Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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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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