Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Commission says try again


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The island at Loyola Corners, across from Tom’s Depot, is being considered for retail and condominium development.

A proposal for a three-story, mixed use project at Loyola Corners may be headed back to the drawing board.

During a Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) study session last week, some commissioners suggested that the proposed project’s plan – which calls for approximately 1,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and six condominiums at the former Photo Drive-up site – should be scrapped and redone because the bulky design doesn’t fit the area.

“I don’t think there’s a way to fix this design,” said Commissioner Ken Lorell, who noted that the project was “completely out of character” for Loyola Corners and suggested project applicant Gregg Bunker rethink his design.

According to a city staff report, the study session was scheduled to provide “early design input” for Bunker, who has owned the triangular property for more than 20 years.

Bunker presented the PTC with two alternative building designs to consider – including one that called for a 30-foot tall building with 9-foot wall plates.

A second design called for a 33-foot tall structure – 3 feet above the city’s height limit for the area – with a roof deck for tenants living in the building’s six condominium units on the second and third levels.

Bunker told the commission that the building would be “simply unique” with “all-glass” condo units located at the corners.

“I think it’ll be a delightful place for residents to live,” he said.

Bunker’s proposal includes 15 parking spaces – two short of the 17 required by city code. However, Bunker told the PTC that he would consider using parking lifts and vowed to exceed the amount of parking required by the city.

Still, the project drew criticism from a handful of neighbors who said both proposed building designs would be too large for the area. One Fremont Avenue resident told the PTC that the building’s look and size was “inconsistent” with the rest of the Loyola Corners area, while another neighborhood resident called the proposal “extreme.”

“It just feels to me like a lot of square footage for the lot size,” added a second Fremont Avenue resident.

Some PTC members agreed with the assessments offered by the residents in attendance. Commissioner Jon Baer said that the building was too big for the neighborhood and called on Bunker to “rethink the project from scratch.”

Commissioner Phoebe Bressack termed the volume of the structure “huge for the area,” adding that the designs appeared to try to fill “every possible square inch” of the property.

“If it wasn’t end-to-end-to-end-to-end everywhere, it would be better for the town,” she said.

Commissioner Jerry Moison, however, offered a different take on the project. He said adding setbacks on the small property site would make the building “look like a pencil.”

Moison added that the project was needed to help revitalize the area.

“I think Loyola Corners is in desperate need of something just like this,” he said.

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