Tue09162014

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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LAH Council Briefs


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos Hills City Council renewed its contract with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, citing cost-effectiveness and accessibility.

Following are highlights from the Dec. 12 Los Altos Hills City Council meeting. The next council meeting is scheduled 6 p.m. Jan. 16 at town hall, 26375 W. Fremont Road.

Sheriff’s contract renewed

Councilmembers voted unanimously to renew the town’s contract with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office for another five years when the existing contract expires June 30. The decision recognized the services the Sheriff’s Office provides the community – at a price no other model could beat.

“The service we’ve been getting has been absolutely incredible,” said Councilman John Harpootlian of the Sheriff’s Office’s patrols, emergency response and investigative services. “We’ve asked for investigations and they’ve always been accommodating … more than expected.”

Town staff and the Los Altos Hills Finance and Investment Committee researched the costs of law enforcement in neighboring cities and determined that the contract with the Sheriff’s Office was the most effective and efficient choice for the town. The Sheriff’s Office will provide services at a cost of $122 per capita in Los Altos Hills for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the lowest cost for services among all communities served by the office. Law enforcement services in Los Altos are projected to cost $312 per person for the same period.

Total law enforcement service costs in Los Altos Hills are budgeted at approximately 15.77 percent of the town’s general fund budget, or $1 million for fiscal year 2014. The Sheriff’s Office has served the town of Los Altos Hills since its incorporation in 1956.

Torch passes to Radford

Gifts, gavels and a few speeches marked the council’s transition to a new mayor and vice mayor for 2014. In a unanimous vote, the council selected Vice Mayor John Radford to serve as mayor for the next one-year term. Radford has served on the council since 2010. Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan will serve as vice mayor next year.

Outgoing mayor Gary Waldeck recognized his wife, town staff and the teamwork of his council colleagues for making 2013 rewarding. Waldeck highlighted achievements accomplished during his leadership, including the incorporation of 17 private roads, completion of the Safe Route to Los Altos Hills Schools project and efforts to make the town one of the safest communities in the state.

Radford outlined his goals for the coming year, emphasizing a desire to ensure the town’s ongoing solvency.

“As we look to the next year, I think first and foremost that we want to maintain the financial health of the town,” said Radford of an impending surge in pension and infrastructure costs and his desire to identify new sources of revenue. “We can look at not just breaking even, but investing more in our town.”

Maintaining town assets, including streets, pathways and West- wind Community Barn, is also on Radford’s agenda for 2014.

“I want to look at how we interface with residents to make sure that we’re doing the absolute best we can,” he said.

New management to take reins at Westwind

It’s been a long year for Westwind Community Barn supporters, who have anxiously awaited a resolution to the facility’s financial challenges and loss of a barn manager last summer. A smoother ride may be on the horizon.

Councilmembers are scheduled to award the contract for most barn operations Jan. 16 to one of two vendors vetted as finalists by an ad hoc subcommittee. Torie Dye of Fremont Hills Country Club and Laura Stevens of Heather Hill Riding Academy are under consideration to manage commercial boarding, Parks and Recreation riding programs, Pacific Ridge Pony Club horse leasing, facility scheduling, private lessons and some portions of the 4-H equine services.

During the next several weeks, the town will work with the finalists to complete financial worksheets and draft contract agreements. The selected vendor is scheduled to take the reins by Feb. 1.

As no potential vendors would agree to assume full financial risk for barn operations – one of the reasons councilmembers dismissed a concessionaire model as a solution – the town will continue to subsidize the barn in 2014. City Manager Carl Cahill estimated that the subsidy would total between $100,000 and $150,000.

“I think we hope to break even, but it might be a three-year timeline,” Radford said.

The town also plans to hire a consultant eight hours a month to provide oversight and advice to the council.

Committee recommends two sculptures

The Los Altos Hills Art in Public Places Committee launched only recently, but offers to donate art to the town are flowing in. Councilmembers accepted the first two public sculpture donations earlier this month, pending a review of their proposed locations.

The first sculpture will honor the memory of Los Altos Hills artist and sculptor Jean Birkland McCandless. The McCandless children of Los Altos donated an 11-foot bright-blue, aluminum sculpture titled “Blue,” valued at $35,000, for installation at the edge of the parking lot at Los Altos Hills Town Hall.

The second sculpture is a 9-foot-by-2-foot mixed-medium, modern abstract sculpture donated by Maryam and Jonathan Dickey of Los Altos Hills. Designed by Rob Matthews and Leslie Guinan of Hidden Spring Designs, the sculpture is proposed for placement in the lobby of town hall.

– Ellie Van Houtte

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