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News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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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More progress, not process for civic center

We appreciate that the Los Altos City Council and city staff want to move forward with replacing Hillview Community Center, an outdated facility that leaves much to be desired. But with all due respect, it’s déjà vu all over again.

Six years ago, the city employed consultant Anderson Brulé Architects to facilitate a series of meetings that captured residents’ opinions and priorities on the elements they wanted incorporated in the entire 18-acre civic center site. The two-year, $450,000 process resulted in the formulation of the Civic Center Master Plan.

The plan – with four phases and a $180 million price tag – went nowhere. Now, the city has brought back Anderson Brulé, which this time, according to city officials, will be different. The city is opting for a more modest plan, one that calls for rebuilding only the aging Hillview Community Center. The process, the city contends, will more directly involve residents and grant them a feeling of ownership.

Perhaps additional outreach is needed, but to the tune of $184,000? And why settle for remodeling only the Hillview facility when the city should be looking at the entire 18-acre site? The new building could be built closer to the History Museum.

We don’t need yet another survey of residents to determine their priorities. Residents have already called for a revamped senior center, retention of the fields for youth sports, a community swimming pool and a multipurpose facility that would include a theater and permanent home for Los Altos Stage Company.

The original master plan failed to garner public support in part due to a bond measure with a hefty cost proposed during a bad economy. But other roadblocks included prioritizing reconstruction of the police station and city hall, relocating the apricot orchard and insisting on single-story buildings. Surely, a three- or four-story community center in one building, set back from the road, would cut costs way back as well as open up more space.

It seems shortsighted to address only the community center. Does limiting work to the community center slow future planning and development for the rest of the property? Is this a “let’s get something done” over a “let’s do it right” approach?

We like the idea of a design competition. Why not start one now? Open it up to the entire 18 acres. Solicit 3-D designs of the proposed plans. Residents would get a far better idea of their choices.

The devil is always in the details, of course. But so far, process has not yielded progress.

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