Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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LASD loses Sunnyvale-site bid; district, BCS may meet


Photo By:
Smith

The Los Altos School District lost its bid to purchase the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale last week, prompting officials to focus on other options for additional school sites.

The district pursued the Sunnyvale property with the intention of refurbishing it with bond funds and relocating Bullis Charter School to the campus. The Sunnyvale City Council June 12 voted to reject the district’s bid and begin negotiations for the Raynor site with the Stratford School.

Bullis Charter School balked at the Raynor site, located more than 3 miles outside school district boundaries and more than 7 miles from the charter school’s Egan Junior High School campus.

In conjunction with its bid on the Sunnyvale site, the Los Altos School District filed a lawsuit requesting that the court certify the district’s right to place the charter school outside district boundaries. District Board of Trustees President Doug Smith said the district still plans to move forward with the lawsuit.

“The question in front of the court is broader than just the Raynor site,” he said. “It asks the courts to declare the legality around placing Bullis Charter School outside district boundaries. Getting an answer to this question is worth doing.”

Charter school officials, who filed a countersuit to block the district’s proposal to move the charter school outside district boundaries, remain opposed to the district’s bid on Raynor and its ensuing lawsuit.

“This is a public relations, legal and financial disaster of the Los Altos School District’s own creation,” said Joe Hurd, charter school board member. “The trustees own this.”

Hurd said that rather than meet with the charter school’s board to discuss long-term options, the district continues to pursue legal redress.

“Their bid … wasn’t the winning bid because the only interests served here are those of the (district) trustees, not the Los Altos taxpayers, not the citizens of Sunnyvale and most of all not the children of Los Altos – the very people whose interest the trustees are supposed to promote and protect,” he said.

Finding a new site

The district formed a committee to research possibilities for a 10th site. Members have met throughout the year but choose to keep their interest in various sites private for negotiating purposes.

District Trustee Tammy Logan, who serves on the committee, said that while she expects members to meet over the summer, nothing is scheduled to date.

“The committee has identified some interesting sites, but given the litigation initiated by Bullis Charter School concerning Raynor, we have had very limited discussion,” Logan wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “A reply by the court concerning whether the district may legally offer a facility outside of the district will help us better focus our efforts.”

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the two suits regarding the Raynor site and the district’s right to place the charter school outside district boundaries the week of July 22.

Smith said district trustees have authorized staff to conduct discussions about potential properties.

“Conversations about other properties, both within and outside the district, are being pursued,” he said, and the timeline is moving “as fast as we can.”

Smith added that the district has yet to bid on other properties, and many sites on the district’s list of interest are not currently for sale.

District, charter school meeting

The Los Altos School District’s Enrollment Task Force last month released a report that emphasized the need for two new campuses to accommodate student growth and the importance of working in tandem with the Bullis Charter School board.

Smith said he reached out to charter school officials with a request that the two boards meet to discuss the task force’s findings.

“We want to move forward together with the charter school board for a permanent solution in regards to the task force recommendations,” he said.

Hurd also approached the district to jump-start the facilities allocation process for the 2014-2015 school year. The annual negotiating process typically begins in September.

Smith responded that the district would consider entering the facilities process early. Hurd is zeroing in on a date that would work for both boards, most likely over the summer.

“If Los Altos School District trustees want to have conversations, we can talk to the lawyers,” Hurd said. “We can agree that anything that is discussed cannot wind up in court – a legal cone of silence. The litigation is the past – let’s talk about the future.”

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