Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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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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