Sat09202014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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