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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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County sheriff Smith reviews long career, touts public-safety record


Smith

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has witnessed dramatic changes among female law enforcement officers over her more than 40-year career, an evolution she chronicled at a recent Rotary Club of Los Altos appearance.

Now seeking her fifth term in office, Smith, the first female sheriff in California, oversees 1,400 sworn officers and an annual budget of approximately $340 million. The California State Assembly named Smith its 2012 Woman of the Year.

In the 1970s, when sworn in at the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, Smith’s title was “matron,” because women were not allowed to serve as deputies at that time. She displayed for the Rotarians her outdated green uniform skirt and purse, complete with gun holster and handcuff pockets. In time, Smith said, the “ladies of the law” uniforms changed from skirts to pants, and their salaries rose from a rate that was 15 percent lower than male deputies’ pay.

She gave a nod to the early female deputies whose 1975 lawsuit and subsequent ruling from the Supreme Court reclassified them as “sheriff’s deputies” rather than “matrons.”

Quoting the law enforcement textbook she used while studying at San Jose State University, Smith read its 1960 text with a smile: “There is no evidence that the ladies of the law are about to take over police departments.”

The department’s jurisdiction covers all unincorporated areas, 73 percent of geographically widespread Santa Clara County, which includes Los Altos Hills and the Moffett Field area.

The department manages every aspect of law enforcement except traffic, which the California Highway Patrol oversees. Sheriff’s deputies, however, respond to crimes committed on highways and can also write speeding tickets.

Los Altos Hills, Cupertino and Saratoga contract for law enforcement with the Sheriff’s Department rather than staff their own local police departments. By consolidating three cities under one administration, Smith said law enforcement is managed well and in a much more cost-effective manner.

According to the FBI’s uniform crime reports, Saratoga is the No. 1 safest city in California. Los Altos, which has its own police department, is rated the second safest city and Cupertino the 12th.

The Santa Clara County sheriff also runs county jails, which house more than 4,000 inmates. When asked about the effect of inmates being transferred from state to county jails, Smith responded that nonviolent, nonsex and nonserious offenders now serve their sentences locally in their county of residence rather than in jail.

“But do not believe that crime rates are up because of this prison thing,” she said.

To combat the traditionally high recidivism rate – approximately 70 percent of those who commit crimes return to jail within three years – the Sheriff’s Department has established vocational training programs.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos meets 12:15 p.m. Thursdays in the Garden House at Shoup Park, 400 University Ave., Los Altos.

For more information, visit losaltosrotary.org.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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