Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Permit renewal withdrawn for Lehigh cement plant

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has withdrawn its Title V operating permit renewal for the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company, an apparent victory for increasingly vocal opponents of the Cupertino-based plant and quarry.

Los Altos Hills resident Bill Almon, who founded the opposition group QuarryNo (quarryno.com), said the air district won’t submit a new permit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency until stricter EPA rules governing mercury and other toxic emissions take effect in the spring. Although the plant can continue to operate under its current permit indefinitely, the recent action, Almon indicated, at least points out that the air district and the EPA are listening.

Almon’s group had complained that resident input wasn’t considered in prior discourse between the air district and the EPA, in which officials declined to object to the permit moving forward. The group outlined its concerns in a letter to the EPA.

“The EPA is now preparing a letter in response to the QuarryNo letter,” Almon said.

Opponents of the long-running cement plant and quarry, formerly Kaiser Permanente, have cited problems with the plant’s residual toxic emissions blowing into Los Altos Hills. Almon said his group recently conducted dust tests that measured arsenic levels 20 to 50 times higher than established state health levels. Arsenic is a poisonous element found naturally in minerals.

“The arsenic is in the limestone mined and is a common waste from mining,” Almon said. “It is toxic, particularly in the air when it swirls around the cars and trucks and becomes airborne.”

Lehigh’s Nick Rangel provided the company’s written response: “Arsenic levels at our site are consistent with naturally occurring levels in Santa Clara County” and are not harmful to humans.

In addition, air district officials see no health dangers from plant and quarry operations.

But Almon asserted that Lehigh’s statement “attributed our arsenic test results to naturally occurring levels in the soil. That is not the case. Our samples were not dug out of the ground. They came from dust in the street near the BAAQMD Particulate Monitoring Station on Stevens Creek Boulevard. Regretfully, the BAAQMD only weighs the particulate – they have never analyzed it. Since everyone complained about the dust and the BAAQMD refused to analyze it, we were forced to do so.”

Almon’s group represents an effort to close down the 70-year-old cement plant and quarry, located just south of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Opponents are operating on two fronts: trying to thwart a permit renewal for the cement plant and to defeat a reclamation plan for the quarry that would expand mining.

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