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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Assorted travel apps help lighten the load when on the road

Travel apps make it easier to roam – without accruing those pricey roaming charges.

Travel journalist Jen Leo, who writes the “Web Buzz” column for the Los Angeles Times, shared a variety of practical apps at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center Feb. 17.

The two-day show included booths from tourist boards as far away as Namibia (next on my list!). Speakers included actor and former teenage heartthrob Andrew McCarthy, culinary experts, Patricia Schultze of “1,000 Places” fame and Rick Steves, the European tour-touter. Nobody can make Italy sound like a must-do better than Steves.

Leo’s presentation impressed me – her anecdotes illustrated just how apps can lighten your load.

For example, she related how she used TripDoc, by Delicous Baby’s Debbie Dubrow and her husband, to keep members of her family to an itinerary at a reunion in Hawaii.

First, she made sure that everyone downloaded the $2.99 app. Then, she researched restaurants and sites friends recommended – stuff that often gets filed on stray pieces of paper.

Once Leo typed them into the program, she could conduct research and craft an itinerary, which she sent around to her relatives.

“Once we were in Hawaii, everyone had an itinerary with references and map pins to tell them where to go,” Leo said. “I just said, ‘OK, now it’s time to go to the candy store,’ for example, and they all drove there.”

Another planning guide, WorldMate, serves as an all-around hotel booking app. It will email your itinerary to friends or colleagues and do local searches for places to stay or visit. There’s also an “Under the Radar” section that points out hot deals, according to Leo. The basic app is free, but the upgraded Gold version costs $9.99.

While you will find markdowns on WorldMate, another app, Hotel Tonight, offers deeper discounts.

The only catch is that the company’s pretty serious about the “tonight” part. Leo said she appreciates this app for its “spontaneous factor,” but it takes a special traveler to fly to London without a hotel reservation.  If that appeals to you, you might also like the fact that it has cute hotel categories, like “Hip,” “Solid,” “Luxe” and “Charming.”

Even cheaper is Airbnb, “very, very big for vacation rental,” Leo said. “I’ve done plenty of daydreaming about it.”

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner, vrbo.com) provides another alternative vacation rental option: owners renting out their homes. The advantages are more room and less cost.

Hipmunk is also free, although it’s been around for a while. Its search engine finds flights according to a cool “agony” filter, based on how many stops the flight involves. There’s also a hotel site that rates places to sleep.

If you want to keep cellphones costs down, WhatsApp Messenger is a 99-cent cross-platform app. It’s good for texting relatives and friends in different countries.

Leo mentioned a few airport and city apps that might help if you’re a frequent traveler. For example:

• Airport Chatter, which lists venues and things to do nearby during layovers.

• The BestParking app, which allows one to comparison shop before leaving home.

• GateGuru, which details when and from which gate your flight is leaving.

• Taxi Magic, which allows you to call a taxi anywhere.

Two other practical apps include City Maps 2Go, iPhone and iPad software that doesn’t accrue roaming charges, and MetrO, which lets you download subway maps from around the world.

Eren Göknar is a journalist and lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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