Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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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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