Community briefs | September 13, 2019 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - September 13, 2019

Community briefs

Mountain lions retreat from preserve

All trails at Rancho San Antonio are open, but visitors are advised to keep an eye out for mountain lions and report any sightings to rangers.

The popular open space preserve fully reopened to the public on Aug. 29 after nearly a week of closures caused by mountain lion activity in the area.

A mountain lion and her three adolescent cubs were believed to be living in or near the preserve, according to Leigh Ann Gessner, public affairs specialist with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Leading up to the closures, preserve visitors made repeated sightings of the animals, who exhibited an apparent lack of fear toward humans. Midpeninsula biologists and officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife monitored the situation and attempted to draw the lions away from the preserve.

According to Gessner, the mountain lions moved to less-used areas of Rancho San Antonio of their own volition, prompting district officials to halt the operation and reopen the park.

Gessner said that depending on the lions' behavior, trails could be closed again in the near future. She advised visitors to remain vigilant and report any sightings to park rangers by calling 650-691-2165.

Visitors to the preserve who encounter wildlife should not run away. Instead, slowly back away, while try to appear as large as possible and make loud noises to scare the animals, Gessner said.

—Nisha Malley

PYT fundraiser this Saturday

Peninsula Youth Theatre (PYT) is holding its annual fundraising gala in Mountain View this Saturday, Sept. 14, to help support the nonprofit's performing arts programs for children.

Planned events at the "Au Cabaret" gala include theatrical music performances, desserts, wine and a silent auction. PYT relies heavily on fundraising events like Au Cabaret, with donations making up about 30% of the its annual budget.

"It's a fabulous time where our community can come out and support arts education," said Karen Simpson, PYT executive director, in a statement.

PYT, located at 2500 Old Middlefield Road, has been a cornerstone of Mountain View's youth performing arts for decades, hosting productions, camps and classes for thousands of children and teens each year. Although PYT serves children throughout the region, it has deep roots in Mountain View with school-based play programs and partnerships with the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts.

The school recently faced a significant rent hike and had to cede part of its studio property to another tenant, losing storage space and its ancillary stage. Even with the lost space, PYT is still paying $4,000 more per month under the new lease deal.

The gala is being held in the Redwood Room of the Mountain View Community Center, located at 201 S. Rengstorff Ave., from 6:30-10 p.m. Tickets are $50, and sponsors who donate more money — ranging from $250 to $1,000 — are eligible for special prizes and commendations.

Tickets are available online at http://tinyurl.com/pyt14.

—Kevin Forestieri

Preschool expands in Mountain View

The Wonder Years Preschool is unveiling the expansion of its Mountain View campus at 92-86 West El Camino on Saturday, Sept. 14, with an open house from 1 to 5 p.m.

The newly constructed, two-story building provides an additional 4,800 square feet to the location and allows Wonder Years to enroll up to 72 more students between the ages of 18 months to 5 years old.

With the new building, the entire campus can house 180 children and 24 teachers and teaching assistants.

According to Executive Director Helen Szteinbaum, the expansion serves to meet the growing demands of its customer base and Mountain View's changing population due to local development. Wonder Years operates two preschools in Mountain View, one in San Carlos and one in Palo Alto.

Over 700 existing and prospective students and alumni have been invited to the event, said Szteinbaum. Mayor Lisa Matichak will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

Szteinbaum described the curriculum as play-based with an age-appropriate academic component, emphasizing its philosophical focus on a child's individualism. The school also offers Spanish and Mandarin immersion programs and enrichment programs, including music, dance, gymnastics and yoga.

The first day of school for students in the new building is set for Oct. 1.

While Szteinbaum said the school already has a lengthy waitlist for the upcoming school year, it is still accepting applications, primarily for toddlers ages 2 to 3.

Tuition for a full-time preschool aged-child (3 to 5 years old) costs $1,800 per month, with varying rates for other ages and part-time students.

More information is at thewonderyearspreschool.net.

—Nisha Malley

Rape crisis funding OK'd

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez pushed the Board of Supervisors to boost funding for rape crisis centers Tuesday.

The board approved a proposal from Chavez to fund $600,000 toward two rape crisis center providers in the county, YWCA Silicon Valley and Community Solutions.

The proposal passed on consent at the Sept. 10 meeting in a move that will increase support for sexual assault survivors who need quick access to services following an assault.

"I'm happy to play a leadership role and make sure we get these funds right now," Chavez said Tuesday. "We really need the state to step up and fund rape crisis services statewide."

The $600,000 will come from the county's general fund contingency reserve, with a $503,000 majority going to YWCA, and $97,000 going to Community Solutions. Chavez said this will help with staffing needs at both centers.

"Really this is our attempt at leveling the playing field for people in our community who are really in high need of these services," she said.

Tanis Crosby, CEO for YWCA, said this extra funding from the county shows local leaders are answering a call to action, where Gov. Gavin Newsom fell short when he did not renew $5 million in one-time funding for rape crisis centers in his May budget revision. Without that renewed funding, Crosby says statewide funding for programs like hers through next year will amount to just $45,000.

Crosby's organization and other rape crisis centers provide victim advocates who offer guidance and counseling to victims while reporting their assault.

"The state needs to step up," Crosby said. "We have state laws that provide survivors with the legal right for service, but the state does not fund this service."

PG&E bankruptcy

PG&E on Monday filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan in another step to, among other efforts, compensate wildfire victims, PG&E officials said.

The San Francisco-based company said the plan filed Monday will not raise or lower customers' rates while compensating wildfire victims "fairly."

PG&E's liability would be limited to $17.9 billion if the court approves the plan.

Wildfire victims and certain public entities would receive no more than $8.4 billion.

PG&E is trying to reorganize before June 30, 2020, so the company can participate in the state's —Bay City News Service

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