Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


Rendering courtesy of city of Los Altos
The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. Red lines indicate vehicle access points, and yellow lines represent pedestri...

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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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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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