Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Los Altos OKs Styrofoam ban

A ban on expanded or extruded polystyrene (EPS) products – commonly known as Styrofoam – is coming to Los Altos on Independence Day.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted 4-1 to approve an expansive ordinance that will prohibit the use and sale of EPS products for the vast majority of local and national food establishments and retailers in the city beginning July 4. The ordinance also prohibits the use of EPS products at events but includes some exemptions for products like egg cartons and raw meats sold from a butcher case, as well as documented hardships for certain businesses.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter cast the lone dissenting vote after she unsuccessfully sought a reduction of the $3,000 appropriation for mailings to local businesses advising them of the upcoming ban.

A city staff report noted that the EPS ordinance affects 36 out of more than 111 food service businesses in Los Altos – including four that use the product solely for pre-packed meats, vegetables or pastries. The report added that just a handful of local municipalities – including Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto – currently have EPS foodware bans in place.

“It seems to me – from the report and all – that we have a lot of receptivity. We don’t have any pushback from all of our wonderful people who serve our residents,” said Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, who along with three of her council colleagues voted for a July 4 start date to give businesses more time to adjust to the change.

The council’s decision comes after some of its members in December sought a further-reaching measure than the one before them. The original proposal – part of a regional California Environmental Quality Act process led by San Jose – called for phasing out the use of EPS food containers by Los Altos restaurants and other food establishments, but not sales by retailers that stock foam ice coolers and disposable foodware products. The original proposal also called for a ban affecting national food vendors on Earth Day, April 22. It included a second deadline for local vendors exactly one year later.

A chorus of support

A number of Los Altos residents spoke in favor of the ban – one urging the council to implement it on April 22 instead of July 4.

GreenTown Los Altos member Michael McTighe pressed the council to adopt Earth Day as the start of the EPS ban, adding that it was “worthy to note” that less than 40 businesses would be impacted.

“I think we’re not looking at a large number of people, if you consider it,” said McTighe, noting that the April time frame for implementation coincides with the start of the downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

Los Altos Village Association Executive Director Nancy Dunaway, whose organization coordinates the seasonal Farmers’ Market on State Street, told councilmembers that it wouldn’t see a negative impact because of the ban – regardless of its implementation date.

“I believe actually last year most of the food vendors (at the market) were using compostable products,” she said.

Environmental Commissioner Gary Hedden, speaking on behalf of himself, not the commission, said the commission visited all food service providers in the city and concluded that most “are already onboard with this measure.”

He added that two out of three Los Altos businesses already use alternative products, while those who still use EPS do so only in small quantities and “are simply waiting for the ban to take effect.”

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