Fri10242014

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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Busy intersection raises safety concerns


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

Students line up to cross Foothill Expressway at Edith Avenue, a busy intersection that parents deem dangerous.

Navigating the intersection where Edith and University avenues converge near Foothill Expressway can be dangerous, according to some local parents who said they would rather buckle their children in the car than let them walk or ride their bikes a few blocks to Gardner Bullis School, Egan Junior High or Bullis Charter School.

“The crossing at Edith and University makes us very nervous as parents, and we always seem to be at the mercy of drivers who need to look for us and slow down,” said Steve Thomas, father of a Gardner Bullis School student.

Thomas, fellow parents and members of the Los Altos Hills Education Committee shared their concerns at the May 20 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting. Unsafe conditions created by blind free right turns to and from Foothill Expressway and Edith Avenue, as well as the abrupt end to the Safe Routes to School pathway at the border of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, topped the list of fears outlined by Education Committee Chairwoman Heather Rose.

“In some places, the visibility is very poor,” Rose noted, “so a car going at expressway speeds turns right onto West Edith as there is no stop and (drivers) cannot see students who are crossing at University, First Street or Foothill.”

The council took no action at the meeting after Los Altos Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw canceled a scheduled presentation, leaving Los Altos Hills advocates unsure of their next steps.

Who’s responsible?

Because the city of Los Altos and Santa Clara County each own portions of the intersection, major modifications would require a cooperative project.

The city of Los Altos stationed a crossing guard at the intersection in 2008, but city officials eliminated the position shortly thereafter when the volume of activity did not appear to warrant the coverage.

Although members of the Los Altos Hills Education Committee claim that more student commuters walk and bike through the intersection in 2013 than in 2008, a recent campaign advocating the hiring of a crossing guard failed.

When the Lincoln Park/Foothill Bike-to-School Group formed eight months ago, members met with Los Altos School District representatives to argue their case.

District Board of Trustees President Doug Smith said the district discussed the formal request for a crossing guard but eventually rejected the plea because “there weren’t enough students using the route to justify a crossing guard.”

Data collected over several days of the 2012-2013 school year recorded an average of 22 people commuting to school through the intersection daily. According to the California Manual on Uniformed Traffic Control Devices – the guide used to evaluate the need for crossing guards at particular locations – at least 40 school pedestrians must use an intersection daily to justify the need for a crossing guard.

Smith deemed the current situation “a chicken-and-egg problem.”

“Without a crossing guard, fewer parents are willing to let their children walk or bike to school via that route,” he said.

Taking matters into their own hands

Some local residents have taken unaddressed safety concerns into their own hands. Lucy Mangas and other parents have served as volunteer crossing guards during the morning commute since September.

Parents have noted an uptick in the number of students commuting on foot and via bicycle to Gardner Bullis School from Los Altos Avenue since the completion of Los Altos Hills’ $1.08 million Safe Routes to Schools project – a multiuse pathway along West Fremont Road between Concepcion Road and West Edith Avenue.

Although frustrated by the lack of a crossing guard, parents said they plan to continue their efforts to improve safety at the busy intersection.

“We fully support anything the cities can do in order to make these intersections safer and easier for our children to navigate,” Thomas said. “We know that a car can be taken off the road every morning if this intersection is improved.”

The Los Altos Hills Education Committee is scheduled to discuss safe routes for students commuting to school 7 p.m. today at town hall, 26379 W. Fremont Ave.

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