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News

West Nile fogging commences Sept. 2

West Nile fogging commences Sept. 2


Courtesy of the Santa Clara County Vector Control District
Fogging commences Wednesday within the highlighted area.

The detection of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos means that Santa Clara County officials will begin mosquito fogging operations...

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Schools

LASD trustees reopen negotiations with Los Altos Teachers Association

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees last week directed staff to reopen negotiations with the Los Altos Teachers Association, a move intended to shore up the district’s financial picture.

According to the district’s current co...

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Community

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Alexandra McCarthy, crowned Miss Golden State Teen in July, earned “Ms. Personality” honors from her peers.

Alexandra McCarthy has a ways to go before reaching her coveted role as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Bu...

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Sports

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior running back Patrick Vargas snares a pass in practice last week.

Don’t dismiss the Eagles. Coach Trevor Pruitt is adamant that his Los Altos High football team will be better than expected.

&#...

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Comment

Car spotting 2015: A Piece of My Mind

When I was a kid, September was exciting, almost like Christmas, because that was when the Big Three automakers would reveal the new models for the upcoming year.

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Special Sections

Loving on the Edge

Loving on the Edge


Courtesy of Ford
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2015. Ford lengthened the wheel base and added cargo space, among other things. The Titanium model sells for approximately $42,000.

Once in a while, a vehicle we test-drive is just right for our...

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Business

Wine bar aims for October opening

Wine bar aims for October opening


Rendering courtesy of Honcho
Honcho, the wine and beer lounge on First Street, expects an October launch. A rendering of the space reveals the interior layout, which includes bar and lounge-style seating.

A downtown libations lounge that anticip...

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People

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

November, 1928

Lois lost a long and courageous battle with a prolonged illness on July 14th, 2015. She passed away knowing how well she was loved. She was always the life of the party and loved bringing everyone to her home for dinner or an event,...

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Travel

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades


Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 n...

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Stepping Out

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” includes, from left, Marjorie Hazeltine (as Hermia), Kristin Walter (Jean) and Adrienne Walters (Carlotta).

Los Altos Stage Company opens its ...

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Spiritual Life

Inside Mountain View

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for "Corners Grove"


Courtesy of Undiscovered Countries
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin received a New York arts festival award for a featured role in “Corners Grove,” a play she wrote.

New York recognized that one of Mountain View’s own can “make it there” when the Planet C...

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Drive Less Challenge set to begin Sunday


Photo By: Courtesy of Peg Champion
Photo Courtesy Of Peg Champion Dr. John McBirney, outside his Los Altos dental office on Second Street, competed in the Drive Less Challenge last year, challenging himself to give up “selfish habits.”

Earth Day is Sunday, which means GreenTown Los Altos is gearing up for its Drive Less Challenge.

For a two-week period starting Sunday, local residents are asked to challenge themselves to drive their cars less and instead use an alternative form of transportation to run errands and get to and from work or school.

GreenTown Los Altos’ Karen Janowski launched the challenge in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in 2011.

“Last year, our GreenTown Los Altos community collectively logged a total of 8,837 green miles, saved more than 5,400 pounds of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and placed fifth out of nine participating communities,” she said. “Our goal this year is to double our miles – and our carbon savings.”

Drive Less Challenge participants can win prizes donated by local shops and services. Grand prizes are awarded for best performance in several categories. Prizes will be presented at GreenTown’s Bike, Walk, Win! Party, scheduled 6-8 p.m. May 10 – Bike to Work Day – at 359 State Street, the pop-up bicycle shop in downtown Los Altos.

Motivation not a problem

Previous winner Dr. John McBirney recently explained his motivation for participating.

“I challenged myself to give up selfish habits,” said McBirney, a Los Altos dentist. “Instead of thinking of all the reasons not to ride my bike to the office, I asked myself, what are the reasons to ride?”

He said he found plenty.

“Riding increases vitality and clears your head. It allows you to engage with people and with your environment,” said McBirney, one of 900 Peninsula residents who took part in last year’s program. “Plus, you save energy and money.”

Chris Hlavka, another 2011 winner and a member of the Los Altos Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said she participated last year to increase awareness of alternative modes of transportation.

“Strong participation in the Challenge encourages cities like Los Altos to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists,” Hlavka said.

Tom Fenstermacher, GreenTown’s overall winner a year ago, added, “The Drive Less Challenge provided the motivation I needed to change my San Francisco commute routine. I started taking Caltrain and biking to and from the station. I got 5 miles of exercise, left work at a consistent time, caught up on email and arrived home in time for family dinner. Thanks to the Challenge, I was happier and healthier.”

Children can enter the challenge, too.

Last year Dylan Weitz, then a first-grader at Gardner Bullis School in Los Altos Hills, traveled by bike to school with his dad, Marvin, every day of the Bike Less Challenge and won in the student category for Most Miles Biked.

Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter is taking the challenge this year and plans to walk to work downtown, rather than drive.

“Walking is a great way to get to know your neighborhood,” she said. “We live in a beautiful area with fantastic weather – get out and enjoy it.”

Los Altos Hills Mayor Rich Larsen said he believes in the health and environmental benefits of biking and is challenging himself to ride to at least one meeting per week.

Challenge benefits all

Joe Eyre, a member of the Los Altos Environmental Commission, said he plans to participate again this year.

“It makes you think about what you are doing for yourself and your community, every time you head out the door,” he said.

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, motor vehicles are a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.

The Drive Less Challenge started in Menlo Park in 2009 to promote health and quality of life and to reduce solo trips in gas-powered vehicles. Each year, the program has spread to additional Peninsula communities.

To sign up for the Drive Less Challenge, visit drivelesschallenge.com.

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