Police Blotter

Fire damages Los Altos Hills home

Santa Clara County firefighters extinguished a structure fire on West Loyola Drive in Los Altos Hills Sunday afternoon.

According to officials, the fire appeared to be unintentional and was contained to a bedroom and the hallway in the home. Officials reported smoke damage throughout the structure and estimated the loss at approximately $100,000.


Death by drought: LAH faces pine loss

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos Hills County Fire District has removed 2,872 dying trees in the past few years. O’Keefe Lane, above, was particularly hard hit.

Extracting fallow trees is a full-time job for Stu Farwell, who operates the Los Altos Hills County Fire District’s Dead Tree Program.

Although private property owners have kept his team busy with assessments and tree removals since the program launched in 2000, in recent months they have reported an uptick in requests to clear away dead or dying Monterey pine trees. The fire district has removed 2,872 trees since 2011 – the majority of which were pine species, according to Farwell.


Los Altos Briefs

City earns bike-friendly status

The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized Los Altos as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

This is the second time the organization awarded Los Altos the bronze-level designation – one of four assigned to cities by the league. The city first applied for and received the status in 2011.


First St. closure set for Saturday

First Street in downtown Los Altos will be closed Saturday (Nov. 22) between West Edith Avenue and Shasta Street for street paving. The closure is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the event of poor weather, the work will be rescheduled for a later date.

Questions about the construction schedule can be directed to Erica Ray, City of Los Altos public information coordinator, at (650) 947-2611.

LA council votes to delay community center update

Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last week opted to delay the review and approval of a community center conceptual design plan until after its two newest members take their seats.

At a specially scheduled Nov. 11 meeting, the council voted 4-1 to hold off on reviewing – and potentially adopting – a conceptual plan to replace Hillview Community Center so that councilmembers-elect Jean Mordo and Mary Prochnow can have a say in the matter.


Spate of affordable housing coming soon to Los Altos

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Randy Lamb’s First Street condominium development includes five below-market-rate units for sale.

Three significant construction projects in Los Altos should be completed within the next 12-18 months, and all include affordable housing units.

According to Los Altos Planning Services Manager David Kornfield, the city is slated to add 24 below-market-rate (BMR) units – including 17 rentals – in the next year and a half. The new BMRs will be offered at the 48-unit condominium project at 100 First St., the Colonnade apartments at 4750 El Camino Real and the mixed-use office and 20-unit condo development at 86 Third St.


Monitoring, new tools may help fend off flu epidemic

Top Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Above Screen capture from
To prevent the flu from spreading, Bullis Charter School students receive hand wipes as they enter the classroom, above. Apps like SickWeather, left, track flu outbreaks.

In cyclical fashion, the flu season emerges each fall, prompting a rush to local pharmacies and doctors’ offices for preventive shots or nasal sprays.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 5 and 20 percent of the population fall victim to the virus each year. The CDC recommends flu shots for everyone 6 months of age and older. Although a flu shot is highly effective in preventing the onset of influenza – a CDC study reports a 77 percent reduction in flu-related hospitalizations for vaccinated adults over the age of 50 – risks still exist, particularly if those who are contagious act irresponsibly.


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