Thu02112016

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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Novel set in Bay Area casts inscrutable shadow


Photo By:

Reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” by Robin Sloan (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012) is like going to an old-fashioned county fair – it’s a lot of fun and there are many surprises along the way. To add to the enjoyment, the book is set in San Francisco and Mountain View, with a stop along the way in New York City.

The main character, Clay Jannon, an unemployed Web designer, is a likable young man who doesn’t seem to possess many marketable skills but is very resourceful. He manages to find a job as night clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore.

There is a mystery central to the basic plot of what is really going on inside this strange book shop. But once we unveil the answer to that question, more surprises remain in store (no pun intended).

It is no surprise that this book made the list of Bay Area Best-Sellers last month, given the local settings and rollicking pace.

Jannon has two important resources: his own tenacity and drive in pursuit of the truth and his cadre of friends, who assist him by providing money, technological savvy and important contacts.

Initially intrigued by discovering that the bookstore has very few customers and strange, unreadable books, Jannon employs the powerful computer technology at Google headquarters to unlock some of these enigmas. Solving the first puzzle leads to more puzzles, and he discovers that technology alone will not resolve every challenge.

It was a bonus to discover that Sloan mentioned several authors whose books I also enjoy, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck, Dashiell Hammett and Walter Isaacson. His characters are equally familiar with Internet technologies, such as Facebook groups, Google ads and Hacker News (a social news website about computer hacking and startup companies) current in Silicon Valley.

Sloan’s best writing comes at the end of the book: “There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. … Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in.”

If you wander into this book, you won’t be disappointed.

Leslie Ashmore, a longtime Mountain View resident, belongs to two book clubs.

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