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News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community developme...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


ft, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.

Tia Geri can’t wait to bring her new golden retriev...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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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

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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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

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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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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Los Altos chicken enthusiasts cluck about inaugural Tour de Coop


Photo By: ELLIE VAN HOUTE/TOWN CRIER
Photo Ellie Van Houte/Town Crier

Los Altos Hills resident Scott Vanderlip prepares his chicken coop for the inaugural Tour de Coop Oct. 27.

Los Altos’ feathered population is burgeoning, and local owners have devised creative ways to house their cherished chickens.

Between 10 and 20 families plan to showcase their chicken coops 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 in the inaugural Silicon Valley Tour de Coop, a cycling tour. Short 2- to 5-mile routes and longer routes of 20 miles will allow cyclists of all skill levels to join backyard chicken owners, or “coopsters,” to examine hen houses, honeybee hives and urban gardens in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Palo Alto.

“Raising chickens is a great way for neighbors to share and connect with a common activity that not only creates fabulous eggs, but also builds community,” said Los Altos Hills resident Scott Vanderlip.

According to Vanderlip, the city of Davis’ successful Tour de Cluck inspired him to organize the Tour de Coop.

In addition to promoting the benefits of chicken ownership, Vanderlip said he hopes the tour will connect coopsters and make them feel they are part of a movement bigger than their own backyards.

Vanderlip estimated that residents of every five to 10 homes in Los Altos Hills own flocks of chickens. The town’s 1-acre zoning allows property owners to maintain chickens, goats, cows, horses and other large animals. The city of Los Altos permits homeowners to raise one hen for every 1,000 square feet of space.

People are attracted to backyard chickens, Vanderlip noted, because they’re inexpensive – $3 or $4 per chick.

“It’s a nice, closed system in our own little yard,” said Vanderlip, touting the advantages of owning chickens. “You can’t get any more local than going out to your backyard to get an egg. … You could live on two eggs a day.”

In addition to environmental benefits, some chicken owners find joy in the relationships they build with their feathered friends.

“When we’re in the garden, they wander around our feet. … They’re right there waiting to get a bug or worm,” Vanderlip said.

He added that his oldest hen, Doodle, has the ability to perceive danger – she has survived two attacks by wild animals and outlived all of her mates in older flocks. Vanderlip said his chickens embody human characteristics.

“They look you in the eye,” he said. “There’s some intelligence there.

Urban homesteading

Los Altos resident Ron Hess pulls three light-brown eggs from nests of hay in a pint-sized coop he constructed for his brood of seven Barred Rock hens.

The coop, painted to match the Hess home, is equipped with a ladder, trap doors, operable windows, rain gutters on a shingled roof and a compact fluorescent light to comfort the chickens at night. Hess and his wife, Terese Tricamo, treat their hens like they would their own children.

Hess and Tricamo acquired their flock in April, inspired in part by Hess’ family roots in Mennonite farming. The couple compare their efforts to urban homesteading – a sustainable-living concept that incorporates farming techniques to increase self-sufficiency.

“If you do the work, it’s a great payoff,” said Hess, who added that he enjoys producing quality food and feeling connected to the ecosystem.

Their chickens provide eggs and garden fertilizer, and the family also maintains a beehive for pollinating the flowers, fruit trees and vegetables in their garden, improvised compost piles and a grain grinder for processing their harvest in the future.

Raising chickens poses challenges – unexpected predators strike the greatest fear in the hens and owners, according to Hess – but for the most part, the payoff outweighs the inconveniences.

“It’s 4 p.m. and I haven’t gone shopping,” Tricamo said. “I can grab some eggs, pick onions and tomatoes from the backyard and make quiche.”

Hess and Tricamo said they look forward to sharing their flock with Tour De Coop participants. They plan to entice visitors with zucchini and pumpkin bread made from this year’s harvest and their hens’ eggs.

For more information, visit tourdecoop.org.

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