Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Letters to the Editor

Enough with the 3 stories already

Three story, three story, three story – that is what Los Altos is becoming.

The most recent issue of the Los Altos Neighborhood Network newsletter listed six already approved buildings of three stories ready for construction downtown. If you want to look at the future downtown, look at the boxey-building being constructed at 240 Third Street – 44 feet tall with a roof appendage to 48 feet. On the skyline of downtown, you can see that structure from the intersection of First and Main at San Antonio. Is that what we want? Look at our village – do we want it to look like a high-rise developer’s dream?

I encouraged the city council to stop the three-story parking structures on Plaza South. All you have to do is stand in Plaza South and look at the enormous structure going up next to the Walgreens parking lot to see what the future of Los Altos will look like with the current development emphasis. I urge the city council to reconsider their focus on downtown development and keep Los Altos a village. After all, we live here and the developers probably don’t.

Ask city council members: How about resetting the zoning for the parking plazas back to what it was before this folly was approved? That way, additional public review will have to occur before a project of this magnitude can be resumed.

Ron Murphy

Los Altos

Out of touch in Los Altos?

It was Jean Jacques Rousseau who actually coined the phrase, “Let them eat cake” in his book “The Confessions” (1781-1788). But the hapless – and later headless – Marie Antoinette usually gets the blame for this handy bon mot of the clueless.

Just such insensitivity can pop up even in Los Altos.

While cities around us face troubling cuts in services, the Los Altos City Council is determined to undertake the largest civic building project in our history. The multiphase, multiyear Community Center Master Plan would raze and replace every building where our present civic center now stands – except the History House, which can’t, by deed, be touched.

Phase I requires voters to approve a $65 million bond. Phase I would also bulldoze the apricot orchard that has encircled city hall for half a century.

To get the ‘dozers rolling, the council approved Dec. 13 an “educational outreach” program – paid for by taxpayers – to “frame” the urgent need for this.

Four local citizens – I was one – asked the council to make these “outreach” materials more transparent – or at least include thriftier options. After all, right on the outreach brochure, it said, “We want to hear from you!” But that night, they didn’t seem to want to hear from us. Materials approved.

They’re selling Phase I as an “intergenerational center” for seniors and teens – with a couple of other buildings thrown in. Wily strategy! Who wants to be the Scrooge who nixes that?

Yet it is the means we use to achieve our ends that define us. Re-use is more eco-friendly than razing. Wild mustard is kinder to our aquifer than asphalt. Saving our apricot orchard leaves a living tribute to our history. And facts are always more valuable to voters than framed-up marketing.

Leaving a couple of dollars in taxpayers’ pockets might not be such a bad idea, either. Marie Antoinette didn’t, and they finally had to cut off her credit.

Robin Chapman

Los Altos

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