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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Museum storage shed prompts city staff approval discussion


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The two-story shed at the Los Altos History Museum, left, approved by Los Altos city staff nine months ago, resulted in a lengthy city council discussion last week on the city’s administrative approval process. Town Crier

The construction of a two-story shed for the Los Altos History Museum drew the ire of one councilmember, prompting a two-hour discussion last week on the city’s internal administrative approval process.

The discussion occurred at the council’s Jan. 7 special meeting – scheduled as a continuation of its Dec. 14 annual retreat.

City Manager Marcia Somers told the Town Crier that the museum storage shed – located on the civic center campus – was constructed approximately nine months ago after it was “inadvertently” approved at the administrative level instead of undergoing the public review process.

Somers specifically noted that the city’s Historical Commission initially reviewed the project but that it should have continued moving up the city’s approval ladder – ending with a final vote by the city council. Instead, the shed’s construction was approved at the city staff level after the lone round of commission review. She attributed the item’s approval to a staff miscommunication.

“There was no ill intent,” said Somers, who apologized for the administrative error at the outset of the discussion, which also included Assistant City Manager James Walgren. “It should have gone to the council because it was built on public property.”

The error prompted Councilwoman Val Carpenter to initiate a discussion on the city’s internal approval process. Reached by the Town Crier, Carpenter said she only learned of the shed’s construction via a personal inquiry by a resident. She added that knowledge of the item was a matter of transparency.

“It’s on public land. … How is it that this didn’t go through a full public process?” asked Carpenter, who noted that she initially sought a discussion on the item in April. “I never want to be surprised by anything that happens in the city.”

Carpenter also sought information on other projects approved at the city staff level, including the redevelopment of 242 State St., formerly the home of Ristorante Il Porcino. The new-look space is currently the site of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Project Los Altos” exhibits.

Somers noted that the administrative-level approval of 242 State St. fall within city regulations, which allow internal approval of redevelopments if the existing structure is increased by 500 square feet or less.

The lengthy discussion included review of other small projects approved by city staff, including a pool at The Terraces at Los Altos. Ultimately, the council opted for just one change: that any projects or changes related to the city’s downtown parking supply be brought to the council for review and final approval.

“In general, I was glad we finally got a chance to talk about it. … I think we did make some progress,” Carpenter said.

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