Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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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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