Sun09142014

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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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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