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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.

Trailblazing Admiral instructs sea cadets in leadership

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A retired U.S. Navy rear admiral who navigated around restrictions women once faced in the military urged Sea Cadets gathered Saturday in Redwood City to create their own opportunities, offering advice from her own life about how to transform setbacks into success.

Speaking Feb. 3 during an annual inspection ceremony for the city’s unique U.S. Naval Sea Cadet unit, Rear Admiral Bonnie Potter, who is a physician, described her disappointment in 1975 when she came on active duty as a lieutenant and was told that she could not go to sea. She’d wanted to follow the path of her father, who had served the country in World War II.

“I thought, if I can’t go to sea, what else can I do?” she told the young people, their families and friends during the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Band of the West Division’s inspection ceremony and performance. The event was held at American Legion Post 105, one of the sponsors for the nation’s first and only Sea Cadet band.

Potter described how she focused on becoming the best she could be in her Naval assignments, which included a tour as Chief of Medicine/Residency Program Director at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and as Director of Medical Services for the USNS Comfort during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In 1997, she was promoted to rear admiral, becoming the first female physician in the military to be selected to for “flag” rank.

Potter, who received her second star in 1999, retired in 2003 and is active with the Navy League.

Among the keys to success, she told the cadets, is to look for opportunities and not to allow the possibility of failure to hold them back.  People who aren’t necessarily “born leaders” can still be great leaders but need to continually assess their own strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s not a destination,” Potter said.  “It’s a journey. I still work on being a leader.”

Demonstrating how times have changed, two female cadets – Samantha Wen and Jenna Ghaddar – were pinned as chief petty officers, a rank achieved by only about two percent of all cadets.  Both are Aragon High School students.

The 48-member Band of the West is a unit of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a national youth program which develops skills in leadership, musicianship, basic seamanship, courage, self-reliance and discipline. Sea Cadets have opportunities to attend trainings conducted nationwide, which are supported by the U.S. military, in career fields such as cyberwarfare, STEM, aviation, medicine, law, engineering and more.

The band, which was commissioned in 2013, has steadily grown and does about 20 performances a year for veterans, military personnel and their families. During Saturday’s ceremony, the band paid musical tribute to Band Officer John Evans, who died in January.

Redwood City port director announces retirement

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Mike Giari, executive director of the Port of Redwood City, recently announced that he will be retiring effective May 1, or when his successor is in place.

Giari first joined the Port of Redwood City in 1988 as a manager of trade development and has been the executive director since May 1995.

“Mike has been instrumental in helping the Port grow and sustain that growth,” Port Commissioner Richard Dodge said in a statement. “Tonnage across the Port docks has more than tripled since Mike assumed his position in 1995 and the Port has attracted new businesses that benefit Silicon Valley.”

Giari is a past president of the Bay Planning Coalition and the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA). He was also the past chairman of the Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce where he has been an active member for nearly 25 years.

He is a Redwood City resident and is married with three adult children.

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

Redwood City Library to host college-bound Q &A

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Residents invited to Downtown Library to weigh in on transportation fixes

Here’s an opportunity for high school juniors and their parents to gain valuable insights on getting into college.

The Redwood City Downtown Library has scheduled a Q&A session on Feb. 15 at 5 p.m. with longtime college advisor Alice Kleeman to discuss everything you need to know about getting into college.

Kleeman was the college advisor at Menlo-Atherton High School for 20 years before retiring.

The event is open to all high school juniors and is sponsored by the Friends of the Redwood City Library, located at 1044 Middlefield Road.

For more information, contact Dyan de Jager at 650-780-5762

JetBlue Airways chairman to speak at Fox Theater

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JetBlue Airways chairman Joel Peterson is scheduled to discuss the 10 laws of trust at the Fox Theater in Redwood City on Feb. 8.

The free event, part of the Stanford Speaker Series, will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the theater at 2209 Broadway St.

Peterson is the founding partner of Peterson Partners, a Salt Lake City-based investment management firm. He currently teaches courses in real estate investment, entrepreneurship and leadership at Stanford University.

The speaker series is part of the ongoing relationship between Redwood City and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Register here for the event.

Redwood City man killed in Pescadero crash

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Redwood City man killed in Pescadero crash

A Redwood City man killed in a car crash in Pescadero has been identified as 49-year-old Jose Alredo Peters.

The California Highway Patrol received reports of a crash in the area of Pescadero Road east of Stage Road about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. Peters’ body was found in a field near the vehicle he had apparently been driving: a Mercedes Benz that was found on its roof, CHP officials said.

Peters apparently crashed sometime during the night when he lost control on a curve while driving at a high rate of speed, CHP said. The car crashed into a ditch and he was ejected from his vehicle.

He was not wearing his seatbelt and drugs or alcohol may have played a role in the crash, according to CHP.

Bay City News contributed to this report

Redwood City event ideal for Valentine’s gifts

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If you’re going to shop for a Valentine’s gift, you might as well do it with chocolate and champagne.

On Feb. 2, local artists will feature photography, jewelry, fiber art, painting and more –all good options as Valentine’s gifts – at H’art Squared at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center, 1455 Madison Ave. in Redwood City.

The “Champagne and Chocolate Soiree,” presented by Art on the Square, will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Tickets are $20 and will help send the Kainos Dance Team to the 2018 National Championships in Seattle. The dance team is scheduled to perform at H’art Squared at 7 p.m.

For tickets or more information visit here.

Street safety improvements set for Taft Community School

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Funds approved for street improvements near Taft Community School

The streets near Taft Community School at 903 10th Ave. are slated to receive pedestrian safety and stormwater treatment improvements with help from a $250,000 grant from the San Mateo City and County Association of Governments.

On Monday, Redwood City’s council approved combining the grant with funds contributed by the Stanford Redwood City project to accomplish $650,000 worth of pedestrian safety and bio-retention projects adjacent to Taft Community School and KIPP Excelencia Community Prep School in Redwood City.

The grant will help fund bulbouts at each corner of 5th Avenue and Page Street with five bio-retention areas; bulbouts at each corner of 8th Avenue and Page Street; four high-visibility crosswalks at 10th Avenue and Page Street; a crosswalk beacon system at 10th Avenue and Bay Road; and a new high-visibility crosswalk and beacon system at 8th Avenue and Bay Road.

Educational signage will be placed near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Page Street explaining the project benefits (stormwater treatment and pedestrian safety), according to city documents.

The installations will “will improve water quality through increased stormwater treatment and increase pedestrian safety for children walking to and from school,” the city says.

The city will maintain the new street amenities and hopes to launch the design phase for the project this year, with construction expected in 2019.

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