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News

First St. closure set for Saturday

First Street in downtown Los Altos will be closed Saturday (Nov. 22) between West Edith Avenue and Shasta Street for street paving. The closure is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the event of poor weather, the work will be rescheduled for a later ...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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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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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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