LAEF Increases Grant For 2015-2016

Posted on June 29, 2015 by  
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LAEF STEM LabsOfficials from the Los Altos Educational Foundation reported earlier this month that they plan to raise a record-setting $3.5 million for the Los Altos School District next year.

The foundation raised $3.3 million last year to fund enrichment programs and smaller class sizes for all nine schools in the Los Altos School District. The foundation’s grant is built into the district budget annually to pay for targeted staff and programming.

Designed to benefit every K-8 student in the district, the foundation’s grant helps fund Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); computer science; libraries; art; music; physical education; class-size reductions in grades K-3 and 7-8; and junior-high electives.

The foundation conducts a survey each year to determine parents’ priorities for their contributions. Survey participation was up this year, with approximately 1,800 parents providing input.

The boost in participation was attributable in part to the foundation’s distributing the online survey in Mandarin and Spanish for the first time. Foundation Executive Director Amy Peabody said approximately 10 parents submitted feedback in Mandarin and 40 in Spanish. As far as Peabody could tell, this was the first time the foundation had received input from these parent groups.

The foundation bases the following year’s grant on the survey results. This year’s results revealed that parents wanted additional PE programming at the schools and an expansion to the district’s sixth-grade computer science curriculum, Peabody said.

The $200,000 bump in the grant will fund an additional PE instructor, ensuring the presence of a PE teacher at each elementary campus and increasing weekly physical education to twice a week for all K-6 students. The money will also fund the expansion of the district’s computer science program into the junior highs, with an eye to offering coding instruction to all grades in the district in the future, Peabody said.

“We are grateful to our engaged and caring community for supporting excellent public schools,” said Susan Longyear, president of the foundation board.

Peabody said that in addition to parent contributions, the foundation receives $500,000 annually in corporate matching funds and donations from alumni, community groups and the foundation’s Honor Roll of Realtors.

The foundation is one of three contributors to local education, according to Peabody. She explained the synergy among the district, the PTAs and the foundation.

“Take the STEM lab, for instance,” she said. “The district created the lab, we help by paying for the STEM teacher and the PTA helps by buying the technology and tools used in the lab. It takes all three pieces.”

For more information, visit


Stevens Creek Trail Alternatives

Posted on June 26, 2015 by  
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Stevens Creek Trail OptionsStevens Creek Trail Joint Cities Feasibility Study, just closed the public input phase for the review. More than 900 residents submitted written feedback, according to city of Sunnyvale representative Jennifer Garnett, and at least 300 people attended the three public input meetings held in May and early June.

Residents’ input will be incorporated in a final report for the study’s cooperating cities – Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

The study sought to identify feasible routes to connect the multiuse Stevens Creek Trail from Mountain View to Cupertino. Various workable options coursed through three segments: Dale Avenue/Heatherstone Way in Mountain View to Fremont Avenue in Los Altos/Sunnyvale, Fremont Avenue to Homestead Road in Los Altos/Sunnyvale and Homestead Road to Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino.

In 2008, Los Altos embarked on its own feasibility study, which resulted in a recommendation for a preferred alignment that extended through the creek corridor parallel to Fremont Avenue and Grant Road. The Los Altos City Council accepted the report but did not adopt a preferred alternative, instead pursuing a regional study that would include representation from the four collaborating jurisdictions.

With residents’ feedback in hand, the Joint Cities Working Team will craft a set of recommendations for the four city councils. Bruins said the suggestions would include ranked alternatives for the trail’s various segments.

Residents interested in tracking the process can sign up for email updates by visiting, searching “Stevens Creek Trail Joint Cities Feasibility Study” and clicking the “Subscribe by Email” link on the far right.


Children “Embark” On Careers In Coding

Posted on June 19, 2015 by  
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Embark Labs has embarked on a new path for teaching children computer science.

The Peninsula-based company, founded in November by Jessie Arora, works with children – some as young as 6 years old – using a project-based approach. Los Altos native Brian Van Dyck is Embark’s director of curriculum and instruction.

As part of its approach, Van Dyck and Embark’s other instructors spend more time on developing younger children’s critical-thinking skills, according to Arora, and focusing on the more creative aspect of the “learn-to-code movement.”

“Beyond coding, these are the skills that all students will need to be successful in the future – no matter what career or discipline they choose to pursue,” she said.

Early Embark events included “Scratch Day at Google,” during which participants ages 6-13 used Scratch, an interactive programming language, to create simple games and other apps. Arora said the best part of her job is “seeing how excited the kids get when they figure out how to debug something or get through a challenge they were struggling with.”

Arnav Deyal, a fifth-grader from Santa Clara, attended an Embark Labs program last year. He described how when the students “got on to Scratch, we got to explore without rules and explanations.” “After explanations, it all made sense,” he said.

According to Arora, more than 200 students have attended Embark programs. Rusi Batchu, a third-grader from Santa Clara, attended an Embark program in the spring. She said the most challenging aspect of the experience was “getting my program to mimic the intended solution.” Rusi added that her favorite part was “brainstorming ideas and coming up with solutions.”

Embark Labs offers three courses with 15-20 students per class. Students learn computer science basics through offline games and puzzles and use free coding software (Lightbot, Blockly and Scratch) to create projects. Arora said Embark intends to reserve 10 percent of its spaces for scholarship students.

Participants are asked to bring their own laptops, though this summer the company plans to offer Chromebooks for students to use at its pop-up lab in Menlo Park. For more information, visit


Watercolors Highlight Local Exhibitions

Posted on June 17, 2015 by  
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Baynac to the TopGallery 9

Artist Carol Hake’s still-life paintings are on display at Gallery 9 through June 27.

Former Los Altos resident Kathy Sharpe follows with an exhibition of new work, “Color and Complexity,” scheduled June 30 through Aug. 1 at the gallery. A reception for Sharpe is slated 5-8 p.m. July 9. Sharpe’s paintings feature impressionistic florals and gardens.

Gallery 9 is located at 143 Main St., Los Altos. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 941-7969 or visit

Viewpoints Gallery

The work of Nancy Calhoun and Jane Ferguson is on display through June 27 at Viewpoints Gallery.

Their exhibition, “Various Viewpoints,” features Calhoun’s watercolor interpretations from travels to Europe and Ferguson’s encaustic watercolor pieces.

Viewpoints Gallery is located at 315 State St., Los Altos. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 941-5789 or visit

Main Street Cafe & Books

The “Silicon Valley Open Studios Encore Exhibition” highlights the watercolors of five local artists through June 27 at Main Street Cafe & Books.

The exhibition features the artwork of Kaaren Marquez, Cathy Zander, Christine Oliver, Judy Coffman and Karen Olsen. The paintings – landscapes, seascapes, florals and still lifes – are considered among the best watercolor works from the 2015 Silicon Valley Open Studios event.

Main Street Cafe & Books is located at 134 Main St., Los Altos. For hours and more information, call 948-8040.

Watercolor Society

The Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society has scheduled “1 Model – 3 Fabulous Artists – 3 Points of View!” 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. July 18 at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 W. Fremont Road.

The event will feature artists Myrna Wacknov, Christopher Schink and Mike Bailey painting portraits of the same clothed, live model.

The artists will work for two hours in the morning, with model breaks that allow the audience to take a closer look and mingle. In the afternoon, each artist will give a 20-minute presentation explaining his or her individual approach to portraiture.

The schedule includes time to interact with the artists and visit the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society’s exhibition at town hall, “No Limits – Freedom to Create.”

Seating is limited. The reservation deadline is July 4. Tickets, available online only, are $25 members, $30 nonmembers. Lunch and Hobee’s coffee cake are included. For tickets and more information, visit Members must sign in to the members-only section to receive a discount.


Andronico’s Spruces Up Store

Posted on June 14, 2015 by  
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Andronico’s - Los AltosDiscerning shoppers can easily find their daily staples, but one local grocer wants to keep customers in their own neighborhood.

“We want to be your everyday store,” said Andrea Tellez, manager of Andronico’s Community Market at Rancho Shopping Center in Los Altos. “People have wheels – they can go and get whatever they want. In order to keep our customers, we need to give them what they want.”

That wish list, she said, includes healthful, convenient offerings. To reach customers, the store recently revamped its foods selection in the deli, produce aisles and premade meals cases. The store also updated its overall look with new lighting and flooring.

The changes may appear minor, but Tellez said sales skyrocketed 500 percent in May over last year. She credits the uptick to the new look and feel of the store – which hadn’t seen an upgrade in nearly 20 years.

Andronico’s opened its first store in Berkeley in 1929. The small chain – now with five stores throughout the Bay Area – has always focused on offering fresh produce, gourmet meats and cheeses, flowers and plants, and eclectic wines and spirits. The Los Altos outpost opened in 1997.

The company has a new CEO overseeing the store upgrades – Suzy Monford, founder and CEO of Food Sport International. Monford intends to broaden Andronico’s online presence by developing a new fitness-focused shopping portal and introducing the grocery home-delivery app Instacart this summer.

“We were ‘local’ before it was a thing,” Monford said. “We were focused on small producers before ‘artisanal’ became a tagline to rationalize high retails.”

Andronico’s is located at 690 Fremont Ave., Los Altos. For more information, visit


Another Lap To Fight Cancer

Posted on June 12, 2015 by  
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Los-Altos-Relay-For-LifeRelay For Life of Los Altos is slated to return to Egan Junior High School 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.

The event, the American Cancer Society’s signature fund- raiser, is designed to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and caregivers, remember those who have died from the disease and fight back with actions that encourage people to stay healthy.

This year’s event will feature a “1980s” theme, a tribute to the legacy of Dr. Gordy Klatt, the first supporter to walk and run for 24 hours around a track to fundraise for cancer research. Klatt ultimately raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. Since those first steps, Relay For Life has grown into a worldwide movement, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer.

Egan Junior High is located at 100 W. Portola Ave., Los Altos.  To register, sponsor and donate, visit


Los Altos Summer Concert Series

Posted on June 10, 2015 by  
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Los Altos Summer Concert SeriesPeninsula Symphony is scheduled to kick off the city of Los Altos’ Summer Concert Series 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the Hillview Soccer Field, 97 Hillview Ave.

Peninsula Symphony’s performance – with the theme “Cities of the World Tour” – will feature popular classics that represent a world-famous city. Selections will include Johann Strauss’ “Tales from the Vienna Woods,” Modest Mussorgsky’s “The Great Gate of Kiev” from “Pictures at an Exhibition” and John Kander’s medley from the musical “Chicago” and his “Theme from New York, New York.”

Admission is free. Lawn seating is limited, so organizers recommend that concertgoers arrive early. Other concerts in the series are scheduled 6:30 p.m. Thursdays at Hillview or Grant Park, 1575 Holt Ave.

The lineup: The Cheeseballs (June 18, Grant Park), Lyin’ I’s (June 25, Hillview), Phil “N” The Blanks (July 9, Grant Park), Dutch Uncle (July 16, Hillview), The Houserockers (July 23, Grant Park), Timewarp (July 30, Hillview) and The Shanks (Aug. 6, Grant Park).

For more information on Peninsula Symphony, visit For more information on the concert series, call 947-2790 or visit


Adobe Animal Hospital Expands

Posted on June 7, 2015 by  
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AAHThe Los Altos-based Adobe Animal Hospital opened a Los Gatos location this spring.

Five years after moving into their expanded Los Altos location on El Camino Real, Adobe’s veterinarians felt that they were already reaching capacity in their new space.

“We knew that quite a number of our clients traveled from the Los Gatos area to visit us in Los Altos, so it was clear that opening in Los Gatos would not only be advantageous to our clients, but would also free up some appointments in Los Altos,” said Paul Eccles, Adobe’s hospital administrator.

The new Adobe Animal Hospital South Bay location at 15965 Los Gatos Blvd. doesn’t operate a 24-hour urgent-care service, instead referring patients to Los Altos’ around-the-clock facility. But the Los Gatos outpost offers the same veterinary services and has the same technical equipment as Los Altos, and medical records are shared between the two clinics.

The new Los Gatos building includes a pet store – the Adobe Veterinary Marketplace – that stocks food and items that are either veterinary-only products or recommended by Adobe doctors and staff.

“This gives us the opportunity to make sure that our patients receive not only the best medical care, but also the best aftercare by providing the correct diet, training materials or simply a healthy treat,” Eccles said. “Almost everything in the marketplace has a therapeutic angle, but we also have things that are simply fun.”

For more information, visit:


Local Couple Launch Restaurant

Posted on June 5, 2015 by  
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TURN.Logo.containedJim and Julie Otis are prepared to realize their longtime dream.  The couple – lifelong Los Altos residents – wanted to ensure that their farm-to-fork restaurant was done well. After years of brainstorming and many months of planning, Turn Bar & Grill is scheduled to open in downtown Los Altos this month.

“It’s been an interesting ride,” Julie said. “I’m a big believer in things being right if there aren’t a lot of stumbling blocks.”

The process may have been smooth, but it wasn’t simple. When the 295 Main St. corner space opened up, the Turn team knocked down walls to combine the former sites of A.G. Ferrari Foods and Jamba Juice. They also added a semiprivate room for parties of up to 40, plus patio seating in front of the building.

Julie has 15 years’ experience in technology marketing and sales; Jim has a decade in the restaurant industry. But now, his passion has become hers.

The casual, full-service restaurant features a menu of American favorites with a foodie twist – grilled Angus T-bone steak topped with spinach and an egg, for example. According to Julie, the restaurant favors seasonal fare with an emphasis on locally sourced meats, seafood and cheeses.

The spacious dining area comprises three distinct sections for hosting everything from first dates to family gatherings. A few recessed televisions encourage game-night screenings, and a rustic wood and marble bar serves wine and craft cocktails. Mixologists stir up happy-hour libations with fresh-squeezed juices and concoctions like Spa Water and Granny’s Moonshine.

The restaurant is slated to open the week of June 15 for dinner only, with daily lunch and weekend brunch added at a date to be announced. For more, visit:


Wonderfully Situated Near Downtown

Posted on June 3, 2015 by  
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430 Lassen Street

430 Lassen Street #7, Los Altos, CA 94022
2 Beds / 2.5 Baths / Home: 1,593 sqft / Lot Size: 871 sqft +/-
Residential Townhouse – Leased


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