Fri08012014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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Assessor says local economy on path to recovery


Photo By: Randy Gard/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Randy Gard/Special To The Town Crier

Assessor Larry Stone speaks to the Rotary Club of Los Altos at its March 21 meeting.

Longtime Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone discussed the opportunities and dramatic inequities that exist in today’s property markets at a Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting March 21.

Elected four times to four-year terms as county assessor, Stone has witnessed the rise and fall of various property sectors and experienced the effects of Proposition 13 on the local economy.

Although only 19 percent of the state’s population lives in the Bay Area, 35 percent of California’s job growth has occurred in the region, according to Stone.

The Silicon Valley apartment market is “on fire,” Stone said, and the hunt for single-family homes has surged in recent months. Although 27 percent of family residences and 53 percent of condominiums are still assessed below their purchase price, competition in high-end areas like Los Altos and Los Altos Hills is increasing. Excellent schools are the one predictable indicator of stable or increasing market values, he added.

Stone said commercial space in Silicon Valley is filling up. The area experienced the third-highest increase in office rents in the country last year, trailing only San Francisco and New York.

“I believe we are rising from the depths of the bottom of the worst economic decline in my lifetime,” he said.

Stone addressed the unexpected consequences of Proposition 13 – the initiative limiting the tax rate for real estate that passed in 1978. Proposition 13 has created as many problems for first-time homebuyers as it has solved for senior citizens, he said, and “shifted fiscal authority to the state, while leaving local government with the responsibilities.”

The result, Stone noted, is a “convoluted school funding system” that has reduced California to 47th in the country in K-12 school funding.

Stone offered an example of the proposition’s inequity: Take two homeowners with similar residences on the same street. The newer homeowner can pay as much as 10 times the amount of property tax as the homeowner who has owned a comparable property for many more years. This seems “inherently un-American,” he said.

A split property-tax roll, Stone proposed, would establish a different tax process for residential properties than commercial properties, which should be reassessed to market value every one or two years. But any reform would “create winners and losers,” he said.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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