LAHS Science & Technology Week

Posted on October 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

LAHS Science and Technology WeekLos Altos High School’s ninth annual Science and Technology Week is scheduled to begin Monday. Innovators will visit the campus to discuss careers in Silicon Valley’s high-tech fields with students.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Coroner Dr. Judy Melinek, author of “Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner” (Scribner, 2014), will serve as keynote speaker. Her presentation, which includes sales and signings of her book, is slated 7-9 p.m. Nov. 3 in Eagle Theater. Melinek’s discussion is free and open to the public.

Melinek trained in pathology at UCLA and worked as a forensic pathologist in the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office from 2001 to 2003. She has consulted and testified in criminal and civil cases across the country.

Qualified as an expert witness in forensic pathology, neuropathology and wound interpretation, Melinek underwent subspecialty training in surgery and has published and consulted on cases of medical malpractice and therapeutic complications. She trains doctors and attorneys on forensic pathology, proper death reporting and certification. She lectures at professional conferences on the topics of death certification, complications of therapy, forensic toxicology and in-custody deaths.

Objectives of Science and Technology Week – dedicated to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) – include: demonstrating the value of a math and science education to encourage students to take more math and science classes during high school; raising awareness of the variety of related career opportunities; highlighting the diverse backgrounds of current professionals; and inspiring students to think creatively and join the ranks of innovative thinkers for the next generation.

The speakers’ topics are designed to demonstrate how professionals overcame their own obstacles to pursue careers in the science field.

Speakers will share information on their current projects and describe how fundamental science affects their day-to-day work. They will explain how they prepared for their careers and how their own high school experiences influenced them to pursue science and technology beyond graduation.

Professionals scheduled to speak include representatives from Lockheed Martin, Google, Stanford University, Tesla, Foothill College and zSpace.  For a full schedule and more information, visit


Local Halloween Display Ramps Up

Posted on October 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Pirate ManorAlthough not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to life behind closed doors in a 4,000-square-foot workshop in Mountain View. They don’t walk, but they can talk, brandish swords and not spill a drop of grog.

The pirates are scheduled to return once again to the beachhead they established on Halloween four years ago – Pirate Manor on Manor Way in Los Altos – occupying the entire front yard of Dane Glasgow and his wife Jill’s Mediterranean-style house.

“But this year we have added animatronics,” Glasgow said.

The “show,” as he refers to it, will feature a dozen articulating creatures in addition to the skeleton crew, which first arrived by dinghy in 2010 and thereafter in a 35-foot schooner. The pirates have made village improvements such as adding a lighthouse, fortified tower and 12-foot-tall skull-shaped rock from which flows a waterfall.

The display is the Glasgows’ Halloween gift to the community – as well as a tribute to Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” If passersby and trick-or-treaters wish, they can leave gifts of food or money for Second Harvest Food Bank.

It has taken a village to build the pirate village. Glasgow and his crew of eBay Inc. co-workers and friends live and breathe Halloween for several months each year.

“We are a band of nerdy professionals who needed a creative outlet,” Glasgow said. “We have expertise in development, operations, carpentry, electronics and robotics – even law enforcement. Our patient and incredibly intelligent wives put up with madness year in, year out.”

A product of the “madness” is an interactive skeleton – the brainchild of Sean Crowe of Palo Alto – that will mimic the actions of a behind-the-scenes actor. It’s part of the challenge posed by Glasgow each year to top the year before.

To glean ideas for this year, Glasgow and his crew took a field trip to Disneyland and went round and round on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, singing the “yo hos” of Disney’s “A Pirate’s Life for Me” as they went over the waterfall. Two crabs picking away at a pirate did not go unnoticed.

“We’ve added four crabs just to outdo Disney,” said Jon Langshaw of Santa Clara.

Also new this year is a swamp house with a rocking chair on the porch, fireflies above the village and more cannon power to keep away the riffraff (and rattle the neighbors’ windows). The cannons roll out, fire and retract just like the real deal.

On a recent weekend at the workshop, Mike Wilson and Pete Cowan, stalwarts from eBay, worked on cannons and creatures – nearly engulfed by a sea of electronic equipment, cords, computers, props, skeletons and more. Cowan pointed out that the pirates are both right- and left-handed, just one of the minute details that add realism.

Pirate Manor, located on Manor Way between Fremont and Miramonte avenues, is open for viewing 5-11 p.m. Oct. 29-31.  For a peek at the workshop and a preview of the show, visit


Three Schools Earn National Designation

Posted on October 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged:

Blue Ribbon AwardBlach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools earned National Blue Ribbon Schools honors last week.

The three Los Altos schools were among 24 California schools recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors high-performing public and private schools and those that have raised student achievement to higher levels. It is part of a larger Department of Education effort to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. Each year since 1982, the department has recognized schools that meet the criteria.

Representatives from Blach, Egan and Bullis Charter are scheduled to attend a presentation ceremony Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C., where the Department of Education will honor 287 public and 50 private schools. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed the status on fewer than 7,900 U.S. schools.

The program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are making notable improvements in closing the achievement gap. The selected schools are recognized in one of the two performance categories, based on student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

• Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among the state’s highest-performing schools as measured by state assessments or national tests. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates are also at the highest levels.

• Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among the state’s highest-performing schools in closing achievement gaps between the school’s subgroups and all students over the past five years. Student subgroup performance and high school graduation rates for each subgroup are at high levels.

For the 2013-2014 awards year, the Department of Education strengthened the focus of both categories’ performance criteria around subgroups within a school and improving graduation rates for all students.  For more information, visit


Pilot Program For Seniors At Grant Park

Posted on October 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Grant Park Los AltosLos Altos’ services and programming for seniors won’t be limited to Hillview Community Center, starting this month.

The city is kicking off a pilot program at Grant Park for residents 50 and older that will serve as an extension of the Senior Center at Hillview. The initial program includes drop-in hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 29 with a grand opening and concluding at the end of January.

Los Altos Recreation Department Director Beverly Tucker reported that a group of residents approached the city’s Senior Commission earlier this year and pointed out that some Los Altos seniors living at a distance from the downtown area face challenges – such as making travel arrangements – when seeking services at the Hillview location.

The group volunteered to alleviate cost concerns by helping coordinate programming at Grant Park, leading to the development of the trial program. The new extension will not displace any existing programming at the park, according to Tucker.

A city survey of households in south Los Altos – including those on Fremont Avenue, Foothill Boulevard, Homestead Road and Fallen Leaf Lane – reported that 60 percent of the residents supported senior programming for a modest fee at Grant Park. The annual membership fee for the Senior Center at Hillview is $26. Anyone wishing to continue past January at Grant Park will be asked to pay the $16 balance.

City staff recently purchased IKEA furniture for the trial program. The staff applied for grant funding for furnishings through the Los Altos Community Foundation. The pilot program will occupy a kitchen and meeting room at Grant Park. It emphasizes social interaction among seniors with ongoing activities such as bridge, coffee socials and book club meetings.

The program will be evaluated after it opens to determine whether any adjustments should be made – such as days, hours or programming – before deciding its future.


Le Boulanger Seeks Building Facelift

Posted on October 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Proposed LeBoulangerA new look may be in store for downtown bakery and cafe Le Boulanger.

According to a staff report by Los Altos Senior Planner Zach Dahl, Le Boulanger owner Dan Brunello is planning an interior and exterior remodel at 301 Main St., which served as the original home of Los Altos Pharmacy.

The building, originally constructed circa 1941, is listed as a historic resource on the city’s Historic Resources Inventory. Los Altos resident Kent Nelson owns the building, designated a historic resource in 2011. It has been remodeled twice in the past 70 years – the latest in 1992.

In a letter to the Los Altos Historical Commission, Brunello noted that the remodel is part of a larger plan to expand his 32-year-old Los Altos business. The bakery plans to introduce dinner service, including the sale of beer and wine, in “a new contemporary dining space, with new interior finishes and furniture, new bathrooms and new service line and service area,” Brunello wrote.

As for the exterior, Brunello intends to replace the current storefront and entryway with a collapsible system to create a more open dining environment. Other proposed features include a gas fireplace and patio heaters for outdoor dining.

Brunello noted in his letter that while he preferred a contemporary look for the downtown structure, he was “willing to discuss and consider preserving elements that are important to the historical value of the building.”


Local Pilot Program For Degrees

Posted on October 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Foothill College PathwayBy the start of the 2017-2018 school year, students may be able to earn a bachelor’s degree through the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.

At an estimated total of $10,560, the cost of pursuing a four-year degree in the district would be several thousand dollars less than one year’s tuition and fees at the University of California.

Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed the pilot bachelor’s degree program, which passed unanimously in the state legislature. By the 2017-2018 school year, 15 community colleges will offer four-year degrees that are not available in the University of California or California State University systems. Senate Bill 850 enables the designated community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees for the first time in state history, joining 22 other states that offer similar programs.

“Demands in the workplace have changed and there is a need for higher-skilled workers,” said Foothill-De Anza Community College District Chancellor Linda M. Thor, who has been lobbying to expand students’ educational opportunities at community colleges in California since 2010. “Professions that used to require associate degrees now require more. It’s only natural that community colleges respond and award bachelor’s degrees.”

Read more


Art Docents Launch New School Year

Posted on October 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Art Docent Students

The Los Altos Art Docents held their Fall Seminar last week, a motivational call to action to ramp up the year of volunteer-led art lessons at local elementary schools.

Keynote speakers Gonan and Johan Premfors and Carla Brooke discussed how therapies and techniques in mindfulness could help educators focus on students’ well-being and lead them to develop successful learning experiences.

Founded in 1970 to offset funding cuts to art instruction in public schools, the Los Altos Art Docents comprise more than 80 volunteers who teach nearly 800 visual art lessons annually to elementary school students in the Los Altos School District.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Edsel Clark, Ph.D., attended the conference and praised the volunteers. He said the program is evidence of the community’s “overwhelming support” and called it “integral to the educational excellence of our schools.”

Docent Chairwoman Vaishali Khandekar shared how hard it is not to brag about being an Art Docent. She said she has tried to contain her enthusiasm about how well organized the program is and explain that it is more than just art projects. The program includes art-appreciation activities; encourages docents to continue to learn and keep fresh with workshops, programs and field trips; builds self-evaluation into the curriculum; and continually develops new classes.

“We strive to ignite an excitement for art because knowledge comes after enduring interest,” she said.

Last year, 84 volunteer docents – including Betty Latta, the longest-serving with 38 years as a docent – taught nearly 800 art classes in grades K-6 in the Los Altos School District. The docents are currently developing lessons for the district’s new Transitional Kindergarten classes.

For more information, visit


Ohlone Day At Deer Hollow Farm

Posted on October 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Friends of Deer Hollow FarmFriends of Deer Hollow Farm has scheduled its annual Ohlone Day Living History Festival and fundraiser noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 11 at the farm, located in Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, 22500 Cristo Rey Drive, Los Altos.

The festival offers visitors a once-a-year chance to tour Deer Hollow Farm’s replica Native American Ohlone Village and learn about the Ohlones, who lived in the Bay Area for thousands of years. Attendees can participate in a range of hands-on traditional Native American activities, including acorn grinding, shell drilling and rope making.

Festival highlights will include fire-starting and archery demonstrations and skilled artisans making handcrafted Ohlone tools.

According to organizers, the event is ideal for elementary school students who study Native American cultures as part of their core curriculum, Boy and Girl Scouts working to earn merit badges and families looking for an educational outing.

Admission is $7 per person, free for children under 1. Proceeds benefit Friends of Deer Hollow Farm, a volunteer nonprofit group that supports the farm.

For more information, visit or


Silver Creek Valley Country Club Home

Posted on October 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Sold Properties · Tagged:

Roxburghe Ct

5341 Roxburghe Ct, San Jose, CA 94506
Listed at $1,025,000 / Sold at $1,010,000
4 Beds / 2.5 Baths / Home: 2,092 sqft / Lot Size: 3,780 sqft +/-
Single Family Detached
Represented: Seller


Celebrating 100 Years Of Library Use

Posted on October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

Los Altos Main Library

Amid the national and global events, the Santa Clara County Library publicly premiered its collection of books. Housed in several rooms of San Jose’s Hall of Justice, the Santa Clara County Library’s first librarian, Stella Huntington, opened the library with a typewriter, a dictionary, two chairs and a collection of 6,127 books.

Los Altos subsequently opened its first library, run out of a downtown office building, with an inventory of 50 books.

Los Altos has since become part of the Santa Clara County Library District, a network of eight libraries and two bookmobiles offering more than 1.9 million items to the more than 400,000 residents residing within district’s service area.

In celebration of the district’s 100 years of service, the Los Altos Library has scheduled two events:

  • The “Centennial Faire” event is scheduled 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Main Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.
  • The “Family Games and Crafts through the Decades” event is scheduled 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Woodland Branch Library, 1975 Grant Road.

The “Centennial Faire” activities will begin with a Library Day Proclamation presented by Los Altos Mayor Megan Satterlee. Members of the Friends of the Library of Los Altos and Community are scheduled to unveil a plaque honoring Carol Tefft, the longtime head librarian who passed away in 2013.

The event will include an antique car exhibit, a Penny Farthing bicycle on display typical of the 1914 era and informative displays from the Los Altos History Museum.

Entertainment will include performances by Shasta Brass, Magic Dan the Magician, a Palo Alto Philharmonic quartet, students from the Community School of Music and Arts, and the ’Bout Time Bluegrass Band.

Additional activities will include balloon animals and Star Wars characters, a historical-costume photo booth, a 3D printer exhibit, watercolor performance art and booths featuring representatives of the Santa Clara Valley Native Plant Society and Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts, and a book sale hosted by Friends members.

Over the past 100 years, the libraries have experienced enormous shifts in population growth and technological developments. To address the fluctuating needs, Los Altos and other county district libraries continuously upgrade and integrate new technology into their services and programs. Today, patrons have access to electronic readers, MP3s, iPads, free Wi-Fi and 24/7 access to the library’s catalog, databases and e-books.

For more information, visit