Thu12252014

News

Merry spirits: Traditional holiday drinks and memories that surround them

Merry spirits: Traditional holiday drinks and memories that surround them


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Town Crier columnist Christine Moore’s holiday drink menu includes her take on the Moscow Mule, the Bucking Reindeer.

Growing up, our dogs were always outside dogs. We lived in the country, which made...

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Schools

Santa Rita visits The Terraces

Santa Rita visits The Terraces


Susie Greenwald’s third-grade class at Santa Rita School has a special relationship with The Terraces at Los Altos, a senior retirement community. The class visits the center once a month to share quality time with the residents, above. The s...

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Community

Veterinarians offer advice for keeping pets safe over holidays

Veterinarians offer advice for keeping pets safe over holidays


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The holidays present a number of hazards for pets. Be sure to secure electrical cords to keep playful cats at bay.

During the holidays – when people tend to focus more on family and food – pets are often overlooked. But...

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Sports

Owls getting a lot out of a little

Owls getting a lot out of a little


In a typical season for the Foothill College women’s basketball team, coach Jody Craig wouldn’t be satisfied with a 7-4 start and No. 8 ranking in Northern California.

But this isn’t a typical season. Craig had just a few weeks ...

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Comment

Holiday cheer: No Shoes, Please

Admittedly, the holidays are not my favorite time of year. I don’t like sharing streets and parking lots with a zillion other people who need to get their shopping done. I don’t like being reminded by a holiday doomsday countdown clock h...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Pharmacy headed to 400 Main St.

Pharmacy headed to 400 Main St.


Ellie Van houtte/Town Crier
Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy is scheduled to open a new store in the Jeffrey A. Morris Group’s 400 Main St. project. The new location will open in late February.

A new tenant is slated to call the recently complet...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

MERLYN "DALE" STUBBS

Merlyn "Dale" Stubbs, a 51 year resident of Los Altos Hills, passed away on December 15, 2014.

Dale was born to Harry and Anna Stubbs in Americus, Kansas on February 10, 1926.

When Dale was 9 years old his father, a carpenter, suffered a fatal hear...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

'Starcatcher' runs until Jan. 3 in PA

'Starcatcher' runs until Jan. 3 in PA


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Adrienne Walters stars as Molly and Tim Homsley portrays Peter in the TheatreWorks production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” playing through Jan. 3 at Palo Alto’s Lucie Stern Theatre.

TheatreWorks’ producti...

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Spiritual Life

The good news: Christmas means the long wait is over

Ah, Christmas! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the presents are set to be given and received, and preparations are underway to be with family.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Safari, so good: Traveling to Africa for a cause


Photo by Rich Carpenter/Special to the Town Crier
On her recent trip to South Africa, Rotary Club of Los Altos member Val Carpenter watched students at the Siloe School for the Blind perform and observed elephants at the Kings Camp watering hole.

My husband and I recently returned from a spectacular safari that also contributed to a good cause: raising money to support the service projects of the Rotary Club of Polokwane, South Africa. For more than a decade, Charles Hardy has organized weeklong safaris in May and August for eight guests at a time as his club’s primary fundraising activity.

We arrived in Johannesburg and spent the first night at a guesthouse in Pretoria, getting to know our safari companions over dinner. The following morning we were driven three hours to Polokwane and the homes of our hosts for the next two nights. At a formal dinner in our honor, we met a surprisingly diverse group of Rotarians and their spouses.

Our first game drive was in the Polokwane Game Reserve, followed by lunch at the Polokwane Country Club. We also visited the Siloe School for the Blind, where we toured the new music rooms built with the Rotary Club’s contributions and enjoyed a performance by their students.

The next morning we took a beautiful drive through the mountains to Kruger National Park. We spent three nights at Lataba Camp in the Fish Eagle Guest House in large individual bedroom suites with private baths and a great room with a full kitchen. Rotarian Celia Lister served delicious home-cooked meals featuring traditional South African fare between game drives.

For our final three nights, we stayed at the enchanting Kings Camp private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in a luxurious suite overlooking the watering hole beyond the swimming pool.

We visited in late August, at the end of the winter dry season in these mostly flat grasslands. Because the trees and shrubs had not fully leafed out, we had good views of the animals, though for such large creatures they blend in remarkably well. Cold mornings were followed by warm, sunny days. The night sky was clear and full of stars; seeing the Southern Cross constellation was a thrill for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers.

We saw an astonishing variety of animals, some from just a few feet away – zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus, crocodile, rhinoceros, leopard, lion, cape buffalo, honey badger, scrub hare, hyena, jackal, wild cat, baboon, monkey, antelope, wildebeest, warthog, mongoose, snake and many beautiful birds.

In one memorable morning game drive, we saw the Big Five – cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros. Viewing highlights included family groups with their young, a leopard with two cubs and a kill in a tree, several dozen hyenas devouring a dead cape buffalo and three male lions attacking a herd of cape buffalo.

Our week in South Africa ran like clockwork, with a full schedule and limited downtime. Accompanied by locals, we never felt unsafe. As they sing in Disney’s “The Lion King,” “hakuna matata” – Swahili for “no worries.”

Non-Rotarians are welcome on these trips. We highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. For more information, email Charles Hardy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Val Carpenter is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos and serves on the Los Altos City Council.

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