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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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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

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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