Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Advocates gather at local conference to address protection of area watersheds


Photo By: ELLIE VAN HOUTTE/ TOWN CRIER
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier The Sept. 22 Silicon Valley Watershed Summit at Foothill College drew representatives from more than 35 organizations.

Los Altos Hills Water Conservation Committee member Kit Gordon estimates that only 5 percent of local residents can identify their watershed – the Lower Peninsula Watershed – much less define what a watershed is.

A watershed is an area that drains into a common waterway, such as a creek or San Francisco Bay. Watersheds provide drinking water, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

A coalition of more than 35 organizations gathered at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills for the Silicon Valley Watershed Summit Sept. 22. Conference participants discussed plans for protection and enhancement of watersheds in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

The Lower Peninsula Watershed encompasses 98 square miles of creeks flowing through Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. Adobe, Permanente and Matadero creeks filter water from the foothills above Los Altos Hills into the surrounding communities.

Watersheds collect water and everything that crosses its path during migration, good or bad – whether critical minerals or undesirable pesticides. Without a healthy watershed, fish stop migrating, flooding occurs and the human footprint overpowers natural processes.

According to Los Altos Hills resident Jitze Couperus, an advocate for watershed maintenance and restoration, watersheds are as important to the local water system as Highway 101 is to transportation in the Bay Area.

Gordon said regulating the health of local waterways is not just about maintaining property values, but also about preserving resources for future generations.

“As climate change happens, I want (our children) to say our forefathers got it right and planned things well,” she said.

Modern development in the Bay Area makes re-engineering the biodiversity of waterways to their original state an unrealistic goal. But by embracing sustainable solutions – small and large – local advocates aim to effect positive change in watershed systems.

How Adobe Creek got its groove back

Although Couperus said he’s “not much of a tree hugger,” he took action when Adobe Creek – the waterway that runs through his backyard – began to show the consequences of human intervention.

“It took one day to wipe out and 15 years to get back,” said Couperus of the native plant species that new neighbors along the creek would weed-whack off their properties.

More than a decade ago, landowners began altering the ecosystem of Adobe Creek by replacing native vegetation, blocking the creek with infill and draining water through pipes into the stream instead of letting it permeate and disperse naturally. Areas of Adobe Creek farther downhill were lined with concrete, causing water to flow downstream too quickly. Without the elements of its original riparian surroundings, erosion and flooding overtook the creek.

By the time Couperus took up the cause of restoring Adobe Creek in 2000, the Santa Clara County Water District and collaborating federal water agencies had proposed installation of a fence or wall along his neighborhood’s section of the creek – a solution few landowners would approve.

In response, Couperus formed the Adobe Creek Watershed Group and forged the relationships necessary to repair more than 100 years of damage to the creek in a sustainable manner.

With the cooperation of his creekside neighbors, the city of Los Altos, the town of Los Altos Hills and the county water district, a creek restoration project took root. By February 2009, the Adobe Creek Upper Reach 5 restoration was complete.

Over the long term, Couperus, Gordon and other advocates hope to promote watershed awareness as well as change the culture and way of thinking in Silicon Valley. Both conservationists believe that the balance is tipping in favor of nature as residents learn to appreciate the benefits of the California landscape.

“It’s becoming cool to be environmentally conscious,” Gordon said.

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