Fri07252014

News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community devel...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Smart start


Photo By: Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Gary Anderson/Special To The Town Crier

Mercedes-Benz shows off one of its new Smart electric-drive cars during a recent tour stop in San Francisco.

Imagine a bright Saturday morning in April on the Embarcadero along the San Francisco waterfront, under the clock tower of the Ferry Building. Fresh produce spills from the stalls at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, classic trolleys pass on their steel tracks and Giants fans whisk by on their way to AT&T Park.

Now visualize a fleet of shiny subcompact Smart electric-drive cars by Mercedes-Benz – led by one Smart brilliantly painted with the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline – soundlessly cruising up and down the Embarcadero in front of the very view painted on the car.

This scene was as exciting as watching the circus unload as a youngster. The event resembled a circus – of the most modern kind.

Mercedes is introducing its Smart electric vehicles to “eco-minded urbanites and early adopters” in an 11-city tour across the country. With a base price of only $25,000, the Smart will be the most affordable electric vehicle on the market, competing with the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi MiEV and Ford Focus EV. It uses much of the same technology as the Tesla.

The tour’s goal is to showcase the new car, now available at Smart dealers, by giving the younger city-dwellers a chance to drive it in the setting for which it was designed. It also allows them to inspect the zero-emission car’s particular attributes, from unlimited customization opportunities to its structure, built around a rigid tridion safety-cell exoskeleton.

The most noticeable attribute of these cars in this setting is their size – just under 9 feet long, 5 feet high and 5 feet wide – dimensions that work well in dense downtown traffic, tight city parking and even tighter spaces in urban garages.

What was equally obvious during the test-drive up and down San Francisco’s steep hills was the torquey responsiveness of the electric motor, perfect for a dash across crowded intersections and able to make easy work of the hills that are typical of the city. The zero-to-60 time of 12 seconds and top speed of 78 mph provide a more than adequate performance envelope for use in city applications, even if part of the commute includes freeway miles.

With the advanced Mercedes-developed lithium-ion battery stowed in the area where the fuel tank usually goes, and the motor replacing the engine between the rear wheels, the car retains its standard interior space and cargo room. And it’s easily capable of handling routine city errands.

As for answers to frequently asked questions: The Smart EV can travel between 50 and 80 miles on a single charge and recharge from 20 to 80 percent full in 3.5 hours on a 240-volt outlet.

And yes, cities are increasingly making these outlets available in downtown parking structures. A smartphone app manages power and recharging – there’s no reason for range anxiety in typical city use, even if that use includes a trip to the airport or errands around town on weekends. The best part is that the Smart EV gets the equivalent of 122 miles per gallon, more than most motor scooters.

Increasing the Smart EV’s convenience and efficiency is that it can be programmed while plugged into the power grid to heat or cool the interior to a comfortable level just before use.

The bottom line from our brief time running around San Francisco on a busy Saturday morning: This may be the most practical transportation for use around a suburban village like Los Altos.

The Smart in either body style may be purchased like any other new or leased car from Mercedes.The Smart Fortwo electric-drive coupe lease price is $199/month, $269/month for the convertible, and includes “Battery Assurance Plus.” This program allows customers to rent the battery on their Smart car, including maintenance and replacement for up to 10 years, and is also available as part of a purchase package.

Although the Smart has been at dealers for only a few weeks, we’ve already seen two in downtown Los Altos. But that’s not surprising, given the early-adopter mentality of the village and the attraction of the price, efficiency, comfort, flexibility and style.

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