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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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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

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

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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Lording over the competition: Los Altos K9 cop places first in police dog trials


Courtesy of Julie Ognoskie
Los Altos Police Officer Julie Ognoskie puts K9 cop Lord through his paces at a recent competition. Lord won first place at the event.

The lone four-legged member of the Los Altos Police Department recently added some hardware to his trophy case.

That’s because Lord, the department’s 6-year-old police dog, placed first among 23 competing canines at the annual K9 Witmer-Tyson Trials. The competition, held Oct. 16 and 17 in La Honda, pitted the all-black German shepherd against police canines from neighboring agencies, including Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

Los Altos Police Officer Julie Ognoskie, Lord’s handler, said the first-place award is a point of pride for her, also. The competition not only judges the precision of the dogs as they’re put through the paces, but their handlers as well.

“When they announced my name (for first place), I was actually really shocked,” she said, noting that several other teams at the event also had strong performances.

Lord has competed in the trials for four years, said Ognoskie, who became Lord’s handler in 2009, one year after she joined the department. Prior to his first-place finish this year, Lord had placed as high as second in the competition, which tests dogs in a variety of scenarios they might encounter on patrol.

The dogs and their handlers are tested in obedience and obstacles, in addition to search and protection. The protection competition, Ognoskie noted, can be particularly challenging because it demands that handlers control dogs in what she called a simulated “high-drive” environment – chasing after and catching suspects.

“He knows when he sees the guy wearing a full K9 Bite Suit, ‘Oh, I’m going to get to play with that,’” Ognoskie said with a chuckle, noting that Lord took just 23 seconds to sniff out his target in a simulated search drill as well.

Ognoskie added that confidence and trust are two key components in handling Lord while on patrol. That trust extends to other environments as well, including those with children. Her K9 companion is popular with children when visiting local schools to promote safety initiatives.

“He’s very good around kids, and we need that here in Los Altos,” she said.

Her partnership with Lord extends beyond the duties within the Los Altos Police Department. Being a handler is a lifetime commitment that includes taking Lord home and caring for him when off-duty. Once he retires, Ognoskie said she’d purchase Lord from the department and keep him as her own.

“He’s my partner, he’s my pal and he’s my kid,” she said. “It’s definitely a position in the department where you always take your work home with you – but with him, I really don’t mind.”

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