Sat02132016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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