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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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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

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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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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Discover Cuba: Chamber of Commerce trip promises historical, musical, artistic feast


Photo By: Courtesy of Chamber explorations
Photo Courtesy Of Chamber Explorations

Colorful American cars from the 1940s are parked in front of El Capitolio, Havana’s former seat of government. The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has planned a guided tour of Cuba in the fall.

Move over, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce plans to shepherd 30-60 local residents on a U.S. Treasury Department-sanctioned visit to Havana, Cuba, Oct. 31 to Nov. 7.

From a tour of pedestrians-only Old Havana, a 500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site, to landmarks including the former state capitol El Capitolio and famed author Ernest Hemingway’s “Finca Vigía,” or Lookout Farm, the eight-day trip will spotlight the island’s music, art and history.

Hemingway lived in Cuba for 20 years, writing “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream” there in the 1940s and ’50s.

Before the Fidel Castro-led Cuban Revolution, which began in 1953, crime bosses ruled the Caribbean nation and operated nightclubs like the Tropicana, where the rich and the famous came to wine and dine. The chamber tour will stop at the Tropicana for an evening of 1950s-era music and glamour. Shades of Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy” reruns.

The Los Altos group will also visit a second UNESCO site, the Viñales Valley in the western province of Pinar del Río, a landscape of flat-top mountains, tobacco plantations, caves and rivers.

During a guided tour of the Francisco Donatien Cigar Factory, travelers can meet with factory workers and learn the history of fine Cuban cigars. The factory produces Cohiba and Monte Cristo cigars.

A subsequent stop at a traditional, family-owned tobacco farm and farmhouse offers cultivation, drying and cigar-rolling demonstrations. The family serves Cuban coffee in the rural setting, according to tour operators.

Other highlights:

• Plaza de la Revolución, where Castro rallied his people.

• Bocoy Rum Factory, established in 1878. Docents will discuss Cuba’s rum industry.

• Colon Cemetery, named for Christopher Columbus, established in 1876. The site includes elaborate memorials and 500 mausoleums and chapels.

• Museo de la Revolución, which holds artifacts from the revolution and the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.

• Museo de Guanabacoa of Santeria Orishas, which features exhibits on Santeria Afro-Cuban culture, a sugar-cane machine and an early-1900s Cadillac.

The U.S. government restricts tourists from traveling to Cuba but offers some groups and individuals government-sanctioned licenses that allow access. Those traveling to Cuba must be licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which authorizes legal travel. The Cuban government requires visitors to keep logs listing their transactions and the places they’ve visited.

Tour operator Premier World Discovery/Chamber Explorations has accompanied 3,000 visitors to the communist country in the past year, said Los Altos Chamber of Commerce President Julie Rose.

Two years ago, the Los Altos Chamber sponsored a trip to China.

“Travel is a good source of fundraising for us, and we have a target audience,” she said.

According to Rose, people travel in guided groups to places they can’t easily go on their own. Last year, for example, the Chamber canceled a trip to Ireland due to lack of interest. Rose speculated that tourists can get there without a group.

“We initially were interested in Cuba because travelers can’t really go alone,” she said. “It’s forbidden fruit.”

Rose said a recent informational meeting on the Cuba trip drew at least 30 people, and most have signed up for the trip.

“I’ve been told by others who have been to Cuba that it’s a fabulous destination because of the scenery and music,” she said. “There’s also a lot of interaction with local people.”

Rose said she’s especially looking forward to the paladares, dinners held in Cubans’ homes. Cuban cuisine fuses African, Caribbean and Spanish culinary styles.

It’s also a great time to go “while it’s still the way it is” – uncommercialized, Rose said. Even in China, she added, the travelers saw Kentucky Fried Chicken and other American chains, which don’t exist in Cuba.

The trip costs $3,599 double occupancy; $450 single supplement. The cost includes round-trip airfare from Miami, hotels, meals, visa and travel insurance, tours, admissions and more.

To download a brochure, visit www.losaltoschamber.org/pdf/cuba-trip2013.pdf.

For more information, call Rose at 948-1455 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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