Friday, March 7, 2014
Responses provided by Sheldon Breiner
We report to the Town Council on matters related to geology and geologic problems such as landslides, earthquake faults and the like.
The five members of our committee are four geologists and one geophysicist. I enjoy the activities because I have worked in this geologic field for 50 years and did my PhD thesis on earthquake prediction. And, serving on such a committee in this town which straddles the San Andreas fault and has half the territory of the town underlain by potential landslide-prone terrane, makes this all so real - we live here and have to be made aware of the underlying conditions that govern the architecture, location of our homes and what can be done to live more safely.
I'm very pleased to have our committee advise on the content and publication of the latest version of the Town official geologic map. We go into the field, confirm our understanding of the underlying geology and it directly helps all residents. Not actually part of our committee, I designed a seismograph which is the Town library and is online and can record earthquakes from all over the world--accessible anywhere because it is online.
One day, maybe five or ten years from now, there will likely be an earthquake of a magnitude of 7 or 7.5 on the San Andreas fault here in the Town. This will cause the two sides to move past each other by as much as 15 feet (the amount the underlying two plates have already moved since 1906.
Then, there will be aftershocks of magnitude 6 within a day or week and many M 5 for as long as a year after the main event. We have to learn to live with that and plan both house and Town for such earthquakes.
Friday, February 28, 2014
The yellow flowers may look pretty but French Broom is one of the most nastily invasive local shrubs. It quickly spreads, choking out both natives and other desirable plants. It is quite flammable. This is especially a problem in our Open Space preserves.
Each year for 30 years a group of Portola Valley residents has gathered in the Spring with the guidance of the Conservation Committee to pull up this obnoxious intruder from Town right of ways. In the spirit of the 50th Anniversary, please come join us.
Come spend a morning with your neighbors pulling invasive French broom along Portola Valley Roads. We'll meet at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 9th at the Historic School House, Portola Valley Town Center, 765 Portola Road. Wear long sleeves and gloves. Tools and refreshments will be provided.
If you can’t join us, consider clearing your own property of this nasty invasive shrub. Pull it up by the roots - do not cut it off, it comes back tougher and harder to remove. This time of year, the smaller plants pull up quite easily from the rain-damp soil; the large ones need a weed wrench. Later, when our local soil gets like clay, they are almost impossible to pull out.
If you are not the get-your-hands-dirty type, please join us in spirit by asking your gardener to focus on broom removal at his/her next visit.
Community Service hours are available for students.
Judith Murphy, Chair, Conservation Committee
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Responses provided by Nate McKitterick
What committee do you serve on?
What does your committee do?
Generally, we help shape the policies and priorities for land use in the Town, and consider applications that involve major changes to a property.
What do you enjoy about serving on your committee?
Meeting people in the Town whom I otherwise might not. Portola Valley is filled with interesting, intelligent people who have done fascinating things with their lives. I'm not one of them (though a man can dream, right?), but I enjoy them.
Are there any projects that your committee was involved in that you're particularly proud of?Having been on the Planning Commission for the past 9 years, I'd say it's what you don't notice that I am most proud of. In other words, the majestic beauty of our Town and our close-knit community have been preserved. While there have been some Planning Commission issues that have seen respected townsfolk on opposing sides, our sense of community and public participation have not suffered from it.
What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years?
In the nearer term, perhaps we will address more matters relating to the "western hillside," the west side of Portola Valley, the preservation of which was one of the catalysts for the founding of this Town. Further out, I'd guess personal aerial vehicles.
What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?
Ted Driscoll once told me "The Town Council decides what the Town can do now. The Planning Commission decides what we should aspire to do." So, I hope to continue to hear from people in the community about their dreams and hopes for the Town in coming decades.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
This week's recipe was submitted by Joanne Donsky through the PV Forum mailing list!
Peanut Butter Chocolate Tart
Submitted by Joanne Donsky
Medium heavy-bottomed saucepan
9-inch tart pan with removable bottomIngredients:
7 oz (1 ½ cups) Famous Chocolate Wafer crumbs
5 Tb. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup reduced fat smooth peanut butter
8 oz. cream cheese (low fat), room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
½ cup whipped cream or Cool Whip
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
½ cup whipping cream
2 -3 Tb. chopped roasted and salted peanuts
Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, chop the chocolate wafer cookies and add the melted butter. Mix well. Press into a 9-inch tart pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Cool. (Can be done a day in advance.)
Filling: If using whipping cream, whip cold whipping cream until stiff. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, (or by hand) combine the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar. Fold in whipped cream or Cool Whip. Spread the filling into the cool crust.
Ganache: Cut 6 oz. chocolate into small pieces and put in small mixing bowl. Heat whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring just to a simmer. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth and cool a bit.
To assemble: Pour the ganache over the filling and spread evenly. Chill tart until chocolate is set. Decorate with chopped peanuts. Unmold and serve cold.