Mountain View March 31, 2015

2015 Spring and Summer Events in Los Altos

The 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, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View offer a wide variety of family-friendly events, some of which are long-standing traditions. Listed below are upcoming events scheduled in 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

Community February 18, 2015

Los Altos Hills’ Foothill College Lead Chinese New Year’s Parade

Like red peonies blooming in fast motion, dancers in colorful garb glide across the floor into formation. The loud percussion of the Chinese pipa and erhu instruments contrasts with the soft landings of dancers’ ballet and jazz techniques.

Members of the Foothill Repertory Dance Company are scheduled to take their fancy footwork from their practice studio in Los Altos Hills to the streets of San Francisco March 7 as the opening act at the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade.

When the Chinese Chamber of Commerce approached company choreographer Bubba Gong, longtime director of dance at Foothill College, to produce an “East Side Story” performance to open the parade, he was excited about the challenge, but also a bit surprised. Although Gong is Chinese-American, his eclectic choreography style reflects his southern roots in Mississippi as much as his Far Eastern heritage.

Organizers embraced the artistic potential of Gong’s unique perspective, setting him on a journey to produce a contemporary show for an audience of 3 million TV viewers and live spectators.

The goal for Gong and his group of 40 dancers is to celebrate the Year of the Sheep in a reverent way that honors the parade’s 165-year history.

When “East Side Story” debuts next month, audiences will discover a dance that speaks multiple languages – hip-hop, ballet, jazz, Peking Opera and even American Sign Language.

Gong said he wants his fresh approach to reach new generations, who may be unaware of the history of the Chinese-Americans who founded the parade in an effort to preserve their culture while working on the railroads and in the goldmines of California in the 19th century.

“I hope the opening of ‘East Side Story’ captures the spirit and energy of America and the history of China and inspires greater understanding as we bridge two cultures, dancing in one world, one beat,” Gong said.

New year, new dance

Similar to the iconic dance scenes from “West Side Story” – the Jerome Robbins-choreographed Broadway musical that serves as inspiration for the parade’s opening act – Gong’s choreography aims to exude explosive energy and intrigue. But unlike the original, the “East Side Story” dance will have a happy ending.

“Instead of mayhem and destruction, let’s put a twist on this dance,” said Gong of how the sheep and wolves that feature in his dance experience harmony, not death, as the protagonists of “West Side Story” did. “It’s about how we can build bridges and usher in the new Year of the Sheep with harmony and compassion, peace and good fortune.”

To bring “East Side Story” to life, dancers will perform in the style of theater-in-the-round – a difficult technique for dancers but more satisfying to the audience, which can enjoy the performance from all angles.

“Without having a three-hour Broadway show to delineate Jets and Sharks, we had to go with American theatrical invention,” added Gong.

The dancers who portray wolves will wear hoodies over a black base, with sheep in red dresses and hip-hop dancers clad in white. Several key characters in the performance will wear costumes custom-designed in China.

Gong does not want the essence of the dance to fade from the spotlight or be overshadowed by the parade’s fireworks and confetti, so he choreographed a number that fluidly fills the two-hour route. The Foothill Repertory Dance Company will entertain the crowd with short excerpts of Samba, Gangnam Style and other forms of dance when they’re not performing “East Side Story.”

After the fanfare of the parade ends, Gong said he plans to enjoy a bowl of southern beans alongside fish for good luck – the way he’s celebrated the Chinese New Year since childhood.

For more information on the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade, visit

Community January 29, 2015

Los Altos Hills Couple Updates Ranch-Style Gem

Written by Carolyn Snyder – Special to the Town Crier

The phrase “all in the family” applies to the Los Altos Hills home lovingly renovated by Ava and Alan Eagle.

Alan grew up in the house, built in 1964 on a wooded hillside – an idyllic setting with a creek bordering the back of the 1-acre lot. When his parents, Joanne and Alan Sr., moved to The Forum at Rancho San Antonio a few years ago, it was decided that Ava and Alan would keep the house in the family and make it their own.

The younger Eagles sold their contemporary Mackay home in Palo Alto and moved into a rental while the ranch-style house was transformed. It was two years in the planning and permitting stage and one year under construction.

The goal was to create a fresh new house suited to the Eagles’ active lifestyle. Alan, director of executive communications at Google Inc., and Ava, a registered nurse and clinical researcher, have two children, William, 17, and Anderson, 14.

“I love to cook and have the kids around,” Ava said. “And I wanted to open up the house as much as possible.”

She and Alan also wanted his parents to “love it.”

Mission accomplished, thanks to architect Joe Gutierrez of Architectural Alliance in Sunnyvale, Acton Construction in Campbell and landscape architect Carolyn Ordonez of Menlo Park.

“We could not tear down the original house and had to accomplish the transformation using the same foundation and virtually the same roof,” Gutierrez said. “Working around these issues was our biggest challenge.”

Bringing the outdoors in

Because of the house’s age and design, structural and aesthetic problems were inevitable. For instance, the living room fireplace had to be rebuilt from the ground up. And the lower level of the split-level house was reconfigured to make better use of the space.

“We blew up the center of the house and rebuilt it,” said Ava, who was adamant about the windows and the kitchen, which became focal points of the remodel.

The resultant great room has a folding patio door system that literally brings the outdoors in. And from her open kitchen, Ava can keep an eye on the pool area, where the teenagers like to gather. Furniture groupings delineate the dining and seating areas.

At one end of the room is a 7-foot-wide fireplace with a limestone mantel and surround. Driftwood and rocks – some heart-shaped – add interest to the gas fire behind the glass screen. (Ava collects “heart” stones but claims that they find her. They pop up everywhere around the house.)

At the other end of the room, stairs lead up to the living room.

“I wanted the wall that separates the living room from the great room to look like it was cut with a mat knife. In other words, the wall was precisely cut to create a large opening to see into the great room,” Gutierrez explained. “Horizontal pieces of the wall were left in place to use as a guardrail. Glass between the horizontal pieces provides light transmission, a little visual mystery and code compliance.”

Throughout the house, view-framing windows and four skylights provide abundant natural light as well as ambience.

“We loved listening to the rain on the roof in our Mackay home, and the skylights here create the same effect,” Ava said.

In the slate-gray entry hall, a skylight in the soaring ceiling illuminates a stately grouping of branches cut from birch trees on the property. Other elements from nature are part of the home’s decor.

A restful color palette in shades of gray and blue is the perfect foil for the European white-oak floors and maple cabinetry and paneling.

The “new” house can be described as Craftsman-meets-California ranch. It is nearly 4,000 square feet, including the garage. The latter has an electric charging station and special nook for a wine refrigerator.

Three bedrooms and a new laundry room are on the lower level of the house. The master suite is off the living room and has a sitting area and bath that appear nestled in the tree tops.

On the main level, off the great room, is an office shared by the family. Ava picked up a book from a stack on the desk and said, with pride, “This is Alan’s book.” Titled “How Google Works,” it was co-written by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan and published last September.

Perhaps the next book could be “How to Transform an Aging House into an Architectural Gem.”

Community January 29, 2015

Los Altos Hills’ Foothill College to Offer 4-Year Degree

Published on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 00:07
Written by Traci Newell – Staff Writer/

Foothill-De Anza Community College District Chancellor Linda M. Thor chose a serendipitous time for her biannual teeth cleaning last week.

Sitting in the dentist’s chair, her dental hygienist – a graduate of the Foothill College program – peppered her with questions about the recent announcement that the community college plans to offer a four-year baccalaureate degree for its dental hygiene students.

For the first time in its 57-year history, Foothill College, located in Los Altos Hills, will award bachelor’s degrees to dental hygiene students who complete the state’s new limited baccalaureate degree pilot program. The California Community Colleges Board of Governors selected the Foothill program from among 36 statewide proposals.

“Ultimately this should help us move the needle on the number of baccalaureate degrees we award in California,” Thor said. “It’s a historic change. We need to think about educational institutions in what they do really well – and what community colleges do really well is workforce development.”

California offers no baccalaureate degree-level dental hygiene programs at its UC or CSU campuses. The only baccalaureate programs in the state are at private universities, including University of the Pacific in Stockton, Loma Linda University, West Coast University in Irvine and USC. Tuition at the private institutions ranges from $43,000 to $70,000 per year.

The tuition for the pilot community college baccalaureate degree program will be higher than the usual community college fees ($31 per quarter unit at Foothill and De Anza colleges) but lower than CSU or UC fees. Lower-division coursework will cost approximately $46 per unit and upper-division coursework will run roughly $84 per unit, with an estimated total cost of $10,000 to complete a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene.

Making history

“We’re making history,” said Foothill College Dental Hygiene Program Director Phyllis Spragge, RDH, M.A., in a release.

Spragge, herself an alumna of Foothill’s dental hygiene program, said they are “thrilled” that Foothill students will have the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree at a reasonable cost from one of the country’s “most highly respected” dental hygiene programs.

“We’re also performing a tremendous service to our community by improving the high quality of dental hygiene care in California,” she added.

The pilot program is the result of California Senate Bill 850, authored by Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego) and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 28. The new law permits 15 community college districts – including the Foothill-De Anza district – to develop and offer a baccalaureate degree program at one of their colleges in a field of study not offered by a CSU or UC.

“SB 850 is a game-changer for California students,” Block said in a release. “Students now have another path that can lead to a quality, affordable four-year degree. It tells employers that California is doing all it can to ensure that our state is open for business and will stay open to employers looking for highly trained employees.”

Selecting the degree program

Thor said one of the reasons Foothill selected dental hygiene for the pilot program is that given the dental hygiene program’s prerequisites, transitioning from the current associate degree to a baccalaureate degree would not require much additional coursework.

District officials originally had three programs to propose for four-year degrees, but the state would only accept one program per campus.

“I really felt like SB 850 and the state’s Chancellor’s Office forced me into Sophie’s Choice,” Thor said. “I had to choose among my children.”

Thor said the dental hygiene program’s successful 50-year history, including a 100 percent pass rate on the dental hygiene national board examination, is among the reasons the program was an obvious choice for the baccalaureate pilot program.

The district did its homework in preparing for the pilot program application, with officials gathering support from neighboring community colleges that offer dental hygiene programs.

“They had done the work analysis and had the support,” Thor said of district officials. “And it seemed the program could meet the very short timelines we were given to get the proposals.”

Spragge said Foothill’s dental hygiene program was selected for the statewide pilot program based on its academic rigor, the number of units it requires for completion of the associate degree, the strength of the job market and the increasing need for dental hygiene care in California.

Curriculum details

In addition to launching the four-year degree for students in fall 2016, Foothill will offer a completion program for students who have already earned dental hygiene associate degrees.

Spragge explained to the Town Crier that the difference between the associate degree and the baccalaureate is four courses – two additional general education courses, a research course and a capstone course.

“We are really thrilled to have this opportunity to develop the program into a bachelor’s program,” she said. “In reality (associate degree students) are doing most of this work already, there is just a minimal amount they need to accomplish the (baccalaureate standards).”

Thor said American Dental Hygienist Association officials are on record saying that in the future, they would like to require that all dental hygienists earn a baccalaureate degree.

“Many allied health careers are becoming more complex,” Spragge said. “I don’t think the average person in the public understands the level of knowledge a dental hygienist has to have.”

Spragge said the degree opens doors to students in several ways, including being able to further their careers in education, research or sales and marketing.

Looking ahead

Spragge and her colleagues in the dental hygiene program at Foothill have a long road ahead of them, but they look forward to welcoming their first students in the fall of 2016.

Spragge said Foothill would work closely with the state’s Chancellor’s Office while creating the curriculum for the bachelor’s program to ensure that the college meets all the requirements for the pilot program.

Once designed, the curriculum must be approved by Foothill and the state’s Chancellor’s Office. Foothill also must collaborate with the dental hygiene program’s accreditation agencies – the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and the Commission on Dental Accreditation – to secure approval for the baccalaureate program.

Community January 6, 2015

Los Altos Hills’ Foothill College Aims To Offer 4-Year Degree Program

by Elena Kadvany/ Palo Alto Weekly

Foothill College is in the running to become one of the first California community colleges to offer a four-year bachelor’s degree as the result of a bill that took effect Jan. 1.

The bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law in September, allows up to 15 community colleges to offer one baccalaureate degree in select vocational fields, as long as they meet a local workforce need and don’t compete with or duplicate any programs already offered at University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses. In today’s world of increasingly expensive college degrees — for some prohibitively so — the bill aims to give more Californians access to higher education, and at a more affordable price.

Thirty-six community college districts, half of the entire state system, submitted applications in December for a range of career-focused degree programs, from Foothill’s dental hygiene to public safety, respiratory therapy, engineering technology and emergency services. Foothill chose dental hygiene after analyzing their own program and broader industry trends, said Andrea Hanstein, Foothill director of marketing and public relations.

Currently, only three private universities in California offer a four-year dental hygiene degree: the University of Pacific in Stockton, Loma Linda University and the University of Southern California. Annual tuition at those schools range from $40,000 to $48,000, Hanstein said, and Foothill’s program would cost approximately $10,5000 per year.

“Community colleges were founded on the premise that everyone deserves an opportunity for education,” Hanstein said. “To be able to have a program where we can increase the number of seats because we would be able to increase the number of students enrolled and then get them out there and employed – that’s our mission in a nutshell.”

Hanstein added that although the technical requirement to become a dental hygienist is a two-year degree, the American Dental Association (which endorsed Foothill’s application) has indicated it’s moving toward having a bachelor’s degree as the minimum entry-level requirement.

Foothill’s dental hygiene program is also extremely popular, with an average of about 100 students applying each year for the 24 spots available, said Dental Hygiene Program Director Phyllis Spragge.

Foothill’s students also often graduate with an excess of units — much more than the associate’s degree they earn requires, Spragge said.

“My students have to take the same board exams as students who graduate from the four-year dental hygiene programs,” she said, “so the scope of knowledge has to be equivalent, but the degree is not.”

Only one other state community college district applied for a dental hygiene program (State Center Community College District in Fresno), but Hanstein said Foothill was told that in theory, both could be selected since the two schools are located in very different markets. Spragge also worked with the four other Bay Area community colleges that currently offer a two-year dental hygiene degree so Foothill would be the only one in the region applying for the expanded program. These four schools — Santa Rosa Junior College, Diablo Valley College, Chabot College and Cabrillo College — are also interested in aligning their curriculum with Foothill’s if it is selected as a pilot campus.

“Even though we only take 24 students a year, we’re looking at this bachelor degree program to be larger in number and in scope,” Spragge said.

Members of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office staff, a member of the business and workforce community, representatives from CSU, UC and community college administrators, faculty, and staff from districts that did not apply to host a program are reviewing the applications and will make a recommendation to the system’s board of governors before their Jan. 20 meeting.

The board is expected to announce the 15 pilot colleges on Jan. 21. Considerations for selecting a district included geographic distribution of the pilot programs, diversity of pilot programs, ability of the district to establish a rigorous program in their proposed field and that the proposed program will meet an unaddressed local or statewide workforce need, according to a November press release from the Chancellor’s Office. Selected programs will also be accredited by Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

The legislation sunsets after the 2022-23 school year, after which the legislature and governor may renew it pending two reviews of the pilot program, one in 2018 and another in 2022, according to the Chancellor’s Office.

Selected districts can start their programs as soon as this fall, or must offer the degree by the 2017-18 academic year. Hanstein said that Foothill’s program, if selected, would likely begin in the fall of 2016. Though Foothill applied as the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, it would only be offered at Foothill’s Los Altos campus. Foothill also requested as part of its application that graduates of its two-year dental hygiene program would be allowed to return to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree.

California is joining the 21 states that already allow their community colleges to offer four-year degrees. The state’s Chancellor’s Office said in the November release, “Further impetus for the measure comes from studies which show that California needs to produce 1 million more baccalaureate degree earners by 2025 to remain economically competitive in the coming decades. Community colleges are an efficient and economical way to help meet those needs due to their numerous locations throughout the state and modest tuition.”

Locally, this new offering would allow Foothill to finally match the degree it awards dental hygiene students to the work they do, Spragge said. There are bachelor’s completion programs that students who graduate with an associate degree can pursue, but that adds on further costs, both in time and money.

“It’s not that there is no alternative, but in some ways it’s an issue of fairness,” Spragge said. “It’s a degree that matches the level of preparation and work that they’ve done.”

Community December 17, 2014

Free Orchestra Concert at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills

Published on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:02
Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff – Town Crier Report

The California Pops Orchestra’s annual holiday concert is scheduled 3 p.m. Sunday in Smithwick Theatre at Foothill College, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills.

Led by conductor Kim Venaas, the 65-piece orchestra will perform a slew of holiday favorites. The program includes “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “The Toy Trumpet” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” along with music from the soundtracks from “Frozen,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas.”

Tickets are $15-$42. Free parking is available in lots 5 and 6.

For tickets and more information, call 856-8432 or visit

Mountain View November 5, 2014

County Libraries – Including Los Altos – Are Free Again

Published on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 00:05
Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff – Town Crier Report

The Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Board voted Thursday to eliminate the $80 annual library-card fee for users who do not live in the library district.

The vote was 8-3 in favor of the motion made by County Supervisor Joe Simitian, serving his second year on the JPA.

Until 2011, the state of California reimbursed public libraries for lending materials to residents of other library jurisdictions.

When the state announced plans to cut the $2.1 million the Santa Clara County Library District received to allow out-of-district residents to use its libraries, the JPA imposed an $80 annual fee for a library card for nonresidents to recover the loss.

With the JPA’s vote to eliminate the fee, effective July 1, residents of Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, San Jose and Santa Clara are able to use any library in the county at no charge for the first time since 2011.

“No other library system in the county charges nonresidents for a library card,” Simitian said. “So residents of the county library district could borrow freely in other communities, but the residents of those communities got slapped with an $80 fee when they showed up in our district and asked for reciprocity.”

According to Simitian, the fee didn’t raise much money, cost a lot to administer and was a “nuisance” to members of the public who had to provide proof of residency.

“It just struck me as wrong on so many levels,” he said. “Our public libraries aren’t truly public when we charge an entrance fee. This $80 charge essentially became a ‘knowledge tax.’ It’s time we stopped charging folks for access.”

Simitian initially requested that the library district review the fee during the county budget process earlier this year. It was, he said, one of the first issues he heard about when he started holding sidewalk office hours in his district.

Elayne Dauber, former Los Altos Hills mayor and longtime member of the Los Altos Library Commission, said she was pleased with the district JPA Board’s action.

“I’m delighted,” she said. “We can be good neighbors again.”

Prior to the vote, to be eligible for a free Santa Clara County Library District card, users had to live or own property in the unincorporated area of Santa Clara County or in one of the following nine cities or towns: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Campbell, Gilroy, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill or Saratoga.

For more information, visit