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News

'Prowler' proves benign in Los Altos

Video footage of a man entering a Los Altos backyard last week captured a painter looking for his job site, it turns out. The Los Altos police department had released an alert with a screencap of the man wearing a Golden State Warriors championship t...

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Schools

MVLA foundation recounts first year of Learning in the Cloud

MVLA foundation recounts first year of Learning in the Cloud


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Robert Barker, Los Altos High World Literature teacher, demonstrates how students use online discussion in class.

Technology is no longer seen as a distraction in the classroom, as students in the Mountain View Los Altos ...

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Community

Sports

Eagles, Spartans advance

Eagles, Spartans advance


Town Crier file photo
Los Altos High’s Lizzy Beutter registered three hits in last week’s playoff win over Watsonville. She was also the winning pitcher.

Led by Lizzy Beutter, host Los Altos High whipped Watsonville 9-0 in the opening ro...

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Comment

Giving the thumb to what's done: Editorial

In the wake of recent Los Altos-area news events, we’re all thumbs.

Thumbs-down: To the Los Altos City Council’s decision to put the Walter Singer bust in storage. This is wrong on so many levels – even worse than the initial council decision to tra...

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Special Sections

Planting is possible despite drought

Planting is possible despite drought


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Wash the soilless mix off the root ball into the same container in which you have placed the clay soil from the planting hole. Remove at least an inch from the top and sides of the plant.

In this continuin...

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Business

Los Altos-based startup eyes digital makeup color-matching

Los Altos-based startup eyes digital makeup color-matching


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Kokko Inc. Makeup Director Meli Pennington, standing, tests different shades of foundation on Los Altos resident Karen Melchior.

Meli Pennington knows cosmetics.

She has painted faces for the pages of Vogue and Glamour,...

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Books

Horan's 'Loving Frank' offers fictionalized account of famed architect's illicit affair

Horan's 'Loving Frank' offers fictionalized account of famed architect's illicit affair


In the 1920s, two married people fall in love, leave their spouses and children and set about living and traveling together. Affairs of this sort were considered shocking at the time. But the scandal was heightened given that the man was Frank Lloy...

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People

DR. WALLACE IRA SAMPSON

DR. WALLACE IRA SAMPSON

     

Dr. Wallace Ira Sampson, 85, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 25, at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He leaves his wife of 59 years, Rita (nee Landry) Sampson, brother Sandy, sons Robert, Paul (Suzanne), Buck (Kathryn), ...

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Travel

Flying south for the winter: Antarctica trips are not just for the birds

Flying south for the winter: Antarctica trips are not just for the birds


Photos Courtesy of Dave Hadden
Los Altos residents Dave and Joan Hadden watched the scenery from the large boat and a smaller Zodiac.

Standing on the beach with hundreds of thousands of penguins is “the experience of a lifetime,” according to Ga...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Co. goes to 'town'

LA Stage Co. goes to 'town'


courtesy of Los Altos Stage Company
The Los Altos Stage Company production of “Urinetown: The Musical” opens this weekend.

The Los Altos Stage Company caps its 19th season with the musical comedy “Urinetown: The Musical,” scheduled to preview Th...

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Spiritual Life

Mercifully in His grip: Exploring our true position in Christ

I recently read a wonderful analogy about our true position in Christ. It was shockingly contrary to the messages impressed upon me in church, but deeply rooted in the Bible. The analogy is that of child and a parent. If you have ever taken a small ...

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Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Positive memories of a positive person


Valentine Leborgne

Those who knew Valentine Leborgne in her hometown of Los Altos have been hard hit by the news that she is no longer with us.

Valentine, who interned with the Town Crier last summer, died Nov. 23 north of Vancouver, Canada, when the vehicle she was riding in with three other University of British Columbia students hit a pickup truck head-on. The driver, Valentine’s roommate Olivia Robertson, also died. The two other passengers survived.

I found out about it the next day in an email from Sophie Ho. Sophie, a Mountain View High School graduate attending UC Berkeley, also interned with us over the summer. She and Valentine became fast friends. A Homestead High School grad, Valentine, only 19, was in her second year at UBC.

To say this is a tragedy is a gross understatement. According to authorities, the girls were driving responsibly – no distracted driving, drugs or alcohol involved. The investigation into the crash, on British Columbia’s Highway 99 (also known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway) is ongoing.

I was struck by the incredible outpouring of love toward this young woman with whom I barely got acquainted at the Town Crier. But every description of her seemed to resonate.

Valentine was beautiful in every sense of the word. She had a million-dollar smile, and it always seemed to be there. She appeared calm and easygoing, but that demeanor belied great passion and ambition, a quest for adventure and an open-mindedness to try new things. She loved outdoor sports and was on her way to Whistler to ski when the collision occurred.

Valentine was smart, spoke fluent French and had a passion for writing. But what really stood out was her emotional intelligence. When Valentine walked into a room, she radiated warmth, understanding and an incredibly positive vibe.

As I pored over tributes on Facebook, the description that struck me most was the word “genuine.” In an age of know-it-alls, outright phonies and pretentious, self-conscious people, Valentine was an oasis.

Valentine touched so many lives that her parents held two memorials, one at UBC and one last Saturday in Campbell, to accommodate all of the friends and family who wanted to share their thoughts.

My wife and I attended Saturday’s memorial. We were very moved by the tributes from some of the 200-plus people in attendance. And we were also inspired by hearing about this energetic dynamo who seemed to motivate and bring joy to everyone around her.

The best way to honor Valentine is to keep her in our fond memories. I will always remember that smile and her willingness to laugh – especially at the bad French I tried out on her.

Yes, her being taken at such a young age is horribly tragic and unfair. But for 19 years, she made the world a better place. Perhaps we can all be inspired by the great qualities that made Valentine who she was, and smile right back.

Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

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