Los Altos' Silicon Valley Office of Protocol briefs visitors on culture and customs

Courtesy of Drew Altizer Photography
Deanna Tryon, back, welcomes international visitors such as the prime minister of Portugal, right.

Los Altos' library sales, a longtime literary gold mine, need a new home

Friends of the Library Book Sale
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
More than 100 local volunteers sort, price and set out donated books at quarterly book sales that benefit Los Altos’ libraries, above.

Attending a Friday-night preview of the Friends of the Library book sale in Los Altos feels like an antiquarian rugby scrum.

The business of books summons an eccentric cast of characters. Part dealer, part zealot, part hoarder, part dilettante, the keenest shoppers snake in a line around the building, sometimes hours before doors open at 6:30 p.m. When the first wave charges into two huge spaces at Hillview Community Center stuffed with donated books, pawing across box-stacked folding tables, some wield specially calibrated bar code scanners. Within only a few minutes, advance runners begin to trail out to twilight parking lots, arms full.

Realtors present scholarships to two local MVLA students

Zhang, left, and Bhattacharya

The Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley, including two from the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District.

Los Altos High’s Jodie Bhattacharya and Mountain View High’s Cathy Xuan Zhang received scholarships. Both plan to attend Stanford University in the fall.

Food For Thought: Local business enterprises collaborate with Hidden Villa on homesteading

Photo courtesy of Hidden Villa
Businesses from around the Bay Area connected with local homesteading enthusiasts at Hidden Villa’s inaugural Homesteading Faire May 26. The event explored 19 different topics, ranging from food preservation to homemade winemaking, beekeeping and hide tanning.

In response to the groundswell of interest in regenerative agriculture and access to ethically produced food, Hidden Villa has launched the new Food For Thought initiative, specifically geared toward helping eaters better understand their food.

New programming under Food For Thought will create opportunities for Silicon Valley residents to learn about and connect with the progressive and inspired agricultural work being done by the farmers and ranchers who serve the local food system.

MV council advances controversial business-license tax hike

Data courtesy of City of Mountain View

Mountain View City Council members spent hours last week wrestling with a business-license fee increase meant to boost city revenues while being fair to businesses of all sizes.

When the dust settled, the council opted for a model that would generate appoximately $6.1 million annually – a considerable jump from the $260,000 per year the city currently collects. Los Altos, by contrast, collects approximately $453,000 in such fees annually.

Global shifts alter the business of what goes in your bin

Courtesy of Bill Watson
Karen Gissibl, Sunnyvale’s environmental program manager, provides perspective beside the plastics bales at the SMaRT Station serving Mountain View and Sunnyvale. The bales are sold for industrial reuse – when the market will buy.

It would be reasonable to assume that industrial innovation or chemical engineering limit what goes into local recycling bins and what gets consigned to the trash. But the contents of your bin respond to big business – the vast networks of scraps transported and repurposed across borders.

When China drastically changed its recyclables import policy this year, it caused a ripple effect across U.S. waste management, particularly on the West Coast. And the effects were felt in Los Altos and Mountain View.

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