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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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City manager recalls her roots


Town Crier File Photo
Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers, center, enjoys a laugh with guests at an April 2012 welcome reception in her honor.

Marcia Somers assumed duties as Los Altos city manager in April 2012. The following Town Crier “e-terview,” an email interview, offers Somers’ account of how she stepped into a leadership position in a city bursting with activity. This is the second in the two-part series.

TC: Like many Los Altos residents, you have Midwestern roots. Where did you grow up and get your education?

Somers: I grew up in Bloomington, Minn., the original home of that state’s professional sports teams – Vikings, Twins and North Stars. I have fond memories of going to the Met Stadium for many sporting as well as community events. (As I recall, my high school graduation was held there as well.) Part of the larger metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Bloomington had an outstanding public school district, extensive and award-winning city and county park systems, and an overall high quality of life. I followed (in the footsteps of) my two older siblings and attended the University of Minnesota.

TC: Have you ever been to Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the source of the Mississippi, and walked across the river without getting your feet wet?

Somers: Of course I have – hasn’t most every native Minnesotan? Itasca State Park is a national gem that a very small percentage of the American public has had an opportunity to visit and experience, so I consider myself lucky. Later in life I was also able to cross the river on a daily basis without getting my feet wet at all (way above the river on an enclosed walkway that was heated in the winter) when I was at the University of Minnesota.

TC: Did you also work in city governments in Minnesota?

Somers: Working for local government was nowhere in my sights as a young adult. I worked as a waiter in various restaurants in order to earn money to pay for tuition, books and other living expenses while in school. That experience, however, exposed me to all sorts of interesting people who helped me fine-tune my listening and customer service skills, which I’ve put to good use during my 28 years working in the public sector.

TC: What brought you to California?

Somers: After spending a summer working in Glacier National Park, I was encouraged by my co-workers to travel home with them to San Francisco. Other than a vacation with my family to the Seattle World’s Fair and a drive down the coast in 1962, I had not ventured this far west. As fate would have it, this post-Glacier trip resulted in meeting my future husband. But since I had plans to live and study in Europe shortly thereafter, I was off on yet another adventure after my brief visit here. I did ultimately move to California, married in 1976, completed my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and obtained my master’s degree in Public Administration at Cal State Hayward.

TC: Tell us about where you live now and about your family.

Somers: I have lived in Campbell for 30 years. My husband and I have four adult children and four grandchildren – some who live in the Bay Area and others who are in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

TC: Where do you like to vacation?

Somers: My side of the family reconnects with biannual reunions, alternating between Minnesota, Colorado and California. My siblings and our children and grandchildren gather to spend a fun and laughter-filled week together usually in an area that offers lots of outdoor activities.

TC: What are your hobbies?

Somers: Back in the day (way back), when I had more free time, I sewed most of my clothes – business suits included (the fortunate result of having a mother who was an amazing seamstress/tailor). My almost 30-year commitment to public service is much more than a full-time occupation, so personal discretionary time is limited. However, my primary leisure interests include spending time with my family, reading, traveling and staying in touch with my far-flung relatives and friends through old-fashioned handwritten cards and letters.

TC: What do you see as the significance of SFMOMA coming to town with its temporary four-month exhibition?

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