Sat08022014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Residential speeding demands substantive solutions: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s Aug. 21 article on speed limits (“Slow down: LA City Council rejects proposed speed-limit increases”) deserves some clarification and commentary, including the question: What is your better solution?

Believing that a radar feedback speed sign is “miraculous” and that implementing one will “make all the problems go away” is pure fantasy. It may help to a minimal degree for a short period of time. However, once drivers understand that it has no enforcement component, it simply becomes another sign to ignore. To believe that irresponsible drivers will somehow suddenly convert to responsible drivers based on one of these signs is sophomoric.

Narrowing streets? Visually shrinking the roadway may slow down some drivers, but others will simply use more of the bike lane.

How about speed tables? They do work to help control speeds and enhance pedestrian safety if designed and installed correctly. The speed table in front of Los Altos High School is an example of a functional design. The speed table at the back of Almond School is an example of a failed design that both city staff and council have known about for six years yet refuse to correct, risking public safety. Why?

Installing “Yield to Pedestrians, State Law” signs in crosswalks? While effective, they don’t represent a “rural atmosphere.” It’s OK for virtually all other cities, but we are above such banal displays, as our “rural atmosphere” appears to include unabated running of occupied crosswalks. Why?

Blaming crosstown commute speeders as the source of the problem is an easy way to duck personal responsibility. Drivers speeding on El Monte Avenue, for example, continue that speeding habit on South Clark, a street that can be radar enforced and is, almost exclusively, used by Los Altos residents (oh my!). Yet there is no radar enforcement on South Clark. Why? There are numerous other enforceable street examples, yet little, if anything, is being done.

Reality check: Educating drivers in an attempt to promote responsible driving is folly. Based on my 13 years of working with the city on the Traffic Commission and Neighbor Advisory Task Force, I can assure you that the only substantive tool that gets a driver’s attention is a red and blue light in the rearview mirror. It applies to those crosstown commuters as well as Los Altos residents, including business executives, parents shuttling kids to school, students and seniors.

If you don’t like residential speeding, what is your substantive solution?

Los Altos City Councilwoman Val Carpenter hits the target on the real problem – the 85th percentile rule. Until that rule is removed from street surveys, the inmates (drivers) will run the asylum, determining speed limits while ignoring street design, residential density and bicycle and pedestrian safety.

It’s time for all councilmembers and all Los Altos residents concerned with residential traffic safety to write, call and email state representatives and demand that the 85th percentile rule be removed as the determining survey factor within the Caltrans Manual of Traffic Control Devices. Enough is enough. The root cause is known. It is time for our representatives to man up and resolve this issue in Sacramento with assistance from cities all across California that have the same problem with no resolution in sight.

Kurt Ayers is a Los Altos resident and former member of the Traffic Commission (now the Planning and Transportation Commission).

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