Sun02142016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Burglar makes cash withdrawal once too often

A local burglar who decided to make regular cash withdrawals from a Los Altos family's Queensbury Avenue home ended up in handcuffs June 17 following an elaborate sting.

Former neighborhood resident Troy Smith apparently discovered that an unlocked garage door provided easy access to the family's kitchen and to a flow of cash in a purse regularly left in the room unattended. The 20-year-old habitually began stopping by the house allegedly to steal cash from the woman's purse over the course of four months.

Police believe he could have burglarized the home as many as eight times, taking as much as $800 since March. Smith, who lives in Mountain View, admitted to police that he had taken cash from the home on several occasions. The family said he would sometimes hit the house twice in the same week, always late at night.

The family never suspected a stranger was breaking into their home.

He never took credit cards, the cell phone or car keys that were in the purse alongside the cash, family members said. The family puppy that sleeps in a bed in the kitchen never barked, they added.

"I just never did think it was a burglar. The funny thing is a (family member) said, 'Maybe it's a burglar.' I told her, 'Don't be silly,'" said one family member, who wished to remain anonymous.

The family said they would notice money missing as often as two to three times per week, but it took them a while to determine that it was happening late at night while they were asleep in the house.

The only reasonable explanation they could come up with was that someone in the family had been taking cash from the purse without asking.

The husband decided to set a trap. He purchased an infrared video camera June 15 and set it up on the kitchen counter at night. To the couple's surprise, when they checked the camera the following day the image revealed an unknown intruder removing the wallet from the purse.

"You could clearly see a guy walk in the door from the garage, take the wallet, disappear back into the garage for about 60 seconds and put the wallet back into the purse," the couple said. The couple said they believe Smith, whom they had never met, may have spotted the purse through the window while walking down the street and decided to try his luck at gaining access into the house.

The family had grown accustomed to leaving the garage and kitchen doors unlocked.

"We're so trusting living here. We didn't think anything bad would happen," family members said.

The following night the couple locked the door to the house and set up the video camera in the garage. Meanwhile, police installed a silent electronic alarm wired to the department.

The couple waited up until 1 a.m. About five minutes after they retired to the bedroom, they heard a car on their typically quiet street.

Smith had returned for more cash for the second night in a row. The camera set up in the garage signaled the couple's computer in the bedroom.

They called the police, but an unmarked car was already there.

Smith, unable to enter the now locked house, casually walked out of the garage, unaware that he had walked into a trap.

Police caught him in his car down the street.

His shoes had traces of a fluorescent powder that police had left on the floor as part of the trap.

He was booked into the San Jose Main Jail on two felony counts of burglary.

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