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News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

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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Scouts vote to include gay youths

scoutsWhen the Boy Scouts of America voted en masse Thursday on whether to drop a ban on gay Scouts, a Los Altos Hills resident was among those holding a ballot.

Reached while still at the convention in Dallas last week, he gave the Town Crier local insight into the national event.

Scout leaders voted to reverse the ban on gay youth but declined to address the continuing ban on gay adult leaders.

Garth Pickett, president of the Boy Scouts’ Pacific Skyline Council, had spent months interviewing families, sponsoring organizations and alumni to solicit input on whether change was needed. The Scouts had had no formal policy on sexual orientation until recent years, when a court case spurred the organization’s leadership to clarify an exclusion policy that hadn’t been voted on by members. Some local groups, including a Cub Scout troop in Los Altos Hills, independently rejected the policy and voiced their demand for inclusion.

The data gathered by local leaders like Pickett directly led to the ballot last week, he reported. The Northeast region of the U.S. strongly supported welcoming gay members in Scouting, while the South strongly opposed the move. The Midwest and West were close to evenly split.

One question on the survey drew a powerful spike in support, Pickett said – the one addressing the narrow question of whether a young Scout questioning his orientation should be able to remain in Boy Scouts and receive support from the adults in his life.

“Is that the right thing for Scouting to do – train them they have to keep their mouth shut when they’re struggling with this, in an organization that gives them mentors they can trust when they’re developing as young men?” Pickett summarized. “That question struck a real strong chord across the United States. The vast majority said, ‘You’re right, Scouting is for every boy and young man.’ … That’s why (the BSA) came up with the proposal that they did.”

A tense vote

Pickett said Scouts from around the country delivered gut-wrenching speeches for and against the proposal, describing the support they had lost due to exclusion. He said the tone of the event was emotional but courteous, with speakers from both points of view showing remarkable thoughtfulness in deeply personal comments.

The BSA hired an external organization to run a tightly secured voting procedure, and after a day of impassioned pleas, representatives from around the country cast their ballots.

As thousands gathered in the huge assembly hall to hear the results, Pickett said a national leader predicted that the ballots might come back with a margin of only a dozen votes out of 1,400 cast by regional representatives. The BSA leadership had drafted the inclusive change and voiced their support for it but had said that if the organization as a whole voted no, the majority opinion would prevail.

“Wayne Perry, the national president, blinks, reads the results, and then he just got emotional – 61.44 percent in favor of change, 38.56 against change,” Pickett said. “No clapping, there were no hurrahs, just silence. Shaking hands, hugging and walking out of the room.”

Pickett said the vote would require a process of healing and outreach for some regions.

“I’m going to have to write letters to my friends in our area who’ve said that this is the end of Scouting,” he said. “I’m going to write them ... and see what we can do to get them to understand the reality of what’s going on and what the resolution says. Scouting will go on the same.”

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