Sun02142016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Don't drink the water: The Rockey Road

It’s New Year’s Day, and my family and I are across the country at my mother-in-law’s house. It’s cold! The snowflakes are big and so are the houses and lots. For a fleeting moment, we imagine moving here, paying cash for a bigger house, building snowmen all winter long and living a much slower-paced life.

That fleeting moment quickly evaporated when I took my first sip of tea from Starbucks. I had ordered a tall Awake Tea in a Grande cup – I like to have room for milk – just as I do when I am at home. Everything looked the same: the cups, the signs, the furniture, the Boulanger case of small bites. But something in the taste of my tea set off alarms in my taste buds that could not be ignored. It was a flavor that was nearly unrecognizable, but I knew I had tasted it just the day before. After a few seconds of searching through my memories of flavors I had consumed over the past 24 hours since landing here, I finally realized it was the water.

I will be the first to admit that my taste buds and olfactory nerves are a little too sensitive. Coupled with the fact that I am a vegetarian, you can imagine it’s a real treat to dine at restaurants with me. But while I can usually make do with limited vegetarian menu items, the one thing I must have is good-tasting water. Water to me is like wine is to others, and I rarely drink anything else. I don’t need expensive, imported, fancy water; I just need water that has no offending odor or flavor. It can be filtered or bottled. To be fair, I’m not a fan of our tap water at home either, and I can tell when our filters need to be replaced.

The taste of the water isn’t the only reminder that I’m not in the Bay Area. The beautiful and historical architecture in this part of the country is constructed mostly of brick and limestone because there is no concern for earthquakes. Grocery stores, Whole Foods included (ah, another comfort of home) expand along vast lots of land where traffic jams are nearly nonexistent. And while there are gently rolling hills, you can see for miles and miles across the open land without mountains to cradle small towns.

The newspaper articles tell stories of a different lifestyle that serves as a reminder that laws in one state can mean nothing in another state. If California law is meant to keep us safe, does that mean we are unsafe outside of California? In some situations, I would say yes, but then again, I am a native Bay Arean and I think like a Bay Arean.

We in the Bay Area may think a little differently from people in other parts of the country, but as I was soon reminded, there is something that ties us together that cannot be seen or tasted: hospitality and friendliness. The instinct to provide comfort resides within people, not places, and whether you agree with each other’s views or understand someone else’s lifestyle, the connection that levels any playing field can be a simple gesture to make someone happy.

After tasting my tea in Starbucks that morning, I considered my options and chose to make a bold request. I walked back to the counter and explained to the girl behind it that I could taste the flavor of the water and asked if I could get another tea made with bottled water. Expecting her to burst out laughing or worse, she smiled, grabbed a bottle of water and said, “Absolutely! No problem.”

As I sat with my husband enjoying my tea, I wondered if a snowflake from here would look different from a snowflake from Tahoe under the microscope. Of course it wouldn’t, unless it was made from the tap water.

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