Fri08012014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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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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