09272016Tue
Last updateWed, 28 Sep 2016 4pm

News

Suspected serial bank robber arrested

Suspected serial bank robber arrested

The suspect wanted in connection with a local bank robbery in July has been identified and arrested by San Jose Police officers.

Havens

Officers arrested San Jose resident Spencer Havens Sept. 15, according to a department press release publish...

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Schools

Foothill astronomy star Fraknoi wins national teaching award

Town Crier Report

Foothill College astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi recently received the Pinnacle Professor Award for long-standing, distinguished service to the professionalization of astronomy education.

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Community

Balanced  Mountain View revamps website

Balanced Mountain View revamps website

The Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View recently revised and updated its website and has launched a Facebook page.

Courtesy of Balanced Mountain View

The group’s mission is to encourage Mountain View residents to engage in the civic process.

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Sports

Pride Bowl trophy returns to Los Altos

Pride Bowl trophy returns to Los Altos

As the Los Altos High football team remained on the field to celebrate Friday night’s 12-9 win and pose for photos with the Pride Bowl trophy, stunned rival Mountain View trudged to the locker room to face disappointed head coach Shelley Smith and hi...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Voting is a personal responsibility

In his Sept. 14 letter to the editor (“Take a stand on presidential election”), Michael Rappaport criticizes the Town Crier’s decision to not endorse/recommend a presidential candidate.

I applau...

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Special Sections

LAHS student launches international website on mental health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health


Photos courtesy of nadia ghaffari
Months after founding the website TeenzTalk, Ghaffari, second from left, spoke with international teens at the Yale program about methods to overcome stress.

When Nadia Ghaffari went to Yale University this summer ...

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Business

Start-up with big dreams launches localized, secure messaging app

Start-up with big dreams launches localized, secure messaging app


megan V. winslow/town crier
Marty Kacin, right, CEO of Los Altos Research Center, promotes his newly released app last week.

Approximately 150 guests, including the mayor and other Los Altos officials, convened at Los Altos Golf & Country Cl...

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People

FLORA WALLACE

Flora Wallace, beloved wife of Seymour and cherished mother of Linda, passed away on September 7, 2016. She succumbed to complications of cancer. Flora was born in Argentina on March 17, 1927. She lived in Los Altos for approximately 55 years. She wa...

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News

Suspected serial bank robber arrested

Suspected serial bank robber arrested

The suspect wanted in connection with a local bank robbery in July has been identified and arrested by San Jose Police officers.

Havens

Officers arrested San Jose resident Spencer Havens Sept. 15, according to a department press release published Thursday.

Havens, 25, is suspected of robbing ...

Readmore

Business

Start-up with big dreams launches localized, secure messaging app

Start-up with big dreams launches localized, secure messaging app

megan V. winslow/town crier
Marty Kacin, right, CEO of Los Altos Research Center, promotes his newly released app last week.

Approximately 150 guests, including the mayor and other Los Altos officials, convened at Los Altos Golf & Country Club to witness the launch of a new business three y...

Readmore

Sports

Pride Bowl trophy returns to Los Altos

Pride Bowl trophy returns to Los Altos

As the Los Altos High football team remained on the field to celebrate Friday night’s 12-9 win and pose for photos with the Pride Bowl trophy, stunned rival Mountain View trudged to the locker room to face disappointed head coach Shelley Smith and his staff.

By the time the somber Spartans emerged,...

Readmore

Community

Balanced Mountain View revamps website

Balanced  Mountain View revamps website

The Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View recently revised and updated its website and has launched a Facebook page.

Courtesy of Balanced Mountain View

The group’s mission is to encourage Mountain View residents to engage in the civic process.

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Voting is a personal responsibility

In his Sept. 14 letter to the editor (“Take a stand on presidential election”), Michael Rappaport criticizes the Town Crier’s decision to not endorse/recommend a presidential candidate.

I applaud the Town Crier for saying, “You’re o...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Spiritual Briefs

Baja orphanage founders share experiences Sunday

Bill and Kaye Lawrence, founders of the Rancho Santa Marta orphanage and school for developmentally challenged children in Baja California, are scheduled to speak 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. A light...

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People

FLORA WALLACE

Flora Wallace, beloved wife of Seymour and cherished mother of Linda, passed away on September 7, 2016. She succumbed to complications of cancer. Flora was born in Argentina on March 17, 1927. She lived in Los Altos for approximately 55 years. She was an avid gardener, stunt kite flier, and supporte...

Readmore

Schools

Foothill astronomy star Fraknoi wins national teaching award

Town Crier Report

Foothill College astronomy professor Andrew Fraknoi recently received the Pinnacle Professor Award for long-standing, distinguished service to the professionalization of astronomy education.

Readmore

Special Sections

LAHS student launches international website on mental health

LAHS student launches international website on mental health

Photos courtesy of nadia ghaffari
Months after founding the website TeenzTalk, Ghaffari, second from left, spoke with international teens at the Yale program about methods to overcome stress.

When Nadia Ghaffari went to Yale University this summer for a global program for high school students, she...

Readmore

Stepping Out

LA Stage Company snuffs out 'Assassins' Sunday

LA Stage Company snuffs out 'Assassins' Sunday

Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of the musical “Assassins” includes, from left, Chase Campbell, Ken Boswell and Andy Cooperfauss.

Los Altos Stage Company is scheduled to present “Assassins” through Sunday at Bus Barn Theater.

Launching the company’s 21st season, the controvers...

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Obituaries

FLORA WALLACE

Flora Wallace, beloved wife of Seymour and cherished mother of Linda, passed away on September 7, 2016. She succumbed to complications of cancer. Flora was born in Argentina on March 17, 1927. She lived in Los Altos for approximately 55 years. She was an avid gardener, stunt kite flier, and supporte...

Readmore

Magazine

California lilacs come in all sizes

California lilacs come in all sizes

Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
The profuse blue flowers of ceanothus shrubs in late winter to late spring lure many pollinators. On a sunny day, you can find the nearest California lilac by listening for the sound of happy bees.

Pete Veilleux experiments with all kinds of native plants at...

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Church schools’ enrollment increase rejected


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

The Los Altos City Council narrowly rejected a request from Union Presbyterian Church to amend its use permit to expand enrollment at the two schools on its site.

The Los Altos City Council last week narrowly voted against an enrollment increase request of 20 students by two private schools located at Union Presbyterian Church.

The council voted 3-2 against a combined enrollment bump from 100 to 120 students by Heritage Academy, a K-6 elementary school, and University Child Development Center (UCDC), a preschool. Heritage Academy sought an increase of 14 students, and UCDC wanted a six-student bump. Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw and Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins cast the two votes in favor of the request.

The request – which would have required an amendment to the church’s existing use permit – came after the council turned down a similar 2011 proposal by the schools, which resulted in an enrollment cap of 100 students.

Heritage Academy Principal Marilyn Davidson told the council the combined school expansion was necessary “for a successful business model.” She called the schools “a resource for families needing alternative education.”

“For viability and to pay our teachers a living wage in Silicon Valley, we are requesting that those 20 students be added,” said Davidson, adding that Heritage Academy’s enrollment of Los Altos students has increased from 20 to 29 percent since 2011.

Davidson said the schools, located at 858 University Ave., took steps to minimize traffic impacts since their last request. She pointed to staggered onsite drop-off and pickup times for students and noted that 38 percent of the schools’ families carpool to the site daily, as do one-third of faculty members.

“An increase of 20 students will not be 20 (more) cars because of carpooling and all of the families that are involved,” said Davidson, who added that several neighborhood children and adults use the church’s playground and other facilities.

“I don’t think that the neighborhood is going to be impacted by 20 additional kids,” said Union Presbyterian Church elder Ted Brown. “The church won’t be impacted by it – but 20 kids will. It’ll make a big difference to 20 kids and their families.”

Mixed public reaction

A handful of neighbors told the council they were wary of the schools’ request, citing the potential for increased traffic and noise.

“I like to see kids get educated in Los Altos, but I don’t want increased traffic, I don’t want increased noise and I don’t want increased pollution,” said Herbert Fong, a 40-year neighborhood resident.

Madonna Way resident Sangum Desai said the church was behaving “like a commercial enterprise” and that more students would negatively impact traffic. He noted that approval would be a “historically unprecedented burden on the neighborhood with really no benefit to our local community at all.”

Los Altos resident Richard Jackson, who has sons enrolled in both schools, countered that with more families calling Los Altos home, an increase was necessary to meet demand.

“For me, it’s a simple question of: How is the council going to respond to the growing needs of the community? There is a need for more education,” Jackson said.

Split council

Ultimately, the council’s vote appeared to echo the split opinions offered by neighborhood residents and school parents.

Bruins said the school had made “positive changes” since its 2011 request, with Fishpaw adding that the findings “strongly supported” the 20-student increase.

“I think the school has worked very hard with the parents to try and be good neighbors,” said Bruins, a Los Altos Planning Commissioner at the time of the church’s 2011 request. “I think they heard the feedback last time loud and clear. … I am inclined to support this. I do believe things have changed since this was before me as a planning commissioner.”

Councilwoman Val Carpenter, however, said that while she values diversity in education, she was equally “troubled by having the neighborhood negatively impacted by the traffic and noise created by nonresidents.”

At the time of the initial request in 2011, Carpenter unsuccessfully sought a cap at 90 students before voting for the 100-student limit. She noted that a traffic report for the church’s 2011 request was flawed, because existing conditions “understated the impact that the neighborhood already incurred.”

Carpenter added that the 6-acre church site might meet the “pressing need for a location for Bullis Charter School,” suggesting a potential land swap between the church and the Los Altos School District.

“For myself personally, I would much rather impact the neighbors for a local public school – and of course, 95 percent of current BCS students live within the Los Altos School District – rather than a private school whose students don’t really live in Los Altos,” she said.

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee, meanwhile, cited the schools’ staggered start times and efforts to mitigate its traffic impacts as a boon, calling the lack of opposition from neighbors not immediately near the school “a material change from two years ago.” Still, she noted that her decision came down to balancing competing interests and that her 2011 no vote hadn’t changed.

“I think the school has worked really hard to be a good neighbor, and I appreciate that, and I think that has had success in what we’re seeing today,” she said. “But it still on balance doesn’t change my mind.”

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Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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