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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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LA council approves sewer-charge rate schedule

The Los Altos City Council last week adopted a resolution of intent that proposes incremental annual sewer-service fee hikes as part of a new five-year rate study.

The rate analysis report – completed by city-hired consultant Harris & Associates – comes after the council in April approved a change in the way Los Altos residents are charged for sewer services.

As previously reported in the April 17 issue of the Town Crier, the city opted to use a new hybrid charge method that includes an annual base charge plus sewer-use charges. The city previously relied on a method based solely on a parcel’s sewer use.

At the time, a staff report noted that the change was necessary to cover fixed maintenance and administrative costs for the city’s sewer system – pointing to water conservation efforts by residents that resulted in lower sewer charges than anticipated. During the 2012-2013 fiscal year, 36 percent of Los Altos parcels paid less than $240 annually under the previous rate method.

According to Los Altos Public Works Director Jim Gustafson, a portion of the revenue generated will apply toward expanding and upgrading the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant. The plant has operated since 1934 and serves Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Stanford.

“The new method will affect users differently,” said Gustafson, noting that some parcels with low sewer-use charges would likely see an increase in annual rates.

According to the staff report, the new five-year rate schedule calls for a base annual charge to all city parcels of $209 beginning in fiscal year 2013-2014, accompanied by a sewer-use fee rate of $1.66 per service unit – which equates to 100 cubic feet of sewage (748 gallons). The median single-family parcel generates 110 sewer units based on winter consumption, resulting in an annual combined sewer charge of $391.60.

The report also outlined incremental rate increases for both fixed and sewer-use charges throughout the five-year schedule. The final year would include an annual base charge of $261.35 plus sewer-use rates that had increased to $2.07 per sewer service unit.

Gustafson said the increases for the average ratepayer equate to approximately 7 percent annually over the life of the schedule.

Gustafson noted that the council’s approval activates the state’s Proposition 218 notification requirements. The city will mail notices to all affected property owners, offering them an opportunity to submit written protests against the fee increases.

The city has scheduled the first reading of the rate ordinance June 11 and a public hearing July 9 for written protests, before the decision on the rate ordinance becomes final.

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