Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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