Briefs: Willows burglars ordered to repay victims
Six months after their arrests, three burglars who targeted Menlo Park's Willows neighborhood pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court on April 11.
Ricardo Esparza, 18, and his 19-year-old brother, Victor Alfonso Esparza, and Jesus Enrique Lara, 19, pleaded no contest to two counts of burglary. Each man also pleaded guilty to a single count of first-degree burglary, according to the district attorney's office.
Judge Lisa Novak ordered the men to pay at least $42,050 to four victims. She also sentenced them to three years supervised probation following one year in county jail, with 279 days credited as time served.
The trio was arrested after 10 daytime burglaries and two attempts occurred last September in the Willows neighborhood.
The district attorney's office said Mr. Lara was on probation for car theft when the burglaries occurred.
Challenging us to drive less
If paying more than $4 a gallon for gas doesn't encourage people to drive less, what will? Perhaps the annual Drive Less Challenge, which kicks off on April 22 and ends May 5.
The challenge asks participants to use alternative transportation such as buses, bikes, carpools, and their own two feet. Top performers can win prizes from local merchants. An awards party will be held on Saturday, May 21, at Kepler's Books at 1010 El Camino Real.
A press release said 120 participants in Menlo Park in 2009 replaced over 5,000 car miles with alternative "green" trips, reducing local carbon dioxide emissions by over 2 tons. Last year 280 participants from around the Peninsula replaced 29,000 miles, equivalent to taking 55 cars off the road.
Go to drivelesschallenge.com for more information.