Fri09192014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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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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