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News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Expert comes to rescue after feral cats litter neighborhood


Suzy Heisele/Special to the Town Crier
A cast of local feline characters now await adoption at Palo Alto Animal Services.

A feral cat problem that plagued a Los Altos neighborhood for several months is reaching a conclusion that might leave some residents purring.

An alleged cat hoarder in a neighborhood north of Los Altos High School contributed to the breeding of more than 100 cats. Neighbors began noticing the problem in March. Approximately 30 cats were confiscated before the hoarder, a woman, moved in late July.

Although the woman took a few cats with her, she left the rest behind. The cats kept populating, and before long dozens of cats occupied the abandoned house and the yards of adjacent homes. The starving creatures hid under cars and prowled driveways. Crews for the builder renovating the house discovered cats coming out of kitchen cupboards.

Enter Suzy Heisele, a volunteer with Palo Alto Animal Services. Heisele spent approximately 80 hours over two months, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1, rescuing 67 cats and finding shelters for their adoption. Heisele said neighbors and animal control officers rescued another 10 cats, bringing the total by Oct. 1 to 77 cats removed from the neighborhood.

“These cats were spraying our doorways and yards to mark their territories,” said neighbor Paula Sager. “Children’s sandboxes raised concerns with parents, since the cats use them and could expose their children to disease.”

Heisele used Sager’s backyard as a “base camp” at night to lure the cats with food and trap them.

“It was quite an involved process, and (Heisele) really knew what she was doing,” said neighbor Bronwyn Van Der Geest. “She sat in the dark with a string attached to her propped-up trap and would wait. She learned their habits and was very aware of the different cats and their lineages, knowing which mama had which kitty or which tomcat was the father.”

“I was really touched by the neighbors,” Heisele said, adding that the residents communicated well and joined forces to address the problem.

Looking for ‘forever homes’

Several neighbors, at Heisele’s urging, wrote a letter to the Los Altos Police Department documenting the problems with the cat hoarder.

Police spokesman Capt. Andy Galea said he was not aware of the matter, but he pointed out that animal abandonment is a violation of state law.

Residents declined to give the name of the alleged cat hoarder, who has since moved to Bakersfield after living in Los Altos for decades. However, some felt criminal charges should be filed against her and that she should pay for the cost of dealing with the cats.

Los Altos contracts with Palo Alto Animal Services for animal control services. However, budget cuts have crippled the agency. Heisele said paid agency personnel alone could not have handled such a massive feral cat problem. The cats are spread throughout area shelters, but Palo Alto Animal Services has plenty available for “forever homes,” as she put it.

Those interested in adoption can visit the agency’s Facebook page at facebook.com/animalservices or visit 3281 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto.

Heisele thanked the neighbors for their support.

“Some of you sent me very kind cards,” she said. “Your kind words kept me warm while I was sitting and waiting for these poor cats to show up at night.”

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