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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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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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