Menlo Park's mayor during 2021, Drew Combs, will be giving a State of the City address on Tuesday, Nov. 30, to reflect on the past year. The event will be held via Zoom starting at 6 p.m.
Go to is.gd/CombsSOTC21 for more information and for the Zoom link.
Two local organizations working against family homelessness, LifeMoves and Destination: Home, recently received $5 million each from the Bezos Day One Fund, which provides grants to organizations offering shelter and hunger support to young families. LifeMoves is a Menlo Park-based nonprofit combating homelessness in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and Destination: Home in Santa Clara County is working to end homelessness in Silicon Valley through public-private partnerships. The program provided $96.2 million to 32 organizations in 21 states this year.
The popular and fast-growing sport of pickleball can now be played at two modified Menlo Park tennis courts in Nealon Park and Kelly Park.
A pilot program to convert one tennis court at Kelly Park at 100 Terminal Ave. for pickleball began in late 2020. This past summer, a second court, Court 5 at Nealon Park, located at 800 Middlefield Ave, underwent a three-month pilot program as a pickleball court, according to Nick Szegda, assistant library services director.
At Nealon Park, the court is set aside for drop-in pickleball play from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Afterward, until 10 p.m., the court is shared with tennis. The Kelly Park court is also open for free drop-in visits. No key is needed to access the courts. People can check out paddles and balls from the Menlo Park Library for free. The program is set to be reviewed by the city's Parks and Recreation Commission in January, according to Szegda.
– Kate Bradshaw
The Menlo Park City School (MPCSD) governing board approved raising its substitute teacher pay to start at $200 per day at a Nov. 18 meeting.
Staff noted in a report prepared for the meeting that the district's substitute pay, $180 per day, was at the lower end for San Mateo County.
The current average substitute teacher daily rate in San Mateo County is approximately $198 per day, with a range of $166 to $275, according to the district.
"MPCSD is feeling the impact of the nationwide substitute teacher shortage and while we do not believe raising the rate will completely solve our problem, we do believe it will have a positive impact and help us fill daily vacancies more consistently," staff noted.
Substitute teachers require a California teaching credential or 30-day substitute permit to work.
The Ravenswood City School District tutoring and mentoring program All Students Matter will now be called Ravenswood Classroom Partners.
The new name better reflects what the organization has done since it was founded in 2008 to support students in eastern Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, according to a press release. Volunteers tutor over 450 students weekly during the school year through the group.
"Our new name also embodies our commitment to the Ravenswood community, as we exclusively support students in the Ravenswood City School District," said Executive Director Angie Holman in a statement.
The group announced a new model for its TK-5 literacy tutoring program called "high-dosage" tutoring: one-on-one tutoring multiple times each week.
The program will include assessments of student progress.
Ravenswood Classroom Partners is also adding support for the district's new science lessons. Science support volunteer tutors will partner with an assigned K-5 grade teacher to support hands-on science in the classroom each week.
"Students will explore and apply concepts in science in a way that is much more interactive than before," Program Director Keri Tully said in a statement. "The program uses an inquiry approach to teaching and learning which allows for active student investigation."
For more information, go to ravenswoodclassroompartners.org.
Atherton's temporary library will be closed starting Sunday, Dec. 5, for a two- to three-month period as the library readies for the opening of a new $19.1 million, 10,000-square-foot facility in the civic center, according to a San Mateo County Libraries (SMCL) press release.
Officials will begin to pack up and organize the existing library collection, which has been housed in a temporary trailer since 2018, in the coming months. The library will offer mail-out services on holds during this time.
"As is typical for new libraries, there are a lot of details to prepare to welcome the public into their new space," said Katie Woods, SMCL communications manager. "We will also need to remove and transport all the equipment and technology so it is ready for installation at the new library."
The new library is set to open sometime this spring. It will include a maker space and cafe.
– Angela Swartz
A countywide program to distribute 50-gallon rain barrels to 330 households sold out quickly, according to an announcement from Flows to Bay, the public outreach arm of the countywide water pollution prevention program. The program comes from a partnership between the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, or C/CAG for short, the county of San Mateo and the individually incorporated cities and towns throughout the county. All of them share what's called a "National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System" permit required to prevent harmful pollutants from entering the stormwater system and local water bodies, according to the program website.
The program was launched in late September and sold out in just four weeks, according to the announcement. The rain barrels went to residents in 18 of the county's 20 cities, towns and unincorporated areas, according to C/CAG spokesperson Reid Bogert.
The barrels help to capture rainwater that can then be used for outdoor irrigation or watering houseplants.
Another benefit of the program is that captured rainwater can improve the water quality of local creeks, because rainfall otherwise becomes runoff, flowing along streets and collecting pollutants on those surfaces, which can then flow into storm drains and nearby waterways without treatment.
About 200 county residents remain on a waiting list, and Flows to Bay plans to restock more rain barrels once inventory is available.
"As seen through the tremendous interest in and enthusiastic turnout for this unique pre-order rain barrel campaign event, our residents are thirsty for ways to improve their sustainable use of water, help protect the environment, and buffer the effects of climate change, locally and beyond. We're thrilled with the results of this pilot campaign, and look forward to expanding it in future years," stated Marie Chuang, chair of the C/CAG Board of Directors and Hillsborough council member.
Go to flowstobay.org/rainbarrel for more information.
– Kate Bradshaw