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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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