Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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One practical sedan


Photo By: courtesy of ford
Photo Courtesy Of Ford

The new Ford Taurus is big car, weighing 2 tons, and doesn’t lack for modern conveniences.

Ford is definitely on a roll, with new vehicles in almost every segment of the automotive marketplace, from all-electric urban runabouts to full-size hybrid SUVs.

Our most recent experience was with the 2013 Ford Taurus, which definitely deserves consideration by the mature family or empty-nest couple looking for a classic, full-size, American-made four-door sedan.

Locals who remember the Taurus from the 1990s when it was the company car of choice for a certain local Fortune 500 company might wonder where the nameplate has been in recent years. These same folks might also be confused when first viewing the new Taurus. Not surprising. For several years in the last decade, Ford Motor Company had more or less lost its way regarding the styling and engineering of this model. Now the name Taurus is used on the model originally launched as the Ford 500, and it has dimensions more akin to 1950s sedans than to the low and sleek sedans and pretend-coupes manufacturers have recently been introducing to the family car market.

We think that’s a good thing, since the major advantage of this new Taurus design is that the car is high, wide and handsome, with a seating position that places the eyes at approximately the same level as most crossover SUVs. This makes entry and exit easier for members of the baby-boom generation.

The Taurus is a car for those who fondly remember the old days, when sedans had spacious, comfortable front and rear seats, and a trunk that could swallow a family’s luggage (and bags of golf clubs) for a two-week vacation. All three of these dimensions are best in class for full-size sedans.

Another advantage is that within the list price of the car we drove – $35,180 – Ford offers all the modern conveniences including backup camera and sensors, satellite radio, digital music library, voice-activated navigation and Bluetooth smartphone connection, heated seats and more.

On the other hand, in a break with tradition, Ford has taken a page from the foreign-car playbook with the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive and six-speed automatic transmission. The result is fuel efficiency of 22 mpg city, 32 highway and 26 combined – and a smooth, quiet ride.

But there are some negatives in this new model. The Taurus is a big sedan that weighs 2 tons, has limited visibility and a large turning radius. Then there’s that elephant in the cockpit – the touchscreen interface which both Ford and GM have adopted, requiring one to make quick, precision selection of everything from cabin temperature to audio source. This interface is literally a hit-or-miss proposition, and it’s also distracting and frustrating to use.

If you’re looking for a large, comfortable, American car in the best of the old traditions, the new Taurus could be the right car for you. But if you skim car reviews looking for words like handling, performance and acceleration, you’ll have to look at other models and other manufacturers.

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