Fri08012014

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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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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School district ups property-tax growth projections


Courtesy of LASD
The Los Altos School District hiked its property-tax growth projection for 2013-2014, exceeding expectations calculated in June (blue line) by nearly 4 percent.

Projections for property-tax growth, the Los Altos School District’s major revenue source, are rising, district officials said at a board meeting earlier this month.

Reporting numbers from the 2012-2013 district budget, Randy Kenyon, assistant superintendent for business services, said the property-tax projections for the current school year stand at 8.7 percent, a significant jump from the 5 percent growth rate estimated in June.

Kenyon said property-tax growth is based primarily on housing turnover, which boosts the assessed value of the property.

The average assessed value of local homes is $1.18 million, with 55 percent of parcels assessed lower than the average. Eighteen percent of the parcels in the district are assessed at less than $200,000. Seven years ago, 26 percent of homes were assessed at less than $200,000, and 60 percent were assessed at less than the $834,000 average.

With the growth larger than predicted and the district’s current reserve fund 5 percent higher than its target level, the district may have funds to add to its educational offerings.

“Property-tax growth is a foreseeable ongoing revenue source for funding items with an ongoing cost,” Kenyon said.

Kenyon used graphs at the Sept. 9 board meeting to illustrate the costs of restoring certain programs. The numbers showed that programs with ongoing costs become extremely difficult for the district to carry – for example, adding $500,000 a year for facilities projects.

“Ongoing commitments without assurance of ongoing revenue leads to a financial death spiral,” he said.

Kenyon said property-tax growth and projections are important moving forward, but many “moving parts” are key to determining the future of the budget.

With the unexpected revenue, Superintendent Jeff Baier asked trustees to consider the possibility of rolling out full-day kindergarten across the district. The district currently offers full-day kindergarten only at Gardner Bullis School.

Introducing a full-day program throughout district would be a one-time cost of $450,000 for additional facilities and an ongoing cost of $230,000 per year for additional staff.

“The decision on full-day kindergarten is one that as a district we need to make soon if the intent is to install it next year,” Baier said. “We begin (promoting our program at) preschools in early November.”

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