Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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