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News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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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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