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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Contaminated soil delays streetscape work


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

Although contaminated soil delayed the San Antonio streetscape project, work to broaden the sidewalks behind Parking Plaza 3 is nearly complete.

San Antonio Road streetscape construction will last longer than anticipated, according to the city official overseeing the project.

Los Altos Public Works Director Jim Gustafson told the Town Crier last week that the project – which began in January and was originally slated for completion in early April – will not be finished until late May or early June. Gustafson pointed to the discovery of contaminated soil as the primary source of delays with the project, which officials initially said would take approximately 90 days to complete.

“This is a work in progress,” Gustafson said. “(Construction crews) have encountered a couple of different conditions there.”

The delay comes after city engineers sought and received an additional $118,000 appropriation for the project, primarily to dispose of lead-tainted soil found in at least three of four tested areas within the project’s boundaries. Test samples of those areas showed contamination levels at 3-38 milligrams per liter. According to a staff report, lead contamination is considered a public health risk at 400 milligrams per liter.

The contaminated soil required the use of a licensed hazardous waste landfill in the Central Valley at a cost of $116 per ton, compared with the $3 per ton originally earmarked for clean dirt disposal at a local landfill. Supplemental funds were required to test more than a dozen additional locations within the project.

City staff estimated that a worst-case scenario would require disposal of approximately 1,366 tons of contaminated soil if all designated sites tested positive. Gustafson added that the pause to conduct testing and other logistics related to the contaminated soil contributed to the delay.

“We’ve probably lost at least three to four weeks due to the contaminated soil issue,” said Gustafson, who noted that at least half of the additional sites tested positive for contamination.

He added that tainted soil issues are not the only reason for the project’s delay. The engineers had to make minor design adjustments to sidewalk curb ramps to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Gustafson pointed specifically to one location – a ramp at San Antonio Road and the entrance to public Parking Plaza 3 behind the Italian Delicatessen – in need of design adjustments for wheelchair accessibility.

Despite the ongoing work associated with the contaminated soil and the construction of ADA-compliant ramps, Gustafson said the project has progressed, noting that most of the work to widen the sidewalk along San Antonio and Plaza 3 is complete.

As of last week, construction crews focused on relocating a storm drain system and installing a rain garden and irrigation system in the median islands, which required temporary lane closures during noncommuting hours.

For weekly construction updates on the San Antonio Road streetscape, visit www.sanantonioroad.org.

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