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Last updateTue, 17 Jan 2017 4pm

News

New LA council agrees to discuss proposed park

More than six hours after the Los Altos City Council welcomed its newest member, councilmembers voted narrowly in favor of entering an exclusive negotiating agreement with Los Altos Community Investments to discuss the possibility of a park and under...

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Schools

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Covington School sixth graders learn about fine motor school difficulties some students might have by trying to button up a coat with socks on their hands.

Covington School students gained an understanding of the struggles o...

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Community

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times


Photo Courtesy of Shrikant Nasikkar
Los Altos resident Shrikant Nasikkar developed the Chaperone app to facilitate the process of establishing carpool rides to and from school. He said carpools are not only environmentally beneficial, but they als...

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Sports

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Tommy Resnick led the Mountain View High boys in scoring Friday night.

Friday against Homestead, the Mountain View High boys showed off the versatility that makes them such a dangerous basketball team.

Although the h...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Rest in peace, Dr. Hardy Jones

We lost a true Los Altos icon and a man of great warmth, artistic talent, intelligence, love and, definitely (beyond a shadow of a doubt), a positive attitude that was unmatched. Dr. Hardy Jones passed away Dec. 28 wi...

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Special Sections

Health care on demand from Mountain View service

Health care on demand from Mountain View service


Courtesy of Direct Urgent Care
Dr. Ceasar Djavaherian is the president of Direct Urgent Care.

For most doctors in Silicon Valley, melding technology and medicine means cutting-edge machines performing high-powered work backed by Sand Hill Road ventu...

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Business

New business promises spa service, without the spa

New business promises spa service, without the spa


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View resident Brooke Rankins receives an in-home pedicure from Lily Ly. Ly has a contract with Wilo Spa, a new company which offers spa services in customers’ homes. Wilo Spa opened in November and allows ...

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People

News

New LA council agrees to discuss proposed park

More than six hours after the Los Altos City Council welcomed its newest member, councilmembers voted narrowly in favor of entering an exclusive negotiating agreement with Los Altos Community Investments to discuss the possibility of a park and underground parking on First Street.

The agreement pas...

Readmore

Business

New business promises spa service, without the spa

New business promises spa service, without the spa

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View resident Brooke Rankins receives an in-home pedicure from Lily Ly. Ly has a contract with Wilo Spa, a new company which offers spa services in customers’ homes. Wilo Spa opened in November and allows customers to arrange appointments by text. About 8...

Readmore

Sports

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40

MV boys use speed, top Mustangs 54-40

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Tommy Resnick led the Mountain View High boys in scoring Friday night.

Friday against Homestead, the Mountain View High boys showed off the versatility that makes them such a dangerous basketball team.

Although the host Spartans couldn’t match the Mustangs’ size, th...

Readmore

Community

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times

Chaperone facilitates parent carpools to ease traffic at school drop-off times

Photo Courtesy of Shrikant Nasikkar
Los Altos resident Shrikant Nasikkar developed the Chaperone app to facilitate the process of establishing carpool rides to and from school. He said carpools are not only environmentally beneficial, but they also facilitate friendships by bringing people togeth...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Rest in peace, Dr. Hardy Jones

We lost a true Los Altos icon and a man of great warmth, artistic talent, intelligence, love and, definitely (beyond a shadow of a doubt), a positive attitude that was unmatched. Dr. Hardy Jones passed away Dec. 28 with, according to his wife, Jane, a smile on his fa...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Los Altos church parishioners mourn drowning deaths of mother, child

Los Altos church parishioners mourn drowning deaths of mother, child

Courtesy of Fritz Schneider
The Claassen family

Christ Episcopal Church and Ventana School in Los Altos are mourning the loss of Polly and Trent Claassen, a mother and son who died Jan. 6 after drowning in a pond while on a trip to Kansas.

Polly Claassen was the church’s friendly, outgoing y...

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Schools

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week

Covington hosts Abilities Awareness Week

Traci Newell/Town Crier
Covington School sixth graders learn about fine motor school difficulties some students might have by trying to button up a coat with socks on their hands.

Covington School students gained an understanding of the struggles of fellow students with learning challenges Jan. 5 ...

Readmore

Special Sections

Health care on demand from Mountain View service

Health care on demand from Mountain View service

Courtesy of Direct Urgent Care
Dr. Ceasar Djavaherian is the president of Direct Urgent Care.

For most doctors in Silicon Valley, melding technology and medicine means cutting-edge machines performing high-powered work backed by Sand Hill Road venture capital. But for Caesar Djavaherian, M.D., medi...

Readmore

Stepping Out

TheatreWorks commits (to) 'Crimes'

TheatreWorks commits (to) 'Crimes'

Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “Crimes of the Heart” stars, from left, Therese Plaehn, Lizzie O’Hara and Sarah Moser as sisters Lenny, Babe and Meg McGrath, respectively.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform “Crimes of the Heart” through Feb....

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Magazine

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Courtesy of Camping
Patrons of Camping, a restaurant in Buenos Aires, enjoy the warm weather during last year’s holiday season.

When I relocated from Mountain View to Buenos Aires in July, I knew I’d be stepping into winter. I packed my rain boots and heavy coat, and I set aside my longing for a p...

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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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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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