Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Unanswered questions about Los Altos: Editor's Notebook

I believe that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Stupid answers, yes. Smart ones, too. Or no answers at all.

Curious people always have questions – even when it comes to a quiet, so-called bedroom community like Los Altos.

There are some who like to think that this is a place where nothing happens. Some “outsiders” call us “Mayberry.” One of our other local papers has used the term “well heeled.” You might picture fat and happy walruses warming themselves on a quiet, sunny beach. All right, I might picture them.

Los Altos, however, comprises people – nearly 30,000 of them. Many have stories that may be extremely interesting that will never see the light of day in our paper because we don’t know about them and/or residents don’t want to share them.

But there are stories I am aware of that prompt intriguing questions – questions that are yet to be answered even in this newspaper. Following are a few examples.

Just who is that guy in the red suit behind the beard riding in the Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade? Only the parade organizers are in on the secret, just like we’re all in on the “secret” that Clark Kent is Superman.

This is arguably a rhetorical question, but why is Loyola Corners still such a mess? Why has virtually nothing of significance been done to address the loony street configurations, despite years of talk and alleged funding for a new bridge that has yet to see the light of day? And whose idea was it that a parking lot full of weeds was better for Loyola Corners than the colorful, long-established Echo Restaurant, which was gutted a decade ago?

A daily newspaper north of us recently addressed the question of who the Wizard of Oz is behind Passerelle Investment Co. Since its emergence in 2009, Passerelle has become by far the largest property owner in downtown Los Altos.

The paper quoted a few locals who pointed to Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin – who apparently lived for a brief time in Los Altos Hills – as the man controlling the purse strings. That may be true, but we really don’t know for certain. The official answer is “no comment.”

There may never be an official answer, but Passerelle’s actions have been nothing but positive for downtown Los Altos. By sprucing up old buildings and bringing in unique businesses (also thanks to Mary Heffernan, purportedly a friend of Brin’s), downtown has entered the 21st century. It also has been the driving force behind the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s “Project Los Altos: Silicon Valley on the Go” and the recent barrage of indoor and outdoor exhibits.

Through idealistic and deep-pocketed Passerelle, downtown is the equivalent of the lucky guy who finds a suitcase full of cash on his doorstep. He may not know where it comes from, but he’s grateful it’s there.

Of course, the next question is how long Passerelle will be around. Is it here for another few years only to go poof with the changing whims of its investors? Or is the company in it for the long haul? I hope it’s the latter.

I’m sure you have good questions of your own. Write me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I might even offer a stupid answer.

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

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