LAEF hosts Community Festival

Posted on September 21, 2012 by  
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The Los Altos Educational Foundation, which raises money to provide financial support as a supplement to the resources of the Los Altos School District, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month.

To thank parents, alumni and the community for their support, the foundation has scheduled a Community Festival 4-8 p.m. Sept. 28 at Covington School, 201 Covington Road, Los Altos. Admission is free and open to the public.

“The state of California today funds only 5 percent of the Los Altos School District budget, yet our schools consistently rank highest among the 1,100 districts in the state,” said Shobana Gubbi, foundation executive director. “In addition to our tremendous administration, teachers and staff, what has kept our schools on top for decades is volunteer and financial support from parents and our community.”

Kristine Bardman, co-president of the foundation, said the event “isn’t a fundraiser – it’s a celebration.”

“It’s our way of saying thanks,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for everyone who has a stake in the education of our kids to have fun together and experience student programming made possible through voluntary contributions to LAEF and the PTAs.

The festival will feature carnival games, face painting and activities for all ages offered by district enrichment program providers such as the Living Classroom Program, the Community School of Music and Arts and Los Altos Art Docents. Food from local restaurants and food trucks will be available for purchase.

Special guests from the Los Altos Fire and Police departments will be on hand for photos and conversation. Principals, teachers and leaders from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and the Los Altos School District plan to attend, as well as the four candidates running for seats on the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees.

Brooke Schiller, co-president of the foundation, said the organization’s grant grew to $3 million for the 2012-2013 school year.

“This year’s grant is already being put to use to fund what parents identified as top priorities: PE for lower grade students, library and teacher training and collaboration time,” she said. “We will also continue to fund lower student-to-teacher ratios, PE, art, music, Living Classroom and junior high electives as well as an Innovation Grant to bolster STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education, small-group reading support, project-based learning and more.”

For more information visit


Unique Gated Estate

Posted on September 20, 2012 by  
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10691 MORA DRIVE, Los Altos Hills, CA 94024
Listed at $3,795,000 / Sold at $3,700,000
5 Beds / 6 Baths / Home: 5,091 sqft / Lot Size: 47,700 sqft
Single Family Detached
Represented: Buyer


Local Arts Roundup

Posted on September 15, 2012 by  
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Thirty Bay Area artists display their water-themed artwork in the “Water” exhibition on display through Sept. 29 at Gallery 9, 143 Main St., Los Altos.

Local artists participating include Steve Curtiss, Carol Hawk, Judi Keyani and Roy Harrington.

Gallery 9 is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.


Artist Terri Ford is scheduled to display her pastel paintings in the “Landscapes Here and There” exhibition at Viewpoints Gallery, 315 State St., Los Altos. A reception for the artist is slated 3-6 p.m. Saturday at the studio.

The landscapes chronicle the past two years of Ford’s career as an artist and teacher.

Viewpoints Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. Sundays.


Members of the San Francisco chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America are scheduled to show their artwork through Sept. 29 at Main Street Cafe & Books, 134 Main St., Los Altos.

The exhibition, one of a series of monthly Silicon Valley Visual Arts Inc. exhibitions at the cafe, features original, hand-drawn colored-pencil artwork from artists across Silicon Valley.

Visitors will have an opportunity to vote for the “People’s Choice Award.” A ballot box will be available at the exhibition.

Main Street Cafe & Books is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sundays.


Fine-arts docent Ellen Hardens is scheduled to present an illustrated lecture, “The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism,” 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 in the Program Room of the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.

The lecture complements the upcoming exhibition at San Francisco’s de Young Museum, slated to run Saturday through Dec. 20.

The Paley Collection includes paintings, sculptures and drawings from the late 19th century through the early 1970s. Particularly strong in French Post-Impressionism and Modernism, the collection features works by Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin.

The collection is on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


A Great Family Home

Posted on September 14, 2012 by  
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Another listing sold in North Los Altos. 100 Yerba Buena Avenue has been home to a wonderful family that fully enjoyed living in Los Altos. Being located in North Los Altos allowed them the ability to stroll to Town, enjoy the Hetch-Hetchy pathway, and dine at many of the nearby restaurants. All of these community amenities are just minutes away.

This 4 bedroom 3.5 full bath home had been updated and was move in ready.  The added benefit of a beautifully landscaped front yard, expansive backyard, and circular flow of the living space, made this home perfect for entertaining.

100 Yerba Buena is within the Santa Rita Elementary School boundary, which teaches children from Kindergarten through 6th grade. Santa Rita is one of the two schools, mentioned above, that had been selected as national Blue Ribbon school.

To ensure your real estate needs are successfully met, make sure you have the Casas Team on your side of the negotiation table. Contact us today for a private consultation (650-823-1434).


Residents Join Effort To Reduce Waste

Posted on September 6, 2012 by  
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Draeger’s Market in downtown Los Altos is among the local businesses that have joined the city’s model waste-reduction program. The goal is to reduce the amount of trash hauled to the landfill by composting organic food and yard wastes and increasing recycling.

“It’s a win-win situation – good for our bottom line and for the environment,” said Ron Piazza, Draeger’s manager. “While garbage pickups cost us money, composting and recycling are free.”

In 2010, the Los Altos City Council awarded a 10-year contract to Mission Trail Waste Systems that includes expanded recycling, organics and household hazardous waste collection. According to Mission Trail officials, the city’s overall landfill diversion rate in 2011 reached 71 percent.

“It’s my hope that we will reach 75 percent this year and 78 percent (required by the contract) by the end of 2013,” said Teresa Montgomery, Mission Trail public relations manager.

Implementation was seamless, according to Albert Deras, Draeger’s receiving clerk.

“Once you learn what to do, it becomes automatic,” he said.

Mission Trail representatives visited the store to conduct a free waste assessment and provided composting and recycling bins. As staff was trained in the new system and the store’s recycling and composting ramped up, Mission Trail supplied more bins and the store’s garbage disposal decreased accordingly.

“We went from four dumpsters a week to just one,” Deras said. “The cost savings and positive environmental impact made it well worth our effort.”

While participation in recycling/organics collection programs is a vast improvement over simply throwing everything in the garbage to be landfilled, it’s even better to implement policy and programs that eliminate waste, Montgomery said. For example, many local grocery stores reward shoppers for bringing their own bags rather than using disposable plastic or paper bags. Incentives include weekly drawings for store gift cards, five-cent bag rebates and donations to local nonprofit groups.

“We’re delighted with Mission Trail – they’ve managed a significant program conversion and made excellent progress in the past two years,” said Don Bray, Environmental Commission chairman. “The commission will continue to work closely with Mission Trail to understand and define how the processes work.”

If there’s room for improvement, it’s with Los Altos businesses.

Passerelle Investment Co., a real estate development company located in downtown Los Altos, is ahead of the pack. Two Passerelle tenants – Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Bumble – participate in the composting and recycling waste initiative. The company sponsors a sustainability education program for employees and tenants.

“Mission Trail has made it so easy,” said Brooke Ray Smith, Passerelle planning analyst. “Free composting and recycling saves businesses money, thus improving their bottom line.”

Margie Suozzo, GreenTown Los Altos chairwoman, commended the city council and the Environmental Commission for their decision to expand recycling and composting in Los Altos.

“Thanks to Mission Trail’s single-stream recycling and food waste composting, we saw an immediate and significant increase in Los Altos’ diversion rate. Everyone who participates is ensuring the health of our community today and for future generations.”

Peg Champion is a member of GreenTown Los Altos and principal of Champion Organic Communications. For more information, visit or