Ability to text 911 coming this year to Los Altos and Mountain View

When Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and the local division of the California Highway Patrol rolled out text-to-911 services last week, they joined a nationwide trend encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission.

The text option – intended to be a last resort for those unable to make a voice call – is likely coming within the year to Los Altos and Mountain View.

Split decision reached on Hillview rebuild

The Los Altos City Council last week agreed to stick with a $34.7 million budget for rebuilding Hillview Community Center.

In a split 3-2 vote, the council Jan. 9 rejected the city staff recommendation of $30 million for the 24,500-square-foot project. In a 10-year financial forecast, staff predicted that the city would have to take on debt if the budget totaled $34.7 million.

LASD parents raise concerns about 10th school site

Old Mill Building
Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s 10th Site Committee recommended a site that includes the Old Mill Office Center, above, on San Antonio Circle in Mountain View, but the owners the building do not want to sell.

Fifteen residents and an attorney spoke at the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees meeting Monday (Jan. 8), primarily to express their opinions on the prospect of the district invoking eminent domain to acquire property for a 10th school site.

The district is targeting the so-called Old Mill/Safeway site in Mountain View – near the northeastern corner of San Antonio Road and the California Street – but the property owners have refused to sell the site to the district.

Only one of the 16 speakers favored the use of eminent domain – the right of the government to take private property for public use.

District resident Jen Benebeim said securing a new site would give the district flexibility in planning, whether it is used for Bullis Charter School or a neighborhood school, so she urged trustees to move forward with the purchase.

“I know some people are concerned about lawsuits, but this is what eminent domain laws are there for,” she said. “I don’t think you should be afraid of that.”

Nearly all of the other residents who spoke at the meeting asked trustees to avoid litigation.

For the complete story, see next week’s Town Crier.

Hidden Villa trail closed due to suspected mountain lion activity

Signs of mountain lion activity have led to the temporary closure of a trail at Hidden Villa this week.

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Hidden Villa

The carcass of a deer, likely leftovers from a recent mountain lion kill, was found late Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 9) on the Creek Trail at the Los Altos Hills educational preserve.

The discovery is not atypical or a cause for alarm, but the trail and surrounding areas have been closed as a procedural precautionary measure, according to Marc Sidel, Hidden Villa director of visitor services.

“This happens from time to time at Hidden Villa,” he said. “It’s a wilderness area and a known mountain lion habitat.”

The Creek Trail will likely remain closed through the weekend, and Hidden Villa employees will be in touch with local wildlife authorities to determine when to reopen it, Sidel said.

Council keeps $34.7 million budget for community center rebuild

Los Altos City Council members last night agreed to stick with a $34.7 million budget for rebuilding the Hillview Community Center.

In a split, 3-2 vote, the council went against a city staff recommendation of $30 million for the project. In a 10-year financial forecast, staff predicted that the city would have to take on debt if the budget stayed at $34.7 million.

Mayor Jean Mordo, and councilmembers Jan Pepper and Mary Prochnow voted in favor of the $34.7 million budget, while councilmember Jeannie Bruins and Vice Mayor Lynette Lee Eng voted against.

Citing healthy city revenues, the council had agreed during a September study session to increase the project budget from its initial $25 million figure to nearly $10 million more. Staff cautioned in November that the increased budget may be too much after a review of budget projections.

The conceptual project design, including a 24,500-square-foot facility, was approved Nov. 30 by an 11-member Hillview Community Center project task force. It has a projected price tag of $36.9 million.

For more on the story, see the Town Crier’s Jan. 17 print edition.

Blood center in urgent need of donations

Stanford Blood Center officials are asking local residents to donate blood to help meet the urgent needs of local hospitals.

The Blood Center has a critically low inventory of O-negative whole blood as well as platelets, according to the center’s Jan. 4 press release.

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