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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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The power of Pokémon: Local earns status of trading-card game champ

Photo Mary Beth Hislop/Town Crier

Eight-year-old Emily Cheng of Los Altos scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokmon prize kit and the coveted Pokmon trophy at the Pokmon Trading Card Game Regional Championships April 17.

It’s a game of high stakes – poker for little people – and the luck of the draw involves careful planning, comprehensive strategy and deliberate execution. It’s no place for whiskey and cigars.

And at the Pokémon Trading Card Game Santa Clara Regional Championships April 17, 8-year-old Los Altos resident Emily Cheng scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokémon prize kit and the coveted Pokémon trophy, which is prominently displayed in a china cabinet at home.

“This was my second tournament,” said Emily, a second-grader at Almond School.

Her second-place status in the tournament also netted her an opportunity to compete at the national level in Indianapolis at the end of June.

“We’re not sure if we’ll go,” said her father. “She has an invitation, and that’s terrific.”

It’s especially terrific considering Emily started playing the game in September.

“My old friend Rachel introduced me to the game,” Emily said. “She gave me my first Pokémon card – ‘Solrock.’ That’s how it all started.”

“She came home one day and wanted to play Pokémon,” Steve said.

Easier said than done. Learning the basics Рrules and strategies Рinvolved an Internet search. And then a search for fellow Pok̩mon aficionados.

“I don’t actually play with people at school,” Emily said.

But she did find a Pokémon League in Santa Clara that meets weekly to play the game and learn the strategies involved.

“We just had a great time meeting new people,” Steve said. “She just loved it.”

That first card is just the beginning.

“In Pokémon, you have to collect the cards,” Emily said. “‘Solrock’ is really special to me. Sadly, it was out of play (at the tournament).”

At the regional competition, Emily was paired with others in five games in the 11-year-old-and-younger category – called the Swiss round – securing a place in the finals after scoring four wins and one loss.

In the first of two final games that consisted of three rounds, Emily beat a 10-year-old.

“She actually beat the top-seeded player from the Swiss round,” Steve said.

In her final competition with an 11-year-old champ, Emily lost the first round, won the second and came close in the third.

“It was a real nail-biter,” Steve said. “He was really pushed to the limit.”

For those not in the know, Pokémon originated in Japan as “pocket monsters,” animated creatures encapsulated by their trainers who cared for them and prepared them to compete in sporting events. The Pokémon evolve as they gain experience, becoming stronger and accumulating powers while their trainers earn badges and acclimation as they attain rank in Pokémon competitions.

Pokémon has since captured worldwide attention as an enduring fad that has evolved into Nintendo Game Boy games, a comic book series, movies, a video game and the trading card game. But don’t let its “game” designation fool you.

“It’s very complicated,” Steve said. “As a parent, I can appreciate that the game has some great aspects. It’s fun to play, and it really makes you think with the elements of strategy and planning.”

It’s even more difficult to explain.

But Emily doesn’t allow the game to interfere with academics – she loves science and is currently entranced with studying the behaviors of crayfish.

In the meantime, she has passed her love of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to family, one of whom also participated in the regional tournament.

“My cousin got sixth place,” Emily said.

Her advice to up-and-coming Pokémon players: “I would say they should start with a World Championship deck and take a month to add to it.”

It also helped to have a mentor from the Pokémon League, Brian, who is in the know when it comes to the powers of each Pokémon card. Emily’s secret weapon – “Claydol.”

“It has a special power,” she said. “It is one of the most reliable ways to get cards in and out of your hands.”

Emily’s enthusiasm for the game may convince her parents it’s worth a trip to Indianapolis. And if she scores big there, the 2010 Pokémon World Championships are scheduled in August in Honolulu.

For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.

Contact Mary Beth Hislop at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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