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Peninsula Happenings, June 16

Homeowner Vince Lal, left, and Mayor Kirsten Keith, second from right, pose with two GRID Alternatives volunteers while the nonprofit installs a solar system on Lal’s home June 10, 2017, in Menlo Park. GRID installed nine systems for needy families in the Belle Haven neighborhood over the weekend with financial support from Facebook. (GRID Alternatives)


• The Palo Alto/Peninsula branch of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, “in solidarity with the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb” organized by the league in New York City for Saturday, plans events in Palo Alto and in Los Altos. According to a statement by the local group, “The events are in support of the resumption of the U.N. negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons.” The first event, said spokeswoman Judy Adams, is a “peaceful sidewalk protest” at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto, from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The second event is from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Orchard Room of the Los Altos Public Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. It features a screening of the film “The Nuclear Requiem.” The event is free. For information, email

• Fijian cuisine will be on the menu at the Menlo Park Library (800 Alma Street) when Chef Saras Rao hosts a free demonstration in the downstairs program room from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. At the event, titled “Indian Food from the Fiji Islands,” Rao will discuss India’s influence on cuisine in Fiji and demonstrate how to make a pair of curries and a chutney and let attendees sample them. No pre-registration is necessary, but seating is limited. For more information, visit or contact John Weaver at 650-330-2501 or

• Menlo Park will hold its first-ever Community Emergency Drill from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 24 at Fremont Park (Santa Cruz Avenue and University Drive). The drill, titled “Neighbors Helping Neighbors,” is organized by the Menlo Park Fire Protection District’s Community Crisis Management Team, in cooperation with the city of Menlo Park and the Menlo Park Police Department. Residents who attend will learn more about emergency response and how the district’s Community Emergency Response Team and equipment are used to assist in emergencies. The aim is to better prepare Menlo Park residents in case of a disaster and to improve collaboration between the city, first responders and volunteers during a major emergency. For more information or to RSVP for the free event, visit

• The Los Altos Police Department plans a Coffee with a Cop event on Friday, June 30, from 10 a.m. till noon at Starbucks, 296 Main St., Los Altos. The event “has no agendas or planned speeches,” according to a press release. “This is your opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers serving your neighborhood and community. All are welcome and coffee is on us. Questions? Call 650-947-2770.


• The SamTrans board of directors unanimously approved operating and capital budgets for the 2018 fiscal year that begins July 1, the transit agency announced June 8. The operating budget of $147 million is an increase over the previous year and requires the use of $5.4 million in reserve funds to bridge the gap. In a news release, SamTrans said that if that trend continues, the reserves could be depleted in about five years. The capital budget of $16 million includes funding for the purchase, operation and maintenance of 10 fully electric buses, the first in its fleet; a Traffic Signal Priority system for buses traveling on El Camino Real in San Mateo County; bus safety improvements; and new software to better understand and anticipate ridership trends.

• The San Mateo County Transportation Authority board of directors approved the 2018 fiscal year budget that begins July 1, it announced June 2. The $86.8 million budget, which was approved June 1, includes $23.3 million set aside for streets and highways in San Mateo County; $12.7 million for grade separation projects; $3.4 million for shuttle operations; and $6.8 million for Caltrain capital investments. It also contains $30.9 million in funds earmarked for SFO BART extension, SamTrans paratransit services and Caltrain operations, as well as to county cities for improvement and maintenance of the local transportation network. The authority administers Measure A, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax that was first approved in 1988.


Gregory Amato

• Gregory Amato, of Burlingame, has been named artistic director of the Peninsula Ballet Theatre and Conservatory, effective July 1. He is to be responsible for the artistic direction of the theater and developing the conservatory curriculum. Amato was a founding member of Miami City Ballet and assisted Michael Smuin with the creation of Smuin Ballet. “His personal highlight,” according to a press release, was being a featured dancer at Carnegie Hall for the celebration of the 100th birthday of George Gershwin. Founded in 1967, the Peninsula Ballet Theatre is the second oldest professional ballet company in the Bay Area. Its conservatory opened in 2010 at 1880 S. Grant St., San Mateo. For more information, see


• The Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA is offering a free Animal Camp to children 9-12 years old who live in East Palo Alto and surrounding areas, July 3 through July 7. (No camp on July 4.) “For years we’ve held our Animal Camps at our shelter, but realized many children may not be able to make it to our shelter every day, so we have taken the camp on the road to the East Palo Alto area,” said PHS/SPCA Communications Manager Buffy Martin Tarbox. Children can learn about animal welfare, interact with animals and make pet toys. The camp will be held at Willow Oaks School, 620 Willow Road, Menlo Park. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis, and is limited to 20 students. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day. Each camper will need to bring a brown bag lunch, but snacks and drinks will be provided. To apply, visit or call Kylynn Pelkey at 650-340-7022, ext. 369.

• Foothill College in Los Altos Hills is offering STEM camps through July 20, a continuation of a program begun in 2013. The camp offers “interactive experiences in up-to-the-minute tech, taught by faculty and industry professionals. Subjects run the gamut from Roller Coaster Science to Nanotechnology, 3D Printing, Arduino, and Virtual Reality,” according to a press release. The courses run Mondays through Thursdays. Foothill College Campus, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. Cost is $195 per session. For more information, visit