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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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Solution for BCS/LASD – a merger: Editor's Notebook

I’ve been to the Bullis Charter School campus at Blach Intermediate School twice in the past three months. The first time was in August, at the invitation of Los Altos School District officials. It was a “see what we’ve done to accommodate the charter school” tour to demonstrate how the district met facilities requirements.

The second time, in October, was altogether different. It was a “see how unreasonable the school district is” tour, with a blacktop full of children unable to use the surrounding playing fields. I met assistant principal Alison Schwartzbaum, a passionate educator who didn’t understand why her students couldn’t play on the empty fields.

For 10 years, since the arrival of the charter school, it’s been the same old “us versus them” mentality. The community is beyond tired of it. The Town Crier is tired of reporting on it. However, Bullis Charter School versus the Los Altos School District remains a major problem that must be solved. Ignoring it is not the solution.

I believe that the ultimate solution involves Bullis Charter School becoming part of the Los Altos School District. It should be a magnet school, offering more educational alternatives that add to the district’s overall strength.

The bad vibes on both sides could be attributed to a matter of positioning. Because the Santa Clara County Board of Education, not the school district, sponsors the charter school, it is seen as an outsider, taking away from our existing schools’ resources.

If Bullis Charter School were part of the district, “them” would become “us.” My sense is that facilities issues would be easier to solve were the charter school planet part of the district’s solar system.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But there’s no will, as far as I can tell. District folks in past years said they’ve made overtures to the charter school to join the district, but charter school officials apparently refused. It’s understandable, in part because of a lack of trust, but also because Bullis Charter School would have to re-charter with the district – a major bureaucratic hurdle – and be subject to increased transparency.

A decade later, the charter school is a successful institution. It’s grown too big for its previously desired campus in Los Altos Hills. It’s drawing students from all over. The charter school is here for good. The district must accommodate it.

It has cost both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars to battle in the courts. Talks reached a low point recently when the district basically threatened to close the Blach campus unless the charter school adhered to the letter of its facilities agreement.

But there are some streaks of light through the dark clouds. Talks are underway that would involve a halt to litigation and a long-term plan for housing the charter school in a shared-campus configuration.

That’s great. But for real action to occur, both sides have to bury the hatchet. This would require new people in charge who were not burdened by history and who could commit to working on a merger.

It won’t be easy. I understand concerns about Bullis Charter School’s loss of control or fears of being under district control. But I don’t see why the charter school can’t be part of the district and continue to do its own thing. It works just fine for the Downtown College Prep charter school and the San Jose Unified School District. Why not us?

Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

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