Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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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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