Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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Los Altos City Council approves compromise plan: one pool for Rosita site

After eight years of adversarial discussions over the site and size of a community pool, the Los Altos City Council approved one pool at the Rosita site at its April 25 meeting.

The council voted 3-2 to adopt the Community Swimming Pool Task Force recommendation for one 25-yard-by-25-meter competition pool, including a water feature/wading pool. Councilmembers Val Carpenter and Curtis Cole dissented in favor of a two-pool complex.

"This decision is not an end point but a beginning to the process," said Councilman David Casas, who facilitated the task force.

With unanimous votes, the council agreed to three other task force recommendations: to affirm previous council direction on pool issues; to direct staff to construct a detailed timeline; and to direct staff to prepare a budget review of planned city expenditures - including a built-in reserve to cover shortfalls - for this and the next two fiscal years.

The fifth recommendation to "direct staff to investigate the steps required to add a focused addendum to the EIR for the final pool configuration and specific location" was deferred. According to City Manager Phil Rose, its immediate implementation might involve examining alternatives with expensive consultants before city parameters were set. For instance, the tennis court area is not all city property, so discussions with the Los Altos School District would be necessary before a final configuration is chosen.

The votes followed a detailed presentation from the task force chartered Jan. 24 when the council appointed a subcommittee of Carpenter and Casas. They formed the task force with Brad Elman and Susan Mensinger from the Rosita neighborhood, Kamrin Knight Desmond and Greg Hoberg from the swimming community, Leslie Crane and Amy Gaffney from Covington School and Wayne Grove from the community at large.

Responding to Rosita neighborhood concerns about financial risk, Carpenter said she had "a high degree of confidence that we can meet the cost … based on the task force report and the fact that it was done before." The original Covington Community Pool, which operated from 1947 until it was removed in 2001 for the remodeling of the school, operated without a deficit.

Dick Thomas, co-chairman of Swimmers Promoting Los Altos Aquatics, Safety and Health (SPLASH), said: "SPLASH will raise whatever funds are needed.

In spite of full chambers, reaction was subdued when Mayor Ron Packard cast the final, deciding vote.

"From our perspective, (this was) the better outcome between the two alternatives," said Mensinger of the Rosita Neighborhood Coalition. "If (they're) going to do a pool, do one."

Kathy Englar, SPLASH co-chairwoman, said, "Since 1999, every council has supported a pool." Even though the council rejected the two-pool proposal, she added, "We don't think of it as a loss. Five councilmembers wanted a pool - it was a landslide to us."

Depending on when you set the start date of the controversy, the Rosita Pool project has been under discussion for:

• Up to 7-1/2 years, counting from a 1998 bond measure, which assured that Covington School would be re-opened and the existing pool removed.

• Five years from Jan. 31, 2001, the last day of swimming before Covington pool was drained.

• Three years from the lawsuit filed Jan. 9, 2003, by the Rosita Neighborhood Coalition to force a draft EIR.

• Nearly a year and a half since the council, Dec. 22, 2004, added an aquatic center for the Rosita site to the 2004-'05 Capital Improvement Budget.

• Almost one year from Judge Leslie Nichols' decision, Aug. 16, 2005, that the city had complied with the court's requests.

• Seven months from the time the current council appointed its first task force.

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