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Last updateWed, 31 Aug 2016 5pm

News

Los Altos hires Jordan as new city manager

Los Altos hires Jordan as new city manager


Approximately four months after he was named Los Altos’ interim city manager, Chris Jordan will take on the job permanently. The Los Altos City Council made the appointment at their Aug. 23 meeting.

Councilmembers expressed their enthusiasm ...

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Schools

Local schools score high on standardized test

Local schools score high on standardized test


Source: California Department of Education
The majority of local schools met or exceeded standards on the state’s assessment tests, released last week. The results show the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards in English Langua...

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Community

Internationally known author plans local talk

Internationally known author plans local talk


MICHAEL LIONSTAR/ Special to the Town Crier
Alexander McCall Smith is scheduled to appear in the Los Altos area in October, where he will speak at the “One from the Heart” fundraiser supporting Pathways Hospice.
 

Best-selling author Alexa...

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Sports

It's time for these Eagles to take flight: LA coach hopes returnees soar in expanded roles

It's time for these Eagles to take flight: LA coach hopes returnees soar in expanded roles


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Katherine Mumm attempts a save as a teammate takes cover Friday during a practice.

It’s showtime for Los Altos High volleyball players Kate Carlson, Avery Deaton, Lauren Limbach, Katherine Mumm and H...

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Comment

Special Sections

Downsizing to the next phase

Downsizing to the next phase


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Carol Wahl, project manager at Managing Moves & More in Mountain View, helps client Pearl Ward sort her belongings in preparation for a move. The company encourages seniors like Ward to tackle the easy stuff first...

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Business

Early returns positive for Third Street Green

Early returns positive for Third Street Green


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Third Street Green featured a pingpong table on some days. Robin Abrams, chairwoman of the Green’s steering committee, said teenagers asked her for more pingpong tables in 2017.

Amy Watenmaker did not expect to ...

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People

ROBERT (BOB) EVERETTE HAECKL

ROBERT (BOB) EVERETTE HAECKL

August 19, 1964 – August 8, 2016

Bob Haeckl, a resident of Mountain View, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, August 8, 2016 from an undetected enlarged heart at the age of 51 while vacationing with his family at Lake Tahoe. He generously and whol...

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News

Los Altos hires Jordan as new city manager

Los Altos hires Jordan as new city manager

Approximately four months after he was named Los Altos’ interim city manager, Chris Jordan will take on the job permanently. The Los Altos City Council made the appointment at their Aug. 23 meeting.

Councilmembers expressed their enthusiasm about the unanimous appointment.

Readmore

Business

Early returns positive for Third Street Green

Early returns positive for Third Street Green

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Third Street Green featured a pingpong table on some days. Robin Abrams, chairwoman of the Green’s steering committee, said teenagers asked her for more pingpong tables in 2017.

Amy Watenmaker did not expect to make a detour down Third Street when she visited L...

Readmore

Sports

It's time for these Eagles to take flight: LA coach hopes returnees soar in expanded roles

It's time for these Eagles to take flight: LA coach hopes returnees soar in expanded roles

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Katherine Mumm attempts a save as a teammate takes cover Friday during a practice.

It’s showtime for Los Altos High volleyball players Kate Carlson, Avery Deaton, Lauren Limbach, Katherine Mumm and Hanadi Nassif.

“They’ve been waiting in the wings,...

Readmore

Community

Internationally known author plans local talk

Internationally known author plans local talk

MICHAEL LIONSTAR/ Special to the Town Crier
Alexander McCall Smith is scheduled to appear in the Los Altos area in October, where he will speak at the “One from the Heart” fundraiser supporting Pathways Hospice.
 

Best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith now travels extensively – from I...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

'World-embracing vision' requires a shift in thinking

 

More than 120 years ago, the prophet founder of the Baha’i faith wrote, “It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

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People

ROBERT (BOB) EVERETTE HAECKL

ROBERT (BOB) EVERETTE HAECKL

August 19, 1964 – August 8, 2016

Bob Haeckl, a resident of Mountain View, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, August 8, 2016 from an undetected enlarged heart at the age of 51 while vacationing with his family at Lake Tahoe. He generously and whole-heartedly loved his family and friends.

Readmore

Schools

Local schools score high on standardized test

Local schools score high on standardized test

Source: California Department of Education
The majority of local schools met or exceeded standards on the state’s assessment tests, released last week. The results show the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, as well as the scho...

Readmore

Special Sections

Downsizing to the next phase

Downsizing to the next phase

Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Carol Wahl, project manager at Managing Moves & More in Mountain View, helps client Pearl Ward sort her belongings in preparation for a move. The company encourages seniors like Ward to tackle the easy stuff first and learn to let things go.

Young or old, no one...

Readmore

Stepping Out

'Party' rages on in downtown Mtn. View

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley brings American audiences their first look at the London hit “The Life of the Party,” a celebration of songs by Andrew Lippa that opened last week.

The musical is slated to run through Sept. 18 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

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Obituaries

ROBERT (BOB) EVERETTE HAECKL

ROBERT (BOB) EVERETTE HAECKL

August 19, 1964 – August 8, 2016

Bob Haeckl, a resident of Mountain View, passed away unexpectedly on Monday, August 8, 2016 from an undetected enlarged heart at the age of 51 while vacationing with his family at Lake Tahoe. He generously and whole-heartedly loved his family and friends.

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.”

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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