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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Report shows tax-revenue increases across the board for Los Altos


A Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) on the 2012-2013 fiscal year revealed that the city remains financially sound.

Finance Director Russ Morreale told the Los Altos City Council Dec. 10 that the city fared better than projected during its last fiscal year – which turned over June 30 – with a “very healthy” $3.1 million surplus – approximately twice as much as expected.

Morreale attributed the surplus to what he called “good news on both sides of the fence” – a combination of “fairly robust revenue growth” coupled with department expenses coming in 6 percent below budget. Morreale noted that he’s starting to see “a light at the end of the tunnel” in terms of economic recovery.

“Overall, this was a very positive CAFR,” said Morreale, who added that the city once again attained an unqualified – or clean – opinion from auditors Burr Pilger Mayer. “It’s the most positive financial result I’ve seen since I’ve been here as the finance director, and there are many things to be happy about.”

Morreale highlighted that the city saw gains in nearly all of its revenue streams, pointing specifically to an approximate $800,000 increase in property taxes over fiscal year 2011-2012. Other sources with gains include sales tax, with an approximate $180,000 year-over-year increase; a $160,000-plus gain in transient occupancy tax; and a nearly $120,000 gain in real estate transfer taxes. He noted that revenues came in 5 percent higher than projected and 8 percent more than the previous year. Total tax revenues came in at more than $1.5 million over the previous fiscal year.

“This is notable,” said Morreale, who also highlighted the city’s decision in July to complete a CalPERS side-fund paydown that began five years ago. “I have not put up a chart in the past where I did not have at least one negative. There were positives across the board this year.”

Still, Morreale sounded a word of caution for challenges ahead. His report to the council revealed that national and state recoveries remain “protracted and moderate,” while large CalPERS rate increases in the near future are cause for concern. In addition, Morreale pointed to future increases in employee health-care costs, workers’ compensation and insurance liability claims, as well as the need for funding to modernize some of the city’s aging civic facilities.

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