Almanac

News - May 1, 2013

News briefs: Tesla leaves Menlo behind this summer

Tesla Motors is preparing to leave Menlo Park in the rear-view mirror. The electric car retailer recently opened a renovated showroom on San Jose's Santana Row, and also got permission to open a second in Burlingame.

The Menlo Park store — one of the city's top 25 tax generators — is at 300 El Camino Real, a parcel owned by Stanford. The university has asked tenants to leave as leases expire in advance of its proposed mixed-use development. Tesla has been at that location since 2008.

"I can't speak to a specific date that our Burlingame store will open but it will be timed with the closing of our Menlo Park store, sometime this summer," Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson said.

The company first opened a Santana Row location in April 2011, Ms. Georgeson said, and a few weeks ago launched its re-opening after completing renovations that tripled the size of the store to 5,600 square feet, making it Tesla's largest.

Grand opening for

housing site

HIP Housing, a nonprofit specializing in finding affordable housing for San Mateo County residents, will hold a grand opening for its new Menlo Park property on Wednesday, May 8.

HIP Housing purchased the property at 1157-1161 Willow Road last year. The 12 units incorporate free Wi-Fi, solar power, and, thanks to Rebuilding Together Peninsula and Facebook, a new community room.

Nine units are reserved for people earning less than 50 percent of the county's median income of $81,300 for an individual, and three units are reserved for those making less than 30 percent of that income. A total of nine apartments must go to people who either live or work in Menlo Park, and HIP Housing hopes to house up to five veterans there.

The grand opening takes place on site from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, and will include site tours.

Identity thieves

target residents

Shopping sprees are fun, but not when a stranger is spending your money. A Menlo Park man discovered that someone else had charged $3,186 for online purchases in his name, police said.

He also received credit cards in the mail that he hadn't applied for, then discovered charges had already been made to the accounts, according to a police report filed April 22. Police spokeswoman Nicole Acker said that some types of cards, particularly those issued by stores, will approve a line of credit and temporary account number for shoppers to use before the card arrives in the mail.

Two other Menlo Park residents reported identity thefts on the same day, but neither lost money. One victim discovered that someone had used his Social Security number and other personal information to file a 2012 tax return when he received a larger-than-expected refund, Ms. Acker said.

The third victim realized someone had stolen his Social Security number and bank account information when an unknown suspect tried to transfer money out of the account. The bank alerted the account holder and prevented the transfer, according to police.

Woodside chase leads to arrests

A police chase April 25 started in Davenport on the coast in Santa Cruz County, included a run through downtown Woodside, and ended near the Edgewood Road interchange on Interstate 280 in San Mateo County, where officers arrested two people.

The driver, Randy Frederick James Blanchard, 26, of San Jose, faces charges that include fleeing from a pursuing officer, driving a stolen vehicle, and possession of stolen property, according to the California Highway Patrol. Charges against the passenger, Marie Dominique Corral, 22, of San Jose, included possession of burglary tools.

During the chase, which involved multiple agencies, the Honda sideswiped two vehicles as it entered I-280 from Woodside Road. The CHP is asking the drivers of the sideswiped vehicles to contact Officer Matthew Storkman at 369-6261.

Artificial grass for Priory

field still open question

The question is open as to whether the Woodside Priory School, a Catholic boarding school in Portola Valley, will win permission to use artificial grass for the interior field of a new running track. Environmental consciousness is a high priority in the town's general plan and in its public activities and operations.

In a 4-1 vote on April 24, with Councilwoman Ann Wengert dissenting, the council agreed to hold a public hearing soon on whether such a field would be in harmony with the intent and purpose of the general plan. The council's next scheduled meeting is Wednesday, May 8.

At the April 24 meeting, residents concerned about an artificial grass precedent vied with members of the Priory community.

Ford Field renovation

to start in June

The Portola Valley Town Council has agreed to accept a bid of $484,888 from the Jensen Corp., a landscape contractor, to renovate Ford Field, a Little League baseball field at 3329 Alpine Road.

Jensen's bid was the lowest of four the town received, according to a staff report. The town is funding the renovation using $232,000 in state grants plus local donations. Members of the public have committed to $59,000 so far. In addition, the Alpine-West Menlo Little League has committed to at least $100,000, and the Sand Hill Foundation, led by Susan Ford Dorsey, has agreed to match up to $100,000 in donations.

Current estimates show a shortfall of $17,366 that could be shared equally by the town and the Little League. The work is set to begin in early June.

Reporting by Sandy Brundage and Dave Boyce.

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