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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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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