West Nile detected in local birds

Two dead birds found recently in Los Altos have tested positive for West Nile virus, the Santa Clara County Vector Control District reported last week.

Both birds were American crows, among the avian species particularly vulnerable to the virus, according to Vector Control. The first bird was discovered Oct. 13 on Palm Avenue, and the second was found Oct. 18 on Orange Avenue. The agency subsequently set 40 carbon dioxide-baited mosquito traps within a 1-mile radius of area, but none of the mosquitoes captured carried the virus.

Could the North Bay fires happen here?

Courtesy of the Los Altos History Museum
Smoldering ruin is all that remains of a home destroyed by fire in Los Altos Hills on July 1, 1985.

Tom Turner’s daughter was married that Saturday. On Monday, he had just arrived back at his Liddicoat Drive home in Los Altos Hills after returning the tuxedos when he noticed the flames eating through the adjacent Pearson-Arastradero Preserve.

“I saw the flames come up, and they were probably 200 yards away, but then we saw the top of a eucalyptus tree explode,” Turner said.

17th Town Crier Holiday Fund campaign begins


The Los Altos Town Crier Holiday Fund is kicking off its 17th year supporting local nonprofit organizations that directly serve those in the region with the most pressing needs.

Since its inception, the Holiday Fund has raised more than $2.8 million. This year, the fund aims to collect $250,000 to donate to 20 nonprofit organizations.

Local firefighter on the frontline

Los Altos resident and Palo Alto Fire Department Capt. Toby McDonell has spent 33 years of his life fighting fires. Last month’s devastating wildfires in the North Bay, which destroyed thousands of homes and killed 43 people, were the worst he has seen in his decades on the job.

Courtesy of Toby McDonell
Capt. Toby McDonell was deployed to the Tubbs Fire, one of many North Bay fires.

“(I’ve fought other wildland fires before) and larger ones, too, but never with this amount of destruction in neighborhoods and loss of life,” the veteran firefighter said.

New El Camino CEO brings 'entrepreneurial spirit'


The El Camino Healthcare District named Dan Woods its new CEO in June. The district includes the 443-bed El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and a satellite facility in Los Gatos.

Woods, who officially started work Aug. 30, arrives from Georgia. He previously served as president and CEO of WellStar Kennestone Regional Medical Center in Marietta, Ga., where he oversaw a staff of more than 1,100 physicians and 4,700 employees. Prior to that, he held key administrative positions at Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System.

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the Northern California fires and first responders, Moore managed to collect five SUV’s worth of goods from her Los Altos and Los Altos Hills neighbors.

Strong winds carried smoke from a series of rampaging North Bay wildfires all the way south to Los Altos and Mountain View last week, prompting some residents venturing outdoors to wear masks as hazy skies rendered nearby foothills invisible from the valley floor.

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