Mon09152014

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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Officials grapple with rising number of MV students attending LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A youth crosses the busy intersection at San Antonio Road and El Camino Real, an area that has experienced a surge in growth.

Following is the second in the Town Crier’s two-part series on the consequences of growth in the San Antonio Change Area. Part 1 appeared in the Aug. 21 issue of the Town Crier.

It’s no secret that Mountain View is growing, with hundreds of new housing units under construction or planned for the San Antonio Change Area.

Increased auto traffic is just one result of the growth. The impact of additional students on the Los Altos School District, with boundaries that include portions of the San Antonio Road and El Camino Real areas, is another.

As with traffic, there is no easy solution to accommodating that growth. School district officials report that the student population north of El Camino more than doubled over the past 15 years. Superintendent Jeff Baier’s numbers show an increase from 216 students in the 1995-1996 school year to 574 in 2011-2012.

“That’s about the size of one of our schools,” Baier said.

An additional 330 housing units are completed or under construction at The Village at San Antonio Center, and 170 units are under construction at the former Los Altos Garden Supply site (on the Los Altos side of El Camino).

Collaborating on solutions

City officials reviewed progress on the San Antonio Precise Plan at last week’s Mountain View City Council meeting.

One speaker wondered whether considering the impact on schools is an issue, given that new housing at The Village has accounted for only four new students thus far.

“Until very recently, there have been no apartments built in the area, so the student population growth has been independent of development,” said Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich. “In general, higher-density apartments do not yield that many students.”

Santa Rita and Almond schools are already at capacity. Acquiring a school site in Mountain View is the most obvious option supported by the district and the city of Los Altos. It is also the most difficult to make a reality.

“There are very few parcels of the size desired for a school, and the value of land is quite high,” Rich said. “The city does not control the properties. We can’t force a site to be used as a school or sold to the school district, nor can we ‘downzone’ a property.”

So far, there’s been talk among the two cities and the school district about collaborating on a solution – but little action.

“Not a lot of engagement as of yet,” said Los Altos School District Trustee Mark Goines. “We have included them in the discussion on new facilities and the growth we are experiencing, and we are getting involved in the San Antonio Precise Plan meetings.”

At last week’s council meeting, Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga said she wasn’t sure what kind of help the city could offer the school district.

“It’s really up to the school district (to put a school in Mountain View),” Abe-Koga said. “They have the power of eminent domain (public takeover of private property to build a school site), we don’t.”

Goines said individual Mountain View councilmembers “have expressed interest in being helpful. They are, however, more focused on development than education. … Sadly, they are financially incentivized to build homes and businesses that generate taxes, less interested in having property converted to non-tax-generating schools. Separately, residents have been lobbying for more park space, and a school could serve both educational and playtime interests. But the dialogue continues.”

Goines said he has spoken with three other Mountain View councilmembers and communicated with the city’s Youth Advisory Committee. He also pointed to the district’s Enrollment Task Force and input from residents about “accommodations for a school/park in the San Antonio/California neighborhood.”

The San Antonio Precise Plan will include specific direction for improving mobility and mitigating growth in the area. The target date for completing the plan is December 2014.

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