Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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