Sat12202014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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LA council unanimously approves bag-ban ordinance starting July 4


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

The city delayed enacting a bag ban until July, allowing merchants more time to adjust to the ordinance.

The familiar question of “paper or plastic?” will likely be a thing of the past for many Los Altos businesses.

The Los Altos City Council unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance last week that bans most Los Altos merchants from offering customers single-use plastic bags by July 4 – Independence Day.

The council’s action comes after several cities in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, including Los Altos, participated in a regional Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that examined the impacts of single-use plastic bags. According to a staff report, Los Altos’ ordinance closely mirrors a model ordinance produced by the report for participating cities to adopt. The council then instructed city staff in January to proceed with the ordinance.

In addition to its vote on the ordinance, the council also adopted resolution 2013-04, certifying the EIR.

“I’m delighted that we are going to be moving forward with this,” said Los Altos Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw, prior to the council’s vote. “I think that it’s exciting … Personally, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, and I think (the bag ban) would be a great way to celebrate it.”

The ordinance – which returns to the council for final adoption Tuesday – applies to all city retailers selling clothing, food and personal items. Protective bags for produce, meat and prescriptions, among other items, are still allowed under the ordinance, as are dry-cleaning garment bags.

Beginning July 4, retailers must charge customers a minimum of 10 cents for the use of a single recycled-content paper bag or reusable plastic or cloth bag. The charge will increase to 25 cents Jan. 1, 2015. Retailers must also itemize customer-purchased bags on sales receipts and store those transaction records for a minimum of three years.

The ordinance allows exemptions for restaurants, fast-food establishments and nonprofit resellers such as Goodwill. However, the council directed city staff to explore administratively extending the ban to nonprofits to “level the playing field,” as Councilwoman Megan Satterlee stated, without triggering an addendum to the EIR at a cost of $2,000.

The council also unanimously opted to delay the ordinance’s implementation from its original date of April 22 – Earth Day – to July 4 after some expressed reservations about the earlier date’s impact on merchants.

Los Altos Village Association (LAVA) Executive Director Nancy Dunaway told the council her group supported the ban, but she asked for more time so that merchants could adjust to the regulation.

“We would like our retailers to be able to use up their existing stock of bags, order appropriate bags that fall within the ordinance and reprogram their cash registers and devise an accounting system for the sale and inventory of bags,” Dunaway said.

Chamber of Commerce President Julie Rose echoed those sentiments, telling the council that implementing the ordinance on Earth Day would give retailers and shoppers too little time to comply.

“I think businesses, and our customers too, really need the time to be aware of this,” Rose said. “We have no problem with the provisions in the (ordinance), but timing is an issue. … This city has gone 60 years without this ordinance. I can’t imagine why we can’t wait a few more weeks or a few more months to have it happen and do it right.”

One item the council opted not to pursue was a $13,000 appropriation request by city staff for community outreach and education about the new ordinance. Councilmembers instead called for a collaborative effort between the city and community groups – such as GreenTown Los Altos, LAVA and the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce – to provide outreach and education to merchants and residents.

Public Works Director Jim Gustafson told the Town Crier that an enhanced polystyrene ordinance would likely head to the council in the near future, after San Jose completes a California Environment Quality Act study on the regional impacts of polystyrene container use.

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