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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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