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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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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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