Short Takes: Sign on the dotted line

Autographs, paper, and peanut oil

Sign on the dotted line

You know you're famous when an autograph collector in Poland wants your signature. Andrzej Migdalek wrote the Menlo Park City Council e-mail list to ask for the honor of adding Mayor Rich Cline's autograph to a collection of more than 7,000 signatures.

Council watchers drew tongue-in-cheek parallels between Mr. Cline's popularity in Poland and David Hasselhoff's in Germany. No word yet on whether the mayor will record an album of Polish pop hits.

Best newspaper name ever?

The Paper has joined the ranks of Peninsula newspapers, following the Weekly WAMP's demise. While not as catchy as its predecessor, "The Paper" does have the built-in marketing appeal of randomly occurring in conversation: "Where did you hear that?" "Oh, it was in the paper."

A note in the inaugural Feb. 18 issue from publisher Rob Ashe promised the weekly publication would be "a different newspaper. In a positive way. Not a fluffy positive way, but a meaningful, real way."

Mr. Ashe further assured readers that the paper won't report yesterday's news, but rather, only timeless and relevant stories.

Oil of the peanut

Three five-gallon translucent plastic bottles of used peanut oil found on Friday, Feb. 18, near the corner of Bolivar Lane and Westridge Drive in Portola Valley caused a stir after a resident called 911.

It was unclear as to what the brown liquid was, so firefighters from the Woodside Fire Protection District, who were first on the scene, alerted the county's hazardous materials team of 20 to 25 people, Battalion Chief Jerry Nave told the Almanac.

The team chemist identified the substance, and the town offered to dispose of the oil, Mr. Nave said. As for calling in HazMat: "You have to act like it's the worst thing you've seen in your whole life because you don't know what it is," he said.

Nothing spilled, Mr. Nave added.

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