Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Letters to the Editor

Negotiate UPC student increase

The increase of 20 additional students at the Union Presbyterian Church (UPC) at 858 University Ave. was denied in part due to traffic issues. The school’s approach to traffic mitigation is proper. The congestion at the intersection of University Avenue and El Monte Road during the morning commute hours is a problem. The striping project and installation of speed-limit signs keeps traffic in the proper lane. However, speeding continues to be a safety issue and striping has been ineffective in calming the traffic.

Val Carpenter’s suggestion that Bullis Charter School occupy the UPC site makes no sense. Adding 480 students to the church location would create unacceptable traffic gridlock at the University/El Monte intersection.

As a resident and church neighbor, this would not be tolerated. With periodic verification of the 120-student cap at UPC, a reasonable compromise can be achieved.

Richard Dessling

Los Altos

Charter should consider shift to magnet school

It is a good marketing strategy for Bullis Charter School to emphasize the character-building aspects of their program in full-page ads. However, I think they are missing a much more effective and relevant way to attract students and parents to their program. I suggest BCS become a magnet school for legal studies. They could tap into the expertise of the many lawyers they currently employ and the undoubtedly large number of Bullis Charter parents who are in the legal profession.

The students could study all the past lawsuits that BCS has been involved in. They could take field trips to court to observe ongoing lawsuits. The legal magnet school will be a huge advantage for BCS once the students graduate. BCS could save a lot on legal fees when their former students help prosecute future BCS lawsuits.

I urge the BCS board to look into this proposal at one of their secret meetings. Although come to think of it, maybe they are already working on this.

Daniel J. Burns

Los Altos

MFM likes recognition of music’s values

Thank you for including the article about music, “Music enriches cognitive, physical, emotional health” in the Senior Lifestyles section May 15.

It was with relief, joy and vindication that I read and applauded all its salient points: that music enriches cognitive, physical and emotional health!

Yes, it does, and there are three more points to share: Music amalgamates the whole brain, greatly enhancing math and reading skills, and produces more creative problem solvers. All of these are precisely the reasons Music for Minors was begun.

I remember the many times I would appear before PTAs and school boards to plead the need of music for children’s developing brains, not as a frill, but as a necessity for integrated learning, only to be rebuffed, turned down and told that math, science and reading were much more important and that music was merely an embellishment.

Approximately eight years ago, science came to our rescue! Suddenly, scientific headlines appeared revealing the solid connection between music’s role in the learning and integration of reading, math and science. The study of the brain continues to uncover the amazing, crucial role music plays in our lives.

Music for Minors’ mission is to nurture in children a lifelong love of music by providing quality music education in schools with our trained volunteer and professional educators, which we are currently implementing for more than 17,000 children in 600 classrooms in 60 schools throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. This growth is a direct result of the public’s new awareness, provided by articles such as yours, of the importance of music in our lives.

Grace Johnston

Founder and Board Member of Music for Minors

Kudos to reporter on CERT series

I would like to thank the Town Crier for covering the recent LAHCFD CERT program. Staff writer Ellie Van Houtte did an excellent job in portraying what CERT covers during the five-session class.

As stated many times in her articles, first responders such as police, firefighters and other emergency workers are overwhelmed during the first 12-24 hours following a disaster. Studies indicate that only 17 percent of our citizens are prepared for an earthquake.

We will depend heavily on trained citizens to assist us during that critical time frame. CERT-trained citizens will be used as long as they are needed during a disaster. This can include staffing shelters, handing out food and water and distributing critical items to citizens who badly need supplies.

LAHCFD CERT members continue to train in Urban Search & Rescue, radio communications, first aid, large and small animal evacuations and other critical areas. The program has trained more than 200 CERT members. We are very proud of what they do.

Once again, special thanks go out to Ellie for her great article and hopefully this will inspire others to become more prepared and CERT trained, so that if and when the Big One hits, additional citizens of our community will be prepared to help out.

Michael Sanders

Emergency Services Coordinator, Santa Clara County Fire Department

A gas-guzzling good choice

Congratulations to LAPD on their new patrol vehicle!

How comforting it will be for all of us to see it roll by, instead of something like those Chevy Volts that the NYPD uses, or the Nissan Leafs driven by Portugal’s PSP, or those ridiculous Prius patrol cars the cops in Berlin drive.  I’ll bet all those police forces were just too timid to think that their taxpayers would pop for a 16 mpg SUV that’s in constant use. Good thing the LAPD realized how generous Los Altans really are.

I’m also relieved to learn that LAPD’s finest will be safe from speeders and shoplifters behind bulletproof doors (I hope they ordered that option) in a car that’s crash-test-rated for a 75 mph rear collision. That’s a feature you need in a town full of wild 25 and 35 mph streets ( Foothill and the El Camino are county roads).

And the choice of the beefy, SUV-style Interceptor instead of Ford’s new Police Interceptor Sedan (built on the Taurus platform) will send a message to the miscreant bicyclists and pedestrians that plague the village, not to mention the image it will project to the outside world.

It’s a pity that the Oxford White version wasn’t in stock when LAPD bought their first unit, and that the officers will have to bake inside a black car in sunny Los Altos for so much of the year. Maybe on the next round of purchases they’ll get luckier. For now, I guess they’ll just have to turn the air conditioner up.

Any way, hats off to Chief Younis and our city executives, and of course, our elected council members, all of whom were part of this team effort.  Bravo!  Well done.

Steve Hamel 

Los Altos

Let’s solve schools dispute together

Let’s, together, solve the Bullis Charter School-Los Altos School District dispute.

Let’s acknowledge that LASD shortchanged the original Bullis-Purissima School community by closing it when they ran out of retrofitting funds. Each of the other district schools were retrofitted. The site on Covington Road was converted into a lovely, new school first – before the district retrofitting was completed.

LASD should apologize to the BCS parents. Then, they should invite BCS to come back into the fold. Getting back to the existing Bullis school in LASD would allow the out-of-district students presently attending BCS to continue through their elementary school years in the Los Altos district.

If BCS does not want to rejoin the LASD, then BCS should admit to being a private school and do what is necessary to establish themselves as such.

The schoolchildren of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills are ready to renew friendships. The money being spent on lawsuits could certainly be put to better educational use.

Kate Smith

Los Altos Hills

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