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News

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water officials said today that preliminary water quality test results were negative for E. coli were negative and "only a single hydrant" in the South El Monte area of Los Altos showed the presence of total coliform. They reduced the "boil your ...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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Neutra House camp builds foundation for design careers


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Ellie Dupin sketches a vision for Los Altos during Neutra House’s Design Camp.

While the city of Los Altos pulled out jackhammers to improve downtown aesthetics, a number of aspiring young designers took to the streets of Los Altos last week, armed with sketchbooks and clipboards to create ideas of their own.

If these local youth had it their way, they would transform the Civic Center site into a 6-acre lake or renovate Los Altos’ Community Plaza with trees, tables, a fountain and additional landscaping.

Even if only on paper, 12 incoming eighth- and ninth-graders flexed their creative muscles in a series of architecture, urban planning and landscape design exercises last week at Los Altos Neutra House’s inaugural Design Camp. During the career-immersion camp, a volunteer faculty of professionals from around the Bay Area challenged students to redefine how they see the world around them.

“We told the students they were the MVPs of the class,” said King Lear, Neutra House director. “They put in a full 40-hour workweek, and they didn’t flinch.”

After mastering the basic tools of the trade – map reading, developing a design concept, perspective drawing, collaboration and consensus building – students tackled a variety of real-world design problems. In addition to field trips to architectural landmarks in Los Altos, they explored downtown and studied how landscape design, urban planning and architecture shape the environment.

“I go there with my friends and hang out … but it was fun to take a place you see every day and try to change it,” said Sana Khader, an incoming Los Altos High School freshman, of the experience of redesigning the town plaza during the camp.

Studio time at the end of each day offered students the opportunity to develop their design skills alongside professionals.

Pairing traditional skills with Google SketchUp to create computer-generated 3-D models, students designed and developed their dream homes and site plans – roads, landscaping and planning elements included. Instructors mentored students in the improvised studio space at Neutra House, providing constructive criticism and insight into careers in the design field.

“It was so amazing to get feedback from people who do it for a living,” said Design Camp participant Ellie Dupin, who said she has wanted to be an architect since she was in sixth grade. “You don’t need to be perfect, don’t need an eraser … that was really interesting to me.”

Volunteer instructor Jonathan Pearlman, design principal at Elevation Architects, said he found the maturity and focus of the Design Camp students impressive. Although accustomed to teaching at the university level, Pearlman added that he was pleased to discover that the students didn’t need much persuasion to express themselves or push creative boundaries.

“I think the thing that surprised me the most was their level of sophistication,” he said. “They had an incredible facility for tools.”

Design Camp was an eye-opener for students as well, according to Pearlman. Even the campers who expect to pursue other careers gained invaluable insight, he said, with the opportunity fueling interest in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.

“The notion that this little house can bring an education about architecture to a community is exciting,” Pearlman said of Neutra House, designed by famed architect Richard Neutra in 1935 and preserved by the Los Altos Community Foundation.

Lear and Pearlman said they plan to offer the camp again next summer.

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