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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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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

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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‘The Long Earth’ steps into space travel among different worlds


Reading certain books can be like listening to a piece of beautiful music, with many of the work’s themes remaining in the mind long after you’ve finished.

“The Long Earth” (HarperCollins, 2012) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is one such book. It should come as no surprise, given that the British authors are giants in the science fiction and science fantasy genres with more than 100 books in their combined list of credits.

Their collaboration results in a science fiction tale that postulates that Earth is but one of perhaps an infinite number of earths, each of which evolved in a different way – but none seems to be populated.

“The Long Earth” begins in Madison, Wis., in 2015, when people have just discovered that they can visit, or “step,” among these different versions of earth by means of a small, inexpensive mechanical device.

Pratchett and Baxter devote most of the novel to the travels of Joshua Valienté, a teenager noted for his unusual ability to step without an aid, and Lobsang, part-robot, part-man, who builds a massive airship able to travel with ease among the earths.

The real fun of the book chronicles the sights and sites Joshua and Lobsang discover on their voyage of adventure – all kinds of plants, animals and creatures that have evolved on the different versions of the earths. There are worlds frozen in a perpetual ice age, worlds covered with enormous forests, verdant worlds with extraordinary plants and peculiar animals and, most interesting of all, worlds with strange elf- or troll-like creatures and other vaguely humanoid forms.

The premise of “The Long Earth” allows the tale to unfold with creativity and imagination. What if we really could run away from our present circumstances and start over – with other people or not? What kind of new colony would we like to start, and how would we like it to be organized and governed?

The loveliness of the book lies in the low technology and simplicity of these worlds, and the descriptions of the different earths and the new colonies that people begin to form.

I am quite familiar with Pratchett’s work, and “The Long Earth” doesn’t contain much of his sense of humor or wonderful wordplay. It is, however, charming and rather utopian in feel, not to mention thought-provoking and fun to ponder how one would go about organizing one’s own unspoiled earth.

Book clubs that enjoy reading science fiction should explore “The Long Earth.”

Leslie Ashmore is a longtime Mountain View resident who belongs to two book clubs.

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