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High School Proposal Pits San Carlos Neighbors Against High School District

The_new_school

Education Showdown.

Despite the protests of a vocal San Carlos neighborhood group, the Sequoia Union High School District voted unanimously last week to proceed with the purchase of the industrial complex at 535 Old County Road with the intent of constructing a magnet high school. As reported a few weeks ago on this site, the District is looking to build two magnet high schools within its boundaries as a way to alleviate capacity constraints at its existing schools due to surging enrollment in the area. The other location that the District has purchased for the second magnet school is at 150 Jefferson Drive in Menlo Park. The District hopes that the schools will attract 300-400 students each, according to this article in the Mercury News.

The San Carlos location that has been chosen for the magnet school creates an obvious problem that must be sufficiently addressed by the District: Traffic and parking. On a normal day, the combined intersections where both Industrial Road and El Camino Real meet Holly Street are extremely congested, especially at peak commute times. A big question mark with this proposal is how to accommodate the ingress, egress, and parking needs of 400 students plus faculty without completely overwhelming the area with gridlock.

I know from firsthand experience that when there are baseball and soccer games at Laureola Park, parking and traffic can be extremely challenging, and the attendance at these kinds of events are only a fraction of what a high school will draw on a daily basis. So coming up with a viable solution for this problem should be at the top of the District’s list of priorities if this project indeed moves forward.

And therein lies the big question — whether or not the project will indeed proceed. Neighbors in affected areas of San Carlos are extremely well informed and organized and they have certainly been battle-tested recently, addressing local developments such as the new parking restrictions on Holly Street, the Landmark Hotel proposal, and the Transit Village. The residents don’t object to building a magnet school in San Carlos, or even in the greater eastside section — provided that it’s a sensible location. This particular location creates some real and serious issues that must be adequately addressed.

From the tone of the comments in the Mercury News article, these residents appear ready to dig in their heels on this one.  There is a petition posted on the Greater East San Carlos Neighborhood Association website which is seeking support to block the initiative.

What Do You Think?

What is your opinion of a proposed magnet high school at 535 Old County Road? Good idea, or ill-advised?  Register your vote in the poll below, or as always, voice your thoughts in the comment section.

Should a magnet high school be built at 535 Old County Road in San Carlos?

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San Carlos Night of Holiday Lights 2014

Holiday

Friday December 5, 2014

Are you having trouble getting into the holiday spirit?  Well, the San Carlos Park and Recreation Department has the cure for you. Downtown San Carlos will light up again for the holidays this coming Friday December 5 with the annual Night of Holiday Lights. This popular event runs from 5:30-8:30 PM, with the official lighting festivities happening around 6:30 pm.

There will be music, family fun, decorations, and entertainment for everyone. It’s a great tradition that reminds you that we still live in a town…. not a big city. And remember that local businesses and restaurants will be open during the festivities, so make this part of your Friday night out!
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Stuff the Bus With Toys!

Sheriff

Annual Sheriff’s Department Toy Drive.

Join the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department this coming Saturday December 6 for their annual “Stuff the Bus” holiday toy drive, which helps shed some cheer on those who are less fortunate this holiday season. The Sheriff’s Department community outreach organizations, with help from the Redwood City and San Carlos Fire Departments, Bianchini’s Market, and Toy’s R Us, will be at various locations throughout the mid-Peninsula on Saturday to collect toys and cash donations in lieu of toys.  In addition, there are dozens of collection barrels located throughout the area that will be available all month for people to drop off unwrapped toys and books.

Last year, the Department estimated that they distributed gifts to nearly 700 local families, and they expect that number to grow even larger this year as more families are stretched to make ends meet during the holidays.

The Saturday festivities will be at the following locations:

  • 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM at Bianchini’s Market, San Carlos
  • 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM at the Toys R Us store in Redwood City.
  • 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM at the Toys R Us store in Foster City

There will be lots of fun activities there for the kids, too, and even free pictures with Santa for everyone who makes a donation.   So don’t miss out on this opportunity to make the holidays brighter for some families in need!

And many thanks to all of the folks at the Sheriff’s Department, and their many partners in this event, for such a fantastic example of holiday goodwill and community support.

14 stuff the bus

 
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San Carlos Youth Softball Registration Now Open.

November 14, 2014 Living in San Carlos 2 Comments
SCYSA-Logo

Spring Rec League Sign-Ups.

Although the youth soccer season hasn’t even wrapped up yet, it’s time for your aspiring athletes to start planning ahead for next year, especially if you have a softball player in the house.  The San Carlos Youth Softball Association (SCYSA) announced that registration is now open on their website for the Spring 2015 season.

SCYSA is a fantastic fast-pitch softball league that’s just for the girls.  The spring league is more of a recreational pace, with a focus on balanced teams, and an “everyone plays” approach –much like AYSO soccer.   Teams generally play against other teams in San Carlos, and it’s a great time for the girls.

If your daughter is an advanced softball player and wants a higher level of competition, then she probably already knows about the San Carlos Force summer select team.  This is a tryout-based team that plays tournament ball over the summer months, and sometimes into the fall.  San Carlos has put some very competitive Force teams on the field in the past few years, several of which have made it all the way to the National Championships.  And quite a few players have graduated from the Force program to shine on local high school diamonds, and even nationwide at the collegiate level.

More details about sign-ups can be found on the SCYSA website.

Play ball, ladies!
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San Carlos Symphony at Sunset: Saturday August 23rd

San Carlos Park and Rec Foundation

4th Annual Fundraiser

Looking for something fun and unique to do this weekend in San Carlos?  The Parks and Recreation Foundation of San Carlos is proud to present the 4th Annual Symphony at Sunset on Saturday, August 23, 2014 at the new Burton Park Stage.  This great event is making its fourth consecutive appearance this year, and all proceeds benefit the San Carlos Parks & Recreation Foundation, which raises funds for our city’s 14 Parks. Most recently the Foundation contributed $250,000 for the completion of Burton Park Phase II which includes the new stage, Bocce Courts and renovated basketball courts.

The festivities start at 6:00 PM.  At 7:15 pm, relax at your table or comfortable chair to listen to beautiful music.  Musicians include the Grammy nominated Quartet San Francisco, Pianist Stacy Yi, vocalist Mona Dena, and former members of the San Francisco Symphony, Sarn Oliver & Amos Yang.

Enjoy complimentary food from Piacere, Dessert and coffee from Peets AND complimentary wine tasting by Domenico Winery. Fabulous bottles of wine available for purchase. Great raffle prizes, too!

Individual & group seating available at: www.prfsancarlos.org  Enjoy some great music outdoors while supporting your San Carlos Parks!

PRFSC_SAS_2014_Tickets (1)

 
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“FLX”: SamTrans Launches Pilot Program for Low-Cost Rides in San Carlos..

flx

The other day I was driving through San Carlos, and was following an immaculately clean SamTrans shuttle bus with the letters “FLX” emblazoned across the back.     I certainly hadn’t seen one of these before, nor did I have any idea what “FLX” stood for.  So as usual, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to check it out.

As it turns out, back in January of this year SamTrans launched pilot programs in both San Carlos and Pacifica to provide low-cost “flexible” transit services (hence the letters FLX) for local residents along a fixed route within both communities.   The system simply runs on clearly defined loop at certain intervals during the day, and residents can wait at one of the stops for a quick, cheap ride downtown.   The route stops at logical places, such as the Caltrain Station and the Adult Activity Center downtown.

The added twist to FLX is that residents also have the ability to arrange to be picked and drop-off anywhere within the city —  but they need to call a day in advance to arrange for that service.

For those of you who have lived here long enough, this sounds quite similar to the long-defunct S.C.O.O.T. program that once provided free rides throughout San Carlos.  FLX is not free, but fares range from $1.00 per ride for seniors, to $2.00 for adults.  Day passes for the same groups are available for $2.50 and $5.00, respectively.

Light Ridership.

According to this article in the San Jose Mercury news, ridership on the pilot service has been light — either because people are reluctant to try it, or they simply don’t know about it.  I certainly fall into the latter category, as I’m sure many of you do.  Consequently, only an average of about 12 riders per day are using the service, which is probably not going to be enough to keep SamTrans interested in continuing the service beyond the pilot period.   Figures for the Pacifica were not mentioned in the article.

Below is a map of the FLX route in San Carlos and Redwood City, along with the fare schedule:

Route_FLXS

Customers can arrange to have the bus pick them up and drop them off at locations throughout San Carlos when it’s not on a fixed schedule by calling 650-560-0360 a day in advance. This is a pretty unique approach to helping alleviate the parking crunch downtown, while providing rides to people who may not have convenient modes of transportation.

For those very reasons, I certainly hope it survives the pilot period and becomes a regular service in the City of Good Living….
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White Oaks Celebrates National Night Out: Tuesday, August 5.

National Night Out 2014

Free Ice Cream.

White Oaks residents, mark your calendars for this coming Tuesday August 5th.  Just as they have done for the past 5 years, the White Oaks neighborhood will lead the way in San Carlos in embracing the National Night Out initiative.  And they will do so in their trademark fashion of offering free ice cream to all attendees.   This year, however, there’s an added culinary twist as Sancho’s Taqueria will also be offering their tasty food for sale from their mobile truck.

Ever since the White Oaks Neighborhood Watch was founded over 6 years ago, the National Night Out event has been an integral part of the group’s efforts to unite the White Oaks neighborhood, and to raise awareness about crime and public safety in the community.   This year’s event will once again feature a strong showing by San Carlos Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, as well as San Carlos Fire Department.

This year’s festivities will center around 121 and 125 Sunnydale Avenue, courtesy of the Widner and Demeo families who have volunteered to organize this year’s event.  In fact, the entire block of Sunnydale will be cordoned off from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., which will make it essentially a good old-fashioned block party, thus making it easy for everyone to congregate and get to know one another.

A huge thanks for the gracious participation of the San Carlos Bureau of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Redwood City/San Carlos Fire Department — especially Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Rothaus and the fire department’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Christy Adonis for all of their help in coordinating their resources for this important event.  The White Oaks National Night Out is a great opportunity to meet and greet the first responders who are close by when we need them, and to learn about programs that can help us stay safe and secure.

Here’s a flyer with all the details:

National Night Out

 
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Bianchini’s in San Carlos to Host “Bagging for Bucks” – Friday August 1.

Sheriff

3rd Annual Benefit.

The great folks at the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office along with Bianchini’s Market have announced the date for the 3rd Annual “Bagging for Bucks” event, which benefits the Special Olympics.  Here’s how it works:  Between 3:00 and 7:00 PM on Friday August 1, simply shop for your groceries at either of the Bianchini’s locations in San Carlos or Portola Valley.   Your courtesy bagger will be a uniformed member  of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.    They’ll even help carry your groceries to the car.    After they are done helping you, simply tip them generously and those proceeds go to benefit the Special Olympics.  It’s just that easy!

The Sheriff’s Department will be there in full force during this event, with fingerprinting for the kids, and free giveaways for everyone.   It’s a great event for an even greater cause, so please make a point of doing your shopping at Bianchini’s this Friday!

More details regarding the event can be found in the flyer below….

 

Bagging_for_Bucks_2014 (1)
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