Thu10302014

News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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