Thu10302014

News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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