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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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LAH resident gives his time to the forests

Photo Courtesy Of Dave Lautzenheiser

Dave Lautzenheiser works with an all-volunteer organization that protects state wildlands.

This is the third in a series of monthly articles that highlight local volunteers.

Los Altos Hills resident Dave Lautzenheiser is a volunteer with Ventana Wilderness Alliance, an all-volunteer organization that protects the wildlands of the northern Santa Lucia Mountains and the Big Sur Coast.

Q: How did you hear about your organization and for how long have you volunteered?

A: After having a very miserable hiking trip in the Big Sur wilderness, I went online to seek information about difficult trail situations. I found reports of conditions on the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Web site written by folks who had actually been hiking there. I have worked with them for five years.

Q: What tasks do you perform?

A: Our focus is on trail restoration in the greater Big Sur wilderness area. This involves two main tasks. The first is removing the brush that has grown into the trail or has fallen on the trail from above and is generally done with heavy-duty pruning tools. Some larger items require sawing with pruning saws. In the case of fallen trees, a number of volunteers have large, two-person manual crosscut saws that we use. The second general task is restoring the trail tread, the part that you walk on, using a variety of digging and raking tools. We remove debris from the trail and dig out and level any areas that have fallen rocks, dirt or brush roots in the trail tread.

Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering?

A: The best part of this particular "job" is the huge transformation in the usability of a trail. We take areas that are virtually impassable and convert them into a "wilderness freeway" in a short period of time. Often while we are out working on the trails, hikers come through and their thanks only adds to the satisfaction.

Q: What skills are needed to do this job?

A: The leaders of the work trips provide the small amount of instruction needed to accomplish most of the tasks. For those who have the inclination to take their hand at the two-person crosscut saws, there are classes to become certified in accordance with Forest Service regulations. Every trip begins with a mandatory safety briefing. The crew leader for each trip works closely with new volunteers to be certain that they are using tools properly, are adhering to appropriate safety practices and are, most importantly, enjoying the time in the wilderness!

Q: What is the time commitment?

A: Work trips are generally two-day events on weekends and we camp out at night. There are some opportunities for one-day trips that are a great way to get started. There are also a few longer trips, generally three or four days, particularly if we are working a trail remote enough to require a long hike into the wilderness. Trips are planned for at least one weekend per month from October to June. I personally try to do four or five trips per season; others are out every month and some folks come out only once a year.

Q: What do you get out of volunteering?

A: This activity is all about making a difference for hikers to enjoy this wonderful area of the state. Our goal is to improve the trails so that a larger number of users can enjoy them and, if we can increase the use of the area, perhaps the Forest Service will get additional funding to restore other facilities that are beyond the scope of our activities.

Q: What type of people might enjoy this volunteer job?

A: Anyone who enjoys outdoors and hiking is a good candidate. Also, a desire to camp out overnight in a remote area is a definite plus but many of the two-day trips can be done without the luxury of sleeping out under the stars in one of the most beautiful wild areas in the state!

Q: How may others contact your organization to volunteer?

A: The Web site is www.ventanawild.org. Click on the "Trail Crew" button on the left side of the page for more information.

Carol Crites is a Los Altos resident and longtime volunteer. Suggestions for this column can be sent to Editor Bruce Barton by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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