Sat09202014

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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Water district readies flood basin plans as residents continue protest


Retention basins for the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project received the go-ahead from local agencies and, barring unforeseen circumstances, appear destined for construction beginning next summer.

But that’s not stopping a small, relentless and determined group of residents from continuing to question the district’s efforts to build the basins.

Basins at Mountain View’s McKelvey Park and Rancho San Antonio County Park are the two sites remaining from a plan that initially called for four. The district scuttled plans for basins at Cuesta Park Annex and Blach Intermediate School. The water district dropped Blach after the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees rejected the plan.

Water officials recalculated and determined that the Cuesta and Blach basins were not needed to protect more than 2,700 Los Altos and Mountain View properties in the event of a 100-year flood – a flood that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. But they contend that the basins at McKelvey and Rancho San Antonio are still necessary.

The proposed basins need only environmental, utility and street permit approvals for construction to begin, said Afshin Rouhani, head of the district’s Permanente Creek project.

Objections to the plan

Opponents again voiced their opinions about the Rancho San Antonio basin at a July 18 informational water district meeting.

Engineers Richard Moll and Michael Hayden of Los Altos, among others, are convinced that a retention basin at Rancho San Antonio wouldn’t receive a meaningful amount of water, even during a 100-year flood.

“It therefore will barely reduce any associated amount of flooding,” Moll wrote to the district. “More importantly, it probably will not take any homes out of the flood zone, which is why the basin was proposed.”

Moll said that based on his research, which includes U.S. Geological Survey data, “the basin is oversized, unwarranted, will probably never take any homes out of the flood plain, will cause environmental damage and is an unjustified waste of money.”

Rouhani countered that the Geological Survey data are irrelevant and that the district uses its own updated hydrology model.

District 5 County Supervisor Joe Simitian expressed concerns over the water district’s data, because the district originally proposed four basins.

Los Altos resident Nancy Ellickson questioned the basins’ environmental impact.

“They’re going to impact a wonderful preserve and a quaint, little park,” said Ellickson, who added that her past experiences with the water district have left her skeptical about its intentions.

She said the McKelvey Park basin would “destroy the neighborhood” and would take away parking spaces, making an already crowded lot worse.

The water district appeased youth baseball leagues at Mc- Kelvey by promising renovated fields, bleachers, a concession stand and other improvements.

The proposed basin at Rancho San Antonio, 15 feet deep and 200,000 cubic yards, would remove approximately 100 trees, force a trail realignment and eliminate parking spaces.

The Permanente project will cost more than $40 million when finished, with money coming from Measure B, approved in 2000. Voters passed an extension of Measure B funding in the November 2012 election.

Despite the resistance, many residents are in favor of the water district’s plans and believe that the added flood protection could save them thousands of dollars in Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance.

But the opposition simply doesn’t trust the district and vowed to continue the fight – even if the odds are against them.

“Until the bulldozers pull up, it’s open game,” Ellickson said.

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