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News

West Nile fogging commences today

West Nile fogging commences today


Courtesy of the Santa Clara County Vector Control District
Fogging commences Wednesday within the highlighted area.

The detection of West Nile Virus-infected mosquitos means that Santa Clara County officials will begin mosquito fogging operations...

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Schools

LASD trustees reopen negotiations with Los Altos Teachers Association

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees last week directed staff to reopen negotiations with the Los Altos Teachers Association, a move intended to shore up the district’s financial picture.

According to the district’s current co...

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Community

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida

LA teenager crowned Miss Golden State, advances to national pageant in Florida


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Alexandra McCarthy, crowned Miss Golden State Teen in July, earned “Ms. Personality” honors from her peers.

Alexandra McCarthy has a ways to go before reaching her coveted role as a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Bu...

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Sports

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more

After rough year, Eagles aim to soar once more


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior running back Patrick Vargas snares a pass in practice last week.

Don’t dismiss the Eagles. Coach Trevor Pruitt is adamant that his Los Altos High football team will be better than expected.

&#...

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Comment

Car spotting 2015: A Piece of My Mind

When I was a kid, September was exciting, almost like Christmas, because that was when the Big Three automakers would reveal the new models for the upcoming year.

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Special Sections

Loving on the Edge

Loving on the Edge


Courtesy of Ford
The Ford Edge has been redesigned for 2015. Ford lengthened the wheel base and added cargo space, among other things. The Titanium model sells for approximately $42,000.

Once in a while, a vehicle we test-drive is just right for our...

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Business

Wine bar aims for October opening

Wine bar aims for October opening


Rendering courtesy of Honcho
Honcho, the wine and beer lounge on First Street, expects an October launch. A rendering of the space reveals the interior layout, which includes bar and lounge-style seating.

A downtown libations lounge that anticip...

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People

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

LOIS CAROLINE WALLES

November, 1928

Lois lost a long and courageous battle with a prolonged illness on July 14th, 2015. She passed away knowing how well she was loved. She was always the life of the party and loved bringing everyone to her home for dinner or an event,...

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Travel

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades

Carmel Valley Ranch unveils upgrades


Courtesy of Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch recently upgraded its Vineyard Oak suites, which feature sweeping views, rocking chairs and private outdoor tubs for soaking under the stars.

Things are heating up at Carmel Valley Ranch, with 30 n...

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Stepping Out

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn

'Dead Man' comes alive at Bus Barn


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” includes, from left, Marjorie Hazeltine (as Hermia), Kristin Walter (Jean) and Adrienne Walters (Carlotta).

Los Altos Stage Company opens its ...

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Spiritual Life

Inside Mountain View

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for

MV actress/playwright Garvin wins NY festival award for "Corners Grove"


Courtesy of Undiscovered Countries
Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin received a New York arts festival award for a featured role in “Corners Grove,” a play she wrote.

New York recognized that one of Mountain View’s own can “make it there” when the Planet C...

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Airport lounges offer travelers comforts of home – for a price


Photos Courtesy of American Express
The American Express Centurion Lounge at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport features comfortable seating, left, as well as lounge chairs, right, for travelers facing long layovers. American Express cardholders can purchase day passes for the lounge for $50.

As we rushed to make our connecting flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Tampa, lugging our carry-ons, cameras and food, we stopped at the boards.

Our next leg wouldn’t take off for another four hours. Nearly 300 flights ended up canceled or delayed Nov. 24 because of violent storms. We joined the rest of the Florida-bound passengers sprawled in the tiny waiting area on hard chairs at the gate. Thanksgiving vacation was off to a slow start.

My Mac didn’t feel like air to me, and I realized that we had to take shifts stretching our legs by doing laps around the shops. As my eyes started to glaze over under the ugly fluorescent lights, I recalled an email sitting in my inbox promoting the flashy new American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal D.

Even with all the traveling I do, I have stayed away from airline club lounges, thinking them unnecessary status symbols or only for VIPs. While that may be true, it turns out that cardholders with $50 to spare can buy a day pass. The passes are a real boon for cranky adults or families with tired children, and you can even buy them online as gifts for frequent travelers.

With four extra hours looming ahead of us, and the realization that every hard-plastic chair around us was filling up with bodies, I asked for directions to the Amex lounge.

The club was a bit hidden. Despite having the exact location, even airport employees directed us to the nearby American Airlines Admirals Club. We stopped there. The greeter at the front desk seemed less than friendly, informing us that it would be $100 for a day pass for the two of us and then more for bar drinks and lunch. To be fair, the club featured the usual free Wi-Fi and showers. The menu was barebones – sandwiches and quick eats only.

I was determined to try out the new Centurion Lounge, which supposedly had a celebrity chef. Named after the highest level of Amex card, the invitation-only black Centurion card, the deluxe club costs the same for a day pass but boasts more free features.

When we finally found the lounge, it was an oasis that helped us weather a really tough day. The excellent food was free (well, after the cost of the day pass), and they were giving out 15-minute massages and facials at the lounge’s salon. Needless to say, the signups filled almost immediately, with all the plane groundings. Chairs and comfy couches make the free Wi-Fi that much easier to use, and special children’s stations feature computer games of all sorts.

The daily Amex pass runs $50 per person, with no extra charge for food or drinks.

If you’re an Amex Platinum member, which means you think this kind of comfort is worth $400 a year, admission is free for yourself and your family. The Priority Pass card that comes with it allows you to access more than 600 global lounges, including the American Airlines Admirals Club, the Delta Sky Club and the US Airways Club.

To read detailed reviews of airline clubs, visit skytrax.com. Centurion Clubs seem to generate more positive comments, but take a look for yourself.  If you’re a business traveler, you can probably expense the passes.

This is one status symbol that I would definitely recommend. You can also buy one-day and 30-day passes online as gifts.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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