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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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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

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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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

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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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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Fantasy becomes reality as author faces death

Distinguished English author Terry Pratchett looks a bit like a mix of Dr. Andrew Weil and Johnny Cash – with a touch of wizard thrown in (depending on the tilt of his black fedora on any given day). He enjoys a huge fan base, having written in the fantasy genre for both children and adults. In fact, Queen Elizabeth liked him so much that in 2009 she knighted him for services to literature.

Pratchett is best known for his fantasy book series about a place called Discworld, described as a large disc resting on the backs of four giant elephants, all supported by the giant turtle Great A’Tuin, as it swims its way through space. (Are you still with me?)

I must confess, I found this whimsical place very funny to think about. In fact, alone in my office, I laughed out loud for quite some time. Then, as I slowly regained my composure and tried to carry on my serious work, I unexpectedly broke into another fit of hilarity as my subconscious began to ponder, “Then, who’s holding up the turtle?”

That’s what happens when you only dip your toe in the waters of Pratchett-land. To fully appreciate his genius, one must enter the gates fully engaged and ready to believe.

I am not well acquainted (OK, I’m not acquainted at all) with the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but that plotline makes “Star Trek” seem like “Father Knows Best.” In fact, there are Discworld conventions, much like the Trekkies have.

After the initial jolt, however, it is apparent that Pratchett’s Discworld is not as unrelated to our Earth as it would seem at first glance. He cleverly uses his fantasy civilization to parody our own present world situations in war, politics, entertainment and society in general.

In 2009, Pratchett also became known on UK television for an award-winning BBC documentary series on Alzheimer’s disease. He has contracted a rare form of the disease, Posterior Cortical Atrophy, in which areas at the back of the brain begin to shrink and shrivel.

In the April 21 Guardian, a British newspaper, reporter Stephen Moss writes of Pratchett:

“‘It’s not morbid to talk about death,’ he insists. ‘Most people don’t worry about death, they worry about a bad death.’ In Discworld, death is an attractive, sympathetic, sometimes comic figure, a far-from-grim reaper – and Pratchett sees no reason to change his view here in Roundworld.”

I’m just saying … imagination can be a wonderful thing, and I love the way Sir Terry Pratchett is using his to transit many worlds: flat and round, here – and hereafter. We wish him well.

Sharon Lennox-Infante, a contributing editor for Book Buzz, is a Los Altos resident.

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