Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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Editorials

Considerations over going solar

Los Altos Hills officials have bent over backwards to push solar energy on residents. They have an extensive solar system installed at the new Town Hall. They offer incentives for residents who go solar.

So it’s curious that the town faced legal action recently over - of all things - restricting solar equipment installations.

Facing such action from Akeena Solar, a solar installation company, city councilmembers agreed to waive a costly variance fee until the town could find middle ground with regulations that restrict such equipment within property setbacks. Solar applicants had to pay a stiff variance fee if their equipment was outside setback limits.

We understand the town's perspective that setback restrictions are in place so that one resident's solar installation doesn't create an eyesore for his neighbors.

"We want to make sure someone doesn't put a 27-foot something right next to their neighbor's fence," said Mayor Jean Mordo. "It's to avoid the look of a dense community."

Town attorney Steven Mattes pointed out than more than 100 solar installations over the past two years have taken place without incident, and indicated the town's setback restrictions – side and backyard 30-foot setbacks and 40 feet in the front yard – are reasonable. Akeena Solar representatives argued to the contrary, and noted a state solar law could trump town setback restrictions.

Residents shouldn't go through needless red tape to install a system, and if the town sees a pattern of people canceling solar installations, then there's something wrong. But what about applicants opting for less obtrusive panels that are effective for the energy-saving residents and easy on the eyes for their view-loving neighbors? For instance, there already are photovoltaic panel designs that look like regular roof tiles, but have the functionality of a solar panel.

Perhaps the town can consider changes to current regulations. But this seems to us a problem that better – and evolving – solar technology can solve.

Congrats on a great town picnic

Amid dealing with solar setbacks and balancing budgets, Los Altos Hills leaders deserve a terrific salute for the successful Town Picnic served up last Sunday to local residents. The crowd estimated at 1,900 enjoyed a perfect summer afternoon of music, free food and beverages, a 52 rare cars display and best of all, very short speeches.  Sponsored by the town's Community Relations Committee chaired by Roy Woolsley, the event at the new Purissima Park came off without a hitch. Congrats.

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