Annual Events Herald Spring & Summer

Posted on March 29, 2015 by  
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Rotary Fine ArtThe end of the school year brings a lull to the hustle and bustle of daily life for parents and students alike as they have more time on their hands. What better way to spend it than outdoors. Los Altos and Los Altos Hills offer a wide variety of family-friendly events, some of which are long-standing traditions.

Los Altos …

Easter Egg Hunt

10 a.m. to noon March 28

Main and State streets The Los Altos Village Association-sponsored event for children ages 1-10 features crafts, face painting, a balloon artist and the Easter Bunny. Attendees should bring their own baskets.

Egg Hunt & Teen Egg Launch

9:30 a.m. April 4

Hillview Soccer Field 97 Hillview Ave.

The Los Altos Recreation Department’s Egg Hunt is open to children up to age 10. There are different start times depending on age group. Attendees should bring their own baskets.

The Teen Egg Launch is open to youth 11-17. The challenge is to build a container that protects an egg from breaking when launched onto the soccer field. Admission is free. Register by April 1. For more information, visit

Los Altos Live! talent show

7:30 p.m. April 25

Eagle Theater, Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave.

Local residents unveil their musical, theatrical and dance skills at the annual community talent show, sponsored by the Los Altos Cultural Association. For more information, visit

Los Altos Farmers’ Market

4-8 p.m. Thursdays May 7 through Sept. 24

State Street, between Second and Fourth streets

Local farmers offer fresh seasonal fruits, vegetables, plants and cut flowers. A host of vendors sell a variety of specialty foods, including cheeses and dairy products, meats, breads and baked goods. The weekly events feature family-friendly entertainment and food trucks. For more information, visit

Kiwanis Pet Parade

10-11 a.m. May 16

Main and State streets

A community tradition since 1948, the Kiwanis Pet Parade attracts thousands of spectators. Children walk, pull wagons and ride bicycles in downtown Los Altos, showcasing their pets. Youth groups, marching bands and local dignitaries in vintage cars travel the route. For more information, call 988-9900 or email

Fine Art in the Park

10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 16 and 17

Lincoln Park, University Avenue

Attendees can browse the fine art, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and unique gifts from more than 180 artists in the juried open-air art show, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Los Altos. The annual event features live entertainment, food and beverages. Proceeds support the Rotary Club’s local and international service projects. For more information, visit

Arts & Wine Festival

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 11 and 12


The Arts & Wine Festival, sponsored by the Los Altos Village Association, showcases the work of artisans from more than 12 states. The 36th annual event will feature a select group of vintage wines and a variety of cuisines from Thai to Mexican in addition to all-American choices like sausage and roasted corn. The festival includes booths to browse, wine to sample and free concerts. For more information visit

Friday Movie Nights

8:30-10:30 p.m.

Intersection of Main and Third streets

The Los Altos Village Association is scheduled to host family-friendly outdoor movie nights Fridays Aug. 7-28. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants should bring chairs, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags and picnics. For more information, visit


Los Altos Hills …

Hoppin’ Hounds Easter Biscuit Hunt

9 a.m. April 4

Byrne Preserve 27210 Altamont Road

Owners and their on-leash dogs can search for dog biscuits at the 12th annual event. A $5 donation benefits Palo Alto Animal Services. For more information, visit

Earth Day Celebration

1-4 p.m. April 26

Westwind Community Barn 27210 Altamont Road

The annual Earth Day Celebration includes a farmers’ market and Live Wild Cats and Reptiles education presentations by Leopards Etc. Los Altos Hills committees, school groups and local environmental organizations sponsor exhibits and an electric-vehicle car show. Attendees are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle and reduce their carbon footprint by walking, cycling or carpooling to the event. Due to the wildcat presentation, no dogs are allowed. For more information, visit

Pathways Run/Walk

9 a.m. for 5K/10K, 10:30 a.m. for 1-mile Fun Run

May 9

Westwind Community Barn

27210 Altamont Road

The annual event wends through Byrne Preserve and extends into the Los Altos Hills Pathways system. 5K/10K registration is $35 ($40 on race day), $25 for group registration of 10 or more and $20 for the 1-mile run ($25 on race day). An awards ceremony is scheduled at 10:15 a.m. Those who preregister can pick up a race packet including a T-shirt, bib number and information between 3-7 p.m. May 8 at town hall, 26379 W. Fremont Road. Free food and drinks are provided for runners, families and friends. The event includes music and local massage and exercise specialists. For more information, visit

California Pops Orchestra Season Finale

3 p.m. May 17

Foothill College, Smithwick Theatre 12345 S. El Monte Road

The California Pops Orchestra will perform classical music parodies and a compilation of musical numbers from superhero movies, vintage radio shows, TV and movies. For more information, visit



Deer Hollow Schedules Farm Tours

Posted on March 27, 2015 by  
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Deerhollow GoatThe nonprofit Friends of Deer Hollow Farm has scheduled spring farm tours 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 18 and May 9 at the farm, located in Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve.

“They have always been very popular and well attended by Los Altos and Los Altos Hills families,” said Friends spokeswoman Elizabeth Montgomery.

The tours offer an opportunity for participants, especially families with children, to visit the animals in their pens, stroll through the garden, catch the orchard in bloom and learn about homestead farming as it was practiced 150 years ago.

Guests will be able to visit Luna the cow, her offspring Roxie and new calf Zoe. They can also see new farm babies, including kids and lambs, pet the rabbits and chickens, and visit ducks in their new habitat.

“We’ll have some fun, interactive activities for the kids in our bountiful garden, too,” Montgomery said. Trained docents will be available to share information and answer questions.

The farm’s Nature Center, which features exhibits of the local flora, fauna and wildlife, will be open for hands-on learning.

The Friends’ merchandise booth will offer T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, photo cards, reusable farm-themed shopping bags and handcrafted items for sale on a cash or check basis.

Tours are $7, free for children 1 and under. Proceeds support the farm and its educational programs. For more information, visit


Affordable Program Could See Changes

Posted on March 25, 2015 by  
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Sherwood Gateway by LennarLos Altos currently has 149 below-market-rate (BMR) living units: 105 multiple-family living units – apartments, condominiums and townhouses – and 44 affordable second-living units, usually considered small, backyard dwellings.

City officials are in the process of updating the housing element, a policy document that addresses how to meet diverse community housing needs over the next eight years. The 2015-2023 Housing Element outlines opportunities to develop 268 additional BMR units, including 84 for “extremely low-income” residents.

Planning Services Manager David Kornfield noted that it is the city’s first housing element that includes an “extremely low-income” category, aiming to serve those who make 30 percent of Santa Clara County’s median income ($150,500 for a four-person household).

The state approved the city’s draft 2015-2023 Housing Element Feb. 19, contingent on implementing a rezoning ordinance to allow for emergency shelters. The council is slated to adopt the 2015-2023 Housing Element formally in May.

City staff will pursue joining a Santa Clara County nexus study assigned to explore levying commercial linkage and residential impact fees to help fund affordable housing. Although the study would be a cooperative effort, cities would be free to adopt or not adopt fees as they see fit. Staff estimated that the nexus study would cost $15,000 to $23,000 per city – substantially less expensive than undertaking such a review alone, Kornfield said.

If the city decides to proceed with collecting fees, it could eventually build a complex with affordable units, either in the city or in collaboration with other jurisdictions in the region.

A March 7 letter from the League of Women Voters of Los Altos-Mountain View urged the council to pursue the nexus study and consider fees to support Los Altos’ low-income residents and workers who commute to the city.

“Now is the time to naturally revisit our housing administration and look at that contract for services,” Kornfield said. “It’s not coming from a performance perspective. If that were the case, we’d just end the contract and find something else.”  Kornfield added that he anticipates issuing an RFP by the end of the month.


ClassPass Offers New Way To Exercise

Posted on March 23, 2015 by  
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ClassPass CyclingTwo trends are converging in Los Altos this spring: boutique exercise studios and startups that offer a new way to pay – and pay less – for traditional services.

The New York-based startup ClassPass, which launched in the Bay Area late last year, partners with local studios to offer wide-ranging access for a discounted monthly fee – a buffet of boutiques.

As of today, Los Altos had three participating businesses – Momentum Cycling Studio, some of the Jazzercise classes at the Los Altos Youth Center, and The Dailey Method – and Mountain View another three: Yoga Belly, Serao Academy and Overtime Fitness. Palo Alto and Menlo Park are already dense with options, though even they pale in comparison to some neighborhoods of San Francisco, where studios charging $25 or more per hourlong class seem to be popping up two to a block.

Affordable access to expensive services – monthly membership at participating studios often runs $200 or more – has been a major ClassPass selling point. Participants pay $99 per month for unlimited sampling across studios, and may take up to three classes per month from any one participating studio or franchise. To studio owners, the startup offers a value proposition that’s part lead generation, part excess inventory management. Students receive payment for each ClassPass booking, but at rates negotiated substantially lower than the drop-in price.

ClassPass raised more than $50 million from venture funders including General Catalyst Partners and Thrive Capital, operates in 29 cities in the U.S. and just launched in London.

For more information on ClassPass, visit


Mediation Program Changes Its Name

Posted on March 21, 2015 by  
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MediationThe Los Altos Mediation Program recently changed its name to Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services (LADRS).

LADRS offers free mediation services to Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents and businesses. The program’s name change coincides with its 20th anniversary in March.

Since 1995, the program has provided clients with options of face-to-face meetings, telephone counseling or resource referrals aimed at resolving disputes in a nonadversarial, supportive atmosphere.

“Using the words ‘dispute resolution’ in our title will make it easier for those searching for help with a dispute, as it is more descriptive than the lesser-known word ‘mediation,’” said Annette Graff, LADRS advisory board chairwoman and volunteer mediator. “The new name increases the understanding of the services we offer.”

LADRS features a panel of trained volunteer mediators, all local residents. Referrals for dispute resolution services come from sources such as the Internet, the police or sheriff’s departments, word of mouth, local government and other nonprofit agencies.

LADRS has assisted clients in the following situations.

• A tenant and landlord resolved a conflict over the termination of a lease agreement in a private and confidential meeting facilitated by LADRS volunteer mediators.

• Two neighbors attended a mediation session to identify which new boundary replacement fence would be the best choice for both of their properties. After choosing, both neighbors left the meeting with a written detailed plan on the fence, including the type of wood, style of fence, shared cost and date of installation.

• A tenant renting a room in a landlord’s house disagreed with changing house policies. The landlord threatened to terminate the tenancy. With the help of a mediator, the parties – both seniors – were able to address underlying issues and establish a clear and precise house policy list. On follow-up, the parties were able to get along and provide each other much-needed assistance.

• Several neighbors attended a dispute-resolution meeting to voice their concerns about loud parties in the park across the street. LADRS facilitated the meeting to give voice to each resident’s concern, and guided the parties through a problem-solving plan that addressed each issue.

For more information, call 949-5267 or visit


Electron Microscope Opens New World

Posted on March 18, 2015 by  
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Biology Honors instructor assists studentStudents at Los Altos High School can now examine objects in a completely new way with the addition of an electron microscope to the school’s science department.

The electron microscope is capable of much higher magnification compared with the typical science classroom’s light microscope. The new device can magnify an object 20,000 times, while the light microscope can only increase it 400 times.

“This is a cutting-edge way to do observation,” said Greg Stoehr, head of the science department at Los Altos High. “It is allowing students to have a college-level experience in a public high school.”

Another perk of the equipment, Stoehr said, is that it is easy enough for anyone to use. An electron microscope typically requires a technician.

Stoehr said students in all science classes are using the microscope. Students in the forensics class can examine hair fibers, biology students can observe leaf structures and physics students can view the texture of an object and determine how it affects momentum.

“It’s a universal tool,” he said. “Most of the instruments we purchase for the school are class or subject based. But this microscope can be used in all classes.”

Light microscopes, the prevailing equipment used in most high school classrooms, are a “400-year-old technology,” said Stoehr, adding that they help magnify objects that are very small, “but you can’t distinguish them well.”

“The electron microscope allows students to look at things that they cannot get from a light microscope,” he said. “It opens up a new visual world for the students.”

The electron microscope is connected to a computer, enabling students to capture digitally the magnified objects. Mastering the microscope takes five minutes, Stoehr said.

Of the $1.5 million grant the foundation raised for the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District last year, approximately 40 percent is tagged for discretionary spending. Funding for science program upgrades came from those funds, Roberts said.

In addition to providing students with a college-level experience, the new tools are preparing them for the next level of research and innovation, according to Stoehr.

“We are striving to give students the foundation support for a strong science background,” he said.


Los Altos Live! Auditions Scheduled

Posted on March 15, 2015 by  
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Los Altos LiveAuditions for the seventh annual Los Altos Live! talent show are scheduled noon to 4 p.m. March 28 and 29 in the band room at Los Altos High School, 201 Almond Ave.

Entrants of all ages who reside in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills or Mountain View are invited to audition. Sponsored by the Los Altos Cultural Association and the Town Crier, the showcase highlights a variety of acts, from singers to instrumentalists and dance teams.

This year’s show is scheduled 7:30 p.m. April 25 in Los Altos High’s Eagle Theater. Those selected to perform must commit to a dress rehearsal, slated 6-9:30 p.m. April 24 at the theater.

The event is a fundraiser for students attending Camp Diversity, a four-day retreat at which students, faculty and staff from participating high schools learn to value one another by breaking down the barriers of race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and other sources of division.

The nonprofit program addresses divisive matters directly by creating an environment where students confront their differences. The end result is often life-changing, as students with newfound perspectives take on leadership roles when they return to school, teaching other students what they’ve learned. Students at Los Altos High School are given the opportunity to attend Camp Diversity.

Last year’s show drew more than 100 performers and a sold-out audience of more than 400. It raised nearly $7,000 for Camp Diversity scholarships.


History Week Focuses On California

Posted on March 13, 2015 by  
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SCH_HistoryWeek_fmtLos Altos High School’s third annual History Week, with the theme “California on the World Stage,” drew a wide range of speakers to campus to address the state’s impact on the nation’s history, economy, society and culture.

Launched in 2013, History Week brings scholars, researchers, business professionals and civic leaders to the campus’ Eagle Theater for a weeklong examination of topics relating to a theme. Students collaborate with faculty and parent volunteers to organize and stage the week, which features an annual student poster contest with prizes. For each speaker, students research, write and provide speaker introductions.

Leslie Berlin, Ph.D., project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University, addressed the history of Silicon Valley as the global epicenter of technology and described the unique factors that drove its evolution.

Students learned about California’s involvement in national struggles to end housing discrimination from Stanford Urban Studies program professor Michael Kahan, Ph.D., who shared local historic examples of discriminatory housing covenants and zoning policies.

F. Noel Perry, Silicon Valley philanthropist and founder of the clean-tech and alternative-energy think tank Next 10, outlined the most pressing environmental and financial challenges facing California and encouraged students to take part in improving the future.

In addition to presentations on California’s contributions to aerospace and earthquake science, this year’s History Week provided students with firsthand accounts of the state’s leadership role in the evolution of modern music and entertainment.


Tom Hanks Surprises Girl Scouts

Posted on March 11, 2015 by  
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Tom HanksGirl Scouts selling cookies on State Street in downtown Los Altos received an unexpected surprise Feb. 28 when a bona fide movie star not only bought cookies, but also tried to help the girls sell more boxes to other passersby.

Tom Hanks, a Hollywood legend – and Bay Area native – who has appeared in some of the biggest blockbusters of the past 25 years, purchased four boxes, donated an additional $20 and offered to have his photo taken with people who recognized him – as long as they bought cookies, too.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” said Archana Appanna, whose daughter was one of the three Scouts selling cookies that Saturday. “We did not know who he was (at first) because he covered his face with a baseball cap and glasses.”

But Appanna and the girls soon saw through the disguise. They left their post and rushed up to Hanks as he was walking away, catching up to him in front of Linden Tree Books.

“Are you Tom Hanks?” came the question. “Yes,” he answered.

Once discovered, picture taking began, initially with Hanks and the girls. But another family walked by, spotted Hanks and asked for a picture, too. His reply? “Only if you buy cookies from these young ladies.”

Hanks, accompanied by his college-age son, Truman, was in town to visit the typewriter shop, Los Altos Business Machines, at 100 State St. Truman is a freshman at Stanford University. It turns out that Hanks is a big typewriter collector. He initially went to the store to have his son’s typewriter repaired, but he ended up buying two vintage Smith-Coronas.

John Sansone, owner of the typewriter store, did not immediately recognize Hanks until he heard him speak.  “I never realized how distinctive his voice is,” he said. “It was right out of a movie.”


Beautiful Home In “Old Los Altos”

Posted on March 11, 2015 by  
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Kitchen at 600 Milverton

600 Milverton Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022
4 Beds / 3 Baths / Home: 3,000 sqft / Lot Size: 16,800 sqft +/-
Single Family Detached – Leased


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