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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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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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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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