Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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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A comet draws near

An extraordinarily bright comet might share our skies this winter. Comet ISON, discovered in 2012 by Russian astronomers, is currently speeding toward the sun at several miles per second. It is expected to significantly brighten as it nears the sun, and hopeful predictions estimate that it may rival the moon in terms of brightness.

Astronomers believe that comet ISON originated from the Oort Cloud – a spherical cloud of comets that surrounds the solar system at a distance 1,000 times farther than the orbit of Pluto. Comets are occasionally perturbed in the Oort Cloud due to gravity and are sent on orbits that bring them into the solar system.

Comet ISON will make its closest approach to the sun Nov. 28, at a distance of approximately 800,000 miles above the sun’s surface – several times closer than the orbit of Mercury. As it approaches the sun, the water, ice and dust that make up the comet will turn into vapor and create the characteristic comet tail. It is this tail that is readily viewable – comet tails can reach lengths approaching the sun-Earth distance (93 million miles). The nucleus of comet ISON – the solid part of the comet similar to a dirty snowball in composition – is much too small to be visible (only a few miles across).

While many well-known comets make periodic trips to our solar system – Halley’s Comet, for instance, which will next return to the inner solar system in 2061 – comet ISON is a nonperiodic comet and will permanently leave the solar system after its flyby this winter. Comet ISON can be found in the constellation Virgo the Maiden in November. The best time to observe it is shortly before sunrise.

While comet ISON will hopefully prove to be a bright sight even under city skies, it is important to remember that estimating the brightness of comets is notoriously difficult.

“Predicting the behavior of comets is like predicting the behavior of cats – can’t really be done,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office.

Katherine Kornei grew up in Los Altos and earned a doctorate in astronomy from UCLA in 2012. She works as a science educator and writer in Portland, Ore.

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