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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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The Merchant of orthopedics: Los Altos doctor continues groundbreaking research


Courtesy of the Merchants
Dr. Alan Merchant credits his wife, Joan, for much of his success in the field of orthopedics. As Joan says, “Al does the orthopedics, and I do all the rest.”

Longtime Los Altos resident Alan Merchant, 82, has experienced a large number of knee problems.

Known by his patients as Dr. Merchant, he has explored and influenced the field of patellofemoral orthopedics for more than half a century. In layman’s terms, that means he knows a great deal about orthopedics, surgery and patellas (kneecaps).

He grew up in Stockton and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, summa cum laude, from Stanford University in 1951. As an undergraduate, Merchant had already considered becoming a surgeon.

“I knew I wanted to go into the sciences, and I liked working with my hands,” he said.

Merchant specializes in reconstructive surgery, which essentially uses surgery to improve the functionality of a body part.

“In a way, it’s like instant gratification,” he said. “You take something that’s broken and you fix it. Many surgical specialties don’t have that – like cancer, for example.”

Merchant is famous for a technique he developed for conducting X-rays, which revolutionized the way orthopedic doctors view the kneecap. Taken from above the knee, it has become the standard X-ray used throughout patella orthopedics. In his initial paper, he described the method as an “axial roentgenogram.” His colleagues, along with the rest of the medical field, now call it “The Merchant View.”

“They’re very good at slapping people’s names on things,” Merchant said with a smile.

In addition to his research, Merchant practiced at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. He joined the staff in 1962, a year after the hospital was founded, and retired 42 years later.

Although he no longer operates, Merchant continues his research and contributes to the field on a regular basis. He is currently searching for a new way to make cuts when aligning a knee.

Merchant credits his ability to stay active and influential in the medical field to his wife, Joan.

They met as sophomores at Stanford, “across the botany lab table,” according to Joan. In their junior year, Merchant and his Theta Delta Chi fraternity serenaded her and asked her to be his girlfriend.

They married in Stanford Memorial Church three days after graduation and have three children and six grandchildren.

“(Joan) helped put me through med school, raised the children when I was away developing the practice, taking emergency calls, all the while being a loving wife, mother and partner,” Merchant said.

Merchant expressed his continuing devotion and gratitude to his wife.

“She’s still beautiful,” he said. “Whatever I’ve accomplished is due mostly to her encouragement, help and hard work. As she says, ‘Al does the orthopedics, and I do all the rest.’”

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