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2011 HOLIDAY FUND DECEMBER 9, 2011 VOLUME 19, NO. 47 650.964.6300 INSIDE: MOVIES | PAGE 22 Holiday Fund | P.5 Council OKs teen center construction funds By Daniel DeBolt T MICHELLE LE LET IT GLOW Festive head gear firmly in place, local children Jayden and Kiana wait in the evening chill for the start of the annual Community Tree Lighting Ceremony near Civic Center Plaza on Monday, Dec. 5. Mayor Jac Siegel presided over the event, which included live holiday music, refreshments, and the arrival of Santa Claus. Foothill professor is an astronomy star By Nick Veronin W hat does Stephen Hawking have in common with Andrew Fraknoi, chair of the Foothill College astronomy department? They are both “honorary members” of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. “I was just totally surprised and incredibly grateful for this honor,” said Fraknoi, who learned of the award last month. Abdrew Fraknoi There are only 15 people living at any given time that carry the honorary title — and all of them have contributed significantly to the field of astronomy. The Foothill professor shares the title with many gifted and hard-working astronomers, including Hawking, who is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist. “I’m in amazing company,” Fraknoi said, noting that many See STAR, page 8 Council getting serious on new shuttle service By Daniel DeBolt C ity officials have been talking about creating a Mountain View shuttle service for years, but on Tuesday City Council members raised the stakes, asking city staff to study possible routes and funding sources. INSIDE The request was made despite conflicting opinions expressed during the study session over whether a shuttle service would be useful. City staff said there were no obvious deficiencies in existing transportation services in the city, and an outside expertise required to gauge the need. City staff in 2008 recommended against such a service, which would likely be contracted out. Council members have said shuttle service could serve seniors, students and those going to and from El Camino Hospital, Mountain View High School, the teen center, See SHUTTLE, page 11 GOINGS ON 23 | MARKETPLACE 24 | REAL ESTATE 26 | VIEWPOINT 15 he City Council took decisive action Tuesday in support of a new Mountain View teen center, allocating $1.1 million to build one inside the former Rock church on Escuela Avenue. The City Council vote showed almost unanimous support for expanding the city’s small teen center, which currently serves 20 kids a day in a converted home across from the church. Only member John Inks was opposed. “From a fiscal standpoint, it is probably not the right priority,” Inks said after questioning whether a new teen center is what teens really need. Tuesday’s decision makes the teen center nearly a done deal. The council would still have to approve as much as $130,000 in additional funds every year for the annual operation of the larger center, which may serve adults when teens are in school. The move was the result of a half-decade of advocacy by community members who say teens need a place to go after school to stay out of trouble. The campaign peaked in May 2008 meeting of 200 people packed the basement of St. Joseph Church downtown for what became a tense discussion with then-Mayor Tom Means. “We will not rest until the Mountain View City Council commits to building a teen center,” said parent Christina Corona, who added that since the campaign for a teen center began, “Violence in gangs has increased and nothing has changed.” The advocacy appeared to be working in 2009 when the city paid $3.5 million to purchase the Rock Church, which sits across from the city’s senior center and Rengstorff Park. Some council members said it might be a good place to build a teen center. Nearby, there are a huge number of kids live in apartments without much space of their own, said council member Ronit Bryant on Tuesday. “Kids need a place just to be, (where they have access to healthy food while) doing homework and hanging about with their friends. In the long run saves us money because they won’t be getting into trouble,” Bryant said. The youth on the city’s Youth Advisory Committee have made some recommendations for the new teen center, including a lounge area, a quiet area with computers, free healthy food, video games, exercise classes, tutoring and counseling according to a city staff report. The new center will also have to be named. “It’s somewhat of an equity issue,” said Means, who has questioned the need for a teen center in the past. “We supply a lot of resources for seniors.” To do the same for teens is “only appropriate,” he said. The new center would be built using park “in lieu fees” paid by developers. On Tuesday the council decided to add $600,000 to $500,000 in funds already approved, which had allowed only a bare minimum of improvements, including the removal of church pews, lead and asbestos abatement, new bathrooms and new roofing, flooring and paint. The additional $600,000 will allow the city to furnish the inside of the building, buy kitchen equipment, build a multipurpose room, make security improvements and make the church look like a teen center on the outside, with signage. Council members passed on approving an additional $800,000 for See TEEN CENTER, page 10

Mountain View Voice 12.09.2011 - Section 1

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