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Around Town: Celebrities inspire local company, students with inspirational messages over Zoom, Instagram | News


Comedian Conan O’Brien, middle on bottom row, crashed a Tibco Software strategy meeting on April 13 to the surprise of employees over Zoom. Screenshot obtained via Conan on TBS video.

In the latest Around Town column, news about celebrities surprising locals with motivational messages through online portals, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody explaining why the county isn’t making face coverings mandatory and law enforcement agencies banding together to applaud Stanford Health Care employees.

ZOOM BOMBING WITH PURPOSE … With many people sheltering at home, Zoom has seen a surge in users signing up for its video-conferencing software — and some of those users utilizing the platform to disrupt meetings with often vulgar messages. (The Palo Alto City Council‘s April 13 meeting was no exception.) Palo Alto-based Tibco Software found itself being Zoom bombed when a recent meeting was interrupted by an unexpected — yet welcomed — guest: comedian Conan O’Brien. The late-night talk show host barged into an April 13 strategy meeting in the middle of CEO Dan Streetman‘s remarks. O’Brien claimed he was “new to the company” and began joking with the group of eight employees. “I’m disappointed in our sales performance. I’m disappointed in a lot of you across the board,” he said. O’Brien then dove into his “ideas” to improve Tibco by reading points verbatim from the company’s website. “I want to customize information exchanges by using APIs over public web in place of proprietary EDI networks. Has anyone thought of that?” The TV host then called on each employee by name to join his endeavor. Before he left the group chat, he counted down the participants to the cheer “Go Tibco!” After he signed off, O’Brien remarked, “Well, that helped no one.” Watch him crash the meeting in a segment that aired Monday on O’Brien’s TBS show, “Conan,” at teamcoco.com/node/118463.

STAYING CONNECTED … There’s no denying that the shelter-at-home order is taking a toll on children. Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School is working to inspire its students by inviting special guests — including professional athletes and celebrities — to share motivational messages through videos posted on its Instagram account at the invitation of physical education teacher Stephen Ashford, affectionately known as Mr. Steve, who primarily posts on the account. The list of notables include former Golden State Warriors forward James McAdoo, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie, actor Cedric the Entertainer and rapper Jermaine Dupri. Their messages offer the students friendly reminders of things to do while sheltering at home, such as washing their hands, reading books and exercising. Since March 16, the school has frequently posted on the account with other messages to stay connected, including images of students holding their artwork and photos of lessons held over Zoom. The school also has posted videos of children who have taken on Mr. Steve’s 10 pushups-a-day challenge. A post published Monday invited students to join his situp challenge by doing as many situps as they can in 1 minute, once a day for the week. The posts “gave us the energy and motivation we needed while things felt really murky,” Principal Maricela Montoy-Wilson said. “It’s been really helpful to keep engagement really high.” The collection of messages has also helped the school meet its vision for the year: celebrating student voices.

SALUTING HEALTH CARE WORKERS … Multiple law enforcement agencies gathered outside of Stanford Hospital early Thursday morning to give health care workers a round of applause during a shift change. Dozens in law enforcement lined up outside of the hospital’s main entrance where they each held a sign with a letter to form the message “Thank you for sharing the front lines with us.” Several local, regional and state agencies joined the appreciation event organized by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. “The show of support and gratitude for health care workers is overwhelming,” patient care services nurse Molly Williams said in a statement. “We are all heroes trying to do our part to overcome this disease.”

FACING THE MUSIC … With San Francisco and San Mateo County recently instituting requirements that residents wear face coverings when going into stores, seeking health care and attending other functions that require human interaction, Dr. Sara Cody was asked Friday why Santa Clara County doesn’t go the same route. Cody, who as the county’s health officer has the authority to make face coverings a legal requirement, subject to enforcement by local police departments, instead chose to make them a recommendation. In a live Q&A sponsored by the nonprofit news organization San Jose Spotlight, Cody offered two reasons. Law enforcement has many priorities for enforcement, she said. She didn’t want to take enforcement resources away from those priorities and towards people wearing face coverings. “The other thing is, when I issue a health office order, I mean it. And I want law enforcement to take action. I didn’t really see that law enforcement would be going to grocery stores and citing people for not wearing face coverings.” Cody also said that she hopes wearing a face cover in public will become a “social norm” so that when people go outside without the covering, “It should feel funny. It shouldn’t feel right. It should feel OK when you’re in your home, with your household, but when you’re not at your home and out and about, you should feel like something is missing. It’s like not having your glasses on.” Cody also made her rounds on national media outlets on Thursday, speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta at a coronavirus town hall and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on her eponymous news show for a nearly eight-minute segment.

SPREAD POSITIVE VIBES … As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold at home and around the world, we want to share positive stories from our readers for upcoming Around Town columns. Have you witnessed a random act of kindness or watched the community form bonds while maintaining a safe social distance? Or have you seen a creative project come about as many stay at home? Send us your story in 250 words or fewer by email to editor@paweekly.com. Photos are also welcome. We look forward to hearing your stories!

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula’s response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.





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