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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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LAH selects new manager for Westwind


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
After weighing the credentials of both candidates, the Los Altos Hills City Council chose riding instructor Torie Dye to oversee operations at Westwind Community Barn.

There was little room to spare in Los Altos Hills’ City Council Chambers Jan. 14 as residents and guests jammed the space for the evening’s hottest topic – selecting a concessionaire to run Westwind Community Barn.

“We should have charged admission, because this was a really great show,” said Councilman Rich Larsen of the presentations.

Since the town assumed management of the barn in 1998, the facility has operated under a deficit. Councilmembers expressed optimism that an experienced concessionaire could increase the barn’s revenue and restore it to full operation. Although the town will continue to provide maintenance, 24-hour surveillance and barn oversight, the new manager will oversee commercial boarding, parks and recreation riding programs, facility scheduling and 4-H equine services.

Choosing between two candidates – young riding instructor Torie Dye and 30-year veteran Laura Stevens – the council voted 3-2 to accept Dye’s bid. Her three-year contract is slated to begin Feb. 1.

The selection process

Appearing before the council last week for final interviews, Dye and Stevens conveyed their passion for horses and their commitment to cultivating human-equine bonds.

Based on the number of people who attended the meeting to support her, Dye shouldn’t lack for riding students at Westwind. Dye has served as head instructor/program manager at Fremont Hills Stables in Los Altos Hills. She revealed plans to expand Westwind’s Pacific Ridge Pony Club as part of a larger effort to boost boarding revenue.

Stevens shared a vision for a barn focused on trail riding and balancing community programs with boarding.

Councilmembers volleyed questions between candidates before laying out their opinions.

“If I were a manager and these were my employees, how would I look at the assignment?” Councilman John Harpootlian said of the hiring decision. “Is the one person ready for it or does she need some additional experience? We may be giving Torie a more difficult challenge than she’s ready for. The more conservative route would be to select someone who has quite a bit more management experience.”

Harpootlian ultimately cast his vote for Stevens.

Larsen, a Dye supporter, seemed more confident in his decision.

“As a guy who comes from the high-tech knowledge world, I’d like to see a Westwind Barn 2.0,” he said. “I think we need some change. We need somebody with vision and skills to create new programs, to get more kids involved, to get more Los Altos Hills residents involved.”

A flurry of emails sent to town staff and councilmembers prior to last week’s meeting showed support for both candidates, but the mobilization of a cadre of supporters on Dye’s behalf at the meeting may have swayed opinion in her direction. Dye’s students and other advocates wore colorful campaign buttons and praised her when they stepped to the podium, vouching for her capabilities as a riding instructor and leader. For every comment in support of Stevens, Dye received four.

Councilwoman Courtenay C. Corrigan, who voted for Dye, said the decision proved “one of the toughest nights” on the council.

During the first year under new Westwind management, the town voted to allocate no more than $72,000 for operating subsidies, $10,000 for a one-time mobilization fee and a monthly boarding subsidy not to exceed $72,000 annually. Subsidy allocations will be reviewed and adjusted after the first six months of operation and council anticipates a reduction in subsidies over time.

The council also approved a $115,000 contract for renovation and repair work to the facility’s lower arena.

Dye said she is eager to jump-start programs and plans to host a welcome barbecue at the barn to kick off her community engagement efforts.

“My biggest priority is to revitalize Westwind Barn and bring it back to the wonderful place it can be … to get all user groups reinvolved,” she said.

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