Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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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