Wed09172014

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

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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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Post office wants another penny for their thoughts

A Side of Clyde

We keep hearing how the U. S. Postal Service has become such a tightly run ship that the big deficits of the past have become big surpluses. The Postal Service has turned into a real free enterprise powerhouse that now is marketing a line of clothing. That must be the reason why the price of mailing a first-class letter will go from 33 cents to 34 cents Jan. 7.

That penny represents a 3 percent increase, but if you include other types of mail, the overall postage increase is more than 6 percent. Magazine and newspaper publishers face the cruelest increase, nearly 15 percent. The postal carriers don't like that type of business.

Here is a rundown of first-class postage rates over the years: July 1, 1885, 2 cents; Nov. 3, 1917, 3 cents; July 1, 1919, 2 cents; July 6, 1932, 3 cents; Aug. 1, 1958, 4 cents; Jan 7, 1963, 5 cents; Jan. 7, 1968, 6 cents; May 16, 1971, 8 cents; March 2, 1974, 10 cents; Dec., 31, 1975, 13 cents; May 29, 1978, 15 cents; March 22, 1981, 18 cents; Nov. 1, 1981, 20 cents; Feb. 17, 1985, 22 cents; April 3, 1988, 25 cents; Feb. 3, 1991, 29 cents; Jan 1995, 32 cents; Jan. 10, 1999, 33 cents, and now, Jan. 7, 2001, 34 cents.

Looking at it as a long-time customer, in the first 78 years of the Postal Service's existence, rates increased about 100 percent. In the last 36 years the rates increased 700 percent. Talk about causes of inflation.

We're not begrudging a casual increase, but what is irksome is the way the Postal Rate Commission grants the increases with penny implements.

Rather than upping the rate by even amounts and longer terms, the agency nips away a penny at a time. Instead of raising the current stamp price to a nice round 35 cents( eliminating the need for that penny in change) and having it stick for a couple of years, the increase is a mere one cent. Then another penny in another 12 months. As the letter said to the stamp - stick with me and we'll go places.

It's a way to make money for the post office, because what does a person do with a drawer full of letter stamps? Quick now, how much was the D stamp worth? In the past, changeover stamps carried letter designations, A through H and each had a different value.

You could go to a stamp dealer and get your answer, but the post office has put private stamp collectors out of business. Most towns had a business for kid stamp collectors, but they all went broke or into baseball cards. Los Altos had two stamp collector businesses at one time.

So what are we getting for the penny increase? A bunch of new stamps. That's all.

To show appreciation for our extra penny, the Postal Service will issue a Love stamp and a Lovebirds stamped envelope in January. The lunar new Year comes next, marking the Year of the Snake in a 12-year Oriental series.

Also in January, the post office will mark the centennial year of the birth of civil rights leader Roy Wilkins and physicist Ernico Fermi. Stamps for baseball parks, Thanksgiving and Amish quilts show up during the year.

More than 300 new stamps will be available for your letters in 2001. No wonder people are using e-mail more each day.

"U.S. Postage stamps are a reflection of the American experience," said Postmaster General William Henderson.

The same can be said for postal rate increases. They need a commemorate stamp that would honor postal rate hikes and it might feature a Cape Canaveral rocket headed for the stars.

Old Postmaster Generals never die - they just lose their ZIP.

Clyde Noel is a longtime contributor to the Town Crier.

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