Mon07282014

News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community devel...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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