Update on the Nextdoor.com private intranet for neighbors in the Surmont-Belgatos-Belwood and beyond areas – We launched our site November 17th, 2011, and 2 months later, got up to 39 people (in 32 households). As of Nov 17, 2013, our 2 year anniversary, it was 317 members in 245 homes (see image at right). We are still growing and now have a roster of 321 neighbors (248 of 567 households) or 44% of households participating. Thank you to all who’ve been active in sharing news and inviting neighbors to join us!
For those who aren’t onboard and are wondering, what is Nextdoor all about?
This is a private, online social network site for neighbors sharing with neighbors things that matter to them. Often this includes issues and concerns that otherwise we wouldn’t know about, whether a problem (break ins, solicitors), a need (babysitters, gardeners, house cleaners), an alert (coyotes spotted, skunk problems) event or other positive happenings.
Many times, this is almost like a virtual “neighborhood watch”.
I do know that people worry about their information being public. The system requires members to be verified, either by mail (free) or by phone (which requires a one cent charge to a credit card). This is done to insure that everyone in this private site is actually a neighbor – for everyone’s protection. Also, you don’t have to share your email address or phone number, but of course you can if you choose.
The Town of Los Gatos has embraced Nextdoor as a great way to facilitate communication and major town events are announced on this site also.
On the fence? Log in, have a look and see what you think. There’s a lot to like about it!
Please check it out:
And for current members, PLEASE INVITE YOUR NEIGHBORS! You can do this for free by sending postcards! Just click on the “invite” button on the top right side. The system will allow you to mail a few cards each month at no cost.
Finally, if you are not within these boundaries but are interested in Nextdoor for your area, just go to Nextdoor.com and input your address. You’ll find out right away if you are within an established neighborhood. If so, join! If not, perhaps you can begin one there yourself. It’s a great way to keep in touch.
Yesterday Jim and I attended the Los Gatos Creekside Sports Park kickoff celebration (will nearly touch Vasona Lake County Park and is just off of University Avenue) and as we often do, drove east on Blossom Hill Road to get home. Straight ahead of us, hanging over south San Jose and Santa Teresa and extending north, was a huge and darkened cloud. Smoke? Smog? Rainclouds?
We drove up Harwood Road and to the top of Harwood Court to get a better view of it. It did look like it started in south San Jose or further south than that. Some hikers were trekking up the challenging hill and we asked them if they knew if it were a fire. “Can’t smell it,” one replied “so it must be smog – just awful!” Smog, though, tends to dissipate from side to side and not hang together so tightly as what we saw.
View from Harwood Court in Los Gatos of the smokey skies created by the Cal Fire "controlled burn" in south county
We flipped on KLIV, the San Jose based AM radio station (channel 1590) that best covers local news & traffic, and learned right away that it was a controlled burn. This morning I googled the fire and learned that it’s a 2 day burn at part of Henry Coe State Park, overseen by Cal Fire, with more scheduled for today.
The Morgan Hill Times reports that “The prescribed burn is part of the ‘Western Zone Complex’ controlled fire in the remote area of the park. The fire will take place on the Middle Ridge Trail off Hobbs Road, about eight miles northeast of Morgan Hill, according to Calfire fire prevention specialist Chris Morgan. “
Two speed bumps for Belwood Gateway were planned to be installed after the August Los Gatos Town Council Meeting (which followed a May 11th traffic calming meeting at the Belwood Cabaña and a vote of the affected neighbors).
The first speed hump, which was not contested, will be placed fairly close to the community pool in the area between Belblossom and Bacigalupi on Belwood Gateway. It appears that this has the resounding endorsement of the folks who live nearby.
The second speed hump did not seem to enjoy the same unanimous approval (despite the vote). The next one, along the stretch of Belwood Gateway between Bacigalupi Drive and Harwood Road, left some Belwood of Los Gatos homeowners feeling that the process wasn’t done right, that the voting should have been teased out a little differently, and that perhaps a better resolution to the speeding and volume of traffic could be found. That resulted in another meeting, which happened earlier this evening.
Todd Capurso, the Los Gatos Director of Parks and Public Works, is very good about meeting with residents to discuss concerns, ideas, feedback etc. and this was no exception. Residents who live along the block of Belwood Gateway where the second speed bump or hump was to go (about 15 households in all) were notified of a meeting that took place tonight at 7pm in front of one of the homes. (I was notified so that I could keep the rest of the community updated via this and my other blog, LiveInLosGatos.com. Jim and Bella, our aging black lab, walked me over and then after meeting a few neighbors, continued on their walk while I stayed back to see what was decided.)
Only about half of the households had members show up for this informal discussion. One neighbor who was in favor of the traffic calming speed hump asked a couple of times why the meeting was even called since the vote was clearly in favor of this measure.
If you haven’t been to our neighborhood pizzeria, Los Gatos Pizza, the new remodel is a great reason to pop by (rather than get it by delivery)!
They’ve added a lot more flat screen TVs, improved the lighting and seating and de-cluttered the walls, making the restaurant more upscale feeling.
Remaining are, of course, the salad bar, the pool table and a few games. The pizza is still the best around!
Here’s a photo I took last night but it doesn’t do it justice. The store’s website has the old look featured in a photo from a different angle (from the entry), if you want to compare it.
Details on location:
Los Gatos Pizza
in the Walgreen’s Shopping Center
Harwood Road and Blossom Hill Road
14080 Blossom Hill Road
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Los Gatos is a great place to live, but the early explorers must have been truly thrilled when oil was discovered at Moody Gulch and later in areas that are now part of the Town of Los Gatos. A few years ago, my Live in Los Gatos blog covered the topic of the old oil pump that can be seen in a parking lot on Los Gatos Boulevard. My better half became intrigued by this topic, did some research and is providing a guest blog here, this time on the Belwood connection to oil. (Jim’s previous contribution was April 22nd, when he posted on Harwood Road being a meridian.)
Oil in Belwood? Guest post by Jim Handy, originally published on Live in Los Gatos
It may come as a surprise to most of us that there was oil drilling as far north as Los Gatos. After all, that’s a southern California phenomenon, isn’t it?
Well, the truth is that there were ten oil wells in the Los Gatos area around the turn of the last century, and one of them was right here in the Belwood neighborhood.
Old Los Gatos map showing location of oil well in Belwood neighborhood
A USGS map found in 2000 shows that there was an “old oil well” near the intersection of Harwood and Belridge*. This map was drawn about 100 years ago, and there was oil exploration here as early as the 1860s, so there’s no telling when it was drilled. In those days citizens weren’t as circumspect about telling the state what they were up to as they are today.
I’ve looked around that intersection, and have found no trace of the well, but by the time these homes were built it may have been long gone, along with any traces of its existence.
Los Gatos was not much of an oil producer. There is no evidence of any commercial activity except in the Moody Gulch area on the other side of the summit. The USGS says that most wells on this side of the hill were used privately. Still it’s interesting to think that a little part of this history happened right here in Belwood!
* Note on the map: This map shows railroad lines and trolly car lines that don’t now exist, roads with different names then the ones we know today and major thoroughfares like Blossom Hill Road entirely missing. I have taken the liberty to add a few notes to clarify the spot. Many of the numbers on the map (13, 14, 18) indicate townships and some of the straight black lines are the limits of the township and not streets. Also, the squiggly line running through most of the image is the base of Blossom Hill – the hill for which the major road was named.