Upcoming Community Center Bond

Posted on July 31, 2015 by  
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Core site design conceptHillview Community Center and Park is one step closer to potential upgrades.

The Los Altos City Council last week unanimously adopted a resolution and ordinance that pave the way for a $65 million general obligation bond to partially fund the recreation-space renovation. The council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on calling for a November bond election.

Should voters approve the bond, the city would then engage residents and commissions in the final design of Hillview – a 55,600-square-foot multiuse building, aquatic center and playing fields complex.

Earlier this year, the council accepted an $87 million cost estimate and conceptual design that focuses on replacing the nearly 70-year-old community building, in addition to constructing public pool facilities, improving the playing fields and open space, and adding underground parking. The council targeted November for a potential bond election, and council members have been developing a financing strategy with consultant Larry Tramutola of Tramutola LLC.

To fund the project, the $65 million bond would go toward the community building, pool and playing fields. The $20 million to $25 million remainder of the project – namely, underground parking – would be funded through the city’s cash reserves.

If voters approve the bond measure, property-tax payers would pay the principal and interest on the bonds. Administrative Services Director Kim Juran-Karageorgiou estimated an average annual tax rate of $19.36 per $100,000 of assessed home value over the bond’s proposed 30-year term.

You can find more information about the project here.

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Drought Takes Toll On Golf Courses

Posted on July 29, 2015 by  
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Los Altos Golf & Country ClubResidents who’ve watched their lawns turn brown during the drought will soon have company on the local links.

Los Altos Golf & Country Club and Shoreline Golf Links in Mountain View recently turned off sprinklers to conserve water in light of statewide mandates and recommendations from the county.

The country club is no longer watering the first 100 yards of each hole (from the tee), along with areas on the course’s perimeter and rough.

Head golf pro Brian Inkster said club officials are using July as a trial run for water-reducing strategies months in the making – including less-thirsty alternatives to grass, like woodchips – to meet a 30 percent reduction by Aug. 1.

“Putting water in our drinking faucets is more important than watering our golf courses,” Inkster said. “That’s just the sacrifice we have to do. Everyone has to do their part.”

This means gameplay may get a little rougher for golfers unaccustomed to making the fairway.

“If you hit the fairway, you should be on grass. If you hit the green, you should be on grass,” Inkster said. “For those who aren’t hitting the fairways, it’ll be a little more challenging.”

Shoreline Golf CourseShoreline – a public course managed by TouchStone Golf – has complied with restrictions from the city of Mountain View, according to James Birchall, general manager of the course. He added that Shoreline has exceeded state minimums.

The greenskeepers have turned off sprinklers, Birchall said, and the course uses some recycled water. They continue to irrigate certain areas to prevent cracks in the “cap” that Birchall said covers the landfill the course rests on.

While many private properties comply with water-use guidelines and tiered pricing from water retailers such as Cal Water, Los Altos Golf & Country Club faces different restrictions from the Santa Clara Valley Water District because its water comes from private, on-site wells. However, the club still faces state mandates protecting groundwater reserves that are extremely low, according to Jerry De La Piedra, the district’s water supply planning and conservation manager. The district has no authority to increase prices or impose fines for overuse, though, De La Piedra said.

The state has imposed county-specific mandates to meet an overall 25 percent reduction in potable water use from 2013 levels for the current year.

“The state level is the minimum that needs to be reached, but locally we need to go above and beyond that,” De La Piedra said. “Even if we have a good rainfall year, it’ll take multiple years to recover. It’s going to take a while to get back to normal.”

De La Piedra added that his staff is looking to create a committee of golf course superintendents that will meet on a regular basis to discuss ways to adapt to the restrictions and further save water.

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PAMF Debuts Cosmetic Surgery Center

Posted on July 26, 2015 by  
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Los Altos Surgery CenterLos Altos’ newest medical office – the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Center for Cosmetic Surgery – may look great on the outside, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

The new center at 715 Altos Oaks Drive claims the title of PAMF’s first dedicated cosmetic surgery space, according to Alison Deans, administrative director for surgical specialties.

The bright, spacious center includes eight exam rooms, two treatment rooms, two operating suites, separate entrances and exits for added privacy and parking behind the building. Medical doctors perform both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, including facial and body contouring and skin rejuvenation. Surgeons will continue to perform reconstructive operations at PAMF’s main campuses.

The clinic’s eight surgeons are all board certified or eligible with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The center is also Medicare certified. Although cosmetic surgery doesn’t typically involve insurance, the accreditation requires practitioners to work to a high standard of safety and quality, Maser said.

“This center is unique,” Deans added. “PAMF and its plastic surgeons have a deep-rooted history along the Peninsula. Patients can feel comfortable that there is that history and the technological advancements in the department.” The good news, treatments are open to non-PAMF patients.

PAMF has scheduled a grand-opening celebration 5:30-8 p.m. Sept. 24, with product demonstrations, light refreshments and plastic surgeons and staff offering tours.

For more information on hours and physicians at the new center, visit: pamf.org/cosmeticsurgery

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Local Camp Promotes Speech & Debate

Posted on July 24, 2015 by  
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Speech and Debate TeamAfter a successful launch last year, the Mountain View Los Altos High School Speech and Debate Team held their second summer camp for middle schoolers last month.

Co-founded by James Naumovski from Los Altos High and Moira Huang from Mountain View High, the camp is designed to foster middle-school students’ interest in public speaking and debate and provide an introduction to the high schools’ debate program.

With the aim to inspire students to pursue speech and debate at a young age, high school volunteers taught 35 students from Blach Intermediate and Egan, Graham and Crittenden junior high schools at various experience levels the skills required for public speaking and debate.

After his experience competing nationally in speech and debate competitions, Naumovski said he found that many schools in the Midwest offered Speech and Debate classes, exposing students to strategies for crafting and delivering speeches.

The program has expanded since its inception – from 20 students last year to 35 this year.

With help from MVLA Speech and Debate directors Teri Young, Karen Keefer and Sharon Moerner, the student volunteers designed two separate curricula – one for students who had never been exposed to speech and debate and the other for more advanced students with prior experience.

The one-week schedule included two days devoted to introduction to public speaking and speech events, two days to formalized debate and the final day to full debate rounds to review and practice skills taught throughout the week. Activities ranged from a “readers’ theater” – an exercise that emphasizes enunciation, intonation and pacing in speech – to writing debate cases on whether PE ought to be compulsory. Camp participants learned a variety of skills to help them succeed in the diverse events available to high school speech and debate teams.

Alumni of the camp often participate in speech and debate competitions during the school year and many end up joining their respective school’s team and competing at local and national tournaments.

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From Cheerleader To Food Fighters

Posted on July 22, 2015 by  
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Amber MacDonald - Food FighterA newly arrived Los Altos family has an unusually public get-to-know-you moment this week – Amber MacDonald and her family are appearing 8 p.m. Thursday on NBC on an episode of “Food Fighters.”

MacDonald, daughter Ava and husband CJ are in the midst of building a house in north Los Altos near the Sweet Shop, but they took time to fly down to Los Angeles for a whirlwind tour of life on reality TV. The culinary game show pits home cooks against professional chefs, many of them food celebrities.

A former 49ers NFL cheerleader turned event planner, MacDonald enlisted Ava as a toddler assistant in the kitchen to tell the story of her history as a home cook when she auditioned for “Food Fighters.”

“She helps me cook now, which was fun for them to see,” MacDonald said. She used the tradition of cooking together as a family to find her signature Italian approach.  I cooked with my grandmother since I was a little girl, so I knew I was comfortable with those dishes,” she said.

The home cooks bring a list of five special recipes from their kitchen. In each round, they meet their chef competitor and pick a dish from the list for both to make – in only 20 minutes. A tasting panel of every-day amateur eaters picks a winner each round. And for every pro she knocks out, the home chef racks up an increasingly large cash prize.

Prepping for the competition was mentally and physically exhausting – MacDonald only had approximately 10 days’ notice before filming. Figuring out how to nail the 20-minute time limit required the most advance planning.

One of the show’s basic strategies involves trying to play against the professional chefs’ strengths. The home chef gets to pick what gets cooked each round, and must have built in enough variety to not end up making brisket against a barbecue specialist – if she can help it. Some of MacDonald’s competitors are still a secret, but word is already out that she faced off against food personality Nadia G among the five.

She hasn’t seen how the episode was edited, but said she’s nervous to hear in detail what the dinner party judges had to say about her dishes. She’s planning to watch with her parents, and excited for Ava to see her on TV.

For more information on “Food Fighters,” visit: nbc.com/food-fighters

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A Fantastic Location Close To Stanford

Posted on July 19, 2015 by  
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Madrono - Palo Alto

1534 Madrono Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306
3 Beds / 2 Baths / Home: 1,568 sqft / Lot Size: 5,775 sqft +/-
Single Family Detached – Leased

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Opening With A ‘Bang’

Posted on July 17, 2015 by  
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“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre have joined forces for the family musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” scheduled to open Friday and run through Aug. 2 at Bus Barn Theater.

The musical adventure features a special car that flies through the air and sails the seas. “Chitty” tells the story of eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, who, with the help of his children Jeremy and Jemima – and the ever-lovely Truly Scrumptious – sets about saving a former Grand Prix-winning race car from the scrap heap. Soon they discover that the car has magical properties, including the ability to float and take flight. After word gets out about its extraordinary abilities, trouble ensues when the evil Baron Bomburst decides that he wants it all to himself.

Based on the novel by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, the musical features music and lyrics by Robert and Richard Sherman – composers of “Mary Poppins” – and an original script and fresh adaptation for the stage by Ray Roderick and Jeremy Sams.

In addition to the production, Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre aim to provide the youth performers with an educational experience through a series of workshops taught by the adult performers – all educators. Through the production/workshop format, participating youth have the opportunity to work and learn alongside professional actor/educators who serve as coaches and mentors.

Performances are scheduled 7:30 p.m. Thursdays (excluding this week and July 30) through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, with an additional show 7:30 p.m. July 29. Friday is opening night.

Tickets to Friday’s opening gala are $30-$40. After Friday, tickets are $15-$20.  For tickets and more information, call 941-0551 or visit losaltostage.org.

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Almond Fifth Graders Set Sail

Posted on July 14, 2015 by  
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Almond 5th GradersAlmond School fifth-graders boarded their handmade boats at Shoreline Lake in Mountain View last month to learn firsthand whether the vessels they designed and built proved seaworthy.

The event was part of a project-based learning unit, “To Sail, or Not to Sail? … It’s an Exploration!” The unit – focused on the role boats played in early exploration – encouraged students to design and build boats using money they raised through capital ventures.

To raise funds to build their boats, students learned how to start and manage a business using BizWorld, an entrepreneurship program. Ohlund said students formed companies and acted as entrepreneurs to design, manufacture, market and sell their products. Students created and sold products ranging from duct-tape wallets to pom-pom yarn animals and handmade soap and jewelry. All profits went toward purchasing materials to build each team’s cardboard boat.

Ed Han, co-founder of Tiny Prints, visited students to discuss his experiences as an entrepreneur and advise them on how to launch a successful venture.

The project incorporated content and learning from all disciplines. In social studies, students learned about early explorers of the New World and their sailing tools. In reading, they read “Pedro’s Journal.” In math, they learned about geometry, design and volume. In science, they studied volume, buoyancy, water displacement and density.

Students created prototypes of their boats and conducted floating experiments to test their hypotheses. Eventually, using limited supplies, teamwork and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math knowledge, students designed and constructed boats to sail themselves.

Almond’s fifth-grade teaching team – Laura Ohlund, Joe Chan and Samantha Nguyen – looks for “new and innovative ways to engage our students in learning and to find meaningful 21st-century experiences,” Nguyen said.

The teachers expressed appreciation for the support they received from Principal Erika Benadom and the Los Altos School District – who encouraged them to pursue new ideas – and from the many parents who helped with transporting boats from Almond to Shoreline Lake.

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Outdoor Movie Nights Arrive In August

Posted on July 12, 2015 by  
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The Lego MovieThe Los Altos Village Association is scheduled to host free outdoor Friday Movie Nights in August.

Movies are screened 8:30 p.m. on Main Street at the Third Street intersection. Main Street is closed between Second and Third streets beginning at 5 p.m. Attendees may set out chairs, sleeping bags, blankets and picnic items beginning at 6 p.m. Seating is first come, first served.

This year’s lineup:

• Aug. 7: “101 Dalmatians” (1961). In London, Cruella De Vil and her thugs abduct a litter of Dalmatian puppies so that she can make herself a lovely Dalmatian coat.

• Aug. 14: “The LEGO Movie.” An ordinary LEGO construction worker – mistaken as “the Special,” an extraordinary being – is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the LEGO universe into eternal stasis.

• Aug. 21: “Rescuers Down Under.” A boy living in the Australian outback frees a trapped golden eagle only to be kidnapped by an evil poacher.

• Aug. 28: “Frozen.” Anna, a fearless princess, sets off on an epic journey alongside a mountain man, his loyal reindeer and a naive snowman to find her newly crowned sister, Snow Queen Elsa.

For more information, visit downtownlosaltos.org.

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Downsizing? Come Visit The Parc Regent

Posted on July 8, 2015 by  
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One West Edith SignAs you may know, Los Altos is a highly desirable place to live. Whether you are preparing to move from the home in which you raised your family, or are the child of parents who are making such a move, you may well be facing an inevitable question “Are there any convenient local options available today?” Well, yes there are.

The Parc Regent combines the advantages of carefree living with the unique sense of community. Located across from downtown Los Altos, thes elegant condominiums are truly a gem. For the 55+ population, 3 bedroom, 2 bath units are a rare find. And large 2 bedroom units are a wonderful opportunity.

Carol & I are holding an Open House this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, July 11th and 12th. We will be open 1:30pm-4:30pm both days. We will have both the 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom available for your viewing pleasure.

This community offers luxurious living with beautifully maintained grounds and tastefully designed interiors. Take advantage of being minutes away from shopping, city and emergency services, fine dining, medical centers and more!

Of course, you are welcome to contact us today to schedule your very own private tour (650-823-1434). Either way, we look forward to seeing you soon.  For more information, visit: LosAltosParcRegent.com

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