Little Free Library in Belwood of Los Gatos!

Little Free Library in Belwood of Los GatosA couple of nights ago, I was out walking in the neighborhood with my daughter when we noticed a “Little Free Library” stand at 100 Belhaven Drive (at the corner with Harwood Road).  It had a few books inside and said “take a book, return a book”.  Apparently there are little free libraries all over the place, but it was the first we’d learned of it.

The website for Little Free Library says that their mission is

  • To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.
  • To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
This appears to be a new phenomena.  Navigating around the website, there’s a link to a map with their sites. This new one in Belwood isn’t shown, but there’s one in Almaden, 2 in Cambrian, 1 in Campbell, and another in West San Jose. Kudos to our neighbors for getting it started here!
For more information, please see

Fire in Belgatos Park near Bacigalupi and Westhill Drives, believed started by 3 kids, contained within an hour by fire department

A fire was set, apparently by three kids, in Belgatos Park this afternoon. (Whether by accident or on purpose remains to be known.)  Homes were evacuated along Santa Rosa and flames got terribly close to houses on Westhill Drive, but fortunately no residences were harmed by the blaze.  Fire fighters arrived by land and air very quickly, and within an hour, the fire was under control.

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive.    Photo by Trish McCauley

Fire in Belgatos Park near side entrance on Bacigalupi Drive. Photo by Trish McCauley

At the time of its eruption, I was in central San Jose at a listing presentation.  When I got out, around 4:30pm, I checked messages and had a text from my friend and wonderful pet-sitter, Trish McCauley, who alerted me to the situation. She also took a couple of photos.  At left is one she took from Bacigalupi Drive at the intersection with Belwood Gateway.

Luckily, though, the word got out about the fire via social media, too:

For those of you who are on Facebook, there’s a group called Belwood Area Residents with great info shared. Pauline Wilson broke the news there at 3:33pm today.  Photos posted by Dave Klenske of the work going on to contain the fire by air and the smoldering fire too. If you are on FB and a resident, join the group if you haven’t done so already and have a peek at his pics:

Mention was also made on the Nextdoor site for the neighborhood too by Kate Carr – many thanks for spreading the word!  (If you haven’t joined, please do!)  Http://

(Unless you happen to be connected to someone who sees the fire and alerts you, it’s great to get an update by a large group of neighbors such as we find on Nextdoor and Facebook, so I highly encourage everyone to join both sites.)

Back to our household –  Jim was out at an appointment at the same time that I was, too, but when we converged at home, he and our daughter, Clair, walked up to the park to see what, if anything, was still going on. He spoke with Ranger Dave Gray, who said that 3 kids (appx age 10?) were seen running from the area when the fire started.   Jim also  chatted with a neighbor, who said she saw the kids running away and explained that they were “young teenagers”.

Clair, meanwhile, kindly took a lot of photos for me so that I could share them with anyone else who wasn’t around when everything happened.  Below are the photos she took for this blog.

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos,  Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, Fire July 23 2012 - scorched grassy area by Bacigalupi Drive gate

“Cardboard hill” is a blackened mess right now.

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

Firefighters cleaning up July 23 2012 at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

After several hours of work, the firefighters rolled up hoses and prepared to call it a day.

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

Firetrucks close up at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos

There were multiple fire trucks and other vehicles from the Santa Clara County Fire Department, but also helicopters and planes from the CDF involved today.

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos,  fire cleanup

Ranger Dave Gray on the scene at the Belgatos Park, Los Gatos, fire cleanup


UPDATE:  Patch Los Gatos reports today that 3 14 year old boys were involved, one of whom started the blaze using lighter fluid.  The teen, a resident of San Jose, was arrested, charged with felony arson and has since been released to his parents.  Read the article here:

Alert from Mulberry School Regarding Dark Blue Van Near Belwood

My friend Kirstie Leary, who’s one of the owners of, shared with me the notice from Mulberry School on Harwood Road today:

A white male in his 50s, driving a dark blue van, has been seen approaching young children in the Clovis Avenue-Harwood Road neighborhood, on the other side of Blossom Hill. Specifically, the man was seen driving down Clovis Avenue, and stopped near the corner at Amby Drive yesterday. He approached girls while playing in the leaves in front of their own house, indicating that he wanted to take their picture because they were so cute. When the man was approached by the parent, he took off in a hurry down the street. 

There was reportedly a large teddy bear in the front passenger side of his van, which had the appearance of a work vehicle. The van was dark blue, about 10 years old, with an extension ladder on the roof. 

The incident was reported to the police because it was suspicious and scary. Please call 911 if you see suspicious activity.

Please take a moment to share with your child what to do if approached by strangers. Working together to create a plan of how to handle such a situation can be most helpful for everyone.

Please keep your eyes open and call 911 if you see something suspicious!

Helicopters repeatedly flying over Belwood and Belgatos Park

Helicopters over Belwood and Belgatos Park on 6-24-2011

Helicopters over Belwood and Belgatos Park on 6-24-2011

My husband, Jim, likes to joke that “if you like helicopters, live in Los Gatos“.  We seem to be a chopper magnet, especially in the east Los Gatos areas near Belgatos Park.

Last Friday, and again yesterday, there was a helicopter apparently practicing something as it flew low over Belwood, Belgatos Park and the Santa Rosa Drive area in the hills at the end of Harwood Road.  What were they doing?

This is not a new problem for us (and in fact I blogged about it on my Live in Los Gatos blog in the spring of 2007) but there are times I just want to scream at them to knock it off.   I finally called the town of Los Gatos, was transferred to the non-emergency police line where a kindly officer said that he’d had a few complaints but no answers as to what was going on.  “We’re trying to find out,” he assured me.

Like many, I vented a little on Facebook.  One friend thought that the birds were there due to some sort of fencing project.  Another suggested that it was a practice run for firefighters pretending to grab water from Lexington Reservoir to put out fires on the Sierra Azule range.  Who knows.

Graffitti in Belwood and Belgatos area? Unfortunately, yes. Report it!

Graffitti mars a stop sign at Belvue Drive and Bacigalupi Avenue in Los GatosHave you seen the newly arrived graffitti in the Belwood (and Belgatos, and Surmont) areas of Los Gatos?

It’s easy to get it cleaned up: just phone or email it in!

About a week or so ago, Jim and I were out walking the dog when we saw some tagging on Harwood Road and I snapped some pics and emailed it in to the Los Gatos police. Within a couple of hours, volunteers had it all as good as new!

Thank you, graffitti patrol!

When I emailed the police, I copied Alastair Dallas of the Los Gatos Observer (a great online publication with Los Gatos news and commentary) and he did a piece about emailing the officials and how fast it got cleaned up.

What really surprised me, though, was that the next day, Daniel Garza of NBC 11 phoned me and asked to do a t.v. interview with me. It was broadcast on the 7pm news.

The next day, our letter carrier, Randy, told us that there was more tagging on Belvue – so I checked it out,  found one spot on a sign and another on a sidewalk,  and again emailed it in.

So what can you do if you find graffitti in Los Gatos?

Email: or Phone: (408) 354-8600
Give them the exact address so that they can ask the kindly volunteers to take care of it (and if you have a phone handy, snap a pic and send it along too – though that’s not necessary).

Let’s keep an eye out so that we can keep our neighborhood clean!




Thank you, firefighters and tow truck drivers!

New buds on a tree at Belgatos Park, Los Gatos - Feb 27, 2008Thanks to the Santa Clara County Fire Department’s good folks in Los Gatos for assisting at Belgatos Park today. A woman found herself outside her locked car with two youngsters in carseats on the inside! Two towtruck drivers from Dick’s Automotive were also on hand to assist.

All’s well that ends well. The woman got her car unlocked, the kids were fine, ad everyone was happy for an easy and happy resolution. A good day in Los Gatos.