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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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Father of vet killed in Afghanistan shares story with LA Rotary Club


Chuck Lindauer/ Rotary Club of Los Altos
Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos Nov. 14.

Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian praised the dedication and sacrifice of U.S. veterans in his appearance at the Rotary Club of Los Altos Veterans Day Luncheon Nov. 14.

The Santa Clara County Superior Court judge dedicated his presentation to his son, Matthew Patrick Manoukian, 29, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan Aug. 10, 2012. Matt’s mother, Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian of the California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, also attended the event.

Matt’s story

Matt Manoukian grew up in Los Altos Hills. His father traced the story of his son’s life, thanking by name the numerous teachers and friends who contributed to his development. Matt attended St. Nicholas Catholic School, St. Francis High, the University of Arizona, Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., and then infantry school.

According to his father, Matt strongly believed in “Pax Americana” (Latin for “American Peace”), a concept he learned at Foothill College that asserts that world peace is only possible if one superpower dominates or a benevolent democracy is established. Matt’s goal was to build a more peaceful world through service in the Marines, a dream he had since he was 7 years old.

Manoukian outlined some family history that emphasized the international aspect of his son’s dedication to serving his country: Matt’s grandfather had survived two Armenian genocide attacks in Turkey, then immigrated to the U.S. as a physician.

Matt was twice deployed to Western Iraq. His reports to his parents were always optimistic, his father said: “Everything’s great!”

Next, he was assigned to Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where he served as team commander, training Afghan police in advance of transitioning security to full Afghan control. In this role, Matt learned Arabic – a feat, said his father, because he had struggled to learn Spanish in school – and used it to converse with the local population. He befriended many Afghan children, and they in turn helped him by pointing out “strangers” in their village.

While learning the Pashto language, Matt adopted the custom of growing a beard to show respect for the local villagers. When times were tough, he told his men, “If they don’t eat, we don’t eat.” As Matt gained respect from the village leaders, they began calling him “The Lion” and he assumed a leadership role among them.

The captain continued giving positive reports to his parents, though he was injured twice by an improvised explosive device (IED). Manoukian said his son generally underreported his dangerous encounters and credited others whenever possible. Matt received many awards for his service, including two Purple Hearts and Navy and Marine Corps medals.

A loyal friend, when several of his friends were severely wounded in combat, Matt asked his parents to take care of them upon their return home. Matt himself never made it home – he was killed while on duty in Afghanistan. The Ceremonial Hall at Moffett Field is now named after him.

Manoukian praised the courage and sacrifice of several of Matt’s friends, who lost limbs and some their lives in military service. They, too, believed in bringing democracy to Afghanistan.

Foothill College veterans

Guests at the luncheon included Foothill College’s Veterans Resource Center manager Carmela Xuereb and several military veterans who benefit from the center.

Judy C. Miner, president of Foothill College, reported that 21,000 veterans are enrolled in post-secondary programs in California, including 16,000 in community colleges. To meet the needs of the 400 veterans enrolled at Foothill, the Veterans Resource Center provides academic counseling and a social outlet for vets to develop camaraderie and share their military experiences and goals. GI Bill Magazine for three years has designated Foothill College a “Veterans Friendly Campus.”

Miner praised Rotary Club member Ron Labetich, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, for founding the club’s Veterans Support Committee, which has generated a $28,500 scholarship fund in Matt’s memory. Labetich also led a fundraising campaign to purchase smartpens, braided graduation cords, a scanner, a laptop and a printer for the Veterans Resource Center. The committee’s activities have grown to include mentoring, legal guidance on benefits and community awareness of challenges facing veterans.

Several members of the Sereno Group who attended the luncheon pledged to donate 1 percent of their agent fees during fall and winter to the Manoukian scholarship fund.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Los Altos, visit losaltosrotary.org.

For more information on resources for local veterans, visit friendsofamericanveterans.com and foothill.edu/vet.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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