Mon10202014

News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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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

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

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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