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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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