Tue09302014

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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Fallen Leaf residents seek new trail policy

Representatives of a south Los Altos neighborhood association have asked the city to change the rules when it comes to the Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study.

A handful of Fallen Leaf Lane Neighborhood Association (FLLNA) members asked the Los Altos City Council Oct. 8 to adopt a policy that calls for a 75 percent approval rate from affected residents before constructing new trail alignments on city residential streets. As part of its request, the group asked the council to halt the trail study and adopt the policy before resuming. The neighbors also presented the council with a petition signed by 550 nearby neighbors supporting adoption of the policy.

“I come here today requesting the city adopt a policy to improve communications and require a dialogue with the residents prior to commencing work on neighborhood-changing projects,” said Michael Eiger, an FLLNA member who lives on Fallen Leaf Lane. “The community of south Los Altos does not feel the council has heard our outcries regarding the Stevens Creek Trail process.”

The request comes at a time when the four-city study – which also includes Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale – considers potential alignments in Los Altos, Sunnyvale or along the creek corridor itself to connect the trail between Mountain View and Cupertino. Fallen Leaf Lane is among the streets under consideration for an alignment – a source of contention for the neighborhood group.

Reached by the Town Crier, Eiger said the group chose to present the petition to councilmembers before this week’s council meeting – held Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s press deadline – because the agenda included an item to update councilmembers on the study’s progress. Eiger noted that the group “wanted to let (the council) know where our heads are at.”

Eiger added that FLLNA began gathering petition signatures shortly after a June 18 public meeting at Grant Park during which consultants and city staffers updated residents on the study and sought local feedback. Several residents at the meeting expressed reservations that a trail of any kind along Fallen Leaf would increase vehicle and bicycle traffic and negatively impact the values of their homes. Others said the feasibility study process lacked transparency, among other things.

“We want to make sure impacted residents have a vote (with the new policy requested). Unfortunately, you can have a good dialogue but still have a project where only 30 percent of the population is OK with it,” said Eiger, who accused those involved of having a “blatant disregard” for trail alignment options beyond Fallen Leaf.

Official’s reaction

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, however, told the Town Crier that while she “can appreciate” the group’s ongoing concerns, any assumptions about a trail coming to Fallen Leaf are premature.

Bruins, the city’s representative for the study, noted that the study continues to examine several trail options, including one favored by the group itself. That option, originally highlighted in a 2008 feasibility study commissioned by Los Altos, calls for a trail connection using Fremont Avenue, Grant Road and Foothill Expressway.

“We don’t know if (a trail connection) will even be considered in Los Altos,” Bruins said. “We have nothing before us with which to render a final decision.”

As for the group’s policy request, Bruins noted that the idea would require a higher approval threshold than voter-supported bond measures (which require a two-thirds approval rate).

“Even if something were to be considered – even if (the policy) said it had to have a majority (approval) – it still may not be in the best interest of the community at large,” she added.

Bruins said she’s pleading patience with the study’s process, noting that those involved “want to allow this thing to come to a conclusion.” She said the effort continues to be an open process, adding that a final decision on a trail in Los Altos ultimately rests with the city council.

“At no point are we abdicating any land-use decisions,” she said. “There are no backroom deals going on – nothing. It’s all being done in the public eye.”

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