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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Bound for Beijing

John Gall bats for the St. Louis Cardinals. Gall, now with the Marlins organization, is headed to the Olympics.

John Gall's dream remains getting back to the big leagues – and sticking there. But playing in the minors this year has allowed the St. Francis High graduate to pursue another dream: an Olympic gold medal.

Gall will represent the United States in baseball this month at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

"It's definitely a thrill," Gall said of being chosen for Team USA, comprised of 23 minor leaguers and one college player. "It's strange how it came about, but I'm as happy as anyone to be here."

After learning in May that he was on a list of 60 finalists for a team that precluded selecting major leaguers, Gall said he had no idea he would make it until the day before the roster was announced July 16.

"I got a phone call on the way to the Triple A all-star game – I was on the plane," said Gall, a first baseman/outfielder for the Albuquerque Isotopes, an affiliate of the Florida Marlins. "It was an exciting phone call to get."

Bob Watson, in charge of selecting the squad as USA Baseball General Manager of Professional Baseball Operations, recently said he sought experienced players. At 30, Gall is the fourth-oldest member of the team and one of 14 Triple-A players on board. Gall has been playing professionally since 2000, the year the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him out of Stanford University in the 11th round.

The Cardinals called up Gall to the majors twice – the first time in 2005 when he made the playoff roster – before releasing him midway through the 2006 season. He finished the year with the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball League. Gall returned stateside the next season, signing with the Marlins organization.

Gall's second season with the Isotopes is shaping up to be his best. He made the midseason Pacific Coast League All-Star Team by batting .319 with 12 home runs, 27 doubles and 72 RBIs.

"It's been a good year," Gall said. "I think it was a factor (in being selected for Team USA)."

Although Gall's selection hurts his chances of returning to the big leagues this year, he has no regrets about going to Beijing.

"I'm giving that up, but it's a fairly easy decision," said Gall, who played three games with the Marlins last season. "The Olympics are a one-time deal."

And Gall would like nothing better than to seal the deal with a gold medal. But it won't be easy. Although baseball is billed as the national pastime, Team USA is not favored to win the gold. Like other sports invented here, the rest of the world is figuring out how to play baseball at a high level.

"We're not the favorites and we know that, but we've got a shot," said Gall, a 1996 graduate of St. Francis. "We should be in the hunt. Cuba is an international powerhouse and so is Japan, and we may have less experience, but we'll compete for sure."

After his first workout with Team USA, which came last week at Santa Clara University, Gall called the collection of players "one of the most talented teams I've been on." The squad – guided by World Series-winning manager Davey Johnson – includes outfielder Matt LaPorta (a top prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization) and pitcher Stephen Strasburg (a potential No. 1 pick from San Diego State).

Gall said his teammates "are really positive" and he doesn't expect them to be consumed by how many innings they will log or which role they will play.

"We don't know what it is or care – we just want to win," the Portola Valley native said. "We get to take the professional nature of baseball out of it and simplify it down to winning."

Gall's family won't be joining him in Beijing, but they will be watching on TV.

"Definitely," said his wife Megan Gall (nee Jones), who grew up in Los Altos Hills and met John at St. Francis. "We're so excited."

The Galls have a son, Drew, born seven months ago. They live in Albuquerque during the season and make their home in Millbrae the rest of the year. One of the Galls' Bay Area neighbors is an Olympian as well.

"The funny thing is that we live in a cul-de-sac and the girl across the street did the javelin in 1996 in Atlanta," Megan said, referring to Nicole Lewis (nee Carroll). "What are the odds of that?"

Now John hopes to bring home a medal, something that eluded his neighbor. He said the gold would rank right up there with his other career highlights, which include playing in the College World Series, getting his first major league at-bat and batting in the 2005 playoffs.

But win or lose, medal or no medal, Gall expects the Olympic experience to be a memorable one.

"Just the opening ceremonies will be pretty cool," he said. "I can't wait."

Team USA's opening game is scheduled Aug. 13 against Korea.

Contact Pete Borello at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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