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Family Values
Sunnyvale--Robert and Elizabeth Panuncialman shocked and sickened Sunnyvale last week when police found Elizabeth's 14-year-old son beaten, bound with belts, gagged with a sock and lying in a locked room. Students and staffers at Sunnyvale Middle School took down Robert Panuncialman's license plate and called police after the man roughly hauled his stepson off a school bench and took off in a car, allegedly over a dispute about the boy's choice of clothing that day. The two adults were arrested and charged with torture, felony child abuse and child endangerment, and at press time both are being held on $250,000 bail.

Bloomin' Bad Taste
Los Gatos--Flower-essence waters may be the rage among New Agers, but Eau d'Algae Bloom isn't in Los Gatos and South San Jose. The San Jose Water Company received some 50 calls recently from grossed-out customers in that area complaining about a musty taste and smell in their water. Turns out the water district had switched from the San Luis Reservoir to Anderson Reservoir, where an unusual algae bloom close to the reservoir's mouth got sucked into the pipes early on. A hurried switch to another reservoir is in progress.

No Blow
Palo Alto--Sleep-deprived residents living alongside Palo Alto's Caltrain tracks have finally convinced the City Council to allocate $30,000 to develop an alternative to the whistle that blasts them out of bed at all hours. Although transit officials say running silently could leave blood on the tracks, one idea being considered is new auto-impregnable gates. It's not clear yet how the new gates will safeguard pedestrians and bicyclists, several of whom have been run over in recent years. Negotiations continue between city staff and Caltrain's horn-happy conductors.

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Web extras to the December 2-8, 1999 issue of Metro.

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