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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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