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Community briefs: Tour de Menlo, Allied Arts vintage sale, a neighborhood cleanup and more

Plus, we follow up on the settlement reached between Menlo Park and the Las Lomitas School District after a water main broke twice in 2018 and flooded classrooms.

This week in community briefs: a neighborhood cleanup in Portola Valley, a settlement reached, how to weigh in on a new development and upcoming events to mark on your calendars.

Portola Valley hosts neighborhood cleanup this weekend

Portola Valley is hosting a summer cleanup day on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Town Center, 765 Portola Road. With some exceptions, the program accepts furniture, appliances, construction debris, green waste and electronic equipment that is no longer working.

The exceptions include liquids, tires, oil- or gas-fired space heaters, fuel cans and engine parts, hazardous wastes, green waste that includes poison oak or poison ivy, and large amounts of rock, dirt asphalt or concrete.

The event is free but participants will need to bring a copy of their GreenWaste garbage bill or the mailer insert as proof of residency.

The town notes that the lines were a lot shorter after 10 a.m. at previous events.

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– Angela Swartz

Settlement reached over water damage at middle school

The city of Menlo Park has reached a settlement with the insurance company of the Los Lomitas Elementary School District, the Lexington Insurance Company, after its water main broke in October and November 2018 and caused damages at La Entrada Middle School.

Nine of the 21 classrooms in a brand-new two-story school building were flooded after a water main broke on Oct. 25, 2018. The city of Menlo Park agreed to a $1.05 million settlement to help pay for the damages. Photo by Natalia Nazarova

The October 2018 water main break caused water to leak into 17 classrooms, including nine of the 21 classrooms at the school's new two-story building, and prompted two days of school closures. The November 2018 break leaked into four classrooms and also triggered the school to shut down early and resume classes the next day with port-a-potties and bottled water provided to students. And while the water main belonged to the Menlo Park Municipal Water District, Cal Water, which runs the neighboring Bear Gulch water district, stepped in to help the municipal water agency with the repairs.

The settlement covers two claims at La Entrada Middle School resulting from a break to an underground water line that the city owns, according to City Attorney Nira Doherty. The amount of the settlement is $1.05 million, but of that, the city will only pay a portion of that, the so-called self-insured retention, or a specified dollar amount to its liability insurance policy, according to Doherty.

That amount will be paid through the city's municipal water fund rather than the city's general fund, Doherty added.

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"The settlement that came from the city went directly to our insurance provider that covered the district's cost associated with the water main breaks. I believe the pay out did not cover the cost of the damages," said Beth Polito, superintendent of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, in a statement.

"We're really disappointed that these water main breaks occurred and glad that this matter could be resolved with all impacted parties," said Menlo Park Mayor Drew Combs in a statement.

Input open for new R&D building

A proposal to redevelop 1125 O'Brien Drive in Menlo Park by demolishing offices and industrial buildings and replacing them with a five-story research and development and commercial building is beginning the environmental review process. That means that the public may weigh in and suggest which possible environmental impacts should be studied in the upcoming environmental impact analysis. The new building would have about 132,000 square feet of research and development space and about 2,500 square feet of commercial space, with surface parking, and would be expected to provide community amenities in exchange for building at a greater density than the city would otherwise permit. The Planning Commission is expected to weigh in on what should be studied in the environmental review at its upcoming meeting Aug. 9.

People may provide comments at that meeting or should share their comments in writing no later than 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, via email to Contract Planner David Hogan at [email protected] or via letter to him at Community Development, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Sidewalk Sale at Allied Arts Guild

The Allied Arts Guild is hosting a vintage sale on Sunday, Aug. 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 75 Arbor Road in Menlo Park, featuring crystal, silver, china, vintage costume jewelry, framed Asian art and collectibles and more. All proceeds support Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The guild's artisan shops will be open as well.

Masks are required at the event. Social distancing will be enforced. Go to alliedartsguild.org/sidewalk-sale for more information.

Tour de Menlo to return Sept. 18

The Tour de Menlo, a Peninsula-based bike ride for cyclists of all abilities and a fundraiser to support community grants and scholarships through the Rotary Club of Menlo Park, is set to return in person this year on Saturday, Sept. 18.

The ride will offer three routes of varying lengths, at 35, 43 and 63 miles, and support along the way.

This year's ride will begin at a new location, the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 1105 Valparaiso Ave. in Menlo Park.

The routes are well-marked and all riders will make their way toward Stevens Canyon Road and a rest stop at Madrone Park. Riders will then head back toward the starting point. The traditional post-ride lunch won't be happening this year to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Funds raised from the event will go toward the Rotary Club's Menlo Park Scholarship and Academic Awards program to provide need-based college scholarships for local high school graduates; grants to local community-based philanthropic organizations; and The Almanac's Holiday Fund, which supports 10 local nonprofits, including Second Harvest Food Bank, LifeMoves, and Saint Anthony's Padua Dining Room.

Go to tourdemenlo.com to register.

Grants open for small businesses

Microgrants of $5,000 to $25,000 are available to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

Eligible small businesses bring in $2.5 million or less in yearly gross revenue or are a small nonprofit that has been operating since June 1, 2019, and have been impacted by the pandemic through business interruptions or closures, among other conditions. New applicants and wait-listed applicants from certain previous rounds should be aware that the application window runs Thursday, Sept. 9, through Thursday, Sept. 30, according to an announcement from the city of Menlo Park.

– Kate Bradshaw

Woodside committee hands out Backyard Habitat Award

Woodside resident Carol Fischer was given the Woodside Backyard Habitat Award last month by the town's Environment: Open Space, Conservation & Sustainability Committee.

Judges noted that a significant portion of her property is maintained in a natural state, dominated by native vegetation and free of nonnative invasive plants. Unused areas of the property have been allowed to revert to a wild state, allowing native plants to spread and thrive, and it has plants that feed bees, butterflies and birds. Raccoons and coyotes frequent Fischer's gardens. She also sees local chickens and an occasional opossum, judges noted.

– Angela Swartz

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to note that the event at Allied Arts scheduled for Aug. 15 is not cash-only and is being called a vintage sale, not a sidewalk sale.

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Community briefs: Tour de Menlo, Allied Arts vintage sale, a neighborhood cleanup and more

Plus, we follow up on the settlement reached between Menlo Park and the Las Lomitas School District after a water main broke twice in 2018 and flooded classrooms.

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Fri, Aug 6, 2021, 11:11 am

This week in community briefs: a neighborhood cleanup in Portola Valley, a settlement reached, how to weigh in on a new development and upcoming events to mark on your calendars.

Portola Valley is hosting a summer cleanup day on Saturday, Aug. 7, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Town Center, 765 Portola Road. With some exceptions, the program accepts furniture, appliances, construction debris, green waste and electronic equipment that is no longer working.

The exceptions include liquids, tires, oil- or gas-fired space heaters, fuel cans and engine parts, hazardous wastes, green waste that includes poison oak or poison ivy, and large amounts of rock, dirt asphalt or concrete.

The event is free but participants will need to bring a copy of their GreenWaste garbage bill or the mailer insert as proof of residency.

The town notes that the lines were a lot shorter after 10 a.m. at previous events.

– Angela Swartz

The city of Menlo Park has reached a settlement with the insurance company of the Los Lomitas Elementary School District, the Lexington Insurance Company, after its water main broke in October and November 2018 and caused damages at La Entrada Middle School.

The October 2018 water main break caused water to leak into 17 classrooms, including nine of the 21 classrooms at the school's new two-story building, and prompted two days of school closures. The November 2018 break leaked into four classrooms and also triggered the school to shut down early and resume classes the next day with port-a-potties and bottled water provided to students. And while the water main belonged to the Menlo Park Municipal Water District, Cal Water, which runs the neighboring Bear Gulch water district, stepped in to help the municipal water agency with the repairs.

The settlement covers two claims at La Entrada Middle School resulting from a break to an underground water line that the city owns, according to City Attorney Nira Doherty. The amount of the settlement is $1.05 million, but of that, the city will only pay a portion of that, the so-called self-insured retention, or a specified dollar amount to its liability insurance policy, according to Doherty.

That amount will be paid through the city's municipal water fund rather than the city's general fund, Doherty added.

"The settlement that came from the city went directly to our insurance provider that covered the district's cost associated with the water main breaks. I believe the pay out did not cover the cost of the damages," said Beth Polito, superintendent of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, in a statement.

"We're really disappointed that these water main breaks occurred and glad that this matter could be resolved with all impacted parties," said Menlo Park Mayor Drew Combs in a statement.

A proposal to redevelop 1125 O'Brien Drive in Menlo Park by demolishing offices and industrial buildings and replacing them with a five-story research and development and commercial building is beginning the environmental review process. That means that the public may weigh in and suggest which possible environmental impacts should be studied in the upcoming environmental impact analysis. The new building would have about 132,000 square feet of research and development space and about 2,500 square feet of commercial space, with surface parking, and would be expected to provide community amenities in exchange for building at a greater density than the city would otherwise permit. The Planning Commission is expected to weigh in on what should be studied in the environmental review at its upcoming meeting Aug. 9.

People may provide comments at that meeting or should share their comments in writing no later than 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, via email to Contract Planner David Hogan at dwhog[email protected] or via letter to him at Community Development, 701 Laurel St., Menlo Park, CA 94025.

The Allied Arts Guild is hosting a vintage sale on Sunday, Aug. 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 75 Arbor Road in Menlo Park, featuring crystal, silver, china, vintage costume jewelry, framed Asian art and collectibles and more. All proceeds support Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. The guild's artisan shops will be open as well.

Masks are required at the event. Social distancing will be enforced. Go to alliedartsguild.org/sidewalk-sale for more information.

The Tour de Menlo, a Peninsula-based bike ride for cyclists of all abilities and a fundraiser to support community grants and scholarships through the Rotary Club of Menlo Park, is set to return in person this year on Saturday, Sept. 18.

The ride will offer three routes of varying lengths, at 35, 43 and 63 miles, and support along the way.

This year's ride will begin at a new location, the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 1105 Valparaiso Ave. in Menlo Park.

The routes are well-marked and all riders will make their way toward Stevens Canyon Road and a rest stop at Madrone Park. Riders will then head back toward the starting point. The traditional post-ride lunch won't be happening this year to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Funds raised from the event will go toward the Rotary Club's Menlo Park Scholarship and Academic Awards program to provide need-based college scholarships for local high school graduates; grants to local community-based philanthropic organizations; and The Almanac's Holiday Fund, which supports 10 local nonprofits, including Second Harvest Food Bank, LifeMoves, and Saint Anthony's Padua Dining Room.

Go to tourdemenlo.com to register.

Microgrants of $5,000 to $25,000 are available to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

Eligible small businesses bring in $2.5 million or less in yearly gross revenue or are a small nonprofit that has been operating since June 1, 2019, and have been impacted by the pandemic through business interruptions or closures, among other conditions. New applicants and wait-listed applicants from certain previous rounds should be aware that the application window runs Thursday, Sept. 9, through Thursday, Sept. 30, according to an announcement from the city of Menlo Park.

– Kate Bradshaw

Woodside resident Carol Fischer was given the Woodside Backyard Habitat Award last month by the town's Environment: Open Space, Conservation & Sustainability Committee.

Judges noted that a significant portion of her property is maintained in a natural state, dominated by native vegetation and free of nonnative invasive plants. Unused areas of the property have been allowed to revert to a wild state, allowing native plants to spread and thrive, and it has plants that feed bees, butterflies and birds. Raccoons and coyotes frequent Fischer's gardens. She also sees local chickens and an occasional opossum, judges noted.

– Angela Swartz

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to note that the event at Allied Arts scheduled for Aug. 15 is not cash-only and is being called a vintage sale, not a sidewalk sale.

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