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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Real estate swindles surface in county

The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors issued a warning to local realtors and the public regarding a scam that is affecting the real estate community at the local and national levels.

In recent months, a number of real estate professionals in Silicon Valley and throughout the country have reported that their for-sale listings are being turned into for-rent ads by an unauthorized third party. The for-rent ads are posted on craigslist.org, forrentbyowner.com, Trulia and apartments.com.

When potential renters respond to the for-rent advertisement, the perpetrator explains that the home is unavailable to show or can’t be shown at the time, then offers an unbelievably low price to lure people in. Enticed, many fill out the counterfeit rental application including private, confidential information such as Social Security numbers and birthdates. Sometimes, potential renters are even convinced to place a deposit on the house or apartment.

The unsuspecting consumers who thought they had a new place to call home suddenly find themselves duped. They’re out of the money and their identity has been compromised. It’s not until later that they learn the home they negotiated and planned to move into was never available for rent.

“A lot of realtors have been affected by this,” said Carl San Miguel, president of the county association. “We want the real estate community and the general public to know that it’s a hoax. By creating awareness, we can hopefully reduce the number of people affected by the scam in the future.”

Lisa Blaylock of Coldwell Banker in San Jose said she has experienced the scheme on four properties she represented in the past few months. She put a message on her voicemail informing callers that if they are inquiring about a property for rent, it is a scam.

According to realtors, consumers should be skeptical if they are:

• Quoted a price that is too good to be true.

• Asked for a substantial deposit before the property has even been shown or the keys are handed over.

• Asked to wire money.

• Receiving communications via email only and the alleged realtor is located elsewhere, out of town or even out of the country.

Consumers can protect themselves by:

• Having the person they’re communicating with show them the property first. They have a right to view the real estate in person.

• Driving by the property to check for a For Sale sign. Often the sign will disappear from the yard soon after an ad goes on the Internet advertising the property as a rental.

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