Thu07242014

News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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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

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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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

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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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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House hunting: HGTV show features local familys search


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town CrierAn episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters” followed Heather and Brad Green and their two children, Liam and Larkin, as they searched for a house to buy in Mountain View.

The backyard of Heather and Brad Green’s Mountain View house is huge. And just on the other side of the fence is a city of Los Altos water tank – a very quiet neighbor – partly camouflaged by an urban forest.

This pretty much sums up why the Greens purchased the house. Brad, who grew up on a 400-acre farm in Iowa, longed for a big lot, and the couple wanted to be in the Los Altos School District.

There were other pluses, too, like the neighborhood itself – even the name of the street, Meadow Lane.

“It is a sweet, meandering street,” Heather said. “And I like the organic growth in an established neighborhood.”

But finding the property wasn’t easy, despite the fact that Heather is a realtor with Alain Pinel Realtors.

“We looked at dozens of homes and made five unsuccessful offers,” she said.

The search

The couple’s search, which undoubtedly resonates with other local homebuyers, will be featured in an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” to be aired in late spring.

“I’m a big fan of the show,” said Heather, who, on a whim, submitted an online application to appear. “The timing was right because the show had just gone to five nights a week. I was both agent and buyer, and there was the Silicon Valley angle.”

When she made her pitch, she and Brad, a Google engineering director, and their children, Liam, now 3, and Larkin, 16 months, were renting an apartment at Avalon Towers on the Peninsula in Mountain View, while looking to buy.

The couple had just sold their three-bedroom midcentury house in San Francisco’s Noe Valley, after completing a major remodel.

Heather, who was project manager for the remodel and pregnant at the time, put her hand over her heart when she talked about the house.

“I loved it,” she said. “We took the kitchen down to the studs, redid the two existing baths and turned a closet into a half-bath.”

Two weeks after the project was completed, Larkin was born. And six months later, the Greens put their beloved house on the market.

Their goals: bigger house, big lot, better schools and shorter commute for Brad.

“Being in the Los Altos School District was a huge priority for me,” Heather said. “And Brad wanted to be closer to work so that he could spend more time with the children.”

The first interview for “House Hunters” took place in their Avalon Towers apartment. Larkin’s crib was in the bathroom – the “most convenient place to put it” – because of the apartment’s size.

“I hope she lives it down when she’s older, because it’s in the episode,” Heather said.

The apartment was within biking distance of Google, which spoiled Brad and figured in their bid to buy the Meadow Lane house (less than 5 miles from his workplace).

The size of the lot – 13,000 square feet – was another factor. There’s footage of Brad in a couple of backyards, shaking his head and saying, “Umm, not big enough.”

A happy ending

Five days were devoted to shooting. The episode follows the Greens from that first interview through the house-hunting phase to their decision to buy, which was made in a hamburger joint. It concludes with them in their new environment.

The four-bedroom ranch-style home was remodeled recently and boasts an upstairs master suite with balcony overlooking the backyard.

“We were originally looking for a fixer-upper, a place to make our own,” Heather said. “But we’ve put a nice layer on what was here.”

The couple changed the light fixtures to create a contemporary feeling (their furnishings are modern), painted the bedrooms and painted an accent wall in the family room.

“I like a neutral palette with pops of color,” said Heather, who embraces interior design with the same passion she has for real estate.

Speaking of real estate, she said, “I really do love the whole process, from guiding a new buyer through what can be a very intimidating process, to developing a strategic marketing plan to maximize the ROI (return on investment) for a seller.”

Being both agent and buyer put a new spin on things for her in a challenging market where inventory remains low and there are more buyers than sellers, driving prices up.

But the “House Hunters” episode has a happy ending and puts the national spotlight on the area.

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