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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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