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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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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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Ascending the ranks


Erica Caldwell/Charlotte Knights
Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Erik Johnson has gone from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte this season.

Pitcher Erik Johnson continues to climb the organizational ladder of the Chicago White Sox, rising from Single-A to Triple-A in a year. But the Los Altos High graduate takes his success one step – and one start – at a time.

“Like any year, I’ve been learning a lot,” said Johnson, promoted to the Charlotte Knights in June after going 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 14 starts for the Double-A Birmingham Barons. “I try to take away something new with every start I make. … For me, it really comes down to what I’m doing down there (on the field). It’s always just me and the (catcher’s) glove. It’s a tough game and a long season, so really the simpler I can keep it, the better.”

The focused Johnson was a standout starter at UC Berkeley prior to being chosen by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

In 2012, his first full year of minor-league ball, the right-hander jumped from low Single-A Kannapolis to high Single-A Winston-Salem by midseason.

Johnson finished the campaign with a 6-5 record and a 2.53 ERA in 17 starts, while posting a nearly 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the season.

Others took notice of Johnson’s solid season. Baseball America, for one, ranked the Mountain View native as the No. 4 prospect in the White Sox organization, as well as its top pitching prospect.

Johnson, however, said he’s unaffected by glowing scouting reports or rankings. His focus remains on the one thing he can control – his performance on the field.

“I don’t read anything into that; it’s singular focus for me and keeping it on the field,” said Johnson, who is 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts for Charlotte. “It really comes down to each start – you can’t think past your next start. It’s just taking it day-by-day, working hard, staying focused and staying healthy.”

Prior to starting the season with Birmingham, Johnson earned an opportunity to participate in his first spring training with the big-league club in Arizona. The non-roster invitee said he cherished the chance to spend time in the same clubhouse and on the same field as Chicago’s major-leaguers.

“That’s the biggest part I wanted to take in as a goal – learn as much as I can while I was there,” said Johnson, who arrived at camp in late January. “I was always listening and watching some of the older guys throw their bullpens. … Just being out there and facing big-league hitters (in exhibition games) was the opportunity I wanted.”

Johnson’s steadfast focus hasn’t prevented him from realizing how important off-the-field supporters have been to his career. He noted that family and friends back home have provided unwavering support during his career – from as far back as high school. Johnson’s parents have traveled to see him play at Birmingham and Charlotte this season and watch his starts online as well. Sandy Wihtol, his coach at Los Altos High, calls every few weeks to check in on his former baseball pupil.

“It’s nice to have them there to support me as much as they can,” said Johnson, who added that he chats by phone with his parents after every start. “For me, it’s really a family and community support structure.”

Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players in September, but Johnson said he hasn’t let the thought of being among those called up to creep into his head. As usual, Johnson’s focus remains on the diamond – and away from any speculation.

“I don’t think I’ve surprised myself, because baseball is one of those things I’ve always excelled at,” he said. “It’s about me just climbing and trying to reach that goal of mine. … It always comes down to just me and that glove again.”

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