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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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Car rebuilder-enthusiast George Ellis believes in the American Way

Los Altos Hills resident George Ellis, pictured here with a 1940 Buick convertible, left, and a 1946 Buick sedan, has restored more than 200 cars as a hobby.

Photo by Monique Schoenfeld, Town CrierWhen George Ellis was flying for the Navy during World War II, he spent many hours wondering what he would do when the war was over. When he and a fellow Navy flier found out flying was too expensive, they decided to buy old cars and restore them.

"By now, I have restored more than 200 old cars as a hobby, and when I finished them I make a trade off for other cars," Ellis said. " I remember trading off a restored Dusenberg for eight cars."

Ellis has been restoring cars since the late 1940s, and recently retired to play golf. He still restores cars for friends and selected automobiles to keep occupied.

"Six cars I restored were in last month's Palo Alto Concours d' Elegance," Ellis said. "I used to be a judge at the Concourse, but if I won an award and was showing at the same time, it looked too political, so I just restored cars."

Ellis has always been a stickler about authenticity. When restoring cars, Ellis believes they should have authentic parts, not plastic parts like some cars have.

"Up until 1941, white wall tires were white on both sides of the tire. After 1946 they only put white on one side," Ellis said. "When I showed a car at a recent concourse, the judges docked me for having white on both sides. The judges didn't know what authentic means. They were more interested in exotic, vintage and high performance cars. I did a lot of judging in my time, but not anymore. You hurt too many people's feelings."

According to Ellis, two purists come to mind. Anyone who belongs to a Model A club knows what authenticity means. When people show a Model A, he said, everything on the car will be authentic and the judges know what is original.

The other instance was the Bill Harrah collection of cars in Reno. Harrah was a purist, Ellis Said, and all the cars in his collection were as pure as they could possibly be. After Harrah died, his collection was sold to different collectors through out the world at a premium.

Ellis's favorite car is the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. Cadillac introduced it in 1957 for $17,500. The 4-door sedan automobile had a stainless steel top and weighed 6,800 pounds. Ellis said the car had all the automatics, dual quads and the first of dual head lights. Cadillac only made 501 cars in this class.

Another car Ellis enjoyed was the Continental Mark II before it became the Lincoln Continental. "I bought a new Continental Mark II and drove it 380,000 miles," Ellis said. "There is only a little bit of a difference between a good car and a great car, and the Mark II was a great car. It had "sure track" and "no skid" in the 1960s. Today we know that as "anti-lock brakes."

The hardest car for Ellis to restore was the 1935 Cord. It was super charged with an electric shift. It was the first car with hidden lights and the first with a front wheel drive.

Ellis said no car is safe anymore because of the reduced weight to save fuel.

"Somewhere along the line there has to be substance to a car," Ellis said.

"Every car is unsafe because of its lightness and a truck can wipe you right out," he said. "We should be figuring out how to make a car safe and buy more American cars because they are safer.

"Ford and Chevrolet are the greatest cars in the world, so why buy a foreign car?

What do you need with a Rolls Royce that uses all that American ingenuity?

We build so many cars there's bound to be a few with some faults. America still doesn't know how to build a small car, but most of the foreign cars are using American ideas and American patents and paying royalties to American car companies."

Today Ellis works out of his garage in Los Altos Hills. His company is called Ellis Enterprises and if the car is interesting, he may restore it-as long as it doesn't interfere with his golfing.

Ellis Enterprises is located at 13330 Burke Road in Los Altos Hills.

For more information, call 948-3859.

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