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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City study recommends updated fees for services

Some city-provided services may soon cost Los Altos residents more money.

A recent cost allocation and fee study recommends increasing charges for several services – from fines for false alarms to block-party permits – provided by the city. In addition, the report calls for a change in the way the city’s Recreation Department establishes some services and its pricing.

The study’s findings were presented June 4 at a special Los Altos City Council meeting. Los Altos Finance Director Russ Morreale said city staff was expected to return to the council Tuesday – after the Town Crier’s press deadline – with specific proposed fee adjustments.

The study noted that the city provides community-supported services, such as public safety, at an annual cost of $28.9 million. The report indicated that the city subsidizes personal-choice services – which are fee-based – by $1.9 million annually, including direct and indirect costs.

Although the study – required by agencies primarily through Proposition 4 – identified approximately $117,000 in potential additional fee revenue through increases and new fees, Morreale said some of the changes were implemented prior to the study’s release.

“The bulk of the recommendations are already in place,” he said.

The recommended fee adjustments include a $5 increase (to $220) for a third false alarm police response for those with alarm permits; the first two are free of charge. The city, according to the report, subsidizes that specific service annually at $129,805.

Other suggested fee changes include an increase from $550 to $585 for police responses to juvenile parties with alcohol, as well as a bump from $105 to $115 for block-party permits. Special event fees – now $1,600 – could potentially increase to $2,045, while fees for ongoing events may rise $50 to $875.

The report recommends establishing Recreation Department service fees using a market-based methodology. According to Morreale, such an approach allows the department greater flexibility to react and adjust programming and subsequently related pricing based on market conditions.

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw said he believes the switch to a market-based methodology would pay off for the city in the long run.

“I think the more we give, in terms of flexibility, the more we’ll see as a response from our department to reach what they know is our ultimate goal of as close to full cost recovery as possible,” he said.

The report noted that the city recovers 97 percent of the money spent on fee-supported recreation programs, such as health and wellness classes. Community-supported offerings, like teen and senior programs, experience a 15.9 percent direct-cost recovery. Cumulatively, the programs showed a 70.6 percent recovery rate.

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