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News

"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 spending nearl...

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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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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

DR. ALFRED 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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Council key to gateway at First & Main: Editorial

While another revised design plan for First and Main streets makes its way to the Los Altos Planning Commission, we think it’s due time for city councilmembers to step in and determine the future of this key downtown gateway property.

Planning commissioners Thursday are scheduled to review slight modifications to a project that remains two stories high with ho-hum design features. It’s OK, but let’s reiterate: Do we want to see “just OK” on that site for many decades to come?

The public has a stake in the high-profile gateway property – it should be as useful to us as it is to its developers and occupants. Clearly, the project should include additional plaza space, especially at the corner of First and Main. At two stories, however, more open space means forfeiting space meant for office and retail.

The answer is obvious to us – add a third story. Developer Jeffrey A. Morris has said the city isn’t allowing this opportunity. The city council, although opening up some downtown zoning to three stories, kept this property limited to 30 feet high and two stories.

City staff, charged with enforcing rules, is not the roadblock. It would take our rule makers and changers on the council to make it happen. These five members – Mayor Val Carpenter, Megan Satterlee, David Casas, Ron Packard and Jarrett Fishpaw – could clear the way for a three-story project at First and Main either through supporting a height variance, initiating a change in zoning or amending the current city-developer property agreement. After all, who’s in charge?

The developer will not be pushing for three stories. He has a plan in place that technically meets all city regulations. No, this is something councilmembers must buy into and propose. The chief criticisms of the current plan concern a lack of public meeting space – comfortable space at the intersection and along sidewalks that allows for a possible outdoor dining area, landscaping or public art. A gateway property should convey the message “Welcome to Los Altos,” not “Was that just an office building I passed by?”

We suggest that councilmembers waste no time in initiating dialogue.

It may be late in the process, but it’s not too late – that’s when the serious digging begins. Let’s not be shaking our heads in regret when that happens.

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