Wed11262014

News

VTA plans for  El Camino Real prompt skepticism

VTA plans for El Camino Real prompt skepticism


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Valley Transit Authority proposal to convert general-use right lanes on El Camino Real to bus-only use received a chilly reception last week.

A Valley Transit Authority proposal that prioritizes public transit along El...

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Schools

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record


Barry Tonge/Special to the Town Crier
Local residents participate in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most friendship braceletsNov. 9 at Mountain View High.

More than 300 Mountain View High School students gathered around...

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Community

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center


Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One...

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Comment

Serving those who served us: Editorial

“Thank you for your service” often comes across as lip service to our veterans. As always, actions speak louder than words.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos has taken plenty of action, contributing time and money to improve opportunities for veterans th...

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.


ToWn Crier File Photo
The average cost of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Los Altos is 30 times more than the price of a similar home in Cleveland, according to a Coldwell Banker report.

The average cost of one Silicon Valley home can purchase ...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

Richard Campbell Waugh of Los Altos Hills, Ca. died at home October 31, 2014 surrounded by his family and caregivers.

Dick was born 1917, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He earned a BS in chemistry from University of Arkansas and a PhD in organic chemi...

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Travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel


Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either ̶...

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Stepping Out

Pacific Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday in downtown Mtn. View

The Pacific Ballet Academy is back with its 24th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled this weekend in downtown Mountain View.

The story follows young Clara as she falls into a dream where her beloved nutcracker becomes the daring prince ...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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