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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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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LASD bids on Sunnyvale site for BCS campus


Photo By: Traci Newell/Town Crier
Photo Traci Newell/Town Crier The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees authorized a bid on the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale, above, with the intention of relocating Bullis Charter School.

In an effort to find an adequate site for Bullis Charter School, the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees voted to instruct staff to prepare a bid for the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale.

Before the city of Sunnyvale purchased the center in 1979, the property was a school in the Santa Clara Unified School District. The site is located 3 miles outside of Los Altos School District boundaries and nearly 7 miles from the charter school’s current location at Egan Junior High School.

The center is part of a larger 14.67-acre parcel that encompasses Raynor Park and adjacent athletic fields, but only the Activity Center is for sale.

The property includes buildings, adjacent parking lots and a buffer around the buildings of approximately 3.7 acres. The buildings have received no updating or remodeling since they were purchased in the late 1970s.

District board President Doug Smith said the board would not disclose the financial terms of its offer because of the competitive bidding process, but he revealed that the district has the authority to borrow money.

“If we are successful with the bid, we would need to pursue a bond,” he said.

The district would need the bond to purchase the property as well as renovate the outdated facilities.

Smith was unable to disclose the amount needed to purchase the site, but the district has calculated the cost of renovating the facilities.

Although the offer is for only a 3.7-acre parcel, Smith said the district is focused on upgrading the property to make it reasonably equivalent to the district’s facilities.

The city of Sunnyvale is expected to announce the successful bidder in early May. Smith said if Sunnyvale accepts the district’s bid – including inspections, contingencies and use permits – the district would have to commit to the purchase by summer.

It would require a year to prepare the site and renovate the facilities, Smith added. With no major setbacks, the campus could be available to the charter school for the 2014-2015 school year.

Another school district and several private schools are also bidding on the property.

Charter school unhappy

Joe Hurd, member of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors, said the charter school community is unhappy with the district’s decision to pursue the Raynor site.

“Bullis Charter School has no involvement in this process,” he said. “Why is the district going to discriminate against 10 percent of its children and exile them?”

Hurd called the action “needlessly wasteful” and “not a good use of taxpayer money.”

“There are more than 100 acres that we haven’t had a sustained conversation about,” he said, pointing to Hillview Community Center and Rosita Park. “Bullis doesn’t support this – it’s too small. At the end of the day, what is the Los Altos School District going to do with a property that is outside of the district?”

Is it legal?

Hurd said the California Education Code makes clear that a charter school can only be located outside a school district’s boundaries if the charter school asks to be located at such a site.

That is not the case in this situation, according to Hurd, who added that “it is being foisted upon us.”

District officials interpret the law differently, Smith said. They believe they have the right to place the charter school outside the district.

To clarify the matter and protect the district from a future lawsuit, Smith said the district board instructed staff to request a declaratory relief, a clarification from the judge on whether locating the charter school outside of district boundaries is legally permissible given the circumstances.

Hurd said the process would require “substantial” money and that the school district is inviting litigation.

“We have spent the last eight-plus years trying to find a site within the district without much success,” Smith said. “We are still open to the possibilities of sites within the district, but given the pace of litigation, we can’t ignore any viable option – and this is a viable option.”

Money spent to date

The district submitted $50,000 as a deposit on its bid. If the city of Sunnyvale rejects the district’s bid, the money would be returned. Funds are also earmarked for legal fees for the declaratory relief, but Smith said they are for a worthy cause.

“This is a significant problem that has been tearing our community apart for many years,” he said. “The district has no option but to chase every possible lead, and this happens to be the first one we can chase down.”

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