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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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