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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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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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