Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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