Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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