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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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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

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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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

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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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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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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