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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Lehigh quarry plan OK concerns open-space group


Photo By: COURTESY OF QUARRYNO.COM
Photo Courtesy Of Quarryno.com

Lehigh Southwest Cement’s mining operations are ongoing in the Cupertino foothills south of Los Altos.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ June 26 go-ahead for Lehigh Southwest Cement’s plan to expand the limestone quarry did not dissuade environmental groups from voicing concerns about air, water and noise impacts.

Supervisors rejected the groups’ appeals, finding that Lehigh had adequately addressed environmental issues. Quarry plans have raised the ire of several other groups, including the Sierra Club, Quarry No and Bay Area for a Clean Environment. Quarry No, led by Los Altos Hills resident Bill Almon, and the Sierra Club filed related lawsuits now pending in state and federal courts.

Among those concerned are officials with the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), who worry that quarry expansion will hurt the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve located just south of Los Altos.

The approved amendment to the quarry’s 1985 reclamation plan impacts a 1,238.6-acre area, including “extraction areas, processing areas, roads, support features and other facilities,” according to a Lehigh report. The entire quarry comprises 3,500 acres.

One of the contentious matters is ongoing water pollution as a result of selenium. The chemical element is essential for health in trace amounts but can be toxic in excessive concentrations. Detractors claim that selenium pollutes the creek when pooled groundwater from the bottom of the quarry is pumped into the creek.

“We are concerned about the potential impacts on our visitors and our staff who are stationed at Rancho San Antonio,” said Steve Abbors, MROSD general manager. “The district is also concerned about the significant ecological impacts of elevated selenium, including its adverse effect on aquatic organisms and the food chain.”

MROSD also criticized the effect of the dust generated by the quarry and the visual degradation caused by the East Materials Storage Area, which is visible from Rancho San Antonio and the surrounding communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. The reclamation plan includes dumping waste material excavated from the main quarry pit there. This waste pile has expanded and become more visible over the years and could grow to approximately four times its current size of 1 million cubic yards.

The Lehigh plant produces more than half the cement used in the Bay Area and 70 percent of the cement used in Santa Clara County. The quarry provides aggregate for the cement plant but is not the only source. Together, the quarry and the cement plant employ approximately 100 people.

“We recognize the economic importance of any business in these difficult times, and this is not an attempt to curtail the quarry or its related cement plant operations,” Abbors said. “Lehigh should be held accountable for the effects of its business decisions. … There is still time for Lehigh to decide to do the right thing and clean up the creek, control the dust and stop piling waste rock that increasingly occludes the view of the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains.”

The supervisors’ ruling comes on the heels of a June 25 announcement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that proposes that Lehigh and other cement plants receive an additional two years to comply with its 2010 air standards, which called for major emission reductions. Cement companies would have until September 2015 to comply.

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