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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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