Fri10242014

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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Steering teens in the right direction: Tips for teaching your children how to drive


Photo By: Courtesy of Gary Anderson
Photo Courtesy Of Gary AndersonTeens under 18 need 50 hours of training behind the wheel before getting licensed.
By Gary and Genie Anderson

 

So your 15-year-old is prepared to undertake the California Graduated Drivers License Program (GDLP) in order to be able to drive without waiting for his or her 18th birthday.

On one hand, that’s a good thing. It means that you as a parent will take an active hand in the driver training, so when your teen is finally licensed to drive alone, you’ll feel comfortable in knowing firsthand how well he or she is able to drive.

On the other hand, it also means that you and your teen will be forced to occupy the same space and do the same thing together for a period of 50 hours. For many, this is probably the last thing that a teen or parent would put on a wish list!

Helping your teens learn to drive in a safe and responsible manner is one of the most important things you can do for them at this stage in their lives. And here is why: Driving accidents – either as driver or as passenger in a teen-driven automobile – are the No. 1 cause of death for teens, and teens are four times as likely to have an auto accident per mile driven than all other drivers.

This isn’t because teens are careless, willful or unskilled. According to studies, it is because the part of the brain that thinks in terms of actions and consequences simply does not completely develop until after the teenage years.

But in today’s busy world, it’s difficult to function without driving, and the unconscious, automatic reactions required for good driving only come with practice.

Below are five tips culled from literature and experience to make the time with your teen as effective and pleasant as possible – for both of you.

 

1. Make this a combined learning experience.

The Mercedes-Benz Club of America teaches a program called Safe Drivers, Safe Families, because the organizers believe that safe driving is a family affair. Make it a point to read everything your teen is reading about safe driving practices and also take the online courses yourself. Allow your teen to correct your driving when you’re behind the wheel. If you go into the experience to find what you can learn about refreshing your own driving skills and knowledge, then both you and your teen will benefit.

 

2. Be calm and positive at all times.

Now is the time to cultivate your best Sully Sullenberger/Chuck Yeager manner. When your teen is at the wheel, point out key things in a quiet, informative and nonjudgmental manner. For example, say “The traffic is slowing up ahead” rather than “Why are you going so fast? Are you crazy? Slow down.” Whether it’s you or your teen driving, try turning the driving session into a game to see who can spot a possible problem situation first. Save the debate about the correct interpretation of rules and techniques for the living room, not inside a moving car.

 

3. Emphasize and practice focusing on driving.

We all know that cellphone use is diverting, but we also need to remember that even music, a radio talk show or a conversation with someone else in the vehicle or on a hands-free phone distracts us from driving and slows our reaction time. Remind your teen that when he or she is involved in a video game, it requires single-minded attention. Driving is just as complicated as any 360-degree, first-person action game – the only difference is that there isn’t a reset button when things go wrong, and real people may be injured, or worse.

 

4. The secret to good driving is to look ahead, think ahead and plan ahead.

If there is one fundamental principle that needs to be learned and remembered, it is that everything happens quickly. Even at 25 mph and at highway speeds, things happen almost instantaneously. The only way to compensate is to look as far ahead, around and behind you as possible when driving, to think about what is going on before you get to the problem or it gets to you, and plan and prepare in advance what you can do if it does occur.

 

5. Get your teen the best training you can.

The basic driving programs on city streets with a paid instructor are a good way to satisfy a portion of the requirements of the GDLP, but they don’t provide real experience in car control or offer the feeling of panic braking from 60 mph, or making a rapid, forced lane change to avoid an obstacle. These experiences must be taught by and practiced with an experienced instructor in a controlled off-street setting.

Fortunately, many organizations teach one-day driving skills courses on auto racetracks in Monterey, Sonoma, north of Sacramento and at local venues like Candlestick Park. Our favorite is an inexpensive professionally run program called Hooked-on Driving at www.hookedondriving.com.

Several local car clubs – including the BMW Car Club and the Porsche Club – periodically sponsor teen driving courses open to members and nonmembers. The racing schools at Sonoma Raceway Park and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca offer defensive driving programs for teens and their parents. These courses can be one of the best investments you will ever make to protect your most precious asset: your child.

For more information on local area programs, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Longtime Los Altos residents Gary and Genie Anderson are co-owners of Enthusiast Publications LLC, which edits several car club magazines and contributes articles and columns to automotive magazines and online services. n

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