Tue09302014

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 add ...

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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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