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Couple killed in Redwood City crash leaves behind twin 7-year-old daughters

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Parents of 7-year-old twin girls die in Redwood City crash

The Redwood City community is in mourning following the deaths of Grace and Greg Ammen in a car crash Friday night. The Ammens leave behind their 7-year-old twin daughters, Madison and Olivia.

The collision occurred just before 8 p.m. in the area of El Camino Real and Finger Avenue, according to the Redwood City Police Department. Officers arrived to find two vehicles on the west sidewalk with major damages, one of them engulfed in flames.

Officers used fire extinguishers to put out the fire. A 17-year-old driver and two passengers were located in that car with non-life-threatening injuries. The Ammens were found trapped in the other vehicle and were later confirmed deceased.

A cause for the crash hasn’t been revealed and the investigation is ongoing, according to Redwood City Police Chief Dan Mulholland, who added that “more information will be released as soon as it is available.”

“There are no words to express the magnitude of this loss,” the chief said. “We are all mourning this tragedy together.”

Mayor Giselle Hale called the event tragic for all involved.

“On behalf of the Redwood City Ciy Council, we extend our deepest sympathies to the two young children who tragically lost their parents,” Mayor Hale said. “Grief and stress counseling have been made available to students and families, and to first responders who provided emergency assistance at the scene.”

A GoFundMe described the couple as “two beautiful souls.” The fundraiser aims to support the raising of their children.

“Grace and Greg were outstanding people and lights of love, support and inspiration to countless friends, family, co-workers and their community,” Liza Spiridon stated in the GoFundMe, adding, “Nothing mattered more to them than Madison and Olivia.”

To support the GoFundMe, go here.

Anyone with further information about this collision is encouraged to call the Redwood City Police Department’s Investigations Unit at (650) 780-7111.

Photo via GoFundMe

Rare falcons make a home at Box

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Rare Falcons Make a Home at Box

A pair of Peregrine falcons have nested high up on the front of the Box building in downtown Redwood City.

Popular in the sport of falconry, the Peregrine is a small, fast flier that can reach speeds of over 200 mph while diving for prey. On the rebound from being endangered due to pesticide poisoning, the Peregrine tends to nest in the wild high in cliffs but sometimes find tall buildings in urban settings to their liking do to the abundant presence of pigeons and ducks.

Teenaged jazz whiz brings down the house

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A capacity crowd at Chez Nous Café in Redwood City cheered 16-year-old jazz pianist Alex Makeev on September 17 while he took charge of the bandstand as part of the popular Scott Dailey Trio. Makeev, a Belmont resident and junior at Carlmont High School, wowed the audience with imaginative solos on jazz standards including “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “On Green Dolphin Street” and “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars.”

A former student of Dailey’s, Makeev shared accolades with Gavin Westland of San Carlos, another Dailey protégé who last month began music studies at the University of Washington. Dailey quipped that rising young musicians such as Makeev and Westland had moved him to trade jazz piano for the clarinet. Singer Bernadette Soubirou exchanged wisecracks with Dailey while bassist Gary Rosen attempted to maintain an air of artistic professionalism.

Stamp collectors celebrate 75 years of philately

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Stamp Collectors Celebrate 75 Years of Philately

Lick it. Stick it. Post it. Stamps have been integral to American life for 150 years, ever since the forerunner of the U.S. Postal Service introduced the little square seals that move America’s mail. On September  17, the Sequoia Stamp Club celebrated 75 years of assembling rare, unusual, historic and collectible stamps. The group has been meeting in Redwood City every two weeks since its inception in 1947, with two years of Covid the only break. To add to the festive feel, organizers dressed in period costumes from the 1940s. Event organizer Kristin Patterson says her own stamp collection, which fills 40 binders each two inches thick, typifies those of most members.

San Mateo preps for ‘September Nights on B Street’

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San Mateo preps for return of 'September Nights on B'

September Nights on B Street is set to return to San Mateo with live music and pop-up dining between First and Third avenues.

“The street will be transformed into an outdoor dining pavilion featuring tables and chairs beneath the twinkle lights,” the city said.

The dates are Saturday, Sept. 10; Thursday, Sept. 15; and Thursday, Sept. 22.

Along with a children’s play area featuring a jumpy house, games and other activities, there will be live musical acts. Beer and wine will be available for purchase on site. No outside alcohol allowed.

Musical Line-Up:

Saturday, September 10 – B Street between 1st and 2nd avenues

Thursday, September 15 – B Street between 1st and 2nd avenues

Thursday, September 22 – B Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues

For more information, go here.

Big Bad Barn Dance fundraiser coming to Folger Stable

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Big Bad Barn Dance Fundraiser set for Folger Stable

The “Big Bad Barn Dance and BBQ” is coming to the Historic Folger Stable in Woodside’s Wunderlich Park later this month and community members are invited to reserve their spot by clicking here.

The fundraising event will run from from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, at Folger Stable, 4040 Woodside Road. Hosted by the Friends of Huddart & Wunderlich Parks, it will feature local musicians, a live dance caller, catered BBQ, and local craft beer and wine in a beautiful, historic setting. Free shuttle service will be provided from Woodside Elementary.

“This fundraiser supports the Folger School History Program, Meet a Mini horsemanship program, the Folger Stable Museum, Nature Hikes for Youth, Healthy Hikes, and more,” organizers said. “This year we are also raising funds to save the unique 1874 Dairy House in the historic district.”

Attendees are encouraged to bring a table of friends to the fun for $1,500 or purchase general admission tickets for $150 each.

For more details, go here.

Photo of Folger Stable courtesy of San Mateo County

Eco-friendly Bird e-scooters now available to Redwood City residents  

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Eco-Friendly Bird E-Scooters Now Available to Redwood City Residents  

Redwood City residents looking to get around town without the assistance of a car, bike, or bus have a new option: e-scooters.  

The city and Bird, an electronic bike and scooter service, have partnered to bring some 250 e-scooters to residents in the downtown area. Redwood City joins some 400 other cities across the United States and Europe in participating in Bird’s e-scooter program. Last year, the city adjusted Chapter 8 of its municipal code to allow operators like Bird to take up shop on its premises.  

“We welcome Bird to Redwood City and look forward to offering community members a new, eco-friendly, and fun way to get around. Whether shopping and dining downtown or just taking a ride to the library or a park, residents, and visitors will now have a new way to get there,” City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz said in a press release. 

To book a scooter, residents must download the Bird app, sign up, locate a scooter near the app’s map, and then secure it. Once riders find their scooter, they will scan its QR code and take off on their adventure.  

To help those in need, Bird is offering a 50 percent discount on rides to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans, and senior citizens. Health Care workers and emergency personnel can also get up to two free rides a day by emailing a copy of their medical identification card, name, and phone number to together@bird.co. 

Austin Marshburn, Head of City and University Partnerships at Bird, said in a press release: “We applaud the City of Redwood City for their commitment to offering convenient, environmentally friendly, and reliable transportation options to residents and visitors.” 

The City and Bird will assess ridership use in the next few weeks and then readjust scooter drop-off points to suit residents’ needs better. Eventually, the city would like scooters in areas like Red Morton Park, Target, and the apartment complexes along El Camino Real. 

Photo credit: Bird

San Carlos Block Party to bring music, games, beer and wine to Laurel St.

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San Carlos Block Party set for Sunday

A block party this Sunday, July 17, will bring music, games, beer, wine and more to the 600 block of San Carlos.

The San Carlos Block Party will run from 4-8 p.m., which will remain closed after the weekly Farmers’ Market.

“Stop by your favorite restaurant and order take out to eat at the community tables in the street,” organizers said. “Dance to 80’s and 90’s hits, purchase beer and wine from the Parks & Recreation Foundation of San Carlos, and play fun lawn games!”

 

Blood banks in major need of donations

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Blood Banks in Major Need of Blood

Blood banks across Santa Clara and San Mateo counties need your blood, and you can get some swag in return.

Right now, several donation centers across the Peninsula and South Bay regions are calling on everyone, especially universal donors (Type 0-), to give. Many of the collection groups are incentivizing people with giveaways.

Vitalant

This non-profit operates two facilities, one in San Mateo and one in San Jose. Donors who come to give July 1–9 receive an exclusive Flippin’ Awesome Donor grilling apron while supplies last* And will be entered to win 1 of 3 $3,000 prepaid gift cards.**

Make an appointment here https://vitalant.org/locations

Donors to all these centers should be in good health with no cold, flu, or COVID-19 symptoms. They should eat well before donation, drink fluids, and bring their photo IDs to the centers.

Stanford Blood Center

Stanford operates donation centers in Campell, Menlo Park, and Mountain View and holds mobile blood drives in Milpitas, Pleasanton, San Jose, and Sunnyvale. People who donate between now and July 31 will receive one free “Grateful for Life” collectible tie-dye t-shirt!

Appointments can be scheduled online at stanfordbloodcenter.org, via our SBC mobile app, or by calling 888-723-7831. The center’s website updates each day with the most needed blood types.

San Jose Red Cross

Red Cross takes blood donations at its San Jose Red Cross Blood, Platelet, and Plasma Donation Center. The organization is entering July donors into a raffle for Shark Week merchandise, and anyone who donates before July 10 will receive a Red Cross-labled tote bag.

People can schedule an appointment at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/drive-results?zipSponsor=95134&order=DISTANCE&range=10

Menlo Park gets its own nightspot

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Menlo Park gets its own nightspot

By  Vlae Kershner

It’s gotten harder for Menlo Park residents to complain there’s nothing to do after dark.

The Guild Theatre at 949 El Camino Real has been reopened as a place for live entertainment. The single-screen movie theater opened in 1926, became famous for midnight showings of “Rocky Picture Horror Show,” and transitioned into an art house. But business declined with the dominance of the multiplex and it finally closed amid widespread regrets in September 2019.

This story appeared in the March edition of Climate Magazine.

The nonprofit Peninsula Arts Guild stepped in to buy the property and won all necessary approvals from the city in a whirlwind 4½ months, said Arts Guild President Drew Dunlevie, a Menlo Park resident.  “We aren’t developers, just residents who wanted the project. We told the City Council, ‘If you want it, take it.’ To their credit, they took it.”

Construction was completed within 2½ years of the closure despite the pandemic and supply chain disruptions.

The Venue Debuts

About 150 supporters attended the reopening night event in late February. Appropriately, the first performer was a Menlo Park resident, singer-songwriter Reid Genauer, formerly of Assembly of Dust. He called it “a palatial and wonderful new venue.”

The main performer was Wobbly World, a seven-piece Bay Area international music band led by “Segovia on acid” electronic flamenco guitarist Freddy Clarke, who took the state-of-the-art Meyer Sound system up to high decibels.

Dunlevie thanked the crowd.  “Silicon Valley gets a lot of s— with the TV show but there is so much philanthropy here.” More than 30 donors, mostly couples, contributed more than the $35 million needed for the renovation.

The outlines of the old movie house are still visible, but with three levels instead of one. Interior designer Ken Fulk retained the classic look with touches like a chandelier in the shape of trumpets. The main level includes two dance floors as well as seating, the control panel, and a disability seating area. The mezzanine has seating and an open area. Both levels have full bars.

Décor elements include burgundy plush seats, old-style lamps, and brass railings. Still to arrive was a massive burgundy main-stage curtain and side wall curtains, somewhere in the supply chain. Capacity ranges from around 200 for all-seated shows to about 500 for standing room only. The newly dug-out basement houses an elaborate green room for performers with a big-screen monitor, lounge seating, and a washer/dryer.

Local Entertainment

Dunlevie said all types of music would be booked. “We’ll try anything.” The idea is to provide Peninsula residents with a convenient alternative to San Francisco venues like the Fillmore. “We love those venues, we’re just tired of having to go for everything.”

In March, the first show open to the public featured Grammy-winning jazz pianist Robert Glasper. It drew more than 350 people from as far away as Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco, Dunlevie said. The highest ticket prices during that first month were for Three Dog Night, booked for two weekend nights, appropriate for the “One Is the Loneliest Number” vintage rock band.

While the Arts Guild puts on only live events, the space also will be usable for media presentations once projectors arrive. For example, it could be rented out to film festivals and pay-per-view sports events. The Guild has hired an experienced general manager in Tom Bailey, a Stanford graduate who has worked at the Fillmore and other local venues and was most recently GM at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.

The goal is to operate at cash-flow neutral or better based on ticket and bar sales. Still, “If we need to raise a few bucks, we’ll be able to do it,” Dunlevie said.

The theater has never had any dedicated parking, but surface parking is available in downtown plazas within two blocks. Dunlevie expects many customers to stroll over from downtown restaurants, and others to walk from the nearby residential neighborhoods, or take Caltrain or rideshares.

For the schedule and ticket information, go to guildtheatre.com.

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