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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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Fremont Hills Country Club rallies for night lights at tennis courts


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos Hills Planning Commission is considering a Fremont Hills Country Club proposal to add night lights to its tennis courts.

When dusk sets in on winter evenings in Los Altos, the lights above the tennis courts at Marymeade, McKenzie and Montclaire parks switch on for night games. Just around the corner in Los Altos Hills, however, game time concludes when natural light disappears – a 1985 town Outdoor Lighting Ordinance bans artificial light for tennis and other recreational courts.

At the request of Fremont Hills Country Club – a private club in Los Altos Hills with 430 member families – the Los Altos Hills Planning Commission last week reviewed a proposal to amend the town’s municipal code and/or modify the club’s conditional-use permit to allow outdoor tennis-court lighting.

“We really in essence want to expand recreational opportunities to members and the community overall,” said Fremont Hills representative Bart Carey. “Fremont Hills is a bit behind when compared to other clubs. … They all have tennis-court lights.”

Nearby clubs with lighted tennis courts include Los Altos Golf & Country Club, Foothills Tennis & Swimming Club and the University Club of Palo Alto.

Fremont Hills’ application seeks approval to illuminate five of the club’s 10 courts with fully shielded, metal halide luminaires until 10 p.m. To mitigate anticipated concerns from neighbors, the club submitted environmental reports estimating the impact of the added light and noise.

According to the report, there will be “no direct viewing of the light sources from any residence,” as all homes in the vicinity of the club are located above the height of the proposed 22-foot lights. The surfaces of the courts and the dark perimeter screening are expected to absorb light and reduce scattering of light upward.

Hits and misses

The proposal drew a variety of opinions at the study session.

Advocates claimed that the lack of lights limits tennis-court access in Los Altos Hills, particularly for residents who can’t play during the day because of school or work commitments. Some residents said the lack of lights put the club, players and town at a competitive disadvantage when compared to Los Altos and Saratoga, where lighted courts are available.

“I’m playing kids that are top in the nation, and I think we should have courts that are lighted so that kids like me can train,” said Jehan Godrej, a local high school student who plays tennis competitively.

Opponents cited concerns about increased traffic, light pollution and the precedent an updated municipal code could set.

“Allowing (outdoor lights) on a private recreational facility immediately begs the question of why we don’t allow it on a public facility,” said Planning Commissioner Susan Mandle.

Mandle and other commissioners feared that a change to town code could open the door to night lights at the ball fields at Purissima Park, the riding rings at Westwind Community Barn or the outdoor facilities at Pinewood and Gardner Bullis schools.

“It’s not our job to be setting policy,” said Planning Commissioner Richard Partridge. “This is more of a decision for council to make.”

The Planning Commission requested more information from town staff before issuing a recommendation to the council. Staff will research the outdoor lighting policies of similar communities, draft a proposal for a trial light demonstration at Fremont Hills Country Club, hire an environmental consultant to review the club’s reports and conduct a survey of residents to determine the community’s opinion on adding lights to recreational courts in town.

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