Mon09222014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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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

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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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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