Tue09162014

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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Los Altos councilmembers split over Fallen Leaf Lane


Courtesy of City Of Los Altos
One of the concepts included in the Stevens Creek Feasibility Study calls for the installation of green directional signs for bicyclists riding along Fallen Leaf Lane in Los Altos.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted 3-2 in favor of scheduling a future public meeting – likely in early 2014 – to discuss the final outcome of a four-cities Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study.

Councilwomen Val Carpenter and Jan Pepper cast dissenting votes Oct. 22 after each expressed a desire to eliminate Fallen Leaf Lane as a possible connection for the trail between Mountain View and Cupertino. Fallen Leaf is one of the routes under consideration as the study seeks to find a technically feasible way to align the trail through Los Altos or Sunnyvale.

A group of residents – including members of the Fallen Leaf Lane Neighborhood Association (FLLNA) – recently urged the council to remove the street from consideration as a connector by the study – which includes the cities of Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. A handful of FLLNA members asked the council Oct. 8 to adopt a policy requiring a 75-percent approval rate by affected residents before a trail is designated in Los Altos. The group has presented the council with two petitions totaling approximately 800 residents signatures opposing a Fallen Leaf trail.

Carpenter and Pepper cast “no” votes after many of the 30-plus residents in attendance spoke out against the study listing Fallen Leaf Lane as a potential trail route.

“I’d like to remove the angst that the residents of this neighborhood are feeling and stop the time and effort that is being spent on this option,” said Pepper, who unsuccessfully sought council support in scheduling the item for further discussion in November.

Carpenter, meanwhile, told her colleagues that while she continues to support the goal to connect the regional trail, she couldn’t support any new trail options in Los Altos.

“At this point, I really lack confidence that the process will result in an outcome that works for the people who live in the city of Los Altos, especially in view of the petitions we’ve received and that have been signed by more than 800 of our residents,” she said.

Residents voice concerns

The council’s decision came after several Fallen Leaf Lane residents told the council that they do not want a trail connection on their street. Several said they favor a 2008 feasibility study by Los Altos that lists a preferred trail connection using Fremont Avenue, Grant Road and Foothill Expressway.

“We don’t want this bike trail. We don’t want it going down Fallen Leaf Lane. It’s as simple as that,” Fallen Leaf resident Nancy Claunch said.

Some residents who spoke said the ranking criteria that lists grades for possible connector routes is flawed, while others cited the potentially increased liability for the city if a trail connector is established through Los Altos.

“You owe it to all of us to get independent individuals to come in and look at what’s going on here, in terms of how these decisions are being made,” said Fallen Leaf resident Larry Thompson, who added that a trail connection on the street would be “highly destructive to a substantial community in Los Altos.”

Local realtor Kathryn Tomaino said such a trail could negatively impact home values in the area.

“Never do (buyers) request to be adjacent to a bike path … buyers will buy in spite of bike paths, but not because of bike paths,” she said.

El Sereno Avenue resident Susan Murphy, however, offered a different take on the matter, noting that having Stevens Creek Trail run through the city would leave a “positive legacy for families in the future.”

Dissenting council views

Despite concerns by Carpenter and Pepper, the remaining members of the council – Megan Satterlee, Jeannie Bruins and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw – said they favored completing the study first before making any decisions.

Satterlee noted that while she wasn’t certain the study would end up with a clear solution, making changes midstream could result in a negative outcome.

“If we are to take action before we know where the (trail) connection is, we may very well go in a direction that doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “To me, that would be a waste of the money that has been spent so far. … I just think this is the wrong point in time to be making a decision.”

Fishpaw added that other cities in the study would likely follow suit if Los Altos started picking out which connections should be considered.

“Personally, I have concerns with taking any particular street off this study, because I don’t want other cities to take streets off the study,” he said. “I want to understand what is technically feasible.”

Bruins, who represents the city on the four-city study, conceded that it “remains a work in progress” but urged patience and trust in the process. Bruins noted that study elements, such as ranking criteria, have yet to pass her “sniff test,” and that it appears that the study will “probably not” put forward a specifically preferred route recommendation.

“We haven’t finished fleshing this out and we have a lot of questions,” she said of the four-city group conducting the study. “We have more questions than answers.”

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