Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Suzanne Bell chimes in with fashion tips online

Suzanne Bell chimes in with fashion tips online


Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Bell strikes a pose in downtown Los Altos recently. Having fun with fashion – and offering good advice – is the basis for Bell’s new website, ask-suzanne-bell.com.

Suzanne Bell of Los Altos has, as s...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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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

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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Community Botball robotics teams win big at Northern California tourney


Photo By: Courtesy of Botball STaff
Photo Courtesy Of Botball Staff

Lauren Yang and Brandon Huang set up their winning robots for a match at the Northern California Regional Botball Tournament.

Four teams of students from Los Altos competed against 15 Bay Area teams at the Northern California Regional Botball Tournament April 27, racking up a number of victories.

The competition, held at Independence High School in San Jose, finished with three of the Los Altos teams placing first, second and third overall; first, second and third in seeding; first and second in double elimination; and first and second in documentation. One team won the Overall Judges’ Choice Award, and another earned the Outstanding Sub-System Award.

Several teams will advance to the International Botball tournament to defend their 2012 International Championship.

The Botball Educational Robotics Program engages middle- and high-school-aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition. Botball robots are autonomous and rely on computer programming to start, stop and maneuver on the game board. The teams build robots from a predefined set of parts and use a Linux-based robot controller developed by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. Students program their robots using the C language.

After eight weeks of planning and development, teams take their robots to the regional tournament to compete against others in the current season’s game challenge. Each season presents a unique challenge.

The tournament consists of a seeding round, in which each team runs its robots alone on the game board, and a double-elimination round, in which two teams run on the game board at the same time, competing against each other. Teams are judged on their documentation and presentation of the process and lessons learned.

“The Botball tournament days are my favorite days of the year,” said Michael Schuh, competition announcer and local Botball team organizer. “I love seeing how intensely the students compete with their very creative and impressive robot designs. They are clearly having lots of fun and are fully engaged. It is heartening to spend time with such bright and talented youth.”

While most Botball teams are school-based, the Los Altos team is a community effort that includes students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose. Team members’ parents coach the teams.

The Los Altos teams prioritize learning how to build and program capable robots and working together as a team over winning.

According to Schuh, Botball is a great opportunity for students, team leaders, mentors and parents to network and interact with others who share an interest in educational robotics.

NASA is the major sponsor of Botball, giving potential scientists and engineers the opportunity to collaborate on fun and creative projects.

For more information, call Schuh at 965-8037 or visit Botball.org or LosAltosRobotics.org.

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