Fri02122016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Police recover blind man’s stolen bicycle


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Brian Higgins, who is 98 percent blind, enlisted the police’s help after discovering the bike stolen from his carport storage unit listed for sale on eBay.

The story of a blind Los Altos man whose only mode of transportation – a $3,000 bicycle – was stolen is shaping up for a happy conclusion.

Los Altos police recovered Brian Higgins’ Litespeed titanium bike after the 61-year-old U.S. Navy veteran-turned-inventor discovered it for sale on eBay. The discovery and subsequent recovery occurred just one week after Higgins reported that someone stole the bike Aug. 8 from his locked carport storage unit.

“The nagging question now is, what do I do with it now?” said Higgins, who is 98 percent blind. “Where do I keep it now? At least it’s a good problem I get to worry about.”

Higgins, the founder of Intellisight Inc., has spent 16 years developing an ultrasonic sensor that allows the blind to autonomously use bikes and some other modes of transportation.

“It detects large objects and finds a clear path for you,” Higgins said of his sensor system, which notifies a user of oncoming objects through vibration and audible warning beeps. “Ever since I lost my driver’s license in 1998 – which was devastating to me – I’ve been searching for some solutions.”

He noted that he uses the bike and sensor system daily to travel along Foothill Expressway to the Palo Alto VA hospital, where he catches a shuttle to his day job as a technology instructor at the VA Medical Center in Menlo Park. The theft was the subject of a recent NBC 11 report.

Prior to the recovery of his bike, Higgins told the Town Crier he believed that the theft was targeted. He said thieves cut through the storage unit’s attached locking mechanism to get to the bike, and also stole $1,000 worth of tools. Higgins discovered his bike missing from the storage unit in the early morning hours of Aug. 8 as he was preparing to bike to work.

Reached by the Town Crier, Det. Abe Velasco said Los Altos Police executed a search warrant to recover the bike Thursday after Higgins contacted them about the eBay listing. Velasco noted that Higgins was able to confirm that the bike was his by pointing out some of its specific characteristics, seen in pictures on the listing. The following day, he added, police arrested a 36-year-old San Jose man on unrelated narcotics charges, who they believe may also be linked to the bike theft.

Velasco declined to provide additional details about the case because the investigation is ongoing.

“What’s unique about this case is that the victim was able to assist to the point where he was able to identify specific (things) from the eBay ad,” said Velasco, who added that the bike is currently in police custody as evidence but eventually will be returned to Higgins.

Higgins said that while he was pleased police recovered his bike, the theft left him cautious about where to store it in the future.

“This was a life-changing event for me,” said Higgins, who moved to Los Altos from Maine approximately 10 years ago. “Maybe it shouldn’t be, but for me it was.”

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