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Over 2,500 pounds of trash, 20 shopping carts pulled from Redwood Creek

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The Romancing the Creek volunteer cleanup event on Feb. 10 pulled more than 2,500 pounds of trash, mostly plastic, and close to 20 shopping carts from the creek, according to organizer Edward Stancil.

That’s quite a haul considering a group had come out to clean up the same area near the Peninsula Yacht Club just four months ago, Stancil told Redwood City’s council on Monday.

Over 150 volunteers who participated included local community members, along with a group of East Bay youth from Kaiser Permanente.

Stancil and other Docktown residents have for years organized clean up efforts that they say pull about 6,000 to 8,000 pounds of plastics annually. On one day, 38 shopping carts were pulled from creek areas, organizers say.

Redwood Creek is buried underground in downtown Redwood City, having been paved over in the 1920s. While out of sight, the creek picks up a lot of debris that runs off into the Bay. Volunteer events for the last 18 years have involved participation from local businesses, police, the city’s public works and others.

The above photo, taken from last year’s Romancing the Creek event, was posted in the event’s Facebook page.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated the amount of trash collected during this event. The story has been adjusted to reflect the correct amount.

Redwood City police seek help finding missing at-risk teen

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Redwood City police seek help finding missing at-risk teen

UPDATE: The Redwood City Police Department reports that Jesus Koh has been found and is safe.

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Jesus Koh, a 15-year-old boy with down syndrome, was reported missing and at-risk by the Redwood City Police Department this morning.

Koh was last seen at 8:45 a.m. at Sequoia Station shopping center today and was wearing a blue sweatshirt and multicolored “Mario” backpack. He is usually with a group or supervised by a caretaker, police said.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts are asked to contact Redwood City Police Department’s emergency phone number at 650-369-3331.

Redwood City Kaiser campus revamp plans get green light

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Kaiser received approval by the Redwood City planning commission last week to build a four-story medical office building with three levels of underground parking at the southeast corner of Marshall and Maple streets, along with a centrally-located 1.5 acre park space on the medical campus featuring a children’s playground and future farmers market.

The 197,800 square foot building will house 143 doctor’s offices and 116 exam rooms at 1175 Marshall St. It is part of a long-running Kaiser campus overhaul that included construction of the new hospital at Walnut Street and Veterans Boulevard, which was completed in 2015.

The latest project entails constructing the new building with an underground parking garage adding up to 454 parking spaces, then moving staff, medical providers and equipment from the adjacent Tower and Oak buildings into the new building. After that move, the Tower and Oak buildings will be demolished, a task expected to take up to two years. An 85-space surface parking lot will also be constructed adjacent to the new medical office building.

The project will include street enhancements on Marshall Court, Marshall Street and Maple Street. On Maple Street, the road will be reduced from two vehicular lanes in each direction to one, making way for a bike lane.

The design of the campus aims to create pedestrian access and connectivity throughout, with “wide walkways” connecting buildings, according to city officials.

Redwood City wants more say in Dumbarton Corridor study

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Redwood City wants more say in Dumbarton Corridor study

Redwood City wants to be a more active partner in the ongoing process to establish and implement traffic relief improvements projects along the Dumbarton Corridor.

At its meeting Monday, Redwood City’s council voted in favor of sending a letter to SamTrans executive director Jim Hartnett requesting more than just updates when it comes to proposals being eyed to change the Dumbarton Bridge (Highway 84) and its approaches, as well as to possibly rehabilitate and repurpose the Dumbarton rail bridge for transit use.

SamTrans staff recently presented proposals from the 2016-launched Dumbarton Transportation Corridor Study to the Redwood City Council. While the presentation was appreciated, city officials say they want more involvement in any proposed project that would impact Redwood City, according to Mayor Ian Bain’s letter to SamTrans.

The study’s proposed alternatives include adding express lanes to the highway bridge and increasing bus service to local cities including Redwood City. It also includes building a commuter rail shuttle between Union City BART and Redwood City Caltrain, and possibly a bicycle and pedestrian multiuse path options on the Dumbarton rail line from Redwood City to East Palo Alto.

As the transportation project moves forward in its vetting process, Mayor Bain’s letter requests that Redwood City and other impacted local cities become “active participants in the technical and outreach work and in the decision-making process.”

Along with requests to form active committees involving participating jurisdictions, including East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and San Mateo County, Bain’s letter calls for the Dumbarton Corridor study to examine impacts of a rail shuttle on the roadway network and the Redwood City transit center, as well as how it would be compatible with future streetcar service in Redwood City.

The study should also include the feasibility of a bike-ped corridor from East Palo Alto to Redwood City along the rail right-of-way, according to Redwood City officials.  Additionally, the city asks to be reimbursed for staff and consultant time while participating in the planning process.

To read the full Dumbarton Transportation Corridor study, go here.

Redwood City Toys’R’Us spared from nationwide store closures

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Redwood City Toys'R'Us spared after company announces nationwide closures

The Toys’R’Us and Babies’R’Us store at 202 Walnut St. in Redwood City is not among the list of about 150 stores the company plans to close across the nation as it reorganizes in order to emerge from bankruptcy. The list includes 24 store closures in California alone.

On Wednesday, the financially struggling retailer, which is shedding about one-fifth of its U.S. locations, announced discounts of up to 30 percent at the stores that are closing. Those stores are expected to close in April.

The store closures are part of a restructuring plan that aims to make the company a viable contender in the rapidly evolving retail landscape.

How a New York Times best-selling series came to rely on local fan

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How a New York Times best-selling series came to rely on local teen

A Miss California contestant representing Redwood City recently recounted a fascinating story about how she became a consultant for The New York Times’ best-selling children’s books series, The Kingdom Keepers.

On Friday, a blog post published on the Miss California website details how, at age 11, Brooke Muschott became a big fan of the Kingdom Keepers series, reading the books so many times that she managed to notice inconsistencies in the stories. Throughout her summer between her sophomore and junior years in high school, Muschott marked every inconsistency in the series with Post-it notes and then pointed them out to the series’ author Ridley Pearson during a book signing event at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park.

“…I took my books to be signed, post-its and all,” Muschott said. “And when Ridley asked me what the sea of pink and blue tabs sticking out the sides of his books was about, I told him they were inconsistencies.”

In what Muschott calls the “plot twist of all plot twist,” Pearson was not offended, but instead asked her to read an unreleased book from the series and search for inconsistencies in the story.

That encounter was a life-changer for Muschott, who “went from average high school student to continuity editor, and then a researcher, brainstormer, events and social media assistant on a New York Times bestselling series.”

Ridley even wrote her into the 7th book as a character, she said. At 19, she was a co-writer for one of the books.

Muschott went on to major into creative writing at Pepperdine University, where she studied abroad in Buenos Aires and Shanghai and interned at Shanghai Disney Imagineering. She currently works as an editorial and research associate at Ampersand and has her sights set on the Miss California competition, which will take place in June and is a prelim to the Miss America competition.

Photo credit: Hart Photography/posted to the Facebook.com/MissRedwoodCity.

Veteran journalist Mark Simon joins Climate as columnist

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Veteran journalist Mark Simon joins Climate as columnist

In the grim wake of additional cuts to Bay Area newsrooms, here’s some good news.

Bay Area native and veteran journalist Mark Simon has signed on to become an important voice on the Peninsula as a columnist for the recently re-launched Climate Magazine, which now includes the hyper-local news website Climate Online.

“We are thrilled to have Mark join us at Climate. His knowledge of the Peninsula is second to none and his even-handed, let-the-facts-rule approach will be a thoughtful addition to Climate’s bench of award winning contributors,” said Climate Publisher Adam Alberti.  “Climate’s relaunch is off to a fast start and we are excited about the many amazing things we have in the works that will expand our coverage of a place that is quickly becoming the capital of Silicon Valley.”

Simon is well connected and well known by Bay Area media and political types alike, having been a veteran journalist with more than 35 years of newspaper experience, including as a political reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2004, he took his skills to SamTrans, where he worked his way up to Chief of Staff before retiring this past December. Simon says he has no plans to slow down, particularly as an advocate for “fairness, facts and openness in government and politics” in his hometown.

“Everyone will get a fair shake from me and everyone will be held accountable for what they say, including me,” Simon said. “I have no interest in opinion masquerading as fact or opinion built on false assumptions.”

There is no better time than right now to be writing about Redwood City, Simon added.

“It will be a watershed political year at time when the city is poised to become the capital of the Peninsula, when change is occurring in every corner and when we all have to find a way to manage what is happening here,” he said.

But the best part will be writing about home, Simon said.

“I love my hometown, what it was and what it has become – dynamic, restless, always looking forward. The chance to write again about Redwood City and the Peninsula feels, in many ways, like a homecoming,” Simon said.

Simon’s column will appear regularly starting Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Mountain lion sighting in Redwood City prompts safety warning

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Mountain lion sighting in Redwood City prompts safety warning

A rare mountain lion sighting was reported in a residential area of Redwood City on Thursday night, according to the city.

Residents contacted the Redwood City Police Department after seeing a possible mountain lion in the 1400 block of James Street and surrounding neighborhoods.

In response, the city reminded the public that such mountain lions are are “quiet, solitary and typically avoid people.”

“However, if you see a mountain lion in your neighborhood, please call 911,” the city added.

Safety tips and more information can be accessed here.

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