Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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