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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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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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