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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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City explores downtown parking options


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

Downtown construction forces Los Altos to review parking alternatives.

The city of Los Altos is mulling the viability of alternate – and temporary – parking supply options in light of pending downtown construction projects.

The Los Altos City Council last week directed city staff to explore a handful of potential short-term parking solutions to help offset the loss of more than 110 downtown spaces during the imminent First Street streetscape construction, as well as development at the First and Main streets property and Safeway.

The council voted unanimously to examine temporary parking options to augment downtown’s soon-to-be-dwindling supply, including potential shared parking agreements with private property owners and the possibility of providing valet parking during peak hours. In addition, the council sought further review of the possible redistribution and expansion of the city’s employee parking program – the “white dot” program – to less-impacted public parking plazas.

“The reason I asked for this is because I think the city should be proactive in addressing, to the degree possible, impacts of both public and private developments on our parking plazas,” Councilwoman Val Carpenter said during the discussion.

A city staff report noted that the 96 spaces available at the makeshift First and Main lot will disappear permanently once developer Jeffrey A. Morris begins work on his mixed-use, two-story building. An additional 12 on-street spaces will be lost following completion of the city’s second phase of the First Street streetscape, scheduled to get under way in May. San Antonio Road streetscape construction will also result in the permanent loss of nine parking spaces in Parking Plaza 3. The report added that approximately 50 spaces in that plaza are unavailable during construction.

The anticipated construction projects, according to Economic Development Manager Kathy Kleinbaum, will result in an overall parking occupancy level of 88 percent during peak use – noon to 2 p.m. – above the 85-percent threshold commonly used by parking consultants. She added that the overall peak use now stands at 82 percent.

Nearby areas such as Orange Avenue and Lincoln Park, meanwhile, are slated for parking use by construction crews and queuing for trucks. And up to 16 spaces in Plaza 7, located across from the First Street Safeway, are expected to be used for construction staging purposes, according to the staff report.

Several councilmembers expressed interest in possibly redistributing the city’s white-dot employee parking spaces after Kleinbaum noted that peak occupancy varies greatly from plaza to plaza. She said Downtown Parking Management Study results revealed that plazas 7, 10 (behind Wells Fargo on State Street) and 5 (midblock between Main and State streets) were the most impacted during peak use. By redistributing white-dot spaces away from impacted parking areas to less-impacted plazas, the city could potentially see some gain in parking plazas closer to the downtown core, she added.

“This is a very near-term problem and it’s a short-term problem, and paint – even reflective paint – isn’t as expensive,” Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said of the idea. “I would be supportive of examining whether we want to, as a pilot, go redistribute those white dots and even remove them from places closest to the impacted construction zones.”

Carpenter called the $100,000-plus price tag of year-round valet parking “breathtaking,” noting that she could support a slimmed-down, affordable option.

“If we’re just talking about lunch (for valet service), even though there’s setup time before and after, I would hope that cost could be cut into a quarter of that,” she said. “I’d feel a lot better about $25,000 than I do about $100,000.”

The council also supported further exploration of potential shared-parking agreements, despite Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw’s reservations about the difficulties of making such arrangements.

“I think these are very challenging arrangements to make,” he said. “I think that private property owners have hesitation to take on the liability of somebody new driving around their closed parking lot (or) underneath their building. I think it’s going to be a lot of work, would be my best guess, from a staff perspective.”

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