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News

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council earmarked $7,000 for the purchase of Chris Johanson’s artwork.

The city of Los Altos will contribute $7,000 toward the purchase of a $28,000 art installation featured in the San Francisco Museum...

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Schools

LASD students celebrate service learning

LASD students celebrate service learning


Courtesy of Sandra McGonagle
We Day, held March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, exhorts students in the Los Altos School District to effect positive change.

More than 150 Los Altos School District student leaders joined 16,000 Bay Area students to ce...

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Community

Film career launches with Cannes screening

Film career launches with Cannes screening


Courtesy of Zachary Ready
Los Altos native Zachary Ready, front left, and co-director Andrew Cathey, right, celebrate their Campus MovieFest awards.

After learning the art of filmmaking as a child in the front yard of his family’s Los Altos home...

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Sports

Sports on the Side

Pathways Run/Walk slated May 10 in Hills

The 13th annual Pathways Run/Walk is scheduled 9 a.m. May 10 at Westwind Community Barn, 27210 Altamont Road, Los Altos Hills. The course wends through Byrne Preserve and onto the Los Altos Hills Pathways sys...

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Comment

Now is the time to expand parking: Editorial

Just a few short years ago, vacancies dotted downtown Los Altos. Property owners had a hard time attracting businesses because there was a shortage of customers. That is no longer true. Now, the cry is: Where are my customers going to park?

The city...

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Special Sections

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability


Courtesy of Michael McTighe
Mary Clark Bartlett is founder and CEO of Los Altos-based Epicurean Group.

Labels such as “healthy,” “organic” and “green” are rarely used to describe the meals served in most corporate cafes in Silicon Valley. But on...

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Business

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Coldwell Banker recently recognized realtor Kim Copher, right, for her philanthropic efforts. Copher and colleague Alan Russell, left, volunteer at Reach Potential Movement, where they collect books for its Bookshelf in ...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

Noteworthy

RotaCare honors local volunteer

RotaCare Bay Area honored Jim Cochran of the RotaCare Mountain View Free Medical Clinic with the Outstanding Clinic Volunteer Award April 10 for his commitment to RotaCare’s mission of providing free medical care to t...

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Travel

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
Sausalito offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. A number of companies schedule boat tours that sail past Angel Island and Alcatraz.

On a clear day, Sausalito offers spectacular views of the San Franc...

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Stepping Out

Western Ballet performs this weekend  at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills

Western Ballet performs this weekend at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills


Courtesy of Alexi Zubiria
Western Ballet’s “La Fille Mal Gardée” features Alison Share and Maykel Solas. The production runs Friday and Saturday at Foothill College

Western Ballet is slated to perform “La Fille Mal GardéeR...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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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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