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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 approves PAMF building: Project receives thumbs-up despite size, impact


Photo By: Courtesy of PAMF
Photo Courtesy Of PAMF The Los Altos City Council approved plans for a Palo Alto Medical Foundation building on Altos Oaks Drive, despite objections from neighborhood residents.
By Diego Abeloos

The Los Altos City Council Dec. 11 unanimously approved the proposal to build a two-story Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) building on Altos Oaks Drive, despite some public reservations about its size.

The project at 715 Altos Oaks Drive calls for the construction of a 25-foot-tall, two-story structure totaling 8,785 square feet. The building would replace two existing single-story medical buildings. According to PAMF officials, the new building will serve as a plastic and cosmetic surgery center.

The project calls for setbacks ranging from 20 to 55 feet, 8-foot-tall standards with directional lighting in the building’s parking area and 37 parking spaces – eight more than required by city code.

A handful of nearby residents expressed concerns about the project, specifically that the proposed building was out of scale with the surrounding residential area. One resident told the council PAMF’s efforts to create a buffer for nearby neighborhood homes with its 20- to 55-foot setbacks was “like moving an elephant in a bathtub.”

“This building does not look anything like any of the other buildings in that area,” nearby resident Teresa Morris said. “It doesn’t look like any of the other buildings on Altos Oaks, it doesn’t look like any of the residential buildings that are behind it, and it doesn’t look like the houses on Golden (Way).”

Others had privacy concerns and pointed to the expected increase in traffic the building’s occupants and patients would have on city streets.

Linda Slattery, a Brentwood Place resident, told the council she feared the project would set a precedent for other property owners in the neighborhood to build bigger structures in the future.

“As buildings age in that area, there’s going to be the likelihood that (property owners) are going to want to have megabuildings like this built into that area,” she said.

Prior to casting her vote, Councilwoman Val Carpenter said that while she recognized the residents’ concerns, she found no reason to vote against the project, noting that it met the city’s Office-Administrative (OA-1) district zoning code requirements.

City staff noted during the council discussion that the building was subject to the same floor-area ratio – 35 percent – as residential structures in the OA-1 district.

“There’s no question this is a much larger building in terms of its mass than what existed there before,” Carpenter said. “This does set a new trend. It’s much larger and much taller than any of the other buildings currently in that area, although it is (designed) to code.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper later added that she was “a little bothered by the scale (of the building), too.”

“If it meets our zoning requirements, how can we deny it, other than to say, ‘Well, it’s too big,’” Pepper said. “But that’s what we allow.”

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, however, said she was inclined to support the proposal, noting that reactions to the project reminded her of public concerns over the new Packard Foundation building at 343 Second St.

“There was a similar type of reaction to some of it, and I think we all agree that it’s a beautiful building that’s out there,” Bruins said of the Packard headquarters. “I have a similar inclination that this will be that as well.”

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