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LA city manager is

LA city manager is "speechless" at council priorities


 

The Los Altos City Council had an opportunity to set its 2017 goals at last week’s council meeting, but a lack of consensus led to a moment of exasperation from the city manager.

After the five councilmembers offered their feedback on th...

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Schools

LAHS student raises money for cause  close to her heart

LAHS student raises money for cause close to her heart


Courtesy of Megan Tsern
Los Altos High School junior Megan Tsern shows her contract to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign. Tsern hopes to raise $50,000 in memory of her brother, Matthew, who died ...

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Community

'Pre-History of the iPhone' talk set for March 2 in Mtn. View

The Computer History Museum’s latest presentation, “Computing in Your Pocket: The Pre-History of the iPhone in Silicon Valley,” is scheduled 7 p.m. March 2 at the museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

The panel discussion, moderated by Com...

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Sports

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Emma Bice tries to shoot over Gunn’s Archer Olson.

Plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for most of the game, the Mountain View High girls basketball team had to feel fortunate just to ge...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Outcry against ‘fake news’ warranted

This letter is in response to Jacqueline Degner’s Feb. 8 letter “Fighting against ‘alternative facts.’”

Ms. Degner correctly points out that many people pass around fake...

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Special Sections

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home


Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and m...

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Business

Present will not move far in a Main Street

Present will not move far in a Main Street "win-win" swap


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Present is slated to move across Main Street after more than four years in its old spot.

What do you get for the gift store that has everything? A new and larger location, apparently.

Present, the locavore ...

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People

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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News

LA city manager is "speechless" at council priorities

LA city manager is

 

The Los Altos City Council had an opportunity to set its 2017 goals at last week’s council meeting, but a lack of consensus led to a moment of exasperation from the city manager.

After the five councilmembers offered their feedback on the city’s 2017 Strategic Priorities, City Manager C...

Readmore

Business

Present will not move far in a Main Street "win-win" swap

Present will not move far in a Main Street

Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Present is slated to move across Main Street after more than four years in its old spot.

What do you get for the gift store that has everything? A new and larger location, apparently.

Present, the locavore goodie shop entering its fifth year in Los Altos, ...

Readmore

Sports

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Emma Bice tries to shoot over Gunn’s Archer Olson.

Plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for most of the game, the Mountain View High girls basketball team had to feel fortunate just to get to overtime last week against Gunn.

But the Spa...

Readmore

Community

'Pre-History of the iPhone' talk set for March 2 in Mtn. View

The Computer History Museum’s latest presentation, “Computing in Your Pocket: The Pre-History of the iPhone in Silicon Valley,” is scheduled 7 p.m. March 2 at the museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

The panel discussion, moderated by Computer History Museum historian John Markoff, will ...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Outcry against ‘fake news’ warranted

This letter is in response to Jacqueline Degner’s Feb. 8 letter “Fighting against ‘alternative facts.’”

Ms. Degner correctly points out that many people pass around fake information they find on the internet that fits t...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Longtime Foothills Congregational Church pastor retires

Longtime Foothills Congregational Church pastor retires

Foothills Congregational Church in Los Altos bid farewell last month to the Rev. Matt Broadbent, who retired after 17 years of service.

Broadbent and his wife, Barbara, are retiring to a condominium in Aptos. Barbara has served as spiritual director for the Northern California Nevada Conference U...

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People

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readmore

Schools

LAHS student raises money for cause close to her heart

LAHS student raises money for cause  close to her heart

Courtesy of Megan Tsern
Los Altos High School junior Megan Tsern shows her contract to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign. Tsern hopes to raise $50,000 in memory of her brother, Matthew, who died of leukemia when she was 7 years old.

Following i...

Readmore

Special Sections

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and more homeowners view their outdoor spaces as an ext...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Behind the 'Show'

Behind the 'Show'

David Allen/Special to the Town Crier
Jessica LaFever, left, and Lauren Meyer play conjoined twins in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Side Show.”

While it takes just a few hours of one’s day to attend a play, it can take nearly a year to prepare the production for the stage.

Milissa C...

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Obituaries

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readmore

Magazine

Art for superfans: Classical skills find new subjects in the modern art class

Art for superfans: Classical skills find new subjects in the modern art class

From Hermione Granger to "Avatar: The Last Airbender," unconventional subjects are making classical portraits for today’s young painters.

Fan art - drawings inspired by popular characters from books, movies and graphic novels - have long languished in the margins of school notebooks. But student...

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Church schools’ enrollment increase rejected


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

The Los Altos City Council narrowly rejected a request from Union Presbyterian Church to amend its use permit to expand enrollment at the two schools on its site.

The Los Altos City Council last week narrowly voted against an enrollment increase request of 20 students by two private schools located at Union Presbyterian Church.

The council voted 3-2 against a combined enrollment bump from 100 to 120 students by Heritage Academy, a K-6 elementary school, and University Child Development Center (UCDC), a preschool. Heritage Academy sought an increase of 14 students, and UCDC wanted a six-student bump. Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw and Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins cast the two votes in favor of the request.

The request – which would have required an amendment to the church’s existing use permit – came after the council turned down a similar 2011 proposal by the schools, which resulted in an enrollment cap of 100 students.

Heritage Academy Principal Marilyn Davidson told the council the combined school expansion was necessary “for a successful business model.” She called the schools “a resource for families needing alternative education.”

“For viability and to pay our teachers a living wage in Silicon Valley, we are requesting that those 20 students be added,” said Davidson, adding that Heritage Academy’s enrollment of Los Altos students has increased from 20 to 29 percent since 2011.

Davidson said the schools, located at 858 University Ave., took steps to minimize traffic impacts since their last request. She pointed to staggered onsite drop-off and pickup times for students and noted that 38 percent of the schools’ families carpool to the site daily, as do one-third of faculty members.

“An increase of 20 students will not be 20 (more) cars because of carpooling and all of the families that are involved,” said Davidson, who added that several neighborhood children and adults use the church’s playground and other facilities.

“I don’t think that the neighborhood is going to be impacted by 20 additional kids,” said Union Presbyterian Church elder Ted Brown. “The church won’t be impacted by it – but 20 kids will. It’ll make a big difference to 20 kids and their families.”

Mixed public reaction

A handful of neighbors told the council they were wary of the schools’ request, citing the potential for increased traffic and noise.

“I like to see kids get educated in Los Altos, but I don’t want increased traffic, I don’t want increased noise and I don’t want increased pollution,” said Herbert Fong, a 40-year neighborhood resident.

Madonna Way resident Sangum Desai said the church was behaving “like a commercial enterprise” and that more students would negatively impact traffic. He noted that approval would be a “historically unprecedented burden on the neighborhood with really no benefit to our local community at all.”

Los Altos resident Richard Jackson, who has sons enrolled in both schools, countered that with more families calling Los Altos home, an increase was necessary to meet demand.

“For me, it’s a simple question of: How is the council going to respond to the growing needs of the community? There is a need for more education,” Jackson said.

Split council

Ultimately, the council’s vote appeared to echo the split opinions offered by neighborhood residents and school parents.

Bruins said the school had made “positive changes” since its 2011 request, with Fishpaw adding that the findings “strongly supported” the 20-student increase.

“I think the school has worked very hard with the parents to try and be good neighbors,” said Bruins, a Los Altos Planning Commissioner at the time of the church’s 2011 request. “I think they heard the feedback last time loud and clear. … I am inclined to support this. I do believe things have changed since this was before me as a planning commissioner.”

Councilwoman Val Carpenter, however, said that while she values diversity in education, she was equally “troubled by having the neighborhood negatively impacted by the traffic and noise created by nonresidents.”

At the time of the initial request in 2011, Carpenter unsuccessfully sought a cap at 90 students before voting for the 100-student limit. She noted that a traffic report for the church’s 2011 request was flawed, because existing conditions “understated the impact that the neighborhood already incurred.”

Carpenter added that the 6-acre church site might meet the “pressing need for a location for Bullis Charter School,” suggesting a potential land swap between the church and the Los Altos School District.

“For myself personally, I would much rather impact the neighbors for a local public school – and of course, 95 percent of current BCS students live within the Los Altos School District – rather than a private school whose students don’t really live in Los Altos,” she said.

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee, meanwhile, cited the schools’ staggered start times and efforts to mitigate its traffic impacts as a boon, calling the lack of opposition from neighbors not immediately near the school “a material change from two years ago.” Still, she noted that her decision came down to balancing competing interests and that her 2011 no vote hadn’t changed.

“I think the school has worked really hard to be a good neighbor, and I appreciate that, and I think that has had success in what we’re seeing today,” she said. “But it still on balance doesn’t change my mind.”

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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