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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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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