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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Coyote sightings prompt warning to residents


Photo By: Courtesy of California Department of FisH & Wildlife
Photo Courtesy Of California Department Of Fish &Amp Wildlife

Police caution residents after reports of coyote sightings near Los Altos High.

A local animal services official warns Los Altos residents to keep a watchful eye on their small pets this summer because coyotes are lurking.

Connie Urbanski, interim superintendent of the city of Palo Alto’s Animal Services Division, told the Town Crier that a handful of recent coyote sightings, plus the discovery of two deceased cats in late May, raised concern about the welfare of small household pets in the area. Urbanski’s agency provides animal services to Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

She noted that while coyote sightings in Los Altos are not uncommon – given the city’s close proximity to hill country – the spring and summer often bring more of them to the area. That’s because it’s the time of year when juvenile coyotes learn to fend for themselves and discover new food sources.

“This has been a very prolific year for wildlife,” said Urbanski, pointing to underlying factors such as a shorter rainy season. “The young being taken care of by mama are now going out and learning to hunt and care for themselves.”

Urbanski’s words of caution came after Los Altos Police received multiple reports of coyotes spotted in residential neighborhoods, including one sighting on Alicia Way – near Los Altos High School – prompting a May 30 appeal to the public to keep domesticated cats indoors.

Urbanski said the coyotes in question are simply acting as nature intended by seeking an accessible food source. Small pets could be at risk, particularly from dusk until dawn when coyotes are typically most active.

“Even small dogs could become prey … anything small that’s vulnerable,” she said.

Urbanski added that it’s not uncommon to see a coyote in residential areas like Alicia Way, noting that nearby dry creekbeds act as “a freeway” for the animals.

“They can get to a lot of places using the creeks, especially now that they’re drier,” she said. “That’s a normal routine for them.”

Resident’s tale

Los Altos resident Diane Heckman knows all too well about the dangers coyotes can pose to household pets.

Heckman suspects a coyote ventured into her neighborhood through the Permanente Creek bed at Heritage Oaks Park on Mc- Kenzie Avenue May 29. Heckman said her 11-year-old Tabby cat, Hobbs, went outside at 4:30 a.m. and was found dead less than two hours later by a neighbor.

“I had no idea there were coyotes running around in Los Altos,” said Heckman, whose veterinarian confirmed that her cat was likely the victim of a coyote attack. “It’s not disturbing to me, but it’s just odd to me for it to happen in a suburban area. … I don’t think I would’ve let (Hobbs) out if I had know there were coyotes.”

Heckman added that her family’s other cat, Suzie, has mostly remained indoors since Hobbs was killed.

“She’s a prisoner right now,” Heckman quipped.

Urbanski listed several steps residents can take to discourage coyotes from seeking suburban sustenance. Her advice:

• Don’t leave pet food outside.

• Secure garbage cans with a bungee cord.

• Don’t leave small pets outside from dusk to dawn.

• Lock all cat and dog doors from dusk to dawn.

• Go outside with pets when they do their “business.”

“If people do these kinds of things, the coyotes will go back to the hills and hunt for other food sources, like squirrels,” Urbanski said.

She added that although coyotes are not a threat to people “at this time,” residents should not approach them. Injured coyotes or those with a litter of pups are typically more protective and aggressive when confronted, according to Urbanski. Residents who spot a coyote are advised to contact their local police department immediately to seek assistance from animal services.

“We haven’t seen (aggressive behavior toward humans), but I don’t want to take that possibility out of the picture,” Urbanski said. “There should be no situation where a member of the public should try to interact with them.”

To report a coyote sighting or incident, contact Los Altos Police at 947-2770.

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