Big week for community colleges: Local leaders react to Obama's free-tuition proposal


In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama’s proposal to offer students two years of free community college tuition put the spotlight on the advantages of attending a community college like Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

“What the president has done for community colleges is phenomenal,” said Linda M. Thor, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District. “The national discussion that is taking place would not be happening if not for him. For some odd reason, community colleges have always been the Rodney Dangerfield of high education. I really think we are seeing that shift with this whole discussion.”


Watch Los Altan of the year in action

Read the full story of Kathryn Hanson's life as a founder, businesswoman and Los Altos parent here and explore photos of the event in her honor here. 

COVER LAOTY KathrynHan fmt


UPDATED: Missing Los Altos High School student found

UPDATED at 10:20 p.m. Jan. 21: Mountain View Police report that Avendano is safe after being located in Los Angeles County.


The Mountain View Police Department is looking for 17 year-old Mountain View resident Lizbeth Avendano. According to the police, the teenager has not been seen or heard from since approximately 8:50 a.m. this morning when her mother dropped her off at Los Altos High School.


City council picks community center design concept: Financing still a chief concern among members

Renderings courtesy of city of Los Altos
The Los Altos City Council voted in favor of a core design concept, above, to replace Hillview Community Center and park. Alternative concepts included a parking structure, below, and one with swapped locations for playing fields, bottom. Red lines indicate vehicle access points and yellow lines represent pedestrian and bike access.

The Los Altos City Council last week opted to move forward with a new community center and park design concept – despite concerns about financing.

The council voted unanimously in favor of a core design concept – roughly estimated by city consultant Anderson Brulé Architects (ABA) to cost $49.92 million – to replace the aging Hillview Community Center.


City reminds retailers of paper-bag fees

Town Crier File Photo
Former Los Altos Economic Development Director Kathy Kleinbaum hands out reusable bags in 2013 ahead of the city’s plastic-bag ban ordinance. The city last week issued a notice reminding retailers that the price of resuable bags will remain at 10 cents.

The Los Altos City Council last year voted to amend the city’s bag fee ordinance so that the price charged customers for a reusable or recyclable bag remained at 10 cents. But it seems that some retailers didn’t get the memo, according to city officials.

Last week, the city distributed a notice to retailers, reminding them that the council approved the amendment to the city’s reusable bag fee ordinance in November. Specifically, the council unanimously voted to keep the charge of 10 cents per bag in place – negating the planned increase to 25 cents per bag originally slated for Jan. 1.


Council holds off on paying down Rosita Park debt

Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The city of Los Altos opted not to prepay the remaining principal it owes for the purchase of the Rosita Park site in the 1990s, a bid to shore up its financing strategy for a new community center.

The Los Altos City Council last week postponed a vote that would have paid down more than $1.6 million in city debt – for a very specific reason.

The council delayed voting for the prepayment of $1.67 million outstanding in the remaining principal for Certificates of Participation (COP) issued to purchase the 5.5-acre St. William School site – now Rosita Park. The council opted to delay the prepayment after some councilmembers expressed concern that the action could adversely affect the city’s still-to-be-determined financing strategy for a new community center and park (see page 1).


Sung assumes West Valley commander role, with Binder promoted to assistant sheriff

There’s a new captain in town and his name is Rick Sung.

The longtime Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office employee is taking the reins of the West Valley Patrol from Capt. Kenneth Binder, who was recently promoted to assistant sheriff.


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