Thu12182014

News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Rotary marks 25th anniversary of AIDS project

Rotary marks 25th anniversary of AIDS project


John Hammerschmidt/Special to the Town Crier
Celebrating the anniversary of the Los Altos Rotary AIDS Project are, from left, front row: Greg Hoblit, Dude Angius, Mary Prochnow and Robin Young. Back: Greg Betts, Joe Renati, Roy Lave, Bob Berka, Dic...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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