Wed05062015

News

LASD, city move toward land discussions

The ice may be thawing a bit as the Los Altos School District and the city of Los Altos consider resurrecting discussions on the potential use of public land as a school site.

The city voted to discontinue conversations about civic land with the sch...

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Schools

Mental health expert dispels myths

Mental health expert dispels myths


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Palo Alto University Professor Paul Marcille addresses a crowd of psychology students and mental health activists last week about myths surrounding mental illness and violence.

In the wake of the 2011 Sandy Hook Elementa...

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Community

Q&A: Meet the city's new public works and administrative services directors

The city of Los Altos has hired three new department directors in the past ten months. The Town Crier recently profiled new Recreation Director Manny Hernandez. This week, the Town Crier profiles Susana Chan, new public works director, and Kim Juran-...

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Comment

Familiar icon pops up in Los Altos: A Piece of My Mind

I was walking to my car parked on State Street when my eye fell on an old familiar acquaintance from my early childhood, totally unexpected to meet in Los Altos. It was the “Steinway” logo over the door of the new Steinway Piano Gallery,...

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Special Sections

New Los Altos shop brews milk tea for gourmands

New Los Altos shop brews milk tea for gourmands


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Teaspoon, the milk tea shop at Village Court in Los Altos, above, serves a range of bubble teas and snow ice drinks, right.

Los Altos made it onto the milk tea map this spring with the opening of Teaspoon, a new bubble tea ...

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Business

Ed center scores spot in Foothills Crossing

Ed center scores spot in Foothills Crossing


Alicia Castro/ Town Crier
C2 Los Altos tutor Max Shih, left, instructs Homestead High School student Rajesh Suresh.

Los Altos families have a new resource for helping their children ace the test.

C2 Los Altos – a recently opened education cente...

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Books

People

DOROTHY RUTH MATHIS PUDER

DOROTHY RUTH MATHIS PUDER

9/17/1918-4/15/2015

Dorothy Puder died on April 15th in Sunnyvale, California. She will be remembered for her gentle, loving, positive and caring ways and will be greatly missed by family and friends.

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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

 PYT's comedic musical opens this weekend in Mtn. View

PYT's comedic musical opens this weekend in Mtn. View


Lyn Flaim/Spotlight Moments Photography
The cast of Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Once Upon a Mattress” includes, from left, Sophia Graziani (of Los Altos) as Winnifred, Chris Gough (Sunnyvale) as the Prince and Reilly Arena (Palo Alto) as the Queen. ...

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Spiritual Life

Mercifully in His grip: Exploring our true position in Christ

I recently read a wonderful analogy about our true position in Christ. It was shockingly contrary to the messages impressed upon me in church, but deeply rooted in the Bible. The analogy is that of child and a parent. If you have ever taken a small ...

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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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The Boardwalk races to renew lease


Rendering courtesy of City of Los Altos
The Boardwalk’s ownership asked the Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission last week to delay a recommendation on improvements at 4940 El Camino Real, superimposed above.

A public hearing last week on plans to expand and upgrade a more than 40-year-old El Camino Real building turned into a plea for help from one of its tenants.

Michele LaBarbera, daughter of The Boardwalk restaurant founders Bernie and Doris Tougas, asked the Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) Thursday to postpone a design review recommendation for renovation plans at 4940 El Camino Real “so we can sit down and negotiate our deal so this restaurant can stay in your community.”

LaBarbera specifically noted that she was seeking the postponement so that she could negotiate the terms of a new five-year lease extension – but has just three weeks remaining to accomplish it.

“We want to stay in Los Altos and we’re trying to figure out how we can remain in this building,” she said.

As previously reported in the Dec. 4 issue of the Town Crier, ownership group RKT Group LLC, led by Vish Agarwal, is seeking approval for a 3,647-square-foot addition to the two-story building, which has been the restaurant’s home since 1975.

Among the changes sought by Agarwal’s group is a 915-foot addition at the front of the 1960s-era building that faces El Camino Real – something LaBarbera said was a cause for concern.

She noted that the addition would cause the current restaurant area to lose its frontage to El Camino Real. Adding 915 square feet, she added, is appealing but comes at a price that ultimately may prove too costly.

“Obviously, we’d love to have El Camino (Real frontage),” LaBarbera told commissioners. “That’s what we bargained for when we signed up for a lease, but we’re concerned. We’re concerned with the rent increase as well as the additional square footage that we’re asked to take.”

Reached by the Town Crier, Agarwal characterized his negotiations with LaBarbera as “in good faith,” adding that he understands the restaurant’s place in the community. Agarwal said he’s confident negotiations will eventually result in a positive outcome.

“There are no hard feelings – we’re good friends,” he said of LaBarbera. “We’re each just trying to protect our interests.”

PTC reactions

Several commissioners were quick to point out that the lease issue was outside of the appointed body’s purview. Still, Commissioner Jon Baer offered that while he personally believes in progress, it shouldn’t necessarily come at the expense of longtime Los Altos businesses like The Boardwalk.

“If a new Los Altos means that we lose the things that make Los Altos special, then we haven’t made any progress – and that’s not good,” he said, pointing to the recent loss of longtime businesses like Beausejour Restaurant and the pending relocation of the European Cobblery.

“I understand that we need to make progress, but we need balance,” Baer said. “We need to maintain the feel, the character (and) some of the traditions in this town if we’re going to maintain what makes us special. I’m not interested in us becoming Mountain View.”

Commission Chairman Jerry Moison, himself a commercial property owner, added that The Boardwalk is a rare commodity for landowners, noting that restaurants are often the “most difficult” tenants in terms of longevity.

“If I had a tenant that had been in a property for 38 years, I would absolutely find a way to keep that tenant,” he said, while reiterating that the matter was outside of the commission’s scope.

As to the original purpose of the meeting, the PTC voted to continue the building’s design review to a future date – but not out of concern over LaBarbera’s negotiations with Agarwal. Instead, the committee agreed to continue the matter because Agarwal didn’t provide a sample board showcasing the materials he plans to use to upgrade the building’s exterior – a city requirement.

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