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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Revered poet, novelist honored for life's work

Los Altos resident Janet Lewis has written novels and poetry. But she is not a poetess.

"It's horrible to call anyone a poetess. You're a poet, a writer or a novelist," she said.

"I was a poet." She paused. "Hell, I was a novelist."

Janet Lewis is 96.

We sat together, recently, and talked in the living room of her Los Altos Spanish-style stucco cottage where she has lived and loved and worked since 1934.

Saturday she is being honored at a signing of one of her poems, "A Celebration Morning Devotion," 1 to 3 p.m. at the Atherton Gallery in Menlo Park.

San Francisco artist Elaine Badgley/Arnoux created an etching of Lewis. The etchings (75 in a limited edition) and the poem have been published by Auroboro Press and will be donated to the Rare Books Collection of the Library of Congress, Stanford Library, and the San Francisco New Public Library.

Lewis is "well known for her clarity and her crispness," said Sally Nash Pera, a friend of Lewis. She is probably best known for her novel, "The Wife of Martin Guerre," published in 1941, and written in her house on West Portola Avenue.

"I did most of it in this room," Lewis said, as she looked around.

An Oriental rug covers some of the 1-inch oak strips in the hardwood floor. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves fill the walls.

She and her husband, Yvor Winters, a poet and critic, married in 1926 and came to this area for Winters to complete his doctorate at Stanford. When he joined the English Department there, they bought their home is Los Altos.

"Palo Alto couldn't take us in because we usually had more than two dogs. We had very fine Airedales, show dogs. And we liked to keep goats, chickens, rabbits and cats."

Lewis wrote more novels than poetry, and her first work was published while she was still in college. Later, her novel, "The Invasion," was published in 1931. "I had a baby right in the middle of (writing) it. Once a novel is up and running, it's easier to stay with it. It's harder to start one."

She said she wrote two to three hours every day on a typewriter. Her Martin Guerre manuscript was turned down as being "unlikely, improbable and hard to believe." Since then it has been published in England by Penguin and translated into French.

"The original story about Martin Guerre was real," Lewis said. "I fictionalized it, and told it from the point of view of a woman."

The movie, "The Return of Martin Guere," is based upon the same story she used in her book. "I couldn't copyright the story, just my book."

In the 1960s Lewis taught writing at Stanford in the creative writing department. Her husband died in 1968. She continued teaching and writing.

Lewis has also written "The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron," "The Trial of Soren Qvist," two children's books and opera librettos.

"The exciting moments come when you're writing. They disappear so fast, melting into your work. The moment when you see a way through a tangle ahead of you, that's a very good moment."

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