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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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From cavities to cuffs: Longtime reserve police officer spends days as dentist


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Steve Marshall converses with Los Altos residents while working a shift as a reserve officer for the Los Altos Police Department.

On most days, Dr. Steve Marshall can be found performing myriad dental-related services. On Fridays, however, Marshall is known in Los Altos by an entirely different title – officer.

That’s because Marshall is one of five reserve police officers regularly used by the Los Altos Police Department to augment patrols and other public safety services. Marshall can typically be found most Fridays patrolling the city in his cruiser or policing events like the annual Los Altos High Homecoming Parade and the Arts & Wine Festival.

Marshall, often referred to by his police colleagues as “Doc,” noted that while the arrangement may seem a tad unusual to some, the ability to play two distinctly different roles suits him just fine.

“They all provide me with a great deal of satisfaction,” said Marshall, who has operated his family dentistry practice in Sunnyvale since 1977. “When I walk in my office, I’m Dr. So and So, and I’m in charge of everybody. Every single question gets run by me. Here, I’m just one of the guys. That’s a different thing … I don’t have to be in charge. In some ways, that’s refreshing.”

And while he has nearly four decades of experience as a dentist, Marshall also happens to be one of the longest-tenured officers on the police force with 25 years of service.

“He’s definitely one of the elder statesmen in our organization,” Police Chief Tuck Younis said with a chuckle. “But he’s the epitome of what I want in a Los Altos police officer. He’s someone who cares about the community, he’s invested in the community and he’s approachable.”

A chance encounter

Marshall recalled his introduction to police work, noting that one of his dental hygienists became engaged to a Los Altos police officer, who in turn offered Marshall the opportunity to ride along with him during a shift one day in 1987.

“I was listening to his police stories and I thought that sounded exciting … so I jumped in his car and we had a great time,” Marshall said.

After the ride-along, Marshall expressed an interest in police work and was encouraged to speak to then-Los Altos Police Sgt. Jim Malatesta about the possibility of joining the department as a reserve. The meeting, he noted, also happened to be a chance encounter between two former high school classmates – the two men attended Fremont High in Sunnyvale around the same time.

“We both went home and looked – we had signed each other’s yearbooks,” Marshall said with a grin.

Soon after, Marshall attended reserve police academy training at night, graduating more than a year later before starting a secondary career as a level I reserve officer in Los Altos. Marshall said his career decision is one he looks back on fondly – even if it was somewhat unexpected initially.

“I always admired police officers, and I always respected police officers, but I never saw myself becoming a police officer,” he added. “But it was community service. The thought of doing something that was a positive thing and something that was helpful to people – it certainly fit those criteria.”

An asset to police

Younis emphasized that reserve officers play a “critical role” in the department. Specifically, he noted that level I reserves like Marshall perform many of the same functions as full-time officers, such as performing traffic patrol, securing crime scenes and gathering evidence.

Full-time police department members consider Marshall – as well as other reserve officers – one of their own, according to Younis.

“They are viewed as fully integrated members of this organization,” Younis said. “(The regular officers) trust them with their lives – that’s the truest compliment.”

“I think we feel like we have to earn that respect, and we also covet it,” Marshall said.

Although he is quick to express his passion for police work, Marshall readily conceded that dentistry also offers many satisfying elements, such as his drive to fix things. Dentistry, Marshall added, offers an element of instant gratification not found in other medical careers.

“In dentistry, you have the advantage of not waiting for the person to heal,” said Marshall, who previously worked in forensics, allowing him to combine his professional backgrounds. “You can take it, fix it, and when you’re done and that person stands up, it’s better than it was before. That’s very satisfying right there.”

Marshall said that though he doesn’t regularly share the fact that he’s an officer with his dental patients – and vice versa in his role as an officer – he’s proud of his work in both professions. As for the future, Marshall has no plans to slow down, even with more than two decades years of police work under his belt.

“It’s been a great 25 years,” he said, “and I’m still having a great time.”

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