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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Police report spike in burglaries

Los Altos Police are warning residents to take added precautions in securing their homes and vehicles to help prevent burglaries.

Police Capt. Andy Galea told the Town Crier that the city has experienced an average of nearly 10 residential or commercial burglaries per month during the 2012-2013 fiscal year – more than double the monthly average from the previous 12-month span. In August, he noted, police recorded a combined total of eight residential and commercial burglaries. Conversely, the city totaled 45 incidents in 2011-2012, or slightly fewer than four burglaries per month, which Galea termed “a fairly low rate.”

He noted that Los Altos isn’t the lone Bay Area city experiencing a bump in burglaries.

“This is not something that is unique to Los Altos. Everywhere in the Bay Area there’s been an increase,” said Galea, who added that local incidents “tend to come in waves.”

Crimes of opportunity

Without citing specific statistics, Galea said “a significant” number of the break-ins occurred because thieves entered the homes through an unlocked door or window.

In other cases, he noted, residents left their garage doors raised, which prove “too tempting” to thieves, who walk in and swipe items typically found in a garage – bicycles are a “primary target.”

During one August incident, a resident who left her garage door open while home came face to face with a man attempting to steal a bike from her garage storage closet. The startled burglar dropped the bike when confronted and fled the scene.

“They can be in and out of there literally in about 10 seconds,” Galea said.

Galea said the department has also seen a rash of auto burglaries throughout Los Altos. In several cases, he added, the crimes “proved too tempting” to burglars, because cars owners left their vehicles unlocked and failed to remove valuables like GPS units, laptops, iPads, purses and wallets.

“A significant number of these thefts from vehicles have been crimes of opportunity,” he said. “Locking your vehicle and not having things in plain sight really help prevent those opportunities.”

An ounce of prevention

Galea noted that residents could do more to make their homes less susceptible to a break-in. They should always lock all doors and windows to their homes, even when leaving for short errands. When traveling on vacation or business, Galea recommended that residents notify a nearby trusted neighbor of their plans, in addition to arranging for someone to check the home periodically and pick up mail.

The goal, he said, is to make the “home look occupied,” because burglars typically look for telltale signs like unattended front lawns and piled-up newspapers before breaking in. Other deterrents noted by Galea include the purchase and installation of video surveillance systems or house alarms. Smaller steps, like hiding an emergency house key in less predictable locations, can also help prevent burglaries.

“If you’re going to hide a key somewhere, be more creative than leaving it under the doormat or a potted plant near the front door,” he said. “That’s where everyone leaves their spare keys.”

Galea concluded that the best rule of thumb for residents to follow is to contact police whenever there’s even a shred of doubt.

“We can drive down the street or see someone standing on the corner, but it’s the residents in the neighborhoods who can tell when things are out of place,” he said. “They know their neighborhood best.”

To report suspicious activity, call the Los Altos Police Department at 947-2770.

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