Hassett Hardware pilots autonomous delivery 

Patrons of Palo Alto’s Hassett Ace Hardware will be among the first people in the world to have their purchases delivered via an autonomous van — the result of a partnership between the hardware store and ThorDrive, an unmanned-vehicle startup based in Mountain View. 

The delivery service, which launched on Thursday, is slated to make deliveries to around 60 residents during a month-long pilot program, according to store president Eric Hassett. 

The family-owned business has five Bay Area locations, including one on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. There is no indication that the service will be coming to the coast any time soon.


Alleged drunken driver pleads not guilty

Paulino Najera, a 21-year-old Pescadero man charged with a felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter following a collision that occurred on Highway 1 in Pescadero in May, pleaded not guilty to the charges in court last week. 

On May 5, Najera had reportedly been drinking tequila and beer with friends at Muzzi Ranch where he lived and worked. He and 63-year-old J. Guadalupe Hernandez Camacho got in Najera’s 1998 Ford and headed north on Highway 1 in search of dinner. 

Authorities say that Najera veered into oncoming traffic at around 8:40 that night and that the resulting crash killed Camacho and seriously injured the driver of a vehicle in the oncoming lane. 

Fourteen cans of beer were reportedly found in Najera’s Ford and the defendant was on probation for two separate misdemeanor drunk driving convictions that occurred in January 2018. 

The case was continued to March 25, 2019, for a pretrial conference and to set a jury trial date. The defendant remains in custody on a $10 million bail. 


County considers new tree ordinance


Last week, the San Mateo County Planning Commission held a public meeting to consider a new “protected tree ordinance” that would replace the county’s current tree removal regulations.

County officials said that the proposed ordinance would increase the protection of indigenous species, streamline the permitting process for removing trees that qualify as invasive species and retain the protection requirements of both current ordinances. 

The ordinance would also create a new “heritage tree” designation process for trees considered unique and important to the community, such as any tree that is among the largest, or oldest, in San Mateo County. 

The ordinance will be formally considered by the Planning Commission early next year.


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