Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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