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[whitespace] News From Silicon Valley's Neighborhoods

Fruit Fight
Saratoga--Locals can get pretty testy when it comes to chopping down an orchard. Saratogans have been showing up in droves at meetings with the city as of late, amid talk of transforming Heritage Orchard into some sort of recreational facility. The passionate residents contend that the orchard, while a tourist trap, is one of the few remaining here in the valley, a region that was once teeming with them. City Council is currently awaiting the results of a tear-out survey from its quarterly newsletter to see just how many folks care to salvage the fruit trees.

School Work
Willow Glen--In a city that's got nowhere to grow, it's been decades since a new school's been raised in San Jose Unified School District--the last was in 1976, to be exact. Ground was shattered just last week, however, for a 750-student grade school bearing the name of Ernesto Galarza, the Chicano educator, writer and community organizer. School bells will be ringing at the 1610 Bird Ave. site next September. When the young 'uns go home each night, the building is slated to act as a community center, something Galarza, who worked for years as a civil-rights and labor activist, no doubt would have smiled upon.

High and Dry
Los Gatos--The only retail water source in all of Los Gatos will soon be completely dry. Sweetwater Store, despite its loyal clientele of city and mountain residents, has become the latest casualty in the rising tide of Silicon Valley mom and pop shops that can't afford to pay double the rent. Store owner Randy McCalla said he was informed last October that his already hefty monthly payment would be hiked more than 100 percent. He had six months to look but hit upon zero affordable alternatives in the area. McCalla fears other small-time merchants will be facing a similar fate.

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Web extras to the June 15-21, 2000 issue of Metro.

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