Fri09192014

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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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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