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    YSI programs Great news for budding young environmental scientists in the South Bay: The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has re-upped its partnership with the nonprofit Youth Science Institute to lead educational programs at two local parks. The programs will continue for the next five years at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos and Sanborn County Park in Saratoga. The renewed partnership went into effect last month, under which the county provides facilities, and in lieu of rent YSI offers some of its programs free of charge to children and families at both locations. To learn more about YSI, visit https://www.ysi-ca.org. Warming centers open As cold weather looms, the Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management offers warming centers—often public buildings like libraries and community centers—for residents without reliable access to shelter and warmth during extreme weather. During these times, Valley Transportation Authority offers free bus rides to approved warming centers. For a full list of these centers, visit http://PrepareSCC.org/ColdWeather or call 408-385-2400. Water use falls After exceeding its water conservation goal in back-to-back months, Santa Clara...
    This year has so far been a busy one for Saratoga, from record-setting turnout to its council meetings to new public safety measures. Saratoga held its annual State of the City event Saturday afternoon at the Joan Pisani Community Center to update residents on safety, finances, transparency and community engagement . Mayor Tina Walia spoke to the audience of approximately 100 residents, public officials and law enforcement personnel and handed out some awards. Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, state Sen. Dave Cortese and public officials from neighboring cities also attended the event. “The path to achievement isn’t always straightforward. When I’ve faced challenges this year, I reminded myself why I chose to run for city council in the first place,” Walia said. “I set out to encourage community engagement and seek residents’ feedback to guide my decisions.” One of the biggest challenges Saratoga faced this year was allocating future housing growth for the state-mandated Housing Element. The issue drew hundreds of residents to virtually attend public meetings. The state said Saratoga has to plan for 1,700 new housing units...
    Residents with questions for Santa Clara County Sheriff’s or fire personnel might want to head to the Saratoga Safety Fair Thursday, Sept. 15, to talk one-on-one with public safety organizations and city officials about wildfires and crime prevention. The fair is set for 6-8 p.m. at the Saratoga Senior Center, located at 19655 Allendale Ave. The annual event was held as a drive-through last year but will be back in person this year. Participating agencies include the Sheriff’s Office, County Fire, Saratoga’s Community Emergency Response Team, Los Gatos-Saratoga Recreation, Collaborating Agencies Disaster Relief Effort and city staff. Households can register for a 30-40 minute time slot to attend and receive a free Neighborhood Watch gift bag. This year, gifts will include reflective items for visibility and water bottles, Saratoga staff said. “This is a great time to ask the experts questions about your specific needs, like what you can do to prevent crime from occurring at your home and in your neighborhood, or how to harden your home to prevent a wildfire from spreading,” Mayor Tina Walia said in an...
    Hakone lantern festival Hakone Estate and Gardens is hosting a toro nagashi, a Japanese river lantern festival, Aug. 4-5 at 7 p.m. Festival participants will release candlelit lanterns into the water together with their prayers for peace. At the end of the Obon season, families in Japan send off the spirits of their ancestors using lights called the okuribi. The toro nagashi is a type of okuribi. Tickets for Hakone’s festival are $30 at Eventbrite.com. Hakone is located at 21000 Big Basin Way. Vaccines in Saratoga The Saratoga Retirement Community has onboarded as a public vaccine provider for Santa Clara County. The life-plan retirement community for seniors is now providing Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen COVID vaccinations and boosters to residents of Santa Clara County by appointment only. Santa Clara County residents can make an appointment for vaccination or booster shots by calling 408-741-7208. Saratoga Retirement Community is located at 14500 Fruitvale Ave. Montalvo summer luncheons The Montalvo Service Group is hosting a series of weekly Summer Luncheons on Wednesdays in August and September. Visitors can dine al fresco on the front and...
    SAN JOSE — Surrounded by an expanse of suburban sprawl on the city’s western edge along its Saratoga border is the site envisioned for San Jose’s latest urban village where residents eventually could live, walk, bike, and shop, all within blocks of each other. The El Paseo de Saratoga shopping center redevelopment, approved unanimously by the San Jose City Council Tuesday night, is expected to vastly transform two pieces of land along Saratoga Avenue, Lawrence Expressway and Quito Road. Branded by some real estate watchers as a Santana Row-esque development, the project will have 994 units of housing — 150 of them affordable — and 165,949 square feet of commercial space, with a Whole Foods as an anchor store. Building heights are expected to soar 99 to 132 feet, or nine to 12 stories, into the air. And developers plan to incorporate 3.5-acres of open space, including a 1.1-acre park, with fountains, seating, garden terraces and a dog park into the project. The largest section of the development, at 1312 El Paseo de Saratoga, will see a revamp of the westernmost...
    First came Flowers Restaurant, now Flower Flour bakery comes to Saratoga. Flowers has become one of Saratoga’s most popular restaurants, showcasing imaginative “New American” cuisine in a shareable format. Love the yellow fin tuna ice cream cones and fried chicken with truffled honey sauce on the side, beautifully presented. www.flowerssaratoga.com Another genre of imaginative eats, Flower Flour Patisserie and Artisan Cakes is open in the Village. “Our signature chocolate cake is popular,” Manager Amye Dickson says. “My favorite is the guava mousse cake.” Dickson says the owners chose Saratoga for Flower Flour’s third location “because it embodies what we strive for… family-friendly, neighborly and a great find on a small scale.” They will create custom cakes (works of art) for weddings, birthdays or special events. Coffee, croissants and pastries are served inside or on their patio. 14598 Big Basin Way, www.flower-flour.com The Saratoga Independence Day celebration will be back in full force July 4, with a 9:30 start time. It’s a great event with a band concert, parade around the park and free popsicles, and residents of all ages are...
    Northern Saratoga residents were left feeling frustrated after city council finalized its Housing Element sites at a Feb. 16 meeting, allocating large portions of the city’s future housing development near their neighborhoods. The vote came after months of community pushback and several late night council meetings that broke the record for highest community turnout and were largely dominated by public comment. Still, residents living above Highway 85 said they felt disappointed in the council’s decision-making process and disproportionately impacted by the proposed housing. “We feel that it’s highly skewed toward a small area of Saratoga, north of 85. People have been asking for a more equitable plan,” Saratoga resident Karthick Iyer said. “We have the perception that the council seems to be favoring one part of the city over another.” Iyer and a group of other residents said these projected housing sites will unfairly burden their neighborhoods with increased traffic and public safety concerns, and will overpopulate schools. Saratoga Mayor Tina Walia said the Housing Element was the “biggest challenge the city of Saratoga has faced since its incorporation.” Council...
    When looking ahead to 2022, newly appointed Saratoga Mayor Tina Walia said community engagement is one of her top priorities. Saratoga has a busy year ahead, from updating the Housing Element to maintaining the city’s financial stability and public safety. “I’m super excited to serve the community as mayor this year,” Walia said. “One of my top priorities is to ensure our local government remains accessible and available to all, because it’s incredibly important to me that we receive residents’ feedback.” Council’s biggest responsibility for 2022 is completing the Housing Element, the city’s plan for housing development. Bay Area cities are required by state law to outline plans for developing affordable housing under the regional Housing Needs Allocation. “Right now, the biggest focus is the housing element. It’s going to change our community,” Walia said. “For that, the community has seen a level of outreach that has not happened in the city in a very long time, if ever.” The state determined that Saratoga must add 454 very low-income housing units, 261 low-income housing units, 278 moderately priced units and...
    Prepping for cold Santa Clara County officials are urging residents to prepare for cold weather expected to hit the South Bay in the coming months. Extreme cold weather, like extreme heat, is particularly dangerous for the town’s older residents. Officials ask residents to look out for their neighbors and to prepare by visiting PrepareSCC.org/ColdWeather. Youth sought for task force Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian is encouraging young people who are looking to make a difference in the community to serve as Santa Clara County Youth Task Force (YTF) representatives for his District 5, which includes Saratoga. The task force is an advisory board that works directly with the Board of Supervisors, policymakers and other decision-makers to address issues that affect young people in the county. They also work to educate their peers on the issues that affect their communities—such as foster youth and LGBTQ issues, and youth homeless housing—and to find solutions and develop policies to address these issues. “Being a member of the YTF was a unique opportunity for me to take on a leadership role and...
    Who will be named “outstanding in their field?” It’s shaping up to be a spirited competition as 50-plus Saratoga scarecrows vie for top prize in four categories in the second annual Scarecrow Competition, where residents vote for the winners. The Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Saratoga Rotary Club and Saratoga Area Senior Coordinating Council have joined forces for the competition, open to businesses and residents alike. While the first scarecrows in recorded history were used by Egyptians to protect wheat fields along the Nile River from quail, the Saratoga Village scarecrows are intended to provide eye-catching interest for visitors. Current contest entries in the Village include Spiderman, an umbrella lady, a happy cartwheeling family, chefs and a taiko drummer. Some are store-bought, while others are homemade. Either way, they’re decorating neighborhoods, posing on benches and porch chairs, and swinging from street signs. Saratoga resident Giovanna Schenini got into the seasonal spirit with her entry. “I was just going to do a simple scarecrow,” she says, “but once I started making my scarecrow, I got inspired to be more creative and decorate...
    The Aug. 18 Saratoga Chamber mixer, hosted by Help & Care, welcomed new businesses: Many Friends Brewery (set to open next month on Big Basin) and Saratoga’s favorite and only bar, The Bank, among others. Tiger Teerlink announced the Saratoga Classic and Cool Car Show will be back July 24, 2022. Event host Help & Care provides non-medical home health care. 14417 Big Basin Way, Suite #B, https://helpandcare.com Chamber President Chuck Page invited all to join the End of Summer Music Fest at Wildwood Park. This has been a very popular event for families. Music by local bands will play from 2-7:30 p.m. Note: no outside liquor is allowed, and dogs are welcome on a leash. Seating is on the lawn, so bring chairs or blankets. www.saratogachamber.org Have you noticed that Blaney Plaza looks terrific? Thanks to the City for revamping the welcome sign, and to the Village Gardeners. Volunteers, including students from Saratoga Elementary, Redwood Middle and Saratoga High schools, have been working, accompanied by parents. “The students have been instrumental and have come almost every Tuesday all summer...
    You may have grown up among the fruit orchards of Saratoga or enjoyed your own fruit tree bounty; you may live in Saratoga today or in your fond memories. We share your value of the agricultural traditions and fabulous fruit of the Santa Clara Valley, and are reaching out to ask that you write a letter of support for the Novakovich Orchards family to regain the management contract for Saratoga’s Heritage Orchard. Last year, after 43 years of faithful, fruitful service, the city of Saratoga abruptly severed its contract with Novakovich Orchards and awarded a one-year contract to a Santa Cruz County landscape maintenance company called Orchard Keepers for 32% more than its contract with Novakovich Orchard. Unfortunately, Orchard Keepers’ management skills and organic farming technology did not meet the Heritage Orchard’s needs. In the course of one year, Orchard Keepers mismanagement of the Heritage Orchard caused severe damage to the fruit trees, and the majority of the crop was wasted. Contrary to the requirements of their contract, Orchard Keepers failed to adequately prune and thin the fruit trees, manage...
    SARATOGA (CBS SF) — A man was arrested after Saratoga residents who were out of the country were alerted to a burglary at their home and contacted authorities. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said the residents of a home on the 14000 block of Chester Ave. reported seeing someone inside their house via security cameras after receiving a notification Thursday night. Deputies who responded to the home saw a suspect vehicle parked in front of the house with the engine running, and as deputies approached vehicle drove away. As deputies chased, the vehicle lost control and stopped in Campbell, with the driver running away, the sheriff’s office said. After a lengthy search, he was found and arrested. The suspect was identfied as 26-year-old Victor Galvez. Deputies at the scene in Saratoga chased other suspects seen jumping over fences and running through backyards along Chester Ave., but a search involving 30 deputies and two helicopters did not locate the other suspects. The search ended at around 11:45 p.m. The sheriff’s office said deputies remained in the neighborhood overnight in marked...
    While the issues that plagued us in 2020 will still be with us in the new year, plenty of local residents were happy to show the old year the door. Community leaders are expressing cautious optimism about what 2021 has in store for Saratoga as the pandemic wears on. Despite the contentious council meeting that resulted in her appointment, new Saratoga Mayor Yan Zhao is ready to face the year ahead. “I’ve been so proud of Saratoga residents this year—helping neighbors in need, supporting small businesses and navigating these challenging times,” Zhao says. “After all we have seen this year, I have never been more confident in Saratoga’s resilience, and I look forward to working with our outstanding residents to continue building and strengthening our community.” Jill Hunter, who heads the Saratoga Village Development Council, has watched with concern as Village businesses have weathered the changing pandemic restrictions. “I feel so sad about their ordeal,” Hunter says. “I had hoped when the parklets were put in by the city—which are now no longer allowed—things would improve. I can only cross my...
    Hakone needs help In the ninth month of pandemic restrictions, Hakone Estate and Gardens is feeling the effects of being unable to host private gatherings, which make up 60% of its operating revenue. Two areas that have been affected are garden maintenance and the health of the fish in Hakone’s koi pond. To that end, the Waltonsmith family has pledged $10,000 to match donations through Dec. 31. To donate to the Hakone Foundation, visit http://hakone.com/donate-to-hakone.html. Plant-based Bingo Plant-Based Advocates, a Los Gatos-based group that promotes plant-based diets, has devised the Earth-Friendly Bingo Challenge—25 activities that residents can do to reduce their environmental impact, improve their health and generally reduce their carbon footprint. These activities range from using reusable shopping bags to composting food. Residents of Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga and Monte Sereno can play the game via the group’s webstite. Those who complete at least five activities can submit their bingo card for a chance to win prizes including gift certificates to local businesses. The group is also conducting a survey of local residents to gauge interest in eating...
    RYDE needs drivers RYDE (Reach Your Destination Easily) is looking for volunteer drivers for its senior transportation program, which provides rides to local residents ages 65 and older. RYDE volunteers can choose how many rides a week they want to give. Drivers are also needed to deliver essential needs such as groceries to vulnerable residents. For COVID-19 compliance, RYDE is offering custom plexiglass dividers to go between and clients, along with other personal protection equipment. Both clients and drivers are now following strict healthy and safety requirements. To volunteer or for more information, contact RYDE coordinator Joe at 408-892-9739 or joe@sascc.org. Winter wildlife talks The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has a couple online events lined up for those interested in how local wildlife spends the winter months. The authority will present “A Healthy Way to Help Winter Wildlife” on Dec. 11, when residents can learn how to create backyard sanctuaries for critters struggling to find enough food and shelter during the cold months. This Zoom presentation is set for noon-12:45 p.m. On Dec. 18 authority educational aide Kat and...
    SARATOGA (CBS SF) — Fire crews helped two residents escape a burning home in Saratoga, Monday night. Firefighters responded at about 7:27 p.m. to a report that a resident was unable to get out of the home located in the 20200 block of Bonnie Brae Way, according to the Santa Clara County Fire Department. When crews arrived, they found smoke and fire coming from the 2-story, single-family home, according to officials. Firefighters entered the home, rescued one resident and helped another resident leave the burning structure. (SANTA CLARA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT) Both residents were transported to the hospital. It took crews about 20 minutes to contain the blaze. Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading, but the home sustained smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
    SARATOGA – Firefighters on Monday night rescued two people from a two-alarm house fire in Saratoga, authorities said. The fire was reported on Bonnie Brae Way, near Los Gatos-Saratoga and Montalvo roads, about 7:30 p.m., the Santa Clara County Fire Department said. Firefighters arrived to find smoke coming from the front of the two-story home and flames extending to the rear. The fire department said firefighters immediately entered the home and rescued one resident who was trapped. Firefighters also helped a second resident escape. Both residents were taken to a hospital, one with minor injuries and the second as a precaution. A second alarm was called, and the blaze was brought under control within about 20 minutes. The home sustained fire damage to a majority of the living spaces and smoke and water damage throughout, the fire department said. The residents are receiving assistance from the Red Cross. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
    Expectations for retirement living have escalated since the Saratoga Retirement Community (SRC) was built in 1912, and management is faced with a growing population of seniors who want to continue to live locally as they age. Proponents of a plan to increase the number of independent living residences on the Fruitvale Avenue campus from 143 to 195 say it would allow more local seniors to age in place in familiar surroundings. Currently, 85 percent of SRC residents are from Los Gatos and Saratoga. “The last major renovation of campus was 20 years ago,” says Brian McLemore, president and CEO of Pacific Retirement Services, which manages the facility. “The people who live here today are here because we expanded.” The 37-acre property currently has 143 independent living residences, 107 assisted living apartments, 15 memory support suites and 94 skilled nursing and rehabilitation suites. The expansion plan calls for 52 new independent living residences in three structures ranging from 1,038 to 2,380 square feet. The number of assisted living units would decrease to 88, and existing 340-square-foot studio apartments would be replaced...
    Movies at Montalvo Montalvo Arts Center can’t hold its usual concert series this summer, but they are screening movies on the grounds of Villa Montalvo. Spike Lee’s dark comedy “BlacKkKlansman” is up next at Montalvo’s Sunset Cinema Drive-In, with a showing set for Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. This story of a Black police officer going undercover inside the KKK in the 1970s was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. At press time, films were being scheduled for Aug. 21 and Sept. 18, and a Sunday night series in partnership with the Pruneyard Cinemas is being planned for Aug. 23-Sept. 27. Entry is $25 per car. For more information, visit http://montalvoarts.org/programs/sunset_cinema. Project is one for the books With libraries closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Boy Scout Amay Tripathi decided that his Eagle Scout Project would involve getting Saratoga residents access to books. The scout from Troop 508 built two little library boxes at Saratoga parks for people to leave and take books. Amay led other scouts in the construction and installation of the little libraries,...
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