Fri08012014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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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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