Fri10242014

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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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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