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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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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 mysteries explored


Google Earth image taken April 2013
Some contend that the city of Los Altos initially purchased the .78-acre site at First and Main streets for parking. Approximately how many of the above parking spaces were lost is a matter of confusion – the city cites 54 spaces in one memo, 96 in another.

Mystery 1: How many parking spaces has the Los Altos City Council eliminated since June 2010 in downtown Los Altos, and what will it cost to replace them?

To find out the total number of eliminated spaces, it is useful first to determine part of the answer, which is how many parking spaces the city council eliminated at First and Main streets (400 Main St.). This is complicated by the fact that two important city documents have different numbers for how many spaces were eliminated at First and Main.

The Downtown Parking Management Plan, dated June 2013 and adopted by the city council Sept. 17, 2013, counts “96 parking spaces” at First and Main. However, the Downtown Public Parking Data sheet, dated July 17, 2013, which the city council discussed and put into the record when it adopted the parking plan, states that regarding “Loss of Public Parking District Spaces Due to Downtown Improvements,” the “First and Main Redevelopment” accounts for “54 spaces.”

Which is the correct number: 54 or 96? The actual number of parking spaces (including spaces under trees) at First and Main is shown in the accompanying April 2013 Google Earth image – 96 spaces. The data sheet number is off by 43 percent.

Fiscal impact

The Downtown Parking Management Plan projects the cost to replace parking spaces with a garage as $38,081 per space if the city paid cash. If the city finances construction of the garage over 30 years, the projected cost per net new space, including construction, financing and maintenance costs, is $127,138 (Parking Plan Cost Estimate).

The projected cost in cash to replace the 96 spaces lost at First and Main is $3.6 million. The projected cost to finance construction of the 96 spaces over 30 years, including construction, financing and maintenance, is $12.2 million. The city sold First and Main to the Jeffrey A. Morris Group for $3.1 million, substantially less than what it will cost to replace the parking lost there. This may surprise people who think that the city acquired First and Main for parking.

Read more in the following weeks to get additional clues for figuring out this mystery.

Kim Cranston is a Los Altos Hills resident and downtown Los Altos property owner.

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