Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Ideas, but no decisions on First Street mailboxes


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council is debating whether to relocate the city’s drive-thru mailboxes.

A new home remains elusive for the five U.S. Postal Service drive-thru collection boxes currently housed on First Street.

The city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) last week opted against offering a recommendation on where to relocate four of the five mail-drop boxes after some members said they lacked adequate information to move forward.

“Fundamentally, I think we need more information,” said BPAC Chairwoman Suzanne Ambiel. “I don’t think we can make a recommendation tonight.”

The action, or lack thereof, comes after the Los Altos City Council directed BPAC in late June to recommend alternative downtown spots for the boxes, which receive nearly 2,000 pieces of outgoing mail daily at the drive-thru location on First Street. A city staff report recommended relocating the boxes to a pair of downtown locations: two boxes at the end of a driveway in Parking Plaza 2 near Second Street and two at the end of a driveway in Parking Plaza 3 behind Chase Bank.

At the time, Los Altos Public Works Director Jim Gustafson said the mail receptacles required relocation as a safety measure to avoid potential incidents among vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists on First Street.

While BPAC members came up short on a recommendation, they offered suggestions on possible locations for the mailboxes during the July 24 discussion.

Commissioner Jim Fenton noted that he “was not a fan” of the current recommendations for plazas 2 and 3.

Commissioner Karl Danz agreed that none of the suggested plaza locations “seem workable.”

Fenton said he was “intrigued” by the idea of placing the boxes near the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce building on University Avenue.

“It just seems like there’s room there that we don’t have in the downtown triangle,” he said.

Some members mentioned a cutout parking area on Edith Avenue, near its shared intersection with San Antonio Road, as a potential location.

Ambiel cautioned that locating drive-thru mailboxes there could increase the potential for conflicts between cars and cyclists – particularly students riding to school. Members discussed other locations, including the drive-thru bank lanes at Bank of the West on Main Street and alternate locations within Plaza 3, such as one near the exit to San Antonio Road.

Finally, the need to relocate the mailboxes at all was questioned. Planning and Transportation Commissioner Jon Baer, speaking on his own behalf, told BPAC commissioners that the First Street drop-off location has worked for decades and offers better visibility to motorists and nonmotorized traffic than other sites.

“Where they are right now is a pretty damn good place,” Baer said.

Danz concurred, telling his colleagues that the boxes’ current location may indeed be the most viable spot in the downtown triangle.

“I’m pretty disposed to leaving them where they are now,” he said.

Reached by the Town Crier, Los Altos Transportation and Project Manager Cedric Novenario said the impetus for relocating the boxes is to situate them closer to the downtown U.S. Postal Service at 221 Main St. He added that city staff will review some of the locations suggested by BPAC and report additional information to the commission in August.

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