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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Forum speaker dispels myths of urban sprawl


Hess

The architecture critic for the San Jose Mercury News discussed “Historic Sprawl: A History of California Suburbia” at a Morning Forum of Los Altos appearance Dec. 3.

Architect and historian Alan Hess was a fellow at Columbia University’s School of Journalism and earned a master’s degree in architecture from UCLA.

“We think we know the 20th century, but we don’t,” Hess said. “There is so much more. It takes original research to understand who we are and to prepare for the future. Suburbia is one of the topics that have not been given full attention.”

According to Hess, myths remain about suburbia, including that it is entirely car dependent, features no fine architecture and is an unplanned, random sprawl.

Cities had become crowded, without parks, dirty and polluted, Hess said. But a love of nature and a desire for backyard patios, gardens and a place for children to play safely drove suburban development. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright originated suburban architecture with his designs of more horizontal and decentralized architecture that reflected how families were actually living.

Julia Morgan and the Green brothers were among the first architects to move away from traditional designs and begin using natural building materials, Hess noted. Individual, custom-designed houses are part of modern suburban architecture, he added, with materials from wood to steel, including pre-stressed concrete, reflecting the wide range used for building. Ranch houses with outdoor courtyards reflected the original Spanish adobe houses.

A housing crisis followed World War II and the ranch house was the savior, Hess said.

David Bohannon developed the technique of building mass-produced houses that were affordable. He built entire communities in the Bay Area, including the infrastructure, such as San Lorenzo Village. He also built the Stonestown Shopping Center. Irvine is a 90,000-acre community in Southern California that grew over a period of 50 years employing progressive planning.

Hess noted that Joseph Eichler, the mid-century builder of modern homes, had lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Eichler hired architects to design houses using the modern architectural concept of indoor-outdoor design with sliding glass doors, which could be mass-produced.

Hess’ presentation touched on several such buildings in the Bay Area, including Stanford Hospital.

“We forget what we were, and every time we tear down or alter these good designs we lose,” he said. “Instead of tearing down Stanford Hospital, adaptive uses should be considered. We have this heritage of good design and should not throw it away.”

The Morning Forum of Los Altos is a members-only lecture series that meets at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit morningforum.org.

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