Fri09192014

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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Author proposes Apricot Days celebration


Courtesy of John Hammerschmidt
Los Altos resident and author Robin Chapman shares her fond memories of growing up amid apricot orchards.

Los Altos resident Robin Chapman planted seeds with members of the Los Altos Rotary Club Aug. 15, sharing her vision for a local festival celebrating “Apricot Days.”

Chapman, author of “California Apricots: The Lost Orchards of Silicon Valley” (History Press, 2013) has fond memories of the fuzzy little fruit and its place in Los Altos’ history. She grew up in a house her father built himself amid apricot orchards.

According to Chapman, the apricot originated in China, where its pictograph shows a tree above an open mouth, signifying its delicious flavor. From China, it traveled the Silk Road to Central Asia, then branched off to Syria, giving rise to the expression, “Like an apricot in Damascus,” meaning “as good as it gets.” “Damasco” is the Spanish word for “apricot,” honoring its popularity in the Syrian capital.

Orchards were also cultivated in Majorca, Spain, and Father Junipero Serra first brought seedlings to California for planting in mission gardens.

Chapman explained how the state’s apricot orchards became truly profitable and plentiful during the Gold Rush and the subsequent development of the transcontinental railroad, which enabled fresh and dried fruit to be transported to the East Coast. Apricot orchards, she said, brought both food and jobs to California.

Chapman estimated that 200,000 acres of fruit trees covered what is now Silicon Valley, making it the largest orchard in the world. Of the abundant orchards, 7 million apricot trees belonged to the late Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, whose will stipulated that 67 acres be maintained in perpetuity as orchards.

In 1901, J. Gilbert Smith planted an orchard on the San Antonio Road property that now houses the Los Altos Civic Center. While bicycling to and from his job at Stanford University, he pitched a tent in the orchard and built his home, now known as the J. Gilbert Smith History House. The property still boasts an active apricot orchard.

Chapman proposed that “Apricot Days” be celebrated perhaps as a fundraiser for the Los Altos History Museum, a community-building investment, an educational event, green-space preservation and a heritage for future generations.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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