Fri10242014

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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Surviving the Death Ride

Photo Courtesy Of Pam Kelly

Bradley Erickson of Los Altos reaches Carson Pass cycling in the 29th annual Death Ride July 11. The ride features five passes.

In a little more than a year, Bradley Erickson has gone from road-bike beginner to Death Ride survivor.

The Los Altos resident July 11 completed perhaps the most grueling cycling event in Northern California, the 29th annual Death Ride, which brings riders from all over the world to the tiny town of Markleeville each year.

"I started cycling last year, and my goal was to get in shape," the 40-year-old Erickson said. "I set the bar higher this year. This was the hardest physical challenge I've done so far."

With 15,000 feet of climbing, the Death Ride is a challenge for the lungs, muscles and mind. The 129-mile ride through an area of Alpine County nicknamed "the California Alps" features five mountain passes and rivals the climb of any stage of this summer's Tour de France.

Nearly 3,000 people enter every year, but far fewer finish. There's a reason the logo for the 2009 Death Ride was a skull and crossbones – the climb is a killer.

Nearly half of the participants surrender along the way. If climbing both sides of Monitor Pass (elevation: 8,314 feet) doesn't get you, traversing both sides of Ebbetts Pass (8,730) just might, or simply the thought of still having to get over the east side of Carson Pass (8,574) before coasting to the finish at Turtle Rock Park.

"All the peaks are pretty high," Erickson said. "Ebbetts Peak is higher than the highest peak in this year's Tour de France. (The hardest part) was just getting up and over those peaks, and doing five of them and 129 miles in one day."

Erickson conquered the course in 9 1/2 hours. He embarked at 5 a.m., made a few quick stops for water and finished by 2:30 p.m.

"That's really fast," teammate Leah Toeniskoetter said.

Toeniskoetter should know – she's participated in the last four Death Rides. The San Jose resident was captain of Erickson's team, which pedaled with a purpose. The 25 members raised money for TurningWheels for Kids, a Bay Area non-profit organization that provides bikes to low-income children at Christmas.

Erickson's involvement with TurningWheels began before he even imagined taking on the Death Ride. Erickson and his son Drew, a fourth-grader at Almond School, have participated in the last two TurningWheels for Kids Bike Builds, at which hundreds of volunteers gather each December in downtown San Jose to assemble the bicycles that will be given away. Approximately 2,000 bikes were built this year, according to Erickson.

"It's a great cause," Erickson said of TurningWheels, which turns every $75 in donations into a new bike, helmet and lock for a needy child. "It was nice to do (the Death Ride) for my favorite charity."

The last Bike Build is where Erickson first dared to dream about the Death Ride. Co-workers from Cisco Systems participating in the project pointed him toward Toeniskoetter and her TurningWheels team.

"It was a perfect fit," Erickson said.

He began training with the team at the end of February, taking part in organized rides every other weekend that often went from the valley to the coast. Erickson said he enjoyed the support of his teammates and learned valuable lessons about nutrition and how to handle the elevation from Death Ride veteran Toeniskoetter.

"Leah gave me a lot of good advice," he said. "She's amazing."

Erickson also prepared on his own, biking to work (nearly 28 miles roundtrip) two to three times a week.

"I didn't have to train as much as you'd think," he said.

Whatever Erickson did, it worked. Not even the dreaded elevation gain of the Death Ride intimidated him.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," said Erickson, who grew up playing hockey in northern Minnesota. "When I was finished, I thought, ‘I really want to do this again next year.'"

Count Toeniskoetter among those impressed with Erickson, who joined her in the group of 14 TurningWheel members to finish the ride.

"He's incredible," she said. "He's a strong rider with a great attitude."

Erickson's biggest concern before the event wasn't riding but raising – funds, that is ­– for the team's cause.

"I was nervous about the ride, but I may have been more nervous about raising money," said Erickson, who moved to Los Altos five years ago. "But people were very generous – it was really impressive."

Erickson said he raised $2,000, exceeding his goal of collecting enough to provide 20-25 bikes for children in need.

The TurningWheels team raised $35,000, doubling its goal.

"It was a huge effort, especially in this tough economy," said Toeniskoetter, who raised $12,000. "It's a great way to make a positive impact at Christmas, especially this year."

For more information on TurningWheels for Kids or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.turningwheelsforkids.org.

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

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