Wait: Rat poison could be hazardous

Kira Gunderson / Special to the Town Crier
A gopher pokes its toothy mug from a tunnel in Trancos Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Experts are warning local residents to avoid using rodenticides when tackling pesky creatures like gophers because the poison can kill beneficial predators.

Gary Hedden was watching the Super Bowl when a sudden thud alerted him to a death: A barn owl had plummeted from the sky and onto his roof.

Hedden said the Animal Control officer he summoned to his Los Altos home told him that testing the dead bird wasn’t necessary.

Trees axed in Redwood Grove due to drought

Grace Hase/Town Crier
After inspection and assessment by arborists, 14 redwoods in Los Altos’ Redwood Grove were cut to their stumps, primarily because the trees’ ailing health rendered them a significant hazard to visitors at the preserve.

The 14 redwood trees cut down last year in Los Altos’ Redwood Grove may not have looked sick to the untrained eye, but California’s long drought led to the trees’ demise.

“Most were cut down to the stumps because they posed a significant hazard to the public,” said Christopher Costanzo, the city’s maintenance service supervisor. “The way the redwoods die (is) from the top down. So the lower branches looked a bit green, but maybe 50 percent or more of the tree was completely dead, which is the most dangerous part of the redwood.”

City of Los Altos seeks residents' input on dog park

Lincoln Park
Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Pups play with their two-legged friends in Los Altos' Lincoln Park. A city-sponsored survey open through March 7 aims to gauge residents’ interest in an official dog park in Los Altos.

The city of Los Altos rolled out its dog park and off-leash hours survey last week after months of planning in part by the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The city, which owns 11 parks and nature preserves in Los Altos, is looking to residents to provide feedback on the prospect of incorporating dog activity in the parks.

ECH district appoints Los Altos resident, native, to board of directors

The El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors elected Los Altos resident Gary Kalbach and Los Altos native Julie Kliger to the El Camino Hospital Board of Directors Jan. 16.

Kalbach’s and Kliger’s terms are effective immediately and expire June 30, 2021, and June 30, 2020, respectively.

MVHS teacher awaiting plea date may not be receiving paycheck


The Mountain View High School teacher who pled not guilty earlier this month to one felony count of sending a minor harmful matter may no longer be receiving a paycheck from the district.

When 48-year-old Evan Smith was arrested in November, the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District placed him on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation. Now that the math teacher is scheduled for his plea date, the Town Crier reached out to the district’s communications manager, Cynthia Greaves, to find out if this would change his pay status.

When asked if Smith was still being paid, Greaves said she could not, “discuss confidential personnel matter.” However, she did point out that board trustees made a decision on an employee’s leave of absence at their Jan. 8 meeting.

Minutes from the meeting revealed that the board voted unanimously, “in favor of placing a certificated employee on a mandatory leave of absence.” Greaves clarified that this meant the individual would not be paid. {jathumbnail on}

Dos Palos neighborhood calls on PG&E to provide residents with consistent power

PG&E outages
Grace Hase / Los Altos Town Crier
Jeff Greenwald, far left, airs his grievances with neighbors about the six PG&E power outages they endured over a few months.

There’s a power struggle raging in Los Altos resident Jeff Greenwald’s Dos Palos neighborhood.

The neighborhood has endured six electrical outages in the past six months, including one that stretched seven hours that left Green- wald with $110 worth of spoiled food he said PG&E refused to pay for. The company’s reason: PG&E isn’t contractually obligated to provide power on a continual basis.

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