Thu03052015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could...

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Schools

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show


Traci Newell/ Town Crier
Neighborhood volunteer Lishka DeVoss, center, introduces members of Santa Rita School’s Kranky Kids Radio Club to their interviewee last week. The students star in the Kranky Kids Radio Show, which airs Fridays on KZSU.
...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Sports

Eagles make school history

Eagles make school history

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos High School Eagles defeated Santa Clara High School Tuesday to advance to the Central Coast Section basketball finals Saturday.

The Eagles are headed where no Los Altos High boys basketball team has gone...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los Altos home. Sensors are placed around a city, below, and fou...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

Long time Los Altos resident, Jack Joseph Crane, loving husband and devoted father of two children, passed away peacefully at the Terraces in Los Altos, Saturday, February 21, 2015. He was 95 years of age. Jack was born on June 22, 1919. He is prec...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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