Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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Westwind riding program proves profitable for LAH: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s May 15 article on Westwind Barn led readers to believe that the Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Department’s Year-Round Riding Program is a money loser for the town (“LAH looks to concessionaire model to balance Westwind Barn budget”).

The facts prove just the opposite. This extremely popular horse-riding program, which provides riding lessons for people who don’t own horses, has been a net generator of income for the town. This year alone the income is projected at more than $12,000.

Of the 42 horses currently housed on Westwind property, only three belong to the Year-Round Riding Program – and they are paying full board.

Not mentioned in the article is that the seven other Year-Round Riding Program horses are kept in the nearby open-space pasture of Byrne Preserve, with negligible costs to the town, which provides no food or other services to the horses. Parks and Recreation has granted the riding program the privilege of pasturing two horses at Byrne Preserve for the past 35 years, a benefit also extended to the 4-H Riding for the Handicapped program. The operator of the riding program uses four holding paddocks on the Westwind property when horses are brought out of the pasture for feeding or to prepare for classes, but all costs – feeding, cleaning and maintenance – are borne by the Year-Round Riding Program operator.

Many factors have contributed to the current situation at Westwind and the town’s continued financial losses, particularly salaries. Under a concessionaire model, which the town has now recognized as a better management model (and one that all other area barns operate under), costs could be reduced and revenues increased.

In addition to the main boarding facilities, Westwind is home to three programs that serve the community: 4-H Riding for the Handicapped, the Pacific Ridge Pony Club and the Parks and Recreation’s Horse Camps and Year-Round-Riding Program.

All three, together with several public events, contribute to West- wind being a true “community barn,” allowing those who do not own a horse the opportunity to learn to ride.

The takeaway from the Town Crier’s article is that while Los Altos Hills values all of its programs, the town recognizes that it must get out of the barn management business and allow someone who understands the horse business to run the operation.

The town did a magnificent job in completing the seismic retrofit and renovation of Westwind Barn.

The time has arrived to hand over the running of the barn to a professional, while preserving the programs that have made Westwind Barn such a community asset – both for horse enthusiasts and the general public.

Los Altos Hills resident Nancy Couperus is a member of the Westwind Barn Task Force and a representative of the 4-H Riding for the Handicapped program.

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