Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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