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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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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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