Wed12172014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Rotary marks 25th anniversary of AIDS project

Rotary marks 25th anniversary of AIDS project


John Hammerschmidt/Special to the Town Crier
Celebrating the anniversary of the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project are, from left, front row: Greg Hoblit, Dude Angius, Mary Prochnow and Robin Young. Back: Greg Betts, Joe Renati, Roy Lave, Bob Berka, Dic...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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