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101st Airborne Deployed Troops 2015

The 101st Airborne Says “Thank you, San Mateo!”

The San Mateo community continues to show tremendous support to our adopted unit, 1/327 Alpha Company 101st Airborne. The recent care package drive organized by the San Mateo City Clerk’s Office is a great indication of your dedication to our troops. Your contributions of snacks, books, movies, personal hygiene products, letters, artwork, and monetary donations were appreciated by the brave men and women stationed in Djibouti, Africa.

Letters of Thanks from the 101st Airborne.

Our adopted troops were excited to receive the care packages and sent several letters of thanks and gratitude to the San Mateo community. The two letters below are examples of how much these care packages mean to our soldiers.

Dear San Mateo,

Thank you for everything you sent to all of us and taking the time to put it all together. I also appreciate all the letters you sent. You have no idea how much it means to us when we receive your letters and read all the nice supporting things you have to say. I hope to come visit San Mateo some day in the future and come give all of you a personal thanks and tell you how happy I was to receive your package. You guys are the best.


SPC Robert “Bob” Immenshuh

Another one recognizing the kids and our city volunteers

Dear Kids and Volunteers of San Mateo,

Thank you for the care package and all of the goodies. Getting the package and what was inside sure put a big smile on my face. Your letters and very good artwork made it easier here from all the care and thought put into each and every one. I am so glad and thankful for all the support from you all. Thanks again for everything.

With much gratitude,
SPC Tyler Betts

Continue Sending Boxes of Cheer and Good Wishes

Just in time for the Fourth of July, the City  Clerk’s Office is at it again – organizing a Red, White, and Blue Care Package Drive to reach our troops for the most patriotic of holidays. If you would like to participate please send donations of money, snacks, personal hygiene products, or write letters to our troops by June 14th. Your contributions can be submitted to the Clerk’s Office.

More information about the Red, White, and Blue Care Package Drive and San Mateo’s relationship with the 101st  Airborne is available on the city’s website.


Spring Into Summer Parade Promotional Graphic
Community, Community Events

Spring Into Summer Parade

Join the Spring Into Summer Parade to celebrate the opening of the San Mateo County Fair and the BEST of our city and county

The City of San Mateo and the San Mateo County Fair invite you to attend the Spring Into Summer Parade! A mile-long extravaganza of floats, bands, and festivities!

Spring Into Summer Parade Promo GraphicEveryone loves a parade! On Saturday, June 10 at 10:00 a.m. the City of  San Mateo and the San Mateo County Fair invite you to attend the Spring Into  Summer Parade — one of the most family-friendly events occurring on the west coast this summer!


Parade festivities are exciting for community members of all ages, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate San Mateo’s diversity and cultural richness. We are expecting a variety of parade entries that will enthrall and delight audiences. Some will reminisce as classic cars drive by, others will ooh and ahh as majorettes toss their batons high into the sky and catch them without missing a step, and everyone is certain to feel the excitement and rhythmic beat as the marching bands approach.

These are the things that make parades exciting and memorable. We hope you’ll take the time to attend, enjoy the fun of the parade, and stay to celebrate the opening day of the San Mateo County Fair.


Marching band drums and legs

A local high school marching band will bring community spirit and excitement to the Spring Into Summer Parade.

Nearly 10,000 people are expected to attend the parade. If you’re a non-profit, school group, or local business, don’t miss this opportunity to get in front of the crowd and interact with the community. The Spring into Summer Parade is an opportunity for everyone to get involved.

If you have a classic car, represent a motorcycle pack, or have an art mobile — we want you to register for the parade. If you run a martial arts studio, work with a dance team, or are on the cheer squad — register for the parade. If you are in a scout troop, are part of a marching band, or have a comical act to highlight — well, you get the idea, register for the parade.  The more the merrier; join the procession and the fun!

Those interested in participating are invited to go online to register. You’ll find the parade entry form as well as the rules and guidelines for participation. Registration is free for community groups and nonprofits; $250 for business/commercial entities. We’re expecting a diversity of entries to participate in the parade and demonstrate the best our community.


Hula hoop woman

Show us what you got San Mateo! Let’s make the Spring Into Summer Parade a fun and memorable event.

Volunteering is the best way to demonstrate your community spirit! We need at least 200 volunteers to make the parade run smoothly. If you’re looking for a fun volunteer opportunity this summer, consider volunteering during the Spring Into Summer Parade.

We need people to check in parade entries, help organize the line-up, and to assist with a variety of other tasks. Those volunteering for four hours will receive a FREE full-day pass to attend any day of the Fair. Sign-up to volunteer using Eventbrite.

For more information about the Spring Into Summer Parade, please visit the City’s website.


Diverse hands holding the word volunteer
Community, Volunteering

Volunteers Have Heart 2017 Writing Contest Winners

San Mateo volunteers celebrate community service by sharing their passion for volunteering.

Volunteers contributing to the community

San Mateo volunteers provide meaningful service to the community in a variety of ways. Last year they contributed 84,511 hours of service.

The volunteer spirit shines in San Mateo! Our volunteers often talk about why they like giving back to the community. For the third year in a row, we invited volunteers to write a short sentence, poem, or “sweet Tweet” about the value of Community Service or volunteering, especially in San Mateo. We offered movie tickets to those who submitted the three best entries. Here’s what our writing contest winners have to say!

  • The City of San Mateo is unique and exciting. Volunteering for our city is great and inviting. – Greg S.

The above introduces a poem about the positive benefits of volunteering. Last stanza: So come to the table. Step up to jump in. ‘Cause San Mateo Volunteer team will show you where to begin.

  • Volunteering will reaffirm your belief in humanity & make a positive difference in people’s lives. #VolunteersHaveHeart – HandsOn Bay Area
  • Through the open hearts and selfless acts of willing volunteers flows the lifeblood of the community. Your Community. San Mateo. – Ken W.
Volunteer Source Logo

Get a jump on becoming one of next year’s writing contest winners by sending an email to San Mateo’s volunteer program.

Thank you all for participating in this year’s writing contest. Now is the time to sharpen your pencils and cameras for next year’s contest. Guidelines: Write and send us a message or poem of 140 characters (or less) by last day of February. Questions? Call or email Donna Divodi at 650-522-7277. To find out about volunteer opportunities or to register, please visit the city’s website.

@VolunteerSource Challenge Logo
Community, Volunteering

Take the @VolunteerSource Challenge


Diverse hands holding the word volunteer

#VolunteersHaveHeart. During the month of February share your love for volunteering with the City of San Mateo.

As the calendar turns to February thoughts of love and affection enter our minds. During this time, many of us are inclined to express our most loving sentiments, and the City of San Mateo wants to encourage this behavior.  As such we call upon our volunteers during the month of love and invite you to enter the @VolunteerSource Challenge.

This is your chance to share and tweet about your love for volunteering. There are a variety of ways to express your love. You can write a short message or poem about volunteering (140 characters or less). Share a picture of you giving back to your community. Or, create your own artwork expressing your love for volunteering. We’ll post the winners on Twitter the afternoon of Wednesday, March 1, 2017, so make sure you are following @VolunteerSource! And, three of you will win a pair of movie tickets.

How to enter:

Option 1: Follow @VolunteerSource on Twitter

Tweet about your love for volunteering, tag @VolunteerSource and include

Option 2: Email or text your entry to

Get started with these winning examples!

  • Volunteers don’t have more time, we just have more heart! #VolunteersHaveHeart
  • It’s always a doggone great day when I volunteer at the Peninsula Humane Society! Charles P. winner 2016
  • Show me a person who spends endless hours in training, and I’ll show you a volunteer. Casia R. winner 2016
  • Meet friends old and new. Volunteering Rocks! #VolunteersHaveHeart

Deadline for Entry

The deadline to enter the @VolunteerSource Challenge is February 28, 2017. Don’t delay ~ love is fleeting, share it while you can. Visit the city’s website for more information about the volunteer challenge.

Senior couple on hike taking a selfie

70 Strong: Connections for Aging Well

70 Strong is the first comprehensive online directory of activities and services for older adults in our area.

Smiling Older WomanWhether you are an older adult or a family member of an older adult, 70 Strong is your personal resource guide to activities and services for older adults in our area. Activities and services include enrichment classes, social groups, volunteer opportunities, support groups, home care, hospitals, community clinics, transportation, food services and housing.

Serving residents since 1946, Sequoia Healthcare District’s mission has always been to improve the health of the community. Lee Michelson, CEO of Sequoia Healthcare District explains, “We recognized a need for a cohesive resource guide for older adults in our community to find activities and services that will keep them fit and healthy for decades to come.”

Pamela Kurtzman, Program Director of Sequoia Healthcare District adds, “When the concept of 70 Strong was first envisioned, we knew it would require us to partner with an organization experienced in providing programs and services for older adults in our community. Given our long-time partnership with Peninsula Family Service and knowing the exceptional quality of their services and commitment to this population, there was no question as to who that partner would be to help us develop and manage 70 Strong.”

After partnering and developing the program for the past year, 70 Strong is now up and running.

How it works:

Activities and services are at your fingertips through a user-friendly online resource directory, with options to speak directly with a Community Navigator over the phone or to meet in person with a Community Navigator on a site location of your choice. For participants requiring higher-level assistance, Community Navigators are available to meet in the comfort of the participant’s own home. Assistance from Community Navigators is available free of charge for district residents.

The district includes residents of Atherton, Belmont, Portola Valley, Redwood City, Redwood Shores, San Carlos, Woodside, and parts of Foster City, Menlo Park, and San Mateo. Please visit  or call (650) 780-7547 to speak directly with a Community Navigator today.

On occasion, San Mateo Insider, published by the City of San Mateo, will share information about programs and services offered by our community partners. 70 Strong is an initiative of Sequoia Healthcare District and Peninsula Family Services. San Mateo Insider is happy to share this information with its community of readers.  Subscribe to San Mateo Insider.


San Mateo holiday ideas keep everyone entertained

Keep spirits shining bright with these local, San Mateo holiday ideas.

Have you ever looked at San Mateo through the lens of a visitor or young child? Think about our community from their perspective. You may see that San Mateo offers many incredible amenities that provide the right amount of entertainment for family and friends visiting this holiday season. If you are home for the holidays, here are some unique San Mateo holiday ideas that will keep antsy kids and visiting relatives entertained.

Outdoor Fun

San Mateo Bike Share

Get some fresh air and go for a bike ride. San Mateo’s bike share program is easy to use and a great way to get around town.

Go outside and play! San Mateo has more than 30 parks, an 18-hole golf course, and an accessible bike share program. Explore the Bay Trail at Shoreline Park, climb to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, or enjoy San Mateo on Ice located at Central Park. Fresh air and exercise will keep your holiday spirit shining bright!

Downtown Walking Tours

While there is no official walking tour of Downtown San Mateo, there is an abundance of architecture dating back from the city’s incorporation in 1894 to the 1930’s. For the best representation of historic architecture, walk through the northern portion of Downtown between B Street and Tilton Avenue and along Third, Second, and Ellsworth Avenues. Peppered throughout the architectural landscape of the downtown are murals and other forms of street art. The most recent, “Good Life,” featuring significant symbols of San Mateo, was completed earlier this month. You’ll find it at the Downtown Caltrain Station. Watch this video to learn more about muralist, Brian Barneclo and the creation of “Good Life.”

San Mateo Best Food

Who doesn’t like to eat? San Mateo’s vibrant food and dining scene is the perfect way to entertain out of town guests. With 350 restaurants and food specialty stores, there are plenty of options that will satisfy the pickiest eater to the most adventurous and everyone in between. Download the Downtown San Mateo restaurant guide, and explore San Mateo’s diverse dining options at

Shop ’til you drop

Friends Shopping

Everything is on sale after the holidays. Grab your friends and discover the best local deals.

Resisting holiday sales is hard! Grab your friends and enjoy a day exploring San Mateo’s local shopping districts and regional centers. Each one offers a different experience. Enjoy smaller boutiques in Downtown San Mateo and national retailers and department stores at Hillsdale Shopping Center. Early birds will likely find great deals at the discount and big-box retailers located at Bridgepoint, while 25th Avenue features a handful of mom and pop stores that are unique to San Mateo.

Over the holidays, take the time to share your favorite things about living in or around San Mateo. Your guests will enjoy your local perspective, and the variety of activities offered throughout our community.

House ornately decorated for the holidays

San Mateo Holiday Lights Make Seasons Bright

San Mateo Holiday Lights HogoDecorating for the holidays is an art form. Some like the subtle approach using white twinkling holiday lights. And why not they’re lovely! While others prefer to unleash their inner Griswald; “go big or go home” is the motto they follow. Whatever your style, it’s always fun to see the merry ways neighbors get into the spirit of the season.

This year, the city of San Mateo is making it possible for you to show-off your light stringing skills. We’ve created an interactive holiday lights map where you can register your home, upload a few photos, and it will automatically plot on the map. It’s a fun way to share your holiday creativity and cheer with others.

House decorated with Santa and Reindeer

Plan a family holiday event by creating your own walking or driving tour through neighborhoods decorated for the season. Your efforts will help bring neighbors together while making San Mateo brighter!

The more homes plotted on the map, the more festive it will be! Particularly for families that have a tradition of driving around looking at the homes decorated in their finest holiday glory. Kids can view the interactive map online, and you can collaborate as a family to create a personalized driving or walking tour of San Mateo’s neighborhoods.

You can’t dispute the joy of holiday lights.

Many kids, of all ages, find it a special treat to pile into the family car, put on some holiday tunes, and look out in awe at the twinkling festive site of all the holiday lights. Many of you can recall doing this as a kid. I was always on the look out for one particular home that used lights of every color and had a front yard scene that resembled a holiday carnival – an animated carousel and all! My dad thought it was gaudy, but I loved it and looked for it with such excitement each year.

While celebrating your own holiday traditions, please make San Mateo’s Holiday Lights part of your special moments this season. Squeeze in a drive around San Mateo or a walk through your neighborhood to explore the creativity of your fellow community members. You may even run into some neighbors and spread holiday throughout the community. Please visit the city’s website to view the interactive map online or use it on your SmartPhone while planning a tour.

San Mateo Holiday Tree Lighting November 20
Community, Community Events

Holiday Fun Begins in Central Park!

Holiday fun begins this Sunday with Santa’s arrival, ice skating, and holiday lights!

November 20, 2016 – 6:00 PM – Fitzgerald Field, Central Park

2015 brought holiday fun for a young boy enjoying last year's tree lighting.

Enjoy San Mateo’s holiday tree lighting in Central Park.

Who’s ready for holiday fun? Join us, this Sunday in San Mateo’s historic Central Park to celebrate the opening of San Mateo on Ice and the holiday season!

Santa will make a grand entrance on a fire engine with the San Mateo City Fire Department. Enjoy performances by Peninsula Skating Club figure skating performers: Alain Sandraz, Gianna Sasmore, and Clayton Ramsey, and the Nazareth Ice Oasis production group. The evening ends with a magical celebration of light during the tree lighting ceremony in Central Park and along El Camino Real.

The San Mateo City Parks and Recreation Foundation will have refreshments available. All proceeds benefit the foundation and support city parks and recreation programs.

The holiday tree lighting is sponsored by the City of San Mateo, San Mateo City Fire Department, San Mateo United Homeowners Association, Windy Hill Property Ventures, San Mateo Central Labor Council, San Mateo Building Trades Council & Affiliates, and KGO and KFOG.

San Mateo on Ice now open in Central Park!

Make your way to San Mateo’s historic Central Park for a day of skating and fun! San Mateo On Ice is now open daily, including holidays, through January 16, 2017! Located at the corner of Fifth and El Camino in downtown San Mateo, San Mateo on Ice features 9,000 square feet of real ice. Enjoy a fun-filled holiday season skating and exploring Downtown San Mateo. You’ll find information about hours, ticket prices, and more at San Mateo on Ice.

Winter Wonderland in Central Park

Friday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 – 6:30 PM – FREE


Snow falls predicted in Central Park, which means holiday fun!

Have fun playing in the snow, ice skating, and enjoying other holiday activities at our Winter Wonderland – FREE in Central ParkFriday, December 2 and Saturday, December 3 – 6:30 PM

Holiday fun continues in Central Park with holiday lights, family activities and lots of fun. Stop by for fun holiday activities like horse-drawn carriage rides, painting, cookie decorating, doughnuts, hot chocolate, and SNOW! The event is free and provides an exciting, magical way to enjoy the ice rink and downtown San Mateo this holiday season.

Halloween Safety.

Follow these Halloween Safety Tips for a Fun Holiday!

Stay alert and keep our trick-or-treaters safe with these Halloween safety tips

Halloween is just days away, and the San Mateo Police Department (SMPD) is partnering with the community to encourage our trick-or-treaters to follow these Halloween safety tips. Let’s do all that we can to keep our neighborhoods safe! SMPD will have plenty of officers out that night, watching out for you and your family in your neighborhoods. Halloween safety is our #1 goal this Halloween. Here are a few tips to remember to keep all our trick-or-treaters safe.

Trick-or-treatHalloween Safety Tips

  • Be visible, stay visible. Use flashlights and reflective clothing, walk on the sidewalks rather than cutting through yards and cross streets only at intersections using caution.
  • Put electronic devices down and keep heads up.
  • Avoid running. Walk, and be aware of your surroundings
  • Trick or Treat in groups and have an adult with you
  • Keep identification on your person that is easy to read and keep a cell phone with yourself or your group for any emergencies
  • Don’t approach unfamiliar pets or animals
  • Have an adult inspect all candy before consumption. Beware of loose wrappers, unwrapped, or homemade candy.

Drivers should be especially cautious and aware on Halloween, especially during prime trick-or-treating time between 4 and 8 pm, and especially in our residential neighborhoods

If you must drive this Halloween, PLEASE SLOW DOWN and keep your full attention on the roadway ahead. Be alert for excited youngsters, whose vision may be obscured by masks, darting out into traffic. You may see them, but they might not see you.

Halloween Block Parties

As a reminder, San Mateo’s police department is not able to provide dedicated traffic control to either permitted or non-permitted block parties in our community. However, by acquiring the necessary permit, SMPD is made aware of your block party, and we can incorporate directed passing checks of the area into our operations plan for Halloween night. For the future, block party permits can be acquired through Public Works as early as 90 days and as late as 45 days before the event.

Not sure what to do on Halloween? Check out our San Mateo City Insider blog for Halloween events taking place throughout our city.

Helpful Websites for a Safe and Fun Halloween Weekend

Do you part to keep San Mateo’s neighborhoods safe

San Mateo police count on community members to “extra eyes and ears.” Please report suspicious activity to SMPD right away via 911, or 650-522-7700. For information related to any ongoing SMPD investigation, call the Detective Bureau at 650-522-7650. You may also contact us anonymously by voicemail at 650-522-7676.

Follow SMPD Twitter!

Volunteers at the Senior Center keep weekly BINGO games moving.
Community, Uncategorized

San Mateo Honors Volunteers

San Mateo’s Volunteer Program Continues to Expand

From the Japanese Garden to the Police Station’s front desk, San Mateo volunteers fill a variety of roles and bring tremendous value to the community.

Youth volunteers with city of san mateo

Erik Rivera is a youth volunteer extraordinaire! He is one of ten volunteers to be recognized by City Council tonight

San Mateo volunteers take on many unique, meaningful, and sometimes quirky assignments. Consider Bernice Baumgarten (pictured above in the center with friends) who came to our volunteer program 18 years ago through Wednesday Afternoon Bingo at the Senior Center – she is dubbed “Bingo Caller Extraordinaire.”

The breadth of volunteer assignments represents the expansiveness of the San Mateo community, and the Senior Center is only one of the many volunteer opportunities with the city. Erik Rivera is a youth volunteer serving on the Youth Activities Council. Others support programs at the San Mateo Library by sorting books or serving as a tutor for Project Read, while some prefer to work outside and help with minor weeding and the daily feeding of the Koi fish tasks at the Japanese Garden. And there’s no shortage of office work; some volunteers fill more traditional roles by providing administrative support at City Hall or front counter customer service at the Police Station.

Since 2011, the Citywide volunteer program has seen consistent growth. During the 2015-16 fiscal year, the average number of quarterly volunteers reached an all-time high of 1,793; collectively, city volunteers provide 86,597 hours of service resulting in a record-breaking in-kind value of $2,040,225 during the past fiscal year.

Many factors contribute to the success and growth of the volunteer engagement program. During the past fiscal year, both

Student tutored by Project Read Volunteers

Steven Cady volunteers at the San Mateo Library. Project Read is a fulfilling volunteer opportunity.

internal and external communication efforts have expanded. Internally, departmental volunteer champions meet quarterly to collaborate on city-wide volunteer opportunities. Externally, social media and direct communication channels such as Nextdoor, email blasts, Twitter and Instagram are used to communicate with existing volunteers and recruit new volunteers.

“It’s incredible to see the growing number of volunteers participating in community events and supporting many city initiatives,” says San Mateo City Manager, Larry Patterson. “Given the success of the volunteer engagement program over the past few years, it’s clear that many residents and businesses want to give back to the San Mateo community.”

To recognize its success, the San Mateo City Council will highlight the program during the October 17th City Council Meeting and recognize select Outstanding Volunteer Honorees. In addition to highlighting ten individuals for their volunteer contributions, the city will also, for the first time, acknowledge a company for outstanding volunteer service.

Visa Volunteers Spruce Up 25th Avenue

Volunteers from Visa participate in the annual 25th Avenue Holiday Spruce Up.

The Visa Volunteer Group is the first corporate group to receive an honor for their participation in volunteer engagement and providing outstanding community service. Visa volunteer groups, including the Visa Asian Employee Network, participate in community events both large and small including the 25th Avenue Holiday Spruce Up, the Autumn Moon Festival, the Generation Walk for Wellness, and the Laurelwood Park Cleanup.

Council will recognize the following ten individuals Bernice Baumgarten, Erik Rivera, Sheila Luttringer, Lee Correy, Mary Lou Dragonryder, Shelby Wright, Steven Cady, Karen Herrel, Marie Brown, and Sherri Bade, as well as the Visa volunteer groups.

Volunteerism throughout the City of San Mateo continues to grow, and it has become a key component for encouraging community engagement while connecting residents and city staff to one another in a meaningful way. For more information about volunteer opportunities with the city, please visit Volunteer Source on the city’s website.

“Community involvement is a large part of what makes San Mateo a great city,” says San Mateo Mayor, Joe Goethals. “Our volunteers provide a variety of services throughout the organization and community. We are grateful for the support and positive energy they provide. Thank you for all you bring to the city of San Mateo.”