Community briefs | September 15, 2017 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - September 15, 2017

Community briefs

Juvenile justice talk

The Voice's sister paper, the Palo Alto Weekly, is co-sponsoring a free discussion on how juvenile crimes are handled by the police and District Attorney with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office on Monday, Sept. 18, in Palo Alto.

"Your Kids and the Law" will feature two speakers: LaRon Dennis, supervising deputy district attorney for the county's Juvenile Justice Unit, and Nate Wandruff, an investigator with the District Attorney's Office and a former Mountain View police officer.

Palo Alto Weekly education writer Elena Kadvany will moderate the panel, and Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky will give welcoming remarks.

In a statement, District Attorney Jeff Rosen said his office wanted to hold the forum to dispel some of the confusion around the juvenile justice system.

"The juvenile justice system can seem like a black hole," he said. "Some young people go into it. Little information comes back out. What happened?"

He said he asked Dennis, Wandruff and Boyarsky to "talk about how we have fought to make the system more transparent" and to "discuss and answer questions about the right balance between rehabilitating a young offender and protecting the public."

Prior to joining the District Attorney's Office, Dennis worked in the juvenile and criminal justice systems in a range of capacities: as an adjunct professor teaching juvenile law; as a consultant training justice system partners on the use of risk assessment tools and the implementation of evidence-based practices; as a delinquency law and policy attorney for the California Judicial Council; as a senior program associate at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice at the University of California at Berkeley Law School; and as a deputy legislative counsel for the Office of Legislative Counsel in Sacramento.

Dennis is also contributing author for "Seiser & Kumli on California Juvenile Courts Practice and Procedure," California's leading treatise on juvenile law.

Wandruff has spent more than 20 years working in law enforcement. As a county investigator, he is currently working with the Domestic Violence Unit, the Firearms Training Unit and the Officer-Involved Incident Team. As a Mountain View police officer, he investigated numerous cases involving juveniles.

The panelists will explore topics like how decisions are made to prosecute, what is public information and what isn't in juvenile crimes, how juvenile court proceedings work and how crimes on school campuses are handled, among others.

"When the public knows about the juvenile justice system, then the public can make the juvenile justice system better," Rosen said.

Panelists will not be able to discuss specific cases due to the confidentiality of juvenile court proceedings. After a discussion, the panelists will take questions from the audience.

The forum will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto.

—Palo Alto Weekly staff

Camp for organ transplant recipients

Stanford Blood Center is asking the public to help send 50 pediatric organ transplant recipients to a summer camp hosted by Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.

The week-long camp gives children who have received solid organ transplants the summer camp experience while providing access to nurses and medical supplies.

The Children's Hospital will make a financial contribution for every person who donates blood by Sept. 25 at any of the Stanford Blood Centers, located in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Menlo Park, or at a mobile blood drive.

Monetary donations are accepted at sbckidstocamp.org. A gift of $200 sends a camper for one week. Call 888-723-7831 for an appointment to donate blood.

—Bay City News Service

MV teen wins engineering accolade

Los Altos High School student Alisha Mirapuri's deep interest in technology and computer science hasn't gone unnoticed. On Monday, the Society of Women Engineers awarded Mirapuri and six other girls across the country with the Global Innovator Award, acknowledging her "deep understanding of engineering principles" as well as her active role in the community.

Mirapuri, a Mountain View resident, has worked on coding projects and volunteer initiatives for years, and recently took part in two high-profile tech events, according to a statement by the society on Sept. 11. She participated in the 2016 "Technovation" competition at Yahoo, where she and her team created an app that crowdsources restaurant wait times, and over the last summer attended the MIT Launch Summer Program, where she worked on a project aimed at making 3D printing more accessible to consumers.

Mirapuri also launched her own volunteer initiative called "Karel Konnect," a weekly program that teaches low-income minority students in middle school the basics of coding using Java.

"Many of these kids have minimal exposure or access to simple technology, but I showed them the endless possibilities of combining their creative passions and computer science," Mirapuri said in a statement.

The award program, now in its second year, is intended to "nurture" girls who show an interest in engineering, as well as encourage more women to enter the field through role models like Mirapuri, said Randy Freedman, director of student programs at the Society of Women Engineers.

"Alisha has been an exemplary role model in her community, and we are confident that with her passion for computer science, and her commitment to the community, Alisha will do great things," Freedman said.

Mirapuri will receive the award at a formal ceremony hosted in Austin, Texas on Oct. 27.

—Kevin Forestieri

El Camino Hospital unveils price calculator

El Camino Hospital has launched an online price estimator tool aimed at improving quality and cost transparency for its patients, according to hospital officials.

El Camino Hospital's price calculator provides cost estimates for 80 medical services and procedures. The tool allows for people to see the price of a service or procedure, with or without health insurance.

"We wanted to offer an online tool that people could conveniently and easily access to obtain a personalized out-of-pocket cost estimate based on their insurance benefits," according to Iftikhar Hussain, chief financial officer of El Camino Hospital.

The hospital spent a year making the calculator, launching the pilot version in May. The hospital is dedicating the next few months to revising and improving the estimator. The public can expect to see more services added in the future, including more surgical procedures.

"Since the pilot, we have made several improvements and created a mechanism for feedback," Hussain said.

Hussain said the price estimator is part of the hospital's larger strategy of measuring quality of patient care and safety, which is frequently reviewed through public committee meetings.

"Our Quality Committee meetings are public and their meeting materials are posted online," Hussain wrote in an email.

—Stephanie Lee

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