Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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