Mon09152014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Those not-so-good old days: Other Voices

Being among the first batch of baby boomers, I can do nostalgia with the best of them. I can describe the good old days of the 1950s and early ’60s, when kids created their own entertainment and applying to college was not the stress-driven process it is today.

I can wax poetic about the affordability of housing and a much narrower wage gap that allowed schoolteachers, police officers and airline pilots to live in Los Altos alongside the doctors, attorneys and engineers. And yes, it was wonderful when the cost of attending a UC campus was $1,800 a year – which included room and board – and college debt was virtually unheard of.

But to be honest, there is an awful lot about modern-day life that is better today. So in the spirit of fairness, I want to admit that there is much to celebrate about life today.

In the ’50s, we had no NPR, no PBS, no Trader Joe’s. Youth soccer was unheard of. We went to the Bay only to go to the dump with our fathers, as it was a smelly, grungy place. Thanks to those who worked so hard to restore the Bay, biking or hiking at Shoreline Park is now one of my husband’s and my favorite activities. And when we go there, we celebrate the fabulous diversity of languages we hear, reminding us of how diverse this once homogenous area has become.

When I was in high school, females were expected to wear torturous undergarments – girdles, garter belts, merry widows – so that we could squeeze into our prom dresses. And no matter how cold it was outside, female students and teachers could not wear pants to school.

In the ’50s, no one wore seat belts or bike helmets. And almost all the parents smoked. In our Brownie troops and elementary school classrooms, we made ceramic ashtrays to give our parents for Christmas.

When I was young, parenting was pretty much the domain of the mothers. Now as I watch the influx of young families into our neighborhood, I marvel at how much time today’s fathers spend with their children. On weekday mornings when I go outside to snag the snails, I note how the parade of children, walking and bike riding the mile to Gardner Bullis School, are as likely to be accompanied by their fathers as their mothers.

What a better world it is for women, who have the choice of whether to stay at home or return to work. (I say this conceding that many low-income women have to work and wish they had that choice to stay at home with their children.)

While racial discrimination still endures, I think it’s safe to say that no black family would be hounded out of Los Altos as an African-American doctor and his family were in the early 1960s when they purchased a house near Los Altos Golf & Country Club.

And it certainly is a better world for young people who know they are gay. No longer must they remain in the closet, terrified that someone will guess. Teachers who are gay can now be open about their sexual orientation and no longer worry that they will be fired if anyone finds out.

Yes, there was a lot about life in Los Altos 50 years ago that I miss. But there’s just as much, maybe more, to celebrate about the changes that I’ve seen. The good old days weren’t always as good as we old geezers like to think they were.

Nancy Ginsburg Gill moved to Los Altos with her family in 1952, when she was 4 years old. In 1979, she and her husband moved back to her childhood home on Orange Avenue with their two young children.

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