Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearly $1 million to show that it’s getting serious about water conservation and enforcement. The district last week announced that it plans to hire 10 water enforcement personnel to investigate complaints of water waste.

In the wake of mandatory 20 percent cutbacks statewide over 2013 consumption, the state’s Water Resources Control Board reported July 15 that it will levy $500 daily fines on individuals and businesses overwatering in such activities as landscaping and washing cars. The fines stem from a discovery earlier this month that water use has increased 1 percent statewide over last year, despite the worst drought in recent memory.

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County DA warns of IRS scammers

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office issued an alert last week warning residents of scammers posing as IRS and court officials.

Deputy District Attorney Janet Berry told the Town Crier that some county residents recently received emails and phone calls from people claiming that the IRS has filed criminal charges against them for unpaid taxes. Another scam moving through the area, she noted, involves people posing as jury commissioners who threaten victims with arrest warrants for failure to appear for jury duty.

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Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community development director for Passerelle Investment Co., the Third Street Green is slated to open Aug. 3 and will remain in place through the end of the month. Located on Third Street between State Street and Plaza North, the pop-up park is the second of its kind to appear in the downtown triangle this summer.

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New Safeway to open Friday


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Crews apply the finishing touches to the new Safeway store on First Street in Los Altos, due to open Friday.

The new Safeway store in downtown Los Altos is scheduled to open its doors 8 a.m. Friday.

In 13 months, the 160 First St. property – which housed one of the oldest Safeway stores in the region – has morphed from a demolition site of mangled concrete and steel to a sleek two-story brick-and-glass structure that anchors the corner of First and State streets.

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Q&A with Anne Wojcicki: 23andMe founder, local resident discusses Los Altos investments


Anne Wojcicki

For the past several years, Anne Wojcicki (Wo-JIT-skee) has been quietly involved in efforts to spruce up downtown Los Altos. She and her husband, Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin, helped form Passerelle Investment Co., which owns and leases numerous properties along First and State streets and sponsors various activities and events downtown.

Wojcicki also partnered with longtime friend and entrepreneur Mary Heffernan of H&H Co. to start several new creative businesses in the revamped spaces. The businesses, including Bumble and Red Racer Hobby Shop, filled a need by catering to young families.

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Drought may cause increased coyote activity


Courtesy of Santa Clara County Vector Control
Coyotes are on the prowl in the area as they search for water amid the drought.

The drought is killing more than lawns in Los Altos – it also may be indirectly responsible for the death of cats in the city.

The lack of water has resulted in a dearth of resources in the hills for coyotes, according to Animal Control officers, leading some of the canines to venture into Los Altos for prey – including cats.

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Los Altos honors resident for historical preservation


The Los Altos City Council recognized Margaret Thompson, third from right, as its 2014 Historic Preservation Award winner last week. Pictured with Thompson, from left, are Linda Eckols and Historical Commissioners Walter Chapman, Denise Welsh, Janis Ahmadjian-Baer and Robert Mabe.

The Los Altos City Council last week honored Margaret Thompson as the city’s 2014 Historic Preservation Award recipient.

Mayor Megan Satterlee presented Thompson – known for the annual Historical Essay Contest that bears her name – with a proclamation that acknowledged her “contributions to historic preservation of our city.”

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