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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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County assessor sees rise in local property taxes

Several thousand homeowners throughout Santa Clara County – including 1,100 in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills – should expect an increase in their property taxes, according to the Office of the County Assessor.

County Assessor Larry Stone reported that approximately 47,000 properties would see their assessed values fully restored this year following the real estate market downturn. Another 81,000 properties in the county, including nearly 750 in Los Altos, will experience a partial restoration of the assessed values, which Stone noted was a reflection of the surging residential property market.

“Unemployment has dropped to 7 percent, faster than the nation or the state. The NASDAQ is soaring. Apartment rents have reached record levels with single-family homes close behind. It was inevitable that property taxes would follow,” Stone said in a statement released June 6.

Stone said that while increases in property taxes are never welcome, this is “ good news” for the local economy – and homeowners.

“It means the value of most families’ single most valuable asset, their home, is once again regaining solid equity lost in the collapse of the residential housing market,” he said.

The news comes after 136,000 residential properties were assessed below their purchase price last year. Stone’s report noted that when the market value of a property declines below the previously established assessed value measured as of Jan. 1 each year (lien date), the assessor is required proactively to reduce the assessed value to reflect the lower market value. However, as the real estate market rebounds, the assessor must restore the assessed values.

Proposition 8, passed by California voters in 1978, mandates that property owners are entitled to the lower of the fair market value of their property (as of Jan. 1), or the base-year value as determined at the time of purchase or construction, and increased in accordance with Proposition 13 by no more than 2 percent annually.

“If a property assessment was reduced during the recession, the restoration of its assessed value is not limited to 2 percent, until the market value reaches a property’s purchase price plus the annual inflation increase of no more than 2 percent,” Stone said. “The market solely determines whether the assessed value of a property is reduced or restored.”

The assessor mailed more than 478,000 assessment notices June 28 to property owners in Santa Clara County. In addition to outlining assessed property value, the notice also details the process for requesting an informal review of the assessment. According to the report, the Assessor’s Office will complete as many informal reviews as possible prior to Aug. 1, the deadline for making changes reflected on the property-tax bill mailed in October. Additionally, the letter includes language outlining the process for filing a formal assessment appeal by the Sept. 16 deadline.

For more information, visit www.sccassessor.org.

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