoting former Google executive Andrew Mclaughlin, now senior vice president at New York's Betaworks. "New York takes authenticity very seriously," while "the West Coast doesn't give a damn," McLaughlin told Wu. "The West Coast thing is to destroy what came before," while New York is "layering and working with what's here already."
PEACE IN A POD ... Things got political during a sunny ribbon-cutting ceremony to christen a Palo Alto stop for RidePal, a ridesharing startup that offers a Google-like bus for commuters. With tongue thoroughly in cheek, CEO Natalie Criou opened her speech with "I want to talk about world peace — just kidding." Mayor Greg Scharff later spoke but with an opening that was less tongue than cheeky: "My name is Greg Scharff, and I do want to talk about world peace," he said. Scharff referred to "a civil war" between Palo Alto's pro-development forces and the "residentialist" folks who want to preserve a small-town feel. "This service takes cars off the road and allows for more growth," he said, continuing that traffic is the main impediment for expansion. "You're allowing Silicon Valley to grow — thanks for that."