Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Council rejects library task force


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

The Los Altos City Council nixed a proposal to establish a task force set to study alternative library services options.

The Los Altos City Council last week opted against ratifying a task force set to explore library services outside of the Santa Clara County Library District.

The council rejected a proposal to form the joint Los Altos-Los Altos Hills ad hoc group Feb. 26, voting 4-1 against it after some councilmembers said it wasn’t a pressing priority for the city.

The vote came during an update on the Library Management Options Task Force by Councilwoman Val Carpenter, the task force’s chairwoman. Among other things, Carpenter’s update included a final roster of potential task force members, including Los Altos Hills City Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan and members of the Los Altos Library Commission and Friends of the Library of Los Altos and Community. Carpenter cast the lone vote in favor of the proposal.

“It’s not the merit of whether this could be studied,” Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said. “It’s (about) the priority of studying this now.”

The former city council – which included since termed-out councilmen Ron Packard and David Casas – originally opted Nov. 13 to move forward with the task force after a narrow 3-2 vote. Casas, Packard and Carpenter cast votes in favor of the task force.

At the time, Casas and then-Mayor Carpenter cited the need to explore alternate library services after a report by former Los Altos Hills City Councilman Jean Mordo noted that the cities’ combined annual contributions ranged between $620,000 and $1.4 million more than the library services the two cities received.

“I’m sorry that council does not wish to pursue the $600,000 to $1.5 million that we’re sending to other parts of the library district,” said Carpenter after the Feb. 26 vote.

The Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board of Directors – the library district’s governing body – uses a funding formula weighing equally each member city’s population, property assessed valuation and library circulation to allocate funds.

The JPA board rejected a request to change the funding formula, as well as a follow-up appeal in October for a “5 percent tolerance threshold” mechanism that would have given Los Altos libraries an additional $66,000.

Just before the Feb. 26 vote by the current council, Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins questioned the use of city staff time on the issue. She noted that the November vote was a narrow one that included two yes votes by members no longer on the council.

“Two of those three votes are no longer with us,” she said. “Two of those votes against this (Satterlee and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw) are still with us. … I don’t feel comfortable as a new councilmember feeling encumbered by a decision that had this type of a split vote. I think I would be speaking differently if it had been a 5-0 vote.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper, who currently serves as the city’s representative on the JPA board, expressed concern that the task force might “muddy the waters” for the district, which is planning to seek (by mail-in vote) a renewal of a $33 parcel tax, slated to expire in 2015.

The tax is paid annually to the district by residents of member cities and unincorporated county areas.

“Everyone loves the libraries,” Pepper said. “They’re not broken. It’s not something that needs to be fixed.”

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