Sat08022014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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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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