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News

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water officials said today that preliminary water quality test results were negative for E. coli were negative and "only a single hydrant" in the South El Monte area of Los Altos showed the presence of total coliform. They reduced the "boil your ...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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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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