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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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Chain reaction: Hotel giant focuses on the small things

The last thing I expected from the Tampa Airport Marriott was hospitality, to tell the truth.

The ancient Greeks had high standards of hospitality, making sure a guest was comfortable and well fed, but this was modern-day Florida in July, after all. Also, we expect anonymity and practicality from chains.

If I were a hotel type, I would not be a Marriott room. I would be a seafront bungalow with charming wallpaper and a view of the waves. My patio would be included, enabling guests to dine al fresco in the ocean air. There would be no dust anywhere so that guests would know that they were far from home.

Hotels in the Marriott chain tend to have pools and fitness centers. I’ve stayed in my fair share of them over the years, with and without my family.

But the one in Tampa stands out because we were in a rush and had just gotten married. After visiting family, we had received gifts and had to buy an extra suitcase – and we still didn’t know how we were going to carry it all on the plane.

And yet, the Tampa Airport Marriott staff acted, well, hospitable.

We turned in our rental car and pulled up with our rolling suitcases and piles of totes and a couple of boxes knocking the ground.

Immediately, a bellhop met us with a trolley. I noticed upscale stores lining the aisle up to the hotel. It was late, however, and they were closed.

The lobby was brand new and polished, with glass walls showcasing the indoor pool. The bellhop, Alet, somehow got it out of us that our flight left mid-morning and that we had married three weeks ago.

He checked us in, escorted us up a few floors and helped us untangle our boxes, suitcases and totes. He asked about our wedding and congratulated us.

Within an hour, the head of catering knocked on our door and delivered flowers, berries with whipped cream and a magnum of very good champagne. We were pleasantly surprised and thanked him profusely.

Even the bed and breakfast where we had been staying had neglected to do as much.

As we munched on berries, my husband and I decided that we’d better send our extra stuff home to California ahead of us. He had seen the UPS store downstairs by the reception desk and went down with some items. I was skeptical.

But the day we returned home, we received a phone call from the UPS store reporting that our package would be delayed because they had to go to Macy’s to replace one of the wine glasses they had broken. We couldn’t believe it. Someone had given us a box of wine glasses in a Macy’s box and UPS had actually checked to see if they had broken one?

The general manager of the Courtyard Marriott in Old Town Pasadena wrote me an extensive email after our recent stay wondering if they had done everything possible to make us happy. We’ve come to expect little touches from boutique hotels, but if chains like Marriott want to keep my business, this kind of customer service is definitely the way to go.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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