Sat11012014

News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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The Grant family: Money, power and pyromania: A Piece of My Mind

If you have visited the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, you have driven through Joseph D. Grant County Park. It is a beautiful drive in spring. The road meanders upward between hills coated with the electric green of new grass, highlighted by swathes of Day-Glo yellow mustard as if God had taken a Magic Marker to the landscape. Higher up, the roadside sparkles with glowing orange California poppies set off by patches of purple lupine and yellow sheep tail.

The park brochure tells you that Joseph Grant was the son and heir of Adam Grant, for whom Grant Avenue in San Francisco is named. The senior Grant co-founded Murphy, Grant & Co., a dry-goods store that rivaled Levi Strauss in selling overalls to miners. The San Francisco store burned in a spectacular fire in 1875, but most of the inventory was spared and the demand for Nonpareil Overalls remained.

Joseph was a mover and a shaker. He managed the family business, started the Columbia Steam Co. and served as president of California-Oakland Power and as life trustee of Stanford University. After Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932, Hoover stayed at Grant’s ranch for three weeks to lick his wounds.

The brochure doesn’t say much about Joseph’s wife, Edith, or their three children. But if you are lucky, you might find a park ranger to guide you around the ranch house and explain how daughters Edith and Josephine did not get along and would engage in rolling-around-on-the-floor fistfights at the mansion, sometimes during social events. And how as teenagers they would invite some of the ranch hands to join them on rides into San Jose for supplies, throwing empty liquor bottles out the limousine in both directions to mark their trail.

He might tell you about the nightly drunken parties Josephine would host in one of the older side-buildings, and about how Joseph burned the building down to stop the parties.

He might tell you about how daughter Edith used to shoot at people who trespassed on family property – including the mailman. It was said that she also shot her own horses if they came in range of the front porch.

He might tell you about how son Douglas, a business disappointment but adept at golf and drinking, died in a house fire lit by one of his neglected cigarettes. Or about how Josephine, when she took over the ranch, burned all the family letters and documents.

There is a novel to be written here, don’t you agree?

And no, there is no connection between the incendiary Grant family and our Grant Road in Los Altos. Our street was named for the two homesteaders who first claimed property along Permanente Creek, brothers Theodore Frank and George H. Grant. Their bunkhouse can still be seen at Deer Hollow Farm. I wonder what their story was? Maybe not so inflammatory – unless they, too, burned the records.

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