Wed05062015

News

LASD, city move toward land discussions

The ice may be thawing a bit as the Los Altos School District and the city of Los Altos consider resurrecting discussions on the potential use of public land as a school site.

The city voted to discontinue conversations about civic land with the sch...

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Schools

Mental health expert dispels myths

Mental health expert dispels myths


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Palo Alto University Professor Paul Marcille addresses a crowd of psychology students and mental health activists last week about myths surrounding mental illness and violence.

In the wake of the 2011 Sandy Hook Elementa...

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Community

Q&A: Meet the city's new public works and administrative services directors

The city of Los Altos has hired three new department directors in the past ten months. The Town Crier recently profiled new Recreation Director Manny Hernandez. This week, the Town Crier profiles Susana Chan, new public works director, and Kim Juran-...

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Comment

Familiar icon pops up in Los Altos: A Piece of My Mind

I was walking to my car parked on State Street when my eye fell on an old familiar acquaintance from my early childhood, totally unexpected to meet in Los Altos. It was the “Steinway” logo over the door of the new Steinway Piano Gallery,...

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Special Sections

New Los Altos shop brews milk tea for gourmands

New Los Altos shop brews milk tea for gourmands


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Teaspoon, the milk tea shop at Village Court in Los Altos, above, serves a range of bubble teas and snow ice drinks, right.

Los Altos made it onto the milk tea map this spring with the opening of Teaspoon, a new bubble tea ...

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Business

Ed center scores spot in Foothills Crossing

Ed center scores spot in Foothills Crossing


Alicia Castro/ Town Crier
C2 Los Altos tutor Max Shih, left, instructs Homestead High School student Rajesh Suresh.

Los Altos families have a new resource for helping their children ace the test.

C2 Los Altos – a recently opened education cente...

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Books

People

DOROTHY RUTH MATHIS PUDER

DOROTHY RUTH MATHIS PUDER

9/17/1918-4/15/2015

Dorothy Puder died on April 15th in Sunnyvale, California. She will be remembered for her gentle, loving, positive and caring ways and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

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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

 PYT's comedic musical opens this weekend in Mtn. View

PYT's comedic musical opens this weekend in Mtn. View


Lyn Flaim/Spotlight Moments Photography
The cast of Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Once Upon a Mattress” includes, from left, Sophia Graziani (of Los Altos) as Winnifred, Chris Gough (Sunnyvale) as the Prince and Reilly Arena (Palo Alto) as the Queen. ...

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Spiritual Life

Mercifully in His grip: Exploring our true position in Christ

I recently read a wonderful analogy about our true position in Christ. It was shockingly contrary to the messages impressed upon me in church, but deeply rooted in the Bible. The analogy is that of child and a parent. If you have ever taken a small ...

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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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Neighborhood returns to normal after feral cat problem


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Suzy Heisele, a volunteer at Palo Alto Animal Services, visits with kittens she rescued from a Los Altos neighborhood. A cat hoarder contributed to the felines’ out-of-control population growth.

Residents looking to recoup their costs for damages incurred after feral cats overtook their neighborhood may have no one to go after.

According to a Palo Alto Animal Services official, the alleged cat hoarder, whose unfixed pets unintentionally created a cat population swelling to more than a hundred, recently died.

The Town Crier reported last week on the efforts of Animal Services volunteer Suzy Heisele, who trapped and rescued two-thirds of the cats over a two-month period, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1. However, the article erroneously reported the suspect to be alive and noted that she recently moved out of the overrun neighborhood, located just north of Los Altos High School.

Connie Urbanski, superintendent of Palo Alto Animal Services, said she is documenting the neighborhood’s months-long cat problem, a report she plans to present to Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis. Younis said he’ll consider what action to take after viewing the report.

Palo Alto Animal Services, responsible for animal control in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, has been under contract with the two communities the past 18 years.

The house where the alleged hoarder lived has since been purchased and renovated by a developer for resale. The Town Crier is withholding the woman’s name out of respect for the family and at the request of neighbors.

Urbanski said a number of factors led to the overpopulation problem. Construction crews for the developer of the alleged hoarder’s house shooed the cats outside instead of immediately calling animal control. Neighbors failed to contact animal control services until the problem became obvious.

“If you see a bunch of animals you haven’t seen before, you need to call us,” Urbanski said.

Another problem is that the cats attracted additional unwanted animals to the area – coyotes have now been spotted in the neighborhood. Two weeks ago, a family reported that a coyote killed their 12-year-old cat.

Rescue operations

The neighborhood is returning to normal, thanks mainly to volunteer Heisele’s efforts. She spent approximately 80 hours setting out food and traps, and waiting in the dark for the cats to come out. Heisele rescued 67 cats and is arranging their adoptions. She also facilitated better communication among neighbors.

“We haven’t had the staff to go out and trap,” Urbanski said. “(Heisele) is incredible.”

Meanwhile, Palo Alto Animal Services continues to operate under the threat of further budget cuts.

The city of Mountain View’s decision last year to drop the agency and go with another provider cut its budget by a third. The city of Palo Alto is pushing for the agency to cut its budget by another third – $500,000 – this fiscal year.

As a result, staffing has been reduced from 13 to six, and those remaining are performing multiple jobs, from cleaning kennels to answering the phone.

“It’s been very difficult,” Urbanski said.

“We are very satisfied with the services they provide,” Younis said last week. “We have not seen an impact on their services.”

Most of the cats from the neighborhood have been adopted or are ready for new homes, and neighbors are relieved that the stench left by cat byproducts has since dissipated.

“We all learned a lot from this,” Urbanski said.

Palo Alto Animal Services’ contract with Los Altos and Los Altos Hills is up for renewal in June 2014. The nonprofit accepts donations and has scheduled a fundraising event Nov. 16.

For more information on the agency, call 496-5971 or visit facebook.com/animalservices.

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