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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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City joins amicus brief supporting Lehigh plant appeal


Jitze Couperus/ Special to the Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council joined with Los Altos Hills in protesting the expansion of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. quarry.

The Los Altos City Council last week unanimously approved the city’s participation in drafting an amicus brief supporting a court appeal that fights the expansion of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. quarry.

An amicus brief – or a “friend of the court” brief – is a filing by a person or organization providing some knowledge or perspective that makes his or her views on the subject matter of an action valuable to the court. The person or organization must seek permission to file the brief with the court and cannot be a party to or an attorney involved in the case.

The council’s Sept. 10 vote included provisions that a neighboring city aside from Los Altos Hills participate in the filing, and that the city’s cost is limited to no more than $7,500. The Los Altos Hills City Council in August voted in favor of joining an amicus brief by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District supporting Bay Area for a Clean Environment (BACE, formerly known as No Toxic Air).

BACE is appealing a Superior Court ruling earlier this year that upheld the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ decision to grant vested rights to the company, allowing expanded operations on unused land it purchased in 1948. The lawsuit contended that the county board erred in its decision, noting among other things that an Environmental Impact Report inadequately stated the pollution – and impacts on the local environment – created by quarry mining operations.

More than a dozen speakers at the council meeting urged the city to participate in the filing, including Los Altos Hills Mayor Gary Waldeck. As part of their participation, Los Altos Hills councilmembers agreed to join the filing if a neighboring city – in this case, Los Altos – did so, too.

“If we all joined together, it’s also a significant story going forward that says the citizens in the area are concerned,” Waldeck told the council. “As stewards of both the public health and the public trust, we felt in Los Altos Hills that it was our duty to support this for a relatively modest cost. I’m hoping you’re going to feel the same way.”

Mixed reactions

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee expressed her reluctance, however, noting that a published court decision to strike down the appeal could set a negative precedent.

“I am not convinced an amicus brief is going to make any difference whatsoever at all in this appeal, because the vested-rights issue is very different from an issue of representing the population and the effect on health and safety,” she said. “That doesn’t immediately play into whether the county erred in its discretion in granting these vested rights.”

BACE attorney Stuart Flashman conceded Satterlee’s point, calling a published court decision on the matter a “scary and dangerous precedent in terms of city planning.”

“If there was a junkyard somewhere within the city’s limits, and that junkyard bought another property, they could claim, ‘Well, we’re just like a mine. We have to expand in order to continue to exist, so we bought this other property. You have to allow us to expand to this other property,’” he said.

Satterlee’s council colleagues, however, said the risk was worth it.

“I really kind of sit here and say, ‘I’m not sure what other choice do we have,’” said Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins. “To be honest, I’d rather try and fail than to not have tried at all.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper added that the council had a responsibility “to protect the health and safety of our community.”

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw, meanwhile, added that the city’s participation was a “pretty obvious course of action.”

Councilwoman Val Carpenter also supported the action, noting “the outpouring” of emails from residents seeking the city’s involvement.

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