Mountain View Voice

News - June 29, 2012

Community Briefs

Crittenden's new assistant principal

Crittenden Middle School has a new assistant principal. Arline Siam, will take over the second-in-command position on July 1, according to a statement released by the district.

The Mountain View Whisman School District announced Siam's appointment in a press release, sent out Friday, June 22. The new assistant principal has been a teacher for 15 years. For the past five years, she has been working on English language learning programs for the district as a teacher on special assignment for the district.

Siam earned her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University, her teaching credential from the College of Notre Dame and she holds a master's in administration leadership from SF State.

"We congratulate Arline on this next phase of her career, and look forward to her great success as a member of the district's management team," said district officials in the statement.

—Nick Veronin

Suicide-prevention efforts

A team of San Mateo County Transit District employees who manage Caltrain have raised nearly $12,000 to help prevent suicides.

The team joined more than 2,000 people on June 9 and 10 in the Out of the Darkness Overnight fundraiser, an 18-mile walk in San Francisco to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Caltrain tracks have been the site of numerous suicides in recent years, including a suicide cluster in Palo Alto that prompted the City of Palo Alto Safety Net Project to address teen depression and mental health crises.

Caltrain has worked with local community organizations to implement suicide-prevention plans, including the Palo Alto Safety Net Project, Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee and the San Mateo County Suicide Prevention/Intervention Planning Committee.

Suicides on the Caltrain right of way make up only 3 percent of all the deaths caused by suicide in the Peninsula area served by the railroad. But the deaths along the tracks are the focus of public attention because they affect so many people, Caltrain said in an announcement Tuesday regarding the fundraising.

"We are all touched by these tragic incidents on the Caltrain right of way. Suicide is a community mental health issue. As a member of the community, Caltrain is committed to helping to prevent suicide," Executive Director Mike Scanlon said.

In 1996 Caltrain posted "No Trespassing" signs every 1,200 feet along its 55-mile corridor. In 2001 a suicide-prevention sign with a telephone number to a crisis prevention center was added. The signs were redesigned in 2010 as part of a national study to access their effectiveness. This year all the signs, which had begun to fade, were replaced, Caltrain noted.

The Transit Police Bureau, comprised of San Mateo County Sheriff's officers who patrol Caltrain's right of way, have received specialized crisis-intervention training to help recognize people who might be a threat to him or herself and refer to them for appropriate treatment.

Caltrain also sponsored a team in the 2006 Out of the Darkness Overnight, the last time the event was held in San Francisco.

—Sue Dremann

New site for lost pets

With the Fourth of July coming up, six Silicon Valley animal shelters are launching a new initiative to prevent the loss of cats and dogs that run away due to fireworks, parades and parties. According to Beth Ward, the Silicon Valley Humane Society's chief operating officer, more dogs run away on July 4 than any other day of the year.

To ensure that pets are returned to their families, the shelters, under the alliance WeCARE, have created a new website dedicated to helping pet owners find lost animals. After the owners enter the city where they lost their pet, the website returns a list of lost and found pets in the area.

Ward advocates acting quickly and contacting more than one shelter to find lost pets.

Four WeCARE shelters are also offering a $50 discount through July 7 on microchip IDs that allow owners to track their pets' locations. The microchip provides animal shelters with the lost animal's owner contact information, and can be bought for $10 at Silicon Valley Humane Society, City of San Jose Animal Care Shelter, Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority and City of Palo Alto Animal Services.

Animal shelters in the Bay Area have provided a list of four safety tips for pet owners on July 4: give their pets proper identification; leave pets at home during parades or parties; closely monitor their pets outside; and never leave their pets in a car.

WeCARE's new website for finding lost animals is found at wecareproject.org.

—Emily Efland

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