Fri11282014

News

VTA plans for  El Camino Real prompt skepticism

VTA plans for El Camino Real prompt skepticism


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Valley Transit Authority proposal to convert general-use right lanes on El Camino Real to bus-only use received a chilly reception last week.

A Valley Transit Authority proposal that prioritizes public transit alo...

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Schools

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record


Barry Tonge/Special to the Town Crier
Local residents participate in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most friendship braceletsNov. 9 at Mountain View High.

More than 300 Mountain View High School students gathered around...

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Community

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center


Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One...

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Comment

Serving those who served us: Editorial

“Thank you for your service” often comes across as lip service to our veterans. As always, actions speak louder than words.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos has taken plenty of action, contributing time and money to improve opportunities for veterans th...

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Business

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.


ToWn Crier File Photo
The average cost of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Los Altos is 30 times more than the price of a similar home in Cleveland, according to a Coldwell Banker report.

The average cost of one Silicon Valley home can purchase ...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

Richard Campbell Waugh of Los Altos Hills, Ca. died at home October 31, 2014 surrounded by his family and caregivers.

Dick was born 1917, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He earned a BS in chemistry from University of Arkansas and a PhD in organic chemi...

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Travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel


Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either ̶...

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Stepping Out

Pacific Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday in downtown Mtn. View

The Pacific Ballet Academy is back with its 24th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled this weekend in downtown Mountain View.

The story follows young Clara as she falls into a dream where her beloved nutcracker becomes the daring prince ...

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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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