Fri08012014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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Polarizing but practical


courtesy of Nissan
The 2013 Nissan Juke offers 188 horsepower. The car’s fuel- efficiency ratings are 25 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

We usually drive our press cars for a week, allowing any vehicle that makes a bad first impression plenty of time to redeem itself.

That was definitely the case with the little 2013 Nissan Juke we drove recently.

The styling of the car is what we charitably call “polarizing.”

At the Saturday morning gearhead gathering at Main Street Cafe & Books, our friends just shook their heads in disbelief at the car’s appearance. However, at least three different times during the week, I noticed young people on the verge of driving age poke their parents and point to the car with grins on their faces. We’ll leave you to make up your mind about which side of that fence you’re on.

However, by Wednesday we were looking forward to driving the car for errands and outings, because it seemed to fit our local lifestyle nicely. It’s well suited to Nissan’s description of it as an urban crossover, and two incidents illustrate that point.

On a Saturday night we drove to Palo Alto for dinner and a movie, hampered a bit by the fact that Genie’s still getting around on a walker after leg surgery. Hoping to find a convenient location, we were circling the block when we saw a large BMW trying to fit into a tight parking space in front of the restaurant. Pulling up behind, we waited patiently until the driver gave up after four tries. With the short wheelbase and tight turning radius, we sailed head-on into the space, backed up and were done.

The following Tuesday, needing some flats of flowers for the yard, we drove to the plant nursery in Palo Alto. With the rear seats down, this little car was more than spacious enough to swallow a day’s worth of plantings.

Even with the short wheelbase of this car, the hot little engine, manual transmission and torque-vectoring system to overcome front-wheel-drive handling issues make it enormously fun to drive.

On the interior, fit and finish are nicely done, though the quirkiness of the design carries through to the interior trim.

After a week of driving, the only thing we couldn’t quite warm up to was the price ($24,000 base, $26,555 with Sport Package), which is more comparable to statement subcompacts such as the Fiat 500 Abarth and Mini Cooper S than to cost-efficient subcompacts like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. Performance puts it comfortably into the first group, though looks and packaging are more comparable to the second group.

What we liked: All-around utility in a small package; excellent handling and driving performance; good fuel efficiency.

What we disliked: Not the prettiest car on the street; price is high for the small size of the package.

Bottom line: A fun and practical automobile if you find the styling quirky rather than off-putting.

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