Poultry pestilence prompts vigilance in Bay Area

No nuzzling of fuzzy golden chicks this year. No sampling of honey from backyard bees, admiring of cottage gardens or leisurely cycling from home to home.

The 2019 edition of the Silicon Valley Tour de Coop has been scratched due to Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND), a highly contagious and fatal viral disease affecting all species of birds – including poultry.

Los Altos declares opposition to latest Lehigh quarry plan

Jitze Couperus/Special to the Town Crier
This 2013 photo shows the main quarry pit in the nearby foothills. Lehigh Southwest Cement Co.’s proposal to dig a new pit and fill the existing one by trucking in outside material has drawn protest.

Count Los Altos leaders among those opposed to a proposal that would add a second mining pit for limestone quarry operations in the foothills near the city and Los Altos Hills.

Lehigh Southwest Cement Co.’s updated reclamation plan, released earlier this year, bids to mine in a ridgeline protection easement and adversely impact the “viewshed,” Los Altos Mayor Lynette Lee Eng wrote to Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian July 31. The Los Altos City Council approved Lee Eng’s letter at its July 30 meeting.

SWAT team from area involved in standoff

During hours when most Silicon Valley residents slumbered Aug. 3, members of the Mountain View-Los Altos Regional Special Weapons and Tactics team were positioned outside a Palo Alto home, awaiting signs of a gunman.

Although domestic violence suspect Adam Allen Smith didn’t surrender during the team’s approximately six-hour watch, their presence relieved the Palo Alto Police Department’s SWAT team amid a 29-hour standoff that would have otherwise drained its members’ mental and physical faculties.

Mountain View law hits Airbnb providers with fees, restrictions

Mountain View residents offering short-term rentals on their properties will need to pay the city for that privilege after a new ordinance took effect last month.

The city council last October introduced an ordinance that establishes operating standards for such rentals, which are often conducted through online platforms like Airbnb. Under the new law, property owners offering short-term rentals (STRs) beginning July 1 were required to register with the city.

Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival organizer, police chief reflect on Gilroy tragedy

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Attendees of the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival, an annual event hosted by the Los Altos Village Association, wander through booths filling the closed-off streets of downtown July 13 and 14. This year marked the 40th year of the festival.

The July 28 shooting rampage at the 41st annual Gilroy Garlic Festival served notice to open-air festivals locally and afar that such events run risks of reoccurring – no matter the level of security preparation.

The mass shooting, which left three people dead and more than a dozen injured, occurred on the final day of the festival, a popular three-day affair that draws thousands of visitors from the Bay Area and beyond.

Coyote kills highlight potential perils for outdoor cats

A long-haired Maine Coon missing from the intersection of Church and Franklin streets in Mountain View. A white-bellied domestic shorthair that disappeared from Russell Avenue in Los Altos. A timid tabby that vanished near Los Altos Hills Town Hall.

Local social media networks are abuzz right now with reports of wayward felines. Some of these cats may very well return home safely, but summer is the season when coyote kills of small domestic pets tend to increase because the predators are teaching their young to hunt.

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