Sat09202014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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Downtown Los Altos could take a tip from Los Gatos: Other Voices

I visited downtown Los Altos on a whim on a recent Wednesday night to fulfill my desire for frozen yogurt. It was so deserted that I expected to see tumbleweeds rolling by as I drove down Main Street toward Miyo.

Despite downtown’s many restaurants, I wondered why open parking spots outnumbered people by approximately 20 to 1. While this is a downtown that certainly needs revitalization, between Aldo Los Altos, LuLu’s, Opa, Sumika and many other eateries, business should be booming. Los Altos has a substantial variety of restaurants, and people should be competing for parking spots as they frequent them nightly.

During Los Altos City Council brainstorming sessions on boosting activity downtown, ideas included adding “current” and “with it” restaurants, a movie theater and a pedestrian mall. However, the variety of restaurants has yet to draw more nightlife to this ghost town. Even Zitune, a Michelin Guide-recommended restaurant, closed just a few years after its arrival.

Downtown Los Gatos is a frenzy of activity in the evenings – children eating tasty treats in Powell’s Sweet Shop, ladies night at J.Crew, drinks and sushi at the high-end Katsu Japanese restaurant. This is definitely a viable model for Los Altos, which shares a similar demographic. A successful restaurant and gathering spot like the Los Altos Grill – full to the brim each night – proves that we can draw people downtown.

Maybe the issue is retail shops that people would actually enjoy at night. It seems that many of downtown Los Altos’ retail stores close for the day when the sun is still high in the sky – or leave town altogether before we even learn their names. By contrast, in downtown Los Gatos, you can find people shopping at the high-end Kitsch Couture, Sur La Table or Apple Store until 8 p.m., and then grabbing a late dinner at one of the many thriving restaurants.

What would it take to transform our downtown into a vibrant, people-filled and economically favorable vision?

While a college class in growth management does not qualify me to solve the city’s problems, it is obvious to anyone with eyes that there is a problem with downtown that could be attributed to a number of factors. For many Los Altos residents, the downtown debate may not be a top-of-the-mind issue, but people will certainly fail to show support by forgoing downtown establishments when they choose the venues for their nighttime meals and activities.

The early-closing stores and sad, empty streets are not a very inviting scene.

Alyssa Jacobson is a Los Altos resident.

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