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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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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