Wed07302014

News

‘Brown is the new green,’ says local water district

‘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 spendi...

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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

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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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

CARSTEN 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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Report proposes changes to downtown triangle block


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

The Contiguous Retail Committee’s final report recommends that the city consider selling or leasing Parking Plaza 6.

A final report by the ad hoc Contiguous Retail Committee recommends that the city consider selling or leasing a portion of a downtown public parking plaza for future retail development.

The Los Altos City Council meeting was scheduled to receive the report at its Tuesday meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

The recommendation is one of a handful listed in the report by the committee, headed by councilmembers Ron Packard and Jarrett Fishpaw.

Specifically, the recommendation calls for the city to consider selling or leasing Parking Plaza 6 – surrounded by Main, State and Third streets – to be developed into future retail. Proceeds from a sale, the report recommends, could be used for a parking replacement solution.

In addition, the report noted that the triangle block – part of the city’s commercial retail sales (CRS) zone – experienced the highest number of nonconforming uses in the downtown area and was “the least attractive from a shopper’s point of view.”

To that end, the report recommends that the triangle area be used as a “test” for possible collaboration with various land and business owners in an effort to improve the area for shoppers. To do so, the report calls for the city to engage the services of an experienced consultant to work with various parties and develop ideas.

A separate recommendation in the report suggests that the city encourage the Masonic Lodge at 146 Main St. to explore “possible cosmetic improvements” to the exterior of the building.

“The city has a very odd-shaped plaza here,” Packard told the Town Crier in explaining the committee’s recommendations for the triangle. “The thinking is, what can be done with that?”

As for downtown banks, the report proposes that the city collaborate with Bank of the West at 176 Main St. and its landlord to discuss possible pop-up retail uses for the site’s empty drive-thru area. Suggested alternate uses listed in the report include an open space or gathering area for residents and an area for outdoor vending.

Packard said one possibility involves the city’s leasing the drive-thru area for an alternate use, calling a city-landowner collaboration a “win-win for everyone.”

Additionally, the committee recommends that the city amend its zoning code to allow nonconforming banks on large downtown plots to relocate legally to smaller nonconforming locations in the CRS zone.

Packard said the recommendation is a contrast from initial ideas floated during the committee’s formation in April, such as placing amortization periods on nonconforming bank buildings in the CRS zone.

“We ended up giving them more rights, not taking them away,” Packard said of the recommendation for downtown banks.

One final recommendation suggests that the city take measures to limit the number of beauty salons within the CRS zone.

Noting the recent conversion of a nonconforming salon to a retail use downtown, the report calls for the city to ensure that after 120 days of new retail use, “a salon cannot be reinstated” in an effort to encourage a “conversion trend.”

Should that trend fail to take hold, however, the committee’s report recommends that the city consider some form of a phased amortization period for nonconforming salons.

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