News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

City of Palo Alto Announces Five Community Star Award Recipients
Contact : Erin Perez, Administrative Assistant, City of Palo Alto. Community Services Department    650-463-4952
Palo Alto, CA – The City of Palo Alto’s Community Services Department announced the five recipients of its 2007 Community Star Awards at a breakfast celebration held at the Palo Alto Golf Course Restaurant this
morning. Award recipients were honored by Mayor Kishimoto, Community Services Department Director Richard James and department staff at the celebration. The annual Community Star awards are given to individuals or organizations in Palo Alto that have helped further the goals of the Community Service Department's four divisions: Arts and Sciences; Human Services and Cubberley Community Center; Open Space and Parks and Recreation and Golf. This year's recipients are Eileen Richardson, Lynn Hori, Tom Osborne, Patty Hoagland McEwen and Barbara Spreng who were honored for their valuable contributions to the community and advancement of Community Service Department goals.

The Parks Division is proud to present the Community Star Award to Eileen Richardson, Executive Director of the Downtown Streets Team, an innovative local program that provides job training to individuals who are unhoused, or living in a homeless shelter, and helps to develop communication skills and successful work habits. The goal of the training program is to help participants re-enter the workplace with a "hand up instead of a handout." Participants work for food and shelter and job training skills. Eileen Richardson is recognized for her leadership in developing this program and working with City staff to ensure its success.

Since last June, the City of Palo Alto Parks Division has contracted with the Downtown Streets Team to sweep sidewalks, clean tree wells, empty trash cans, and pick up litter. The program has been successful
in providing the City with dependable workers who keep the downtown clean and attractive. The Team also provides the same reliable maintenance service on weekends at the Stanford/Palo Alto Playfields on El Camino Real.

The Open Space Division recognizes Palo Alto High School science teacher Lynn Hori with a Community Star Award for providing inspiration to her students through the coordination of a program to monitor non-native cordgrass in the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. Eight years ago, when the threat of invasive cordgrass was first realized in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ms. Hori arranged a field trip to the marshes with some of her students to look for the weed. When the students found a small area of the Baylands was infested with the grass, they worked with staff to develop strategies for the control and eradication of the fast-spreading plant.

For the past eight years, Lynn has returned annually to the Baylands with a team of highly-motivated teenagers to hunt for traces of the weed. The students have kept detailed statistics of the spread of the
plant. They have prepared informational presentations to the City Council and Parks and Recreation Commission. Lynn not only fosters hands-on interest in environmental protection, she leads by example
and demonstrates how one person can truly make a difference for environmental protection.

The Recreation and Golf Division takes great honor in bestowing the 2007 Community Star Award on Tom Osborne. Tom worked for the City of Palo Alto’s Recreation Division for 40 years, retiring in 1995. In his tenure, he managed the City’s aquatics program, youth and adult sports, specials events, tournaments and much more. What makes Tom Osborne a Community Star is his commitment to volunteerism throughout his career and during his retirement. Tom is a long term resident of Palo Alto and since his retirement has supported Recreation in some very important ways. Tom is the pacer for the annual May Fete Parade, a duty he has enjoyed for 50 years. He still coordinates the annual 8th Grade Basketball Tournament, which he began 26 years ago and now keeps viable through his volunteerism. Tom began the Palo Alto Run Club, Palo Alto Masters, Moonlight Run, Dogs Best Friend Run and the list goes on. Tom continues to assist with events and programs whenever called upon and remains an invaluable member of the Recreation team. Moreover, Tom volunteers weekly at the animal shelter, walking dogs to help socialize them for adoption, which he has enjoyed doing for 9 years. Tom is a true Recreation Professional, delivering services, programs and healthy living experiences to thousands of people. We are truly fortunate to have Tom Osborne as a member of our community.

The Arts and Sciences Division is proud to recognize Patty Hoagland McEwen with this year’s Community Star Award. Ms. McEwen moved to Palo Alto as a child with her family, and began taking part in the Children’s Theatre in the early 1930s. She played the wicked Queen Brangomar in the performance of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, which opened the theatre building on January 29, 1937. She also had the role of Amy in the first production of LITTLE WOMEN, and Aunt March in the second production. Patty played Marjolaine in POMANDER WALK, the raging Kitchen Maid in GRUACH, the Probationer in A KISS FOR CINDERELLA, Mariana in THE RED VELVET GOAT, and ladies-in-waiting and villagers innumerable. She has been a member and on the board of the Friends of the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre, on the 50th Anniversary Committee, and is the Honorary Co-Chair of the 75th Anniversary Committee along with Leonard W. Ely. Patty was recently honored as a Grand Marshall for this year’s May Fete Parade.

The Human Services and Cubberley Community Center Division is proud to recognize Barbara Spreng as its Community Star recipient because of her unfaltering dedication to the new Family Resources Foundation. She is the founding President of the Board of Directors and a fundraising guru. She is a true believer in volunteerism. She is also a founding Board Member of the Youth Community Service, President-Elect of the Sixth District PTA and Chair of Palo Altans for Government Effectiveness
(PAGE). She has received an Outstanding Citizen "Tall Tree" Award by the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and the Kay Philips Leadership and Service Award from Youth Community Services.

Barbara has worked successfully to organize the Family Resources Foundation and see that it remains strong. When times were uncertain for the Family Resources Program, and we were uncertain if we were going to reach the funding goal, Barbara pressed on. She told me, "I am not a quitter," says Kathy Espinoza-Howard, Division Manager of Human Services and Cubberley. We all agree Barbara Spreng is not a quitter. She makes things happen!