Mon09152014

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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LASD asks to bring mediator into facilities talks

Despite tensions over the current-year Bullis Charter School facilities, Los Altos School District and charter school officials appear to be making progress in their search for a long-term solution.

District board President Doug Smith last week sent a letter to charter school officials inviting them to reintroduce a mediator and continue discussions about a long-term solution amenable to both parties.

The letter requests that Appellate Justice Hon. Richard J. McAdams (Ret.) return to the discussions “to help facilitate a meeting where we can explore options and interests on both sides.”

McAdams is not new to the problems that divide the charter school and the school district – he helped facilitate meetings between the two parties a year and half ago. While the agreement that resulted from that mediation did not come to fruition, the district’s letter deemed McAdams “a valuable guide to both parties in that discussion.”

The letter states that the district is at a point where it must take a different approach. Potential meetings with McAdams would be closed to the public, a “concession” the district is willing to make. Smith assured the public that all matters under discussion would be vetted after the meetings with McAdams.

“I’m looking for a game-changer at this point,” Smith said. “In the last couple of long-term discussions, there were a lot of ‘nonstarters.’ We have to find some way to bridge the gaps … and I hope by changing the format we can do that.”

The letter suggests that the format could include the same two-on-two teams from the district and charter school that have met during long-term facilities sessions, but the district would welcome the charter school board’s newest members, Sang Yoo and Jennifer Carlton, to “benefit from fresh perspectives.”

The charter school, which was scheduled to discuss the mediator at its Monday meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline, would be open to mediation, according to board Chairman Ken Moore.

“We welcome mediation without any preconditions, and that the end goal of the mediation should be that all public school children get fair access to public school facilities,” he said.

Smith said he hoped the meetings could occur as soon as possible so that both sides could work toward a solution, possibly before the holidays.

Current-year challenges

After issuing a letter to the charter school that detailed violations of the current year’s Facilities Use Agreement (FUA), the district reviewed the problems at its Nov. 12 board meeting.

Bullis Charter School board member Francis La Poll read a three-page response to the district’s notice. The statement disagreed with the district’s attempt to impose grade-level restrictions or limits on enrollment at the two charter school sites, claiming that the district’s attempts are “against public policy and without any support in the law.”

“The district’s strong-arm efforts to force a contract, while locking out BCS, is further evidence of the bad-faith actions in which (the district) continues to engage,” La Poll said. “The district claims that because BCS allegedly violated a contract that (the district) forced Bullis to sign, it may take away Bullis’ facilities and/or not provide Bullis with facilities next year. The district makes these threats even though the district has failed to comply with that same contract of adhesion.”

A list of Bullis Charter School’s complaints about the Blach facilities was attached, asserting that the facilities were not prepared on time and that sharing arrangements did not meet contract specifications. A table outlined the unallocated time of the Blach PE facilities.

La Poll said that although the charter school believes that the district’s accusations are “baseless” and “unlawful,” it plans to find ways to live within the FUA restrictions in the 45-day time period of the original letter.

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