Fri03062015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could...

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Schools

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show


Traci Newell/ Town Crier
Neighborhood volunteer Lishka DeVoss, center, introduces members of Santa Rita School’s Kranky Kids Radio Club to their interviewee last week. The students star in the Kranky Kids Radio Show, which airs Fridays on KZSU.
...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Sports

Eagles make school history

Eagles make school history

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos High School Eagles defeated Santa Clara High School Tuesday to advance to the Central Coast Section basketball finals Saturday.

The Eagles are headed where no Los Altos High boys basketball team has gone...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los Altos home. Sensors are placed around a city, below, and fou...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

Long time Los Altos resident, Jack Joseph Crane, loving husband and devoted father of two children, passed away peacefully at the Terraces in Los Altos, Saturday, February 21, 2015. He was 95 years of age. Jack was born on June 22, 1919. He is prec...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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