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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Five must-dos during the holiday season: Other Voices

Decorations are up, Christmas music is adding cheer to the local department stores and children are busily writing their annual notes to Santa. The holiday season is in full swing. Regardless of how you celebrate this time of year, giving is always a central theme. This is the time of year that we give thanks for what we have, and give back to those less fortunate.

Every year, I vow to clean out my closet, volunteer with a local organization or cut a check to my favorite charity, but amid the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose track of good intentions. So what can you do to make sure this is the year you follow through? Before your in-laws stage a hostile takeover of your sofa bed, before you brave shopping lines to snag the hottest new digital toy (a Microsoft Surface Tablet, perhaps?), take the following steps to make sure that you spread a little joy this December:

• Clean out your house. If you haven’t worn it, used it or watched it over the past two years, donate it. The things taking up space in your home might make a world of difference to someone in need.

• Volunteer. There is no better way to get actively and passionately involved than to give your time. Look for organizations with missions that match your mindset. Choose a volunteer activity that’s actively solving a problem in your community. And while you’re at it, get the family involved. The children are home for the holidays, and what better way to spend quality time together than to improve someone else’s quality of life? See if your company has a volunteer matching program. At Microsoft, employee volunteer time is matched at $17 an hour. Double the impact of your good deed.

• Invest in a nonprofit. Nothing gives nonprofits more flexibility than a cash donation. In 2011, cash donations to nonprofits increased only slightly over 2010 – and have still not come close to matching pre-recession levels. If your company has a matching program, this is another way to double the impact of your generosity. Microsoft matches employee donations up to $12,000 and accounted for $100 million in nationwide contributions last year alone. While it’s great to donate clothing, food and home goods, there’s a real need around the holiday season for money. It keeps our favorite nonprofits afloat.

• Consider holiday gifts in support of nonprofits. Rather than buying your teenage nephew another pair of gym socks, give him a gift card to an organization like DonorsChoose or GlobalGiving. Trust me, he won’t miss the gym socks, and you could create a lifelong giver.

• Promote random acts of kindness. Buy groceries for a pregnant neighbor. Help the senior citizen who lives next door clean out his or her rain gutters. Give a jacket you don’t wear anymore to someone who looks cold. The little things we can do year-round to improve the lives of those in need of a helping hand seem extra special this time of year.

No dollar or deed should go to waste this holiday season. We want to see your good intentions pay off. Think beyond the holidays – will your commitment to an organization be sustainable for years to come?

So, get active. Research your options. Align your holiday giving with the organizations that do the greatest good for our community, and make sure your contribution has the maximum possible impact.

Sid Espinosa is director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Microsoft Silicon Valley in Mountain View.

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