Friday, December 26, 2008

(More) Morning News Update -- 12.26.08: For those that did not get enough...

Los Altos police showed up at Kevin Marcyes San Jose home with a search warrant thinking they’d find food stolen from Trader Joe’s. Imagine their surprise in finding 10 sticks of 20 year old dynamite. Detective John Korges said about the aging dynamite, “When it’s older the stability of the material becomes extremely at risk. Our suspect could have blown himself up.” Yikes...

When Los Altos Hills residents Pat and Bob Kirkpatrick moved into their hillside home 35 years ago, they didn’t anticipate their view being disrupted by a mansion just down the hillside. Planning Commissioner Ray Collins was the lone opposition vote when plans were presented for the 11,000 sq ft home. Collins said that the home being built by the Shashi Corporation of Cupertino conforms to the City’s building codes and an attempt to move the building would have pushed it closer to another neighbor and prevented either the pool, stable, or tennis court from being built. Let the NIMBY fights continue...

More than 200 Los Altos residents protested sewer fees that now are as high as $1,500 for the year. Engineering Services Manager Jim Gustafson says the high fees are helping to identify water leaks that can be repaired, but for an unlucky few the problem is bigger. Some homes in Los Altos are still using septic systems, oops.

Sunnyvale resident Tom Gage has watched the slow transition to electric vehicles from his job as the CEO of AC Propulsion a company that makes batteries and powertrains for electric vehicles. BMW has just signed on to convert 450 Mini Coopers to electric – the Mini E. Watch Dog is hopeful about the electric car but since the Mini E is to be leased, not sold, and only in New York or Los Angeles, the Dog wonders if the Mini E will suffer the same fate as the Toyota RAV4EV.

The ubiquitous day laborer is hard hit by the economic crisis. Francisco Castillo showed up at the St. Joseph the Worker Center and is waiting with a hundred other workers to get to the top of the list for the few jobs that are available. Maria Marroquin, President of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Director of the Mountain View Day Worker Center said the crisis is national in scope, she’s worried and “I believe in praying.”

The Merc’s Patty Fisher reflects on the aftermath of the Christmas overload in this year of economic disaster.

Hope, a red-tailed hawk shot while flying. The bird is making a comeback at the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center in Morgan Hill. Sue Howell, executive director of the center, reminds Watch Dog that the bird of prey keeps the rodent population down – oh, and that it’s against federal law to shoot them.

Cupertino awarded $190,000 to Pacific Water Art to get the Civic Center Plaza fountains back into working order. The fountains were shut down due to concerns about parasites commonly found in public fountains and needs to be killed with ultraviolet light. (Watch Dog hopes the embarassing spelling error in the story gets fixed before anyone gets red-faced...)

More than 6 large fire engines descended upon a Los Gatos hillside home near the La Rinconada Country Club when the attic caught fire. A firefighter was injured in the Christmas night fire that was quickly brought under control. Los Gatos Observer Editor Alastair Dallas has a series of terrific photos to accompany the story.

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