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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Fire departments' Mutual Aid plan shares resources


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Numerous local fire departments and CalFire personnel participate in a controlled burn exercise at Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto in May. Such drills prepare firefighters for larger fires and emergency situations that require mutual aid.

When an emergency call comes in reporting a fire, a fire engine arrives at a Los Altos or Los Altos Hills home within minutes ready to battle the flames.

Depending on the address, the personnel alighting from the engine could be from the Los Altos or the Palo Alto fire station.

“People really don’t care if a red engine or white engine shows up or what uniform they have on – as long as someone shows up,” said John Jarvis, Santa Clara County Fire Department assistant chief.

Jarvis uses the distinction as an everyday example of how cities partner with neighboring towns to provide the most efficient service for residents through Mutual Aid and Automatic Aid, collaborative efforts to streamline emergency operations.

Sometimes the nearest fire station may not be located in a resident’s jurisdiction – for example, some Los Altos residents live closer to Palo Alto fire stations than those in Los Altos.

Jarvis explained how integral Automatic Aid, the day-to-day, predetermined cooperation between adjacent cities, and Mutual Aid, sporadic cooperation across jurisdictions, have become to response operations.

Although homeowners may experience the benefits of Automatic Aid through personal experiences in their own neighborhoods, Mutual Aid is often witnessed from afar. During the summer’s active fire season, the public observed the power of Mutual Aid on their television screens as battalions of engines and firefighters quickly appeared on the scene through a process that has been perfected over 50 years of cooperation.

First introduced to California in the 1960s when local fire departments struggled to extinguish large wildfires with limited resources, Mutual Aid enables districts to call on adjacent, regional and statewide fire departments for resources and personnel, with the understanding that the agencies would return the favor in the event an emergency occurs in their neck of the woods.

Jarvis noted that Los Altos Hills received Mutual Aid in 1985 when eucalyptus trees sparked a fire along Liddicoat Lane and Arastradero Road. In what was at the time the state’s largest mobilization of resources, the fire destroyed nine local homes and wreaked more than $1 million in damages.

During the 2013 fire season, the Santa Clara County Fire Department was asked to mobilize teams to assist in Southern California, the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park and the recent Mount Diablo fire in the East Bay.

The county’s local fire service and Mutual Aid rescue plan includes four predetermined strike teams, allowing for quick dispatch when calls for mutual aid come in to the Santa Clara County fire coordinator. Each strike team comprises five fire engines and one chief. Although all of the county’s strike teams are now back home, some specialized personnel are still on the ground across the state.

For residents concerned that sharing resources outside the district could reduce available help should a disaster occur in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills, Jarvis underscored that the engines for the county’s strike teams come from multiple stations, and “nobody is too depleted to take care of resources at home.”

“We may be sending help out … but there may be a time we need help to come in,” said Jarvis of the give-and-take involved in the partnership. “Just like we share the wealth, we share the burden.”

For more information on the Santa Clara County Mutual Aid plan, visit santaclaracounty-xsc.org/map.

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