School has started again, and this year excitement is heightened compared to past years. Barron Park is very lucky to have two schools in our neighborhood, so changes have double the impact. This year the first grades have been reduced in size to 20 students as a part of a state grant of $650 per student with class sizes of 20 or less. It wasn't easy to find the space in either school but it was done. This program is planned to expand to the second and third grades as well.
In addition to these changes, both schools have new principals. During the next few years, rebuilding and remodeling will begin. It will be difficult to manage all of these changes, but there are definite advantages which makes all of this worthwhile.
A special note about one of those other issues which is a traditional one this time of year. With school starting, it is an important time to remember traffic safety laws. When driving a car, most people seem to focus on other cars -- not bicyclers and walkers. Driving at the posted speeds in our neighborhood is especially important because of our two elementary schools, and because of the school traffic we receive from Gunn and JL Stanford students.
If you are a parent of a student, please consider car pooling, or better yet, walking or biking in groups. Traffic at all Palo Alto schools has been increasing the last few years because of parents' fear for their children being out in all that traffic. This, of course, has compounded the problem. Bike pooling or walk pooling can be a very affective way to change this trend. It also teaches our children that it is not necessary to drive a car to every destination.
The creek bypass project is complete, and this fall re-vegetation will be completed, giving us back a wonderful resource that has been missing for a few years.
Sorry to say that this is not the end of projects in the Barron Park area. Soon the storm sewer project will begin and many of our streets will be dug up so that new pipes can be laid. The good news is that many of the "ponding" problems we have experienced for years in some areas will now be fixed.
Please email me.
Palo Alto Disaster Preparedness
Representatives from the BPA Emergency Preparedness Committee attended the July 11, 1996 meeting of the Neighborhood Organizations' Disaster Preparedness Steering Committee. Copies of a draft of the City of Palo Alto Emergency Management Plan were distributed for review. The BPA representatives reviewed the plan and sent their comments and suggestions to the Palo Alto Fire Department.
Barron Park Neighborhood Survey
The Barron Park Association will distribute a survey asking which resources, equipment, skills and services you have available for use during any major emergency in your neighborhood. Your response will help in the planning and implementation of emergency procedures.
Surface Drainage Flooding Remedy
After construction of the culvert of Phase V of the flood control project, the contractor, in conjunction with the School District, prepared three levels of drainage ditches which follow the contours of the slopes around Strawberry Hill facing the Barron Park neighborhood. These ditches will drain excess water from any heavy rainfall into the culberts. If the system operates as planned, residences on parts of El Cerrito Road, McGregor Way and Paradise Way should not experience flooding from surface drainage from the Gunn High School property.
As many of us have noticed, things are much quieter at Bol Park these days!
Now that the construction of the phase V Matadero Creek bypass is complete, the next phase of work will be devoted to planting the area with native grasses, shrubs and trees. Three members of the Revegetation Committee met with the Santa Clara County Water District (SCCWD) to finalize and make some changes in the planting plans. Now that the plans are finished and satisfy our requirements for an aesthetic native plant environment, the plants are being purchased and the plantings will begin on October 1st.
The SCCWD told the Committee members this process ought to take about two months. The planting was delayed until October because the imminent winter rains will help increase the survival rate of all the plants. A contractor for the SCCWD will do this work but four areas will be planted by any interested volunteers.
There will be two areas of native perennial flowers, one of native flowering shrubs and a native bulb garden, all planned to give colorful displays nearly year round.
The native bulb garden will be dedicated to Jack Paddock who died this summer. He contributed greatly to our community by volunteering his time to a wide range of needs. People who would like to donate funds for the bulb purchases and/or help plant the bulb garden can call Inge Harding-Barlow at 493-8146 to express their interest in participation.
For participation in the other "highlight" areas of the revegetation, please call Jill Beckett at 494-6922, or Inge Harding-Barlow, or Doug Graham at 493-0689.
Barron Park artist Edith Smith is exhibiting paintings and prints in a solo show at the Koret Gallery, A.L.S. Jewish Community Center, 655 Arastradero Rd., Palo Alto, from September 29 through November 1. Entitled "Bol Park: Past, Present, and Beyond," the exhibit features scenes from Barron Park's Bol Park, Matadero Creek, and the bike path.
It traces the open space scene from the Bol's donkey pasture flanked by the S.P. Railroad tracks, 1969, to the Water District flood control project, 1994, to today's completed bike path and Bol Park.
There are many pictures of Mickey, of the hawks, ground squirrels, mallards, oak trees, Matadero Creek, and vistas familiar to Barron Park residents. You are cordially invited to the opening reception on Sunday, September 29, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Come by foot or bike on our renewed bike path if you wish.
Beginning October 1996, the BPA will be gratefully accepting donations for the care and feeding of Mickey. This will include money to build a storage shed and an automatic watering system, cost of new padlocks, fence repair and on-going monthly costs for food (alfalfa and bran at $45 per month), medications and attention from his farrier and veterinarian. Plus the cost of a companion. Donations can be sent to the general fund or for a specific item. A full list of what we will require and cost estimates will be available starting September 18th. Please contact Inge, 493-8146, if you want to be sent copies. Copies will also be posted on the Kiosk and on
the Internet, on Mickey's Home Page at:
Seeds that can be sown for spring color are Shasta Daisy, Cosmos, Forget-me-not, Blue-helmet, Nasturtium, Alyssum, Poppinjay, Marigold, Lobelia and Calendula.
Take a drive through Barron Park and see all the nice gardens. It seems we have all rallied after the drought and our yards are looking great!
Our committee sent a letter to Mayor Lanie Wheeler regarding the condition of many properties on El Camino Real. She has assured us that over the next few weeks, we will see an improvement in property maintenance. Some of the code violations have been taken care of, and we're starting to see an improvement.
Clara Sharpless -- One of Barron Park's Neighborhood Gems! If you live on Clara's street, you know her! She is the one who welcomed you as soon as you moved in, she is the one you call in an emergency, or who cheerfully waves on her morning walk, and who always has time for a word of encouragement or help with a task. Wife, mother, recent mother-in law, Sunday morning infant care-giver at church, interior designer, project manager for remodels and additions, specialist in assisting the elderly to "downsize," friend and neighbor, "par excellence" ... that's Clara!
Clara Sharpless is also one of the Barron Park Association's most enduring members -- for half of the 32 years she and her husband Bob, (a physicist, who commutes by bike to SRI), have lived here, Clara has served faithfully in various capacities, including Newsletter Editor and Chairwoman of the Beautification Committee.
At Board meetings, Clara brings a designer's perspective to discussions about the impact near-by business development will have on the neighborhood.
Recently, her interest in educating residents to physically maintain and aesthetically improve their landscaping, led her to be an active organizer of our first annual, (we hope!), Spring Beautification Fair. Another of Clara's special missions, as a Board Member, has been to champion the dissemination of information to the community.
Recognizing that not every interested resident can attend BPA monthly Board meetings, (the third Tuesday of the month at 7:15 p.m.), Clara has been instrumental in initiating the mailing of pertinent announcements -- even dipping into her own funds, upon occasion, to insure that ours is an informed community, whose voice is heard at City Hall and at the County level.
Clara and Bob Sharpless have many close ties in Barron Park, dating back to the days of raising their three children: Leonard, Mary and Larry. Their door is always open -- especially to friends and neighbors in times of loneliness and need. The Sharpless family exemplifies Clara's vision for Barron Park as a supportive community in an often fast-paced, disconnected world.
Please call Will Beckett, President, at 494-6922, if you are interested. Or email him.
His political activism and community service should come as no surprise, since the saga of his American Paddock forebears began in the 1630s and included many generations of whaler captains out of Nantucket MA and later Hudson, NY, all highly visible in community affairs. Jack's great-grandfather helped found Princeton, IL and started their school system and fire department and was very active in civic affairs, being an expert accountant, with great powers of concentration and accuracy and rigid attention to detail. The next generations toured the world, courtesy of Uncle Sam. After World War II, in which Jack was a paratrooper, he took three engineering degrees at Stanford. After teaching at the Naval Post-graduate School in Monterey, in 1961 he settled down on Maybell and his four children attended local schools, including Gunn.
The BPA benefitted richly from Jack's electronic communications skills. He was usually the man behind the scenes for audio and video taping and the PA system for our many meetings at Hoover School and elsewhere. In 1993 he became a Board member and last February was elected Board Treasurer. He served on several BPA committees, including that overseeing the work on the Matadero bypass. In addition, he was deputy county emergency communications coordinator and a Police volunteer at the Ventura substation.
Jack was a keen observer of fauna and greatly loved beautiful flowers and gardens. It is amusing to note that one of his forebears, Thomas Bolles was lured by Governor John Winthrop, from Saco in Maine to New London in Connecticut, by the gift of ten prize English apple trees! Thus as part of the Bol Park revegetation project, the community will be planting several ³highlight² areas, including a native bulb garden at the corner of Matadero and Laguna, which will be a tribute and living memorial to Jack. If you would like to take part in this project, please call Inge at 493-8146. We expect to be planting in mid-October and extra hands, backs and native bulbs would be most welcome.
In addition, we ask that you raise your glasses, filled with a beverage of your choice, while playing a lively tune, such as a Scottish Strathspey, and toast the 75 very productive years of this multi-talented man. We will miss you, KD6ODA, hail, over and out!
Dress up (or down) and bring plenty of neighborliness. Four-footed friends are welcome, also, perhaps wearing bows and bells! PLEASE COME AND JOIN THE COMMITTEE AND GET YOUR NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS INVOLVED TOO!!
On another note, I have been contacted by Sheila Mandoli of Palo Alto Community Child Care (PACCC) for two volunteer needs:
1) Adults to assist incoming freshmen at Palo Alto High with reading skills.
2) Adults to share "Grand parenting" skills with pre-school and primary grade children at schools and child care centers. (Example: reading to children, playing simple games, or enjoying music or sing-a-longs with them.)
If you have time to give to either of these pursuits, it will be much appreciated and you will be rewarded with the knowledge that you shared yourself -- the best gift of all.
Contact Sheila at PACCC, 493-2361.
'Till next time -- Katie
A copy shop will be the new tenant for Polly and Jakes, most recently Firehouse West. Hollywood Video plans to demolish the former La Cumbere building at 3901 El Camino and build a new 7000 square foot video rental store. The initial design of the building was rejected by the Architectural Review Board. Another proposal was submitted for review early in September.
Dinah's plans for a new restaurant with underground parking were approved early this year but construction still has not begun.
The Palo Alto Hyatt is being renovated to add more rooms and enhance the meeting space, and soon will reopen as a hotel.
A proposal for 48 units of rental housing at Rudolfo's is being pursued actively. The site, including the veterinarian building, was sold to a developer who plans to build rental housing. Some BPA Board members met with the developer several times to review and discuss his plans and designs. A number of suggestions were made to improve the appearance of the design and to make the project more compatible with the neighborhood. Some were adopted, and others may be as the project moves forward. The junk car which had been sitting in the Rudolfo's lot for many months was finally hauled away. The registered owner lives in Weed, and had no interest in the car or any potential costs to move it, so it was sent off for scrap.
For years the sign and property maintenance requirements for El Camino were not enforced, mainly because of concerns about impacts to businesses due to the Phase IV Matadero Creek construction and loss of curbside parking. Since construction was completed early in March the relaxed enforcement of signs and other issues is changing to more vigorous and pro-active enforcement. City staff began active enforcement of ordinances in June, and is continuing until the problems are resolved successfully.
A number of merchants were contacted by City staff and asked to remove improper and illegal signs. Most cooperated, but not all. Several merchants are resisting, and will not comply with the sign ordinances willingly. The rug and antique dealer who moved into the auto parts store next to Happy Donuts insists on displaying illegal signs, including an A-frame sign that was placed on the roof of a car in front of the store as recently as Labor Day weekend. We asked for vigorous enforcement of the sign ordinance and any other applicable laws in an effort to improve El Camino and other streets. It is only fair that all merchants and property owners honor the laws and regulations equally.
Neighbors of Walgreens who live on Interdale and in Barron Square are complaining about several aspects of store operations and appearance. There may be one more external illuminated sign than was approved by the City. Interior lights spill out of the store windows and shine into homes across Maybell. The external signs apparently are left on past the required 11 p.m. limit for extinguishing the illumination. The concerns have been raised with City staff and Walgreens, with hopes for corrective actions soon.
For a different look, check out the driveway at 3685 Laguna. It took almost 3 weeks to piece together, but it's finished and looks rather nice. Very creative.
The tight housing market is having a major impact on teardowns and remodelling. Last month business for building permits and plan checks was so heavy that there were as many as 16 people in the Planning office at once, getting plans reviewed and approved. A number of houses are being removed, to be replaced with large, very expensive new homes. In the last few weeks homes on Encina Grande, La Para, Los Robles and Amaranta were removed and are being replaced.
One remaining problem is the lack of log mazes where the bike path meets Matadero. They have not been replaced yet, resulting in cyclists often speeding across Matadero with no regard for auto cross-traffic. Lack of the mazes also can allow motor bikes and motorcycles onto the bike path where they will be a noisy nuisance.
SCVWD, the BPA and the City of Palo Alto will sponsor a rededication party in Bol Park after the project is completed.
The library is holding a series of focus groups to help plan the short and long term future of Palo Alto libraries. I participated with 14 others in the August 17 group at Terman. We were asked to list things we liked and disliked about the libraries, and create a vision for 2010 and for 1999.
Likes, included wide choice of books, access from home computers, Children's Library, community support for libraries, helpful librarians, existence of Terman and the convenient location, computer terminals libraries for internet access, availability of Russian and Spanish books at Mitchell Park, number of branches, and many more.
Dislikes, included no Terman Internet access, hours too short, discrepancy of book choices between Terman and other branches,. Terman is not open early one morning or late one evening, not enough copies in circulation of some popular books, and many more.
Goals for 2010 included: libraries will serve as a community center, support of libraries will be fixed in the budget, books will continue to exist and not be replaced by computers, attract more young children, more efficient technology, deliver books to rest homes and shut-ins, get information in many ways such as CD-ROM, multi-media, etc., and many more.
Goals for 1999 were limited to no more than 5, selected by vote from 19 suggestions. They are keep Terman open and improve the facility, replace the computer access system and integrate Terman with other branches, increase library budget and make it a priority, establish libraries as centers of community activities, particularly those not provided elsewhere, and increase collection of books and materials.
Barron Park is unusually rich in streets named for children. For instance;
CARLITOS COURT (runs off Barron Avenue near Hoover School)
One of our Hispanicized names, it commemorates a child, Charles or "Chuckie" who died in 1951 at the age of two. He was the grandson of Charles and Agnes Wedde, who built one of the first houses on Barron Avenue in 1928. They sold land for a cul-de-sac development in 1956, with the stipulation that it be named after their grandson. Another grandson still lives in the house today.
Named for the daughter of Frank Meagher who was one of the areas's developers.
A really strange case of Hispanicization, it was named for Jennifer Hill, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Hill, property owners.
SHAUNA LANE (runs off Laguna Avenue)
Named for the daughter of Patty and Don Humphrey, developers of the 1957 Laguna Gardens Tract.
Please email me if you have Barron Park history information or old photos you would like to see reproduced in my upcoming Barron Park history book. -- Thanks, Doug Graham.
Crime activity increased somewhat in the Barron Park area during the summer months. Many of the incidents, including drug arrests and drunk in public, occurred on El Camino Real. Some residential burglaries, bicycles stolen and auto break-ins (phones and/or stereos taken) occurred within Barron Park. In some of these cases, vehicles were not locked. Some car windows were broken and other incidents of vandalism were reported. There were sporadic incidents of graffiti.
Speeding, and running of stop sign violations are ongoing. Drivers around the Pre-School at La Donna and Kendall have been warned by the police. With schools back in session, we should take even better care to drive carefully.
Remember to report graffiti: call the City of Palo Alto GRAFFITI HOTLINE at 496-5904. If a crime is in progress, call 911 immediately. To report past or suspicious events, call the police business number, 329-2413.
If you would like to be a police volunteer, call Eileen Derr at 329-2524.
In the last few years our property maintenance firm has had an increasing number of calls to repair flooding problems, especially on low lying property lots. One of the major culprits of lot flooding is the rain water from your roof. Try these steps to remove this water from your lot.
When you replace your rain gutter system or when you get a new roof, have only aluminum (same price as galvanized steel) or copper gutters installed. Rust proof gutters can be pitched to divert the water to where you want it to go. Old style galvanized steel gutters will probably rust within a few years.
Pitch your gutters toward the part of your house closest to the street, creek, downhill side of your lot, etc.
Don't install six or eight downspouts from your gutters. Use oversize commercial downspouts and use only one or two. Install them at the places where your gutters direct the water to flow to. Let this water run on the downhill side of your lot or to the street.
Rain water in your gutters will run around three right angle bends at most. If you have more bends than this in some section, pitch the gutters to run from the place that you don't want a downspout toward both sides. This way you can move water through six corners by having the water run through three each way.
Make sure that the gutter "drops," which are the funnel-like outlets that let the alter flow out of the gutters, are the same size and shape of the downspouts. A small 1.5 inch round gutter drop leading into a 2x3 inch downspout only lets enough water through to fill less than one-third of the downspout capacity. Your gutters overflow needlessly.
Don't use rectangular elbows. Use round or fluted rectangle downspouts with elbows of rounded corners to avoid blockages.
Don't install any downspouts on the uphill side of your house or in any area where water accumulates or drains under the foundation. Keep these areas free of downspouts. Pitch the gutters away from here.
Direct all downspouts to either pour onto pavement that flows away from your house, empty into a drain pipe or drainage system or to extend several feet from the house.
Use passive drainage systems to remove your rainwater. Dig a trench just a few inches deep, or deeper to pass under sidewalks, etc. Install an inexpensive polystyrene or similar plastic three inch, four inch or, rarely, a six inch, pipe through this trench. Make sure that:
Using this passive drainage system, water will run under sidewalks and obstructions and the force of gravity will actually force the water to rise back up and bubble out of the end of your drainage pipe. Remember, the downspout end has to be higher and the pipe can have no leaks. This passive system is not a sewer line and does not need a plumbing permit.
Clean your gutters and check your downspouts for blockages. We clean the rain gutters for our regular clients twice a year once in the spring to remove winter debris, which also prolongs gutter life and once in the autumn to remove the first autumn leaves and be ready for the rainy season.
Don't install a "French drain" near your house. They easily overload, usually block up with sediment, and always attract termites. Use the passive drainage instead
If your passive drain runs slowly after a few years, put a short jet nozzle on your hose and push it through the pipe. It will unblock in a few minutes.
One last tip: Build a little dirt embankment against your house about three inches high pitching gently away from the house. This stops pooling and diverts water that runs down your walls in a storm.
If you live in Barron Park and have a quick question or two, you can call me at 424-7809 and I'll give you the answers free of charge.
Mystified, I asked "what bowl do you mean?" He replied "You know, the one you keep the donkey in!"
from Pat Muffler
If you wish to become a Barron Park Association Member, email the Membership Chair and I'll fax you a form or,
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