Health-care contract snafu hits PAMF customers

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Palo Alto Medical Foundation, which has offices at 370 Distel Circle in Los Altos, warns patients of upcoming health coverage changes in the wake of a contract dispute between Blue Shield and Sutter Health.

Local residents who are insured by Blue Shield and rely on Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) for medical services may be in for a surprise this year.

Blue Shield has announced that it could not come to terms on a new contract with Sutter Health – PAMF’s parent company – by Dec. 31, according to a Santa Cruz Sentinel report last week.


New laws influence everything from football practice to college degrees

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed 930 new laws into effect for the new year, an increase over last year’s 800. Los Altos was ahead of the curve in some cases – a bag ban set to take effect statewide July 1 started locally in 2013. And though parking a pooch on a restaurant patio was technically illegal before this year, many of Los Altos’ eateries already looked the other way.

Local impacts

Foothill College is in the thick of one new law, a pilot program set to offer four-year degrees at select California community colleges. Foothill nominated its dental hygiene program as a candidate for the first round of new degrees under SB 850, and the college will find out Jan. 21 whether its program wins approval.


Report predicts home sales to increase slightly in 2015

California’s housing market will see fewer investors, more available homes and a return to traditional homebuyers as home sales rise modestly and prices flatten out in 2015, according to the California Association of Realtors’ 2015 California Housing Market Forecast.

Leslie Appleton-Young, the association’s vice president and chief economist, delivered an expanded forecast during the California Realtors Expo 2014, held in October at the Anaheim Convention Center.


Downtown continues to thrive, but some longtime businesses bid goodbye

Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Scenes from 2014, clockwise, from top left: Los Altos School District officials track election results; a construction crew puts the finishing touches on the new Safeway; local residents collaborate on the evolving design for a new civic center; the November election season generates a host of campaign signs; a dearth of downtown parking continues to confound city officials and residents alike; and then-Mayor Megan Satterlee, with umbrella, leads a walking tour highlighting downtown development.

The year 2014 was very good for the Los Altos community, by most standards. The booming economy meant better business for downtown merchants and the debuts of several new stores.

The heavy-duty construction on First Street had some local residents pondering either the end of one downtown era or the beginning of a new one. Los Altos welcomed a new Safeway, twice the size of the previous one, while work proceeded on a major three-story condominium project and a mixed-use, office-retail complex at the corner of Main and First streets. Enchanté, the three-story boutique hotel at Main and San Antonio Road, prepared to open its doors as the year drew to a close.


Breaking up with drugs isn't easy for teen users, but community can help

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Adults in the community play an important role in supporting teens as they confront social pressures.

This is the second in a two-part series exploring adolescent substance abuse in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Part 1, published Dec. 10, examined the causes and circumstances of substance abuse from the teenage perspective. Part 2 delves into the recovery process and resources available to youth in the community.


Teens share how alcohol, drugs present obstacles to adulthood

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Social and academic pressure are factors that influence teen drug and alcohol use. In 2013, 12 percent of youth in Santa Clara County reported binge drinking during the past 30 days.

This is the first in a two-part series exploring adolescent substance abuse in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Part 1 examines the causes and circumstances of substance abuse from the teenage perspective. Part 2 will delve into resources available to youth in the community.


Measure AA passes; sheriff re-elected

A local open-space bond measure squeaked by and voters re-elected Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith to a fifth term in the June 3 election.

As of Monday, results showed Measure AA passing with 67.8 percent of the vote, exceeding the two-thirds benchmark required. Walter Moore, president of Peninsula Open Space Trust, said the Measure AA campaign declared victory Monday afternoon.


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