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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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