Local family finds itself in middle of chaos after Charleston shootings

Courtesy of Toby McDonell
Los Altos resident Toby McDonell described the scene of the Charleston shootings as “scary.”

As a Palo Alto firefighter, Los Altos resident Toby McDonell has handled numerous emergency situations. So he knew when he saw the urgent speed at which police cars were zooming by that something terrible was happening at approximately 9 p.m. June 17 on Calhoun Street in Charleston, S.C.

It was beyond bad. An alleged racist shot and killed nine people at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Wednesday night Bible study. The shooter, one of the 13 attendees, reportedly began firing a .45-caliber pistol after participating in the study for an hour. The nine victims included the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a state senator.


LAH preserves historical cupola

Duxbury, left, Los Altos Hills resident Duffy Price and History Committee member Mary Ann Malcolm spearheaded restoration of the town’s landmark cupola.

For a decade it sat behind Los Altos Hills Town Hall, a forgotten relic collecting termites as its neighbors, the skeletons of farm equipment, collected rust.

But thanks to the initiative of town historians, the decorative cupola that once crowned town hall has been rescued from the weeds and restored to a position of prominence outside town hall city council chambers.


Trail study available for review

Residents can review the results of the Stevens Creek Trail Joint Cities Feasibility Study – a combined effort for Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale – and provide feedback in three upcoming public input meetings.

The study sought to determine feasible and preferred alternatives to complete a multiuse trail in the Stevens Creek corridor running from Mountain View to Cupertino. Sunnyvale is the lead agency on the study.


Lehigh settles with EPA over toxic water discharge

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
After violating the federal Clean Water Act, Lehigh Southwest Cement Co., which operates the quarry in the foothills near Los Altos, must enhance wastewater treatment processes and pay millions in civil penalities.

A $7.5 million settlement concerning toxic discharge into Permanente Creek could be the first in a series of federal penalties the area’s largest producer of cement will shoulder.

Lehigh Southwest Cement Co., operator of the Lehigh cement plant on Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino, and Hanson Permanent Cement Inc., owner of the facility, violated the federal Clean Water Act, the California Water Code and pollutant discharge permits by releasing process water and stormwater tainted with elevated levels of harmful elements into Permanente Creek and, ultimately, the San Francisco Bay, according to a federal consent decree filed April 28. The companies will pay more than $5 million to install and enhance wastewater treatment operations and $2.55 million in civil penalties.


Los Altos physician assists with relief efforts in Nepal

Longtime Los Altos resident Paul Auerbach, M.D., received a phone call the night of April 25 alerting him to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal. The next day, the emergency medicine physician from the Stanford University School of Medicine and member of the International Medical Corps was on his way to Kathmandu.

Auerbach, who traveled to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, wasn’t able to land in Kathmandu immediately, as the airport’s single runway was crowded with planes shipping supplies to the devastated area.


Potential construction fee could build public art program

More development could mean additional art for Los Altos if the city approves a proposed fee program.

Based on a recommendation from the Public Arts Commission, the Los Altos City Council April 28 agreed to move forward with establishing a development fee to fund public art.


Singer bust faces temporary storage

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
The Walter Singer bust in downtown’s Community Plaza is headed for temporary storage as the city seeks a suitable permanent location.

The bust of Walter Singer, the Los Altos Rotarian and businessman who died in 1992, will have a new home – eventually.

For now, the memorial piece is scheduled to be relocated from Community Plaza on the corner of Main and State streets into temporary storage at the Los Altos History Museum until the city identifies a permanent location.


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