Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Tips for practicing the art of souveniring

The clutter on my desk includes souvenirs like mini-Eiffel Towers and a vinyl Longchamps change purse I grabbed at the duty-free shop at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

They seemed like a good idea at the time.

Once I returned home, I had second thoughts, wishing I had purchased leather wallets instead. The guidebooks suggested buying $40 Ladurée china cup and saucer sets, but how silly – just one? Lingerie is easier to pack.

In French, the verb “souvenir” means “to remember,” a nicer take on the word than, well, “useless trinket.” Travelers want meaningful objects to spark stories and to represent the countries they visit: wool from Ireland or handmade terracotta bowls from Italy.

And to remember happy times.

In our rush to make the train or plane, we end up buying the cheapest things in volume. Converting currency under deadline pressure can also be daunting. How much is that 50-lira canary in the window, really?

Once I start shopping for handicrafts to take home, my husband, ever the consumer watchdog, points out that we could buy Majolica bowls in North Beach.

While it’s true that the dramatic masks purchased on Florence’s Ponte Vecchio could just as easily be found in upscale Napa shops, I won’t come home empty-handed. Gifts for our kids, friends and something special for us, that’s my mantra, in between absorbing UNESCO sights. If I’m under the gun, I’ll pop into a souvenir shop and load up on trivets printed with famous cathedrals or kitchen towels stamped with the London underground map.

Don’t do what I do, though, do what I say:

• Buy something classy, like a flea-market chandelier in Paris. If you have to, hand-carry a one-of-a-kind item that will make you feel like you’ll always have Paris.

• Splurge on one big item – unless you’re backpacking. It can be tricky to think quickly about what something costs in dollars, but practice makes perfect. It’s better to carry fragile items, but many shops will ship bottles of wine or even china sets.

• Research before you leave home to find out what’s good to buy where. For example, several outdoor stands in Istanbul sell massive colored lanterns that you can get imported here – but for a lot more money.

• Stop at museum gift shops. With treasure troves of unique jewelry, prints, bags and scarves, museum stores have something to please discriminating tastes. We once found a Phaistos Disc at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Even the Northstar Mining Museum in Nevada City had some great gemstones and canyon pieces for sale under cloches.

• Buy gourmet food. I learned this from an Italian friend who returns with all kinds of deli meat whose quality surpasses anything you can get here. She has the butcher freeze-wrap it with cold packs for the long plane ride. Italian coffee and French artisan chocolates are great gifts for friends.

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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