Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Residents await new bridge after collapse: Fire chief says 19-ton vehicle necessary on medical calls

Photo Elliott Burr/Town Crier

The weight of a fire engine collapsed a private bridge leading to approxi-mately 12 cottages near Loyola Corners last week.

A fire engine dispatched from the Loyola Station in response to a medical emergency April 4 needed rescuing after a bridge over Permanente Creek collapsed under the vehicle’s weight. While the crew escaped unharmed and successfully answered the 911 call, the engine stayed behind.

Approximately three-quarters of the way across the private wooden bridge, support snapped and the nearly 20-ton truck was caught between the banks of the creek. The accident, near the intersection of Miramonte Avenue and Aura Way, left approximately 12 cottages beyond the bridge temporarily without vehicle access.

City planner David Kornfield said he spoke with the property owner, Sal Giovannotto of Palo Alto-based Vittoria Management, who may be able to install a temporary bridge soon. Calls to Vittoria went unreturned as of the Town Crier’s Monday deadline, but Kornfield said the property owner had opened a resident’s backyard for pedestrian access to Holly Avenue April 4.

Toni Thompson, a resident in the 2.5-acre compound, said by Thursday residents were able to drive their cars out through the opened backyard.

According to Assistant City Manager James Walgren, Los Altos won’t be involved in the repairs because the bridge is private, but the city must approve its reconstruction.

Ken Waldvogel, Santa Clara County fire chief, said the engine weighs close to 19 tons. Los Altos issued a permit for the bridge Sept. 26, 1979, which states the structure could absorb 18 tons. Waldvogel said engines 30 years ago weighed approximately 2 tons less than today’s.

Battalion Chief Joe Parker said similar fire vehicles had crossed the bridge several times before without incident.

Waldvogel said last week he didn’t know the cause of the collapse, but the department investigation is ongoing.

Why the big engine?

Medical emergencies comprise approximately 80 percent of firefighters’ calls in Los Altos, according to Waldvogel, and while some residents and city officials have questioned the need for the nearly 40,000-pound fire engines on those calls, the fire department said they’re necessary.

When asked if crews could take smaller vehicles to medical calls, Waldvogel said, “Say we take resources out on a medical call, clear the call and then go to a vehicle fire or accident. The resources we need are significantly different. Otherwise we’d be hightailing it back to the station to pull all the equipment off, and our response times would go up dramatically.”

J. Logan, assistant city manager for Los Altos, said people are often puzzled when the big vehicles arrive at medical-related emergencies.

“Every citizen who sees a fire engine raring down the street with the lights is going to ask, ‘Why is the fire engine responding? This is medical,’” she said.

The California Fire Code states that signs indicating weight capacity must be posted on bridges and elevated surfaces, but Richard Feldman, who lives in the affected complex, said there was no sign on this particular bridge.

“I can attest that there has not been a weight-limit sign up in the last nine years,” he said.

Waldvogel said the crew acted appropriately in driving across the bridge.

“(The crew) was not doing anything outside policy,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened. … My biggest (relief) is that no one was injured.”

As for the engine, which was purchased last year, Waldvogel said as of Thursday it was in Oakdale for inspection and repair while the station uses one of its eight replacements.

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