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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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20 years and still going strong : Publisher’s Perspective


Photo By:
The Town Crier published its first issue back under local ownership March 17, 1993, right on schedule.

Exactly two decades ago this week, the Los Altos Town Crier changed ownership for the fifth time since its birth in 1947. The path of ownership started with founder and longtime Los Altos resident Dave MacKenzie, a brilliant writer and promoter who kept it going for 25 years. His partner, graphic artist Warren Goodrich, created the “little guy” bell ringer as a logo, which the paper still uses today. That same artist created the “little guy” that cheers or boos movies in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The first issue of the Town Crier in 1947 was an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch sheet of paper folded in half that contained hand-drawn ads. Along with the bell ringer and the title “Los Altos Town Crier” on the cover was its timeless slogan and mission: “You Can Buy It in Los Altos – Shop Local!” Six decades later, we still consider that part of our message.

MacKenzie sold the paper in 1972 to the first of three different out-of-town owners of networks of weeklies covering Peninsula communities. The third owner was the Chicago Tribune Co., which by the early 1990s owned 11 different nearby titles. However, it wasn’t working for the Tribune, so the company attempted to sell the newspaper group as a package. That did not work, either. Finally, in March 1993, the Tribune closed down the entire group and sold only the assets of each. The Town Crier assets included its trademark, a stack of old issues, two small Mac computers, some very tired office furniture and file cabinets of old black-and-white photos.

My wife, Liz, and I had a thriving magazine business that we had launched approximately 10 years earlier, including Homes and Land magazines, Renter’s Digest and Designers Illustrated. As longtime residents of Los Altos, we had made an earlier offer to purchase the Town Crier that was pending. Suddenly, on a March Friday at 10 a.m., the Tribune laid off its entire staff, closed the doors and gave us a call to come talk.

We did. And by 10 a.m. 24 hours later, we had a deal. By 8 p.m. that Saturday night, we had rehired two key people who are still with us today: Chris Redden, ad services coordinator, and Howard Bischoff, circulation manager. We also snagged additional staff and, to make a long story brief, had a paper out to press by Monday and in residents’ mailboxes the following Wednesday. We did not miss a beat and have been on schedule every week now for 20 years.

One of our primary objectives with the weekly has been to bring back more “hometown” coverage, which had been minimal during the out-of-town owners’ reign. We adopted as our operating spirit the motto, “Easy to do business with.”

Bruce Barton took over as editor-in-chief shortly after we acquired the paper, and several others have been long-term employees: Pete Borello, sports editor, 15 years; real estate advertising rep Janice Fabella, 15 years; and Dawn Pankonen, 16 years. Clyde Noel, who was working part time in 1993, continues as a freelance volunteer writer.

Over the past two decades of ownership, we’ve added color photos; a Town Crier “50” Weekly Stock Index; a Spiritual Life page; a children’s sports page; comics and puzzles; and special sections on seniors, health, automotive, travel and books. A series of all-color magazine inserts – Living in Los Altos, Family Spotlight, Home & Garden and Home for the Holidays – add value for readers.

The Town Crier has stimulated the launch of new events and activities in town. We founded the Los Altan of the Year award in 1995; the Millennium Celebration on New Year’s Eve 1999, attended by 1,500 celebrants; and the Town Crier Holiday Fund in 2000, which in 13 years has raised $2 million for Silicon Valley area nonprofit organizations. We were also, I believe, one of the first newspapers in the country to forge an Internet presence.

I want to emphasize for all readers that the paper would not exist without you and the continued, faithful sponsorship of hundreds of advertisers. Why do they continue to advertise? They get results. So thank you, faithful readers and advertisers, and keep it up. We will do our best to match your interests while maintaining our spirit of being “Easy to do business with.”

Paul Nyberg is publisher of the Town Crier.

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