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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Los Altos Hills aims to be debt-free


Photo By: Image Courtesy of Town of Los ALtos Hills
Photo Image Courtesy Of Town Of Los Altos Hills

An illustration from the town of Los Altos Hills shows how only 6 cents from every dollar in property taxes ends up in city coffers.

The Los Altos Hills City Council Thursday approved an $11.4 million operating budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year that may clear the town of outstanding debt.

The prospect of fiscal health follows four years of expenditures on capital improvement projects, substantial loan repayments for renovation projects and repayments to the state for unused Roadway Impact Fees.

The town still owes $113,000 to the California Energy Commission for loans used to fund energy efficiency measures.

“Paying off these loans will be a major, one-time expenditure that will improve the town’s overall financial condition and make it debt-free,” wrote City Manager Carl Cahill in a letter to the council.

Following Cahill’s revelation last week that additional roadway funds may be needed in the next year, the council agreed to reconsider whether paying the loans off outright made sense. Although the town expects a $163,000 surplus in its general fund at the end of the fiscal year, councilmembers don’t want to get stuck in a pinch.

“The budget is a plan,” Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck said. “Plans change.”

To ensure that Los Altos Hills replenishes its coffers for the future, the town plans to spend 2.8 percent less than it did last year. Cost-cutting measures include eliminating two staff positions and asking each department to cut its budget by 2 percent. The town also intends to trim expenses by decreasing postemployment benefits for staff, discontinuing the sewer connection incentive program, postponing the hiring of a barn manager at Westwind Community Barn and reducing funds for planning consultants and tree removal.

The greatest expenditures in the 2013-2014 budget include $778,200 for Sewer Treatment Plant operations and $488,000 for sewer capital projects – estimated to run 11 percent higher this year than last. Los Altos Hills also plans to allocate $80,000 to hire professionals to complete a state-mandated 2014-2022 housing element update, $50,000 for engineering consultation for Barron Creek and $50,000 for open-space management.

Property taxes – the town’s largest source of revenue at 43 percent – are projected to increase $50,812, or 1.2 percent, in the next fiscal year. Revenue from all other taxes is forecast to decrease $66,900, or 12.7 percent, a result of reduced business-license activity and property transfers.

For a copy of the operating and capital budgets, click “Agenda” for the June 20 council meeting at losaltoshills.ca.gov/city-government/city-council/reports.

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