Tue01272015

Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Adios Estrellita’s?: Longtime Mexican restaurant shuts its doors – at least for now


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

After more than five decades in Los Altos, Estrellita’s Mexican Restaurant shuttered operations last week, the result of rising rent. Owner Russell Clark said the closure could be temporary if a new ownership group can renegotiate the lease.

The end may be in sight for a restaurant that has called Los Altos home for more than 50 years.

Estrellita’s Mexican Restaurant owner Russell Clark told the Town Crier that he closed the doors of his 55-year-old business – perhaps for good – last week after struggling financially for more than a year. Clark said the property that housed his restaurant shifted to new ownership last year, resulting in his monthly rent nearly tripling to $9,000.

Soon after, he began to fall behind on rent payments, leading to a since-settled lawsuit. On March 6, however, he received an eviction notice, forcing him to close the Mexican restaurant on San Antonio Road, which has been owned by his family since the late 1970s.

“If I really start thinking about it, it would just be too much,” Clark said, noting the history of the restaurant, open since 1958.

Clark’s Aunt Corlay purchased the business from its founders, the Bustamante family, in 1978. His mother, Beatrice, served as the restaurant’s manager for 14 years before Clark purchased the business from his aunt in 2003.

Still, Clark said, all hope is not lost. He recently reached an agreement to sell the business to an ownership group that includes a family member. The sale, however, hinges on the group’s coming to terms on a new lease, which would allow the restaurant to reopen in the near future.

“I’ve been trying to work this out for a year now,” he said of his financial issues, adding that he’s been trying to sell the business “in earnest” for the past three months.

Clark, 42, said he also considered relocating the restaurant but found that option to be less than desirable.

“It’s very sad to think it might not go on if this sale doesn’t go through,” said Clark, a Mountain View resident who grew up in the area, attended Egan Junior High School and graduated from Los Altos High in 1989. “(An agreement) could actually take place as soon as today or tomorrow. … I’m hoping they can finalize a (lease) agreement in the next couple of days so the restaurant won’t have to stay closed much longer.”

Regardless of its future, Clark said he’d cherish countless fond memories of the restaurant, such as helping his mother when he was only 10 and the numerous family birthday parties and Christmas dinners celebrated there throughout the years.

He has received messages of support from longtime customers, including one Los Altos family that offered to pay approximately half of his court settlement – no strings attached.

“I have a lot of customers who remember the original owners,” said Clark, who plans to update patrons on the ownership status of the restaurant through its Facebook page. “The support has been great. It’s been great to be a part of this community.”

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Estrellita-Restaurant/133398709061.

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