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News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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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State Street Green fades to black as intersection reopens


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Residents bid farewell to the State Street Green, which played host to events like Green Day on the Green, left, while serving as a social gathering spot for more than a month.

The street that had gone green is back to black.

The State Street Green has been rolled up – literally – and put away for the summer, giving way to the black asphalt underneath.

The downtown pop-up park, located between First and Second streets, was scheduled to be removed Tuesday after serving as a social gathering spot for downtown visitors for more than a month. The end of the temporary park coincides with the city’s plan to wrap up First Street streetscape construction and reopen the State and First streets intersection this week, according to Los Altos Economic Development Manager Kathy Kleinbaum.

The city, along with Passerelle Investment Co. and the H&H Co., collaborated on the park in July as a “turning lemons into lemonade” effort after closing the State and First intersection for the construction project.

Kleinbaum conceded that the city opted to close the park Tuesday despite a push by some to keep it in place through Labor Day. She noted that the park, as well as other factors, might have negatively impacted some businesses.

“We decided by a majority vote that if enough businesses are impacted, the city has a responsibility to mitigate those issues,” she said.

While the park may be gone from State Street, some are hoping to see it return to the downtown area in the future.

Passerelle Community Development Director Brooke Ray Smith said she’s in the process of tabulating results of a merchant and visitor survey recently conducted on the park. If the survey results indicate adequate support, Smith added, she would consider asking city officials to support resurrecting the park downtown for one month next summer.

“The idea of having a car-free space downtown is important – whether as a park or as a flex-use space,” said Smith, adding that merchant buy-in is “a huge part” of the support for another temporary downtown park.

“You can’t effectively build community without being a part of it – that’s what we’ve strived to do here,” she said.

Reactions

State Street merchants offered a range of opinions on the park’s impact – positive and negative.

BK Collections owner Belinda Chung said that while the park was a positive attraction for visitors, she saw an overall drop in business – citing specifically a lack of foot traffic and parking as factors.

“Parking is the biggest concern for me,” said Chung, a downtown merchant for more than 30 years. “We’ve had a lot of positive reaction to (the park) … but at the end of the day, it really doesn’t help business.”

Peet’s Coffee & Tea manager Saundra Nguyen, on the other hand, said the park’s presence changed the type of clients her business served over the summer.

While the stream of early-morning commuters stopping in for coffee dwindled because of parking concerns, the store gained new customers in parents and caretakers with young children who enjoyed the Green, she said. Nguyen added that her store experienced an initial drop in business before seeing an uptick in recent weeks.

“It took me about a week to see what an opportunity it was,” said Nguyen, who added that she drew customers into the store by handing out samples to potential customers on the Green. “For a company like us, it’s a good opportunity to meet new customers and expand our base. I do worry about those customers who can’t park, though.”

Skate Works owner Jason Strubing acknowledged neighboring merchants’ parking concerns but added that the problem can’t be blamed solely on the park. He noted other factors contributing to the parking crunch, pointing to First Street construction and the loss of nearly 100 temporary spaces at the First and Main streets lot, which is currently being developed.

“I think it obviously made the best of a bad situation. … If anything, it shows the need for green space downtown,” he said.

Kleinbaum said the city is “willing to consider” another downtown pop-up park in the future. She added that while the State Street Green “served its purpose very well,” approving a pop-up park next summer would ultimately depend on continued public/private funding and partnerships, as well as the support of the business community and the Los Altos City Council.

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