Mon09152014

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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LAH Council Briefs

The Los Altos Hills City Council took the following actions at its May 20 meeting.

Council schedules meeting on Complete Streets

The council invited residents to weigh in on the meaning of the phrase “rural character” as it relates to proposed circulation and scenic roadways amendments to Los Altos Hills’ general plan at a meeting scheduled 6 p.m. June 13 at town hall, 26379 W. Fremont Road. Residents will receive a postcard invitation by mail prior to the meeting.

In January the council approved a Complete Streets Policy to comply with the state-mandated California Complete Streets Act of 2008, which requires cities and counties to “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways.”

To achieve the goals of the new policy, the town plans to update the circulation and scenic roadways elements of its general plan. The town’s current general plan circulation element aims to “reinforce and maintain the rural and residential nature of the circulation system.”

Under the Complete Streets Act, cities and counties are charged with implementing goals, policies and programs that fulfill the definition of a “Complete Street” – one that allows people to traverse safely on foot or by bicycle or public transportation. The policy’s primary objective is to facilitate reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020.

New tools available for private-road residents

Help is on the way for property owners who struggle to convince neighbors to contribute their fair share of private-road improvement expenses. Two new town documents address managing the maintenance and finances of private streets.

The town’s attorney is finalizing templates for a voluntary private-road reimbursement agreement and a private-road maintenance agreement, soon to be available on the town’s website (www.losaltoshills.ca.gov).

Created to help private-road owners facilitate cost sharing and improve streets to public standards, the agreements require the voluntary consent of individuals involved. Although the town retains the right to help residents meet terms of private-road agreements, it is not obligated to enforce them.

Because Los Altos Hills has 128 private roads, upgrading them is not a financially viable option for the town – it could cost as much as $21.7 million to bring the roads up to town standards. In addition, some road owners wish to keep their roads private.

The council hosted a meeting to discuss private roads with residents in March and is preparing a policy for accepting roads into the town’s street system. To move a private road to public ownership, it must be upgraded to public standards for safety and structural integrity, offered for public acceptance and approved for incorporation by the city council.

Residents add input on hazard mitigation plan

To regain qualification for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency should a local disaster occur, Los Altos Hills must update its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. According to town staff, Los Altos Hills last modified its hazard mitigation plan in 2006 and is ineligible for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs until it submits an update.

The town is conducting a survey of residents to record their most pressing hazard concerns and determine strategies for preparing for potential disasters and communicating with residents. Los Altos Hills residents can complete the 22-question survey online at surveymonkey.com/s/LAHLHMP through June 21.

After the Planning Commission reviews the draft Local Hazard Mitigation Plan and solicits public comment, the document advances to the city council for approval. After council approval, the plan heads to FEMA for approval before incorporation into the Association of Bay Area Government’s regional mitigation plan. The cities of Los Altos and Mountain have already adopted Local Hazard Mitigation Plans.

– Ellie Van Houtte

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