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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Fred Kent-guided discussion addresses Los Altos community center of the future


Juan Romero Corral/Special to the Town Crier
A cross-section of local residents, ranging from youth to seniors, participate in a “Community Conversation” Jan. 27, registering their preferences for features a new civic center might include.

Fred Kent, an authority on revitalizing city spaces, led a “Community Conversation” Jan. 27, with 110 participants envisioning what a revamped Los Altos community center might look like.

The Los Altos Forward-sponsored event was held a day before the Los Altos City Council’s discussion on the civic center. At their meeting, councilmembers opted to re-engage Anderson Brulé Architects to facilitate workshops and public meetings over a 10-month period to develop a new plan for replacing the dilapidated Hillview Community Center. Two of the five councilmembers were present at the Kent event.

The center, comprising 50-year-old buildings that once housed Hillview School, is part of the 18-acre civic center complex that includes the library, the Los Altos History Museum, city hall, athletic fields and the police station.

Kent, founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, introduced possible elements a high-functioning community center could feature. He broke participants into eight groups, each focusing on a specific interest, ranging from the senior center to a skate park.

“People were coming up with amazing ideas,” Kent said after the meeting. “They were realizing what could be done.”

Some improvements could be incorporated in the short term without major expense. Among the options, Kent suggested realigning walkways to provide better connectivity between the library and History Museum. The parking area in front of the library could be converted into a plaza that encourages people to walk around and mingle. Even small changes like strategic placement of tables and chairs could make a big difference, participants discovered. Some changes could be installed within three months, Kent said.

Kent’s philosophies include the beliefs that a community’s residents have better ideas about placemaking than architects, and that often elements must be turned upside down before they can be set rightside up. He urged participants not to limit themselves in their visioning.

At one point, event organizer Event organizer Kim Cranston asked participants for a show of hands as to how many would support a community center three stories or higher. All but two of the 110 attendees raised their hands. Supporters contend that a higher-density community center could consolidate functions, cost less and allow more open space.

Groups were asked to weigh in on what they like and don’t like about the current community center.

Gary Hedden, a member of the Los Altos Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, said his group, assigned to parks and recreation elements, appreciated the trees at the center but noted that Hillview has a “run-down look.” He came away from the meeting encouraged that “things can be done without spending a lot of money.”

Karina Nilsen was so inspired by the Kent presentation that she attended the city council meeting the following night to suggest ideas for the community center, including adding a dog park and creating a prominent fountain or water element that brings people together.

For 13-year-old Dre Ortiz, the Kent presentation was his first public meeting. He attended to lobby for a permanent skate park at Hillview. The Blach Intermediate School student said a skate park similar to the one at Burgess Park in Palo Alto would be used by “tons of people.”

The next Los Altos Forward “Community Conversation,” featuring former Los Altos City Manager Arne Croce, is scheduled 5:30-7:30 p.m. today at Main Street Cafe, 134 Main St. Croce’s topic is “Life After Dark: Let’s Go to the Movies! An Epic Tale of Downtown Resilience.”

Los Altos Forward is a project of the Los Altos Community Foundation.
    For more information, visit losaltosforward.org.

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