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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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The lost art of handwritten letters: Haugh About That?

With venomous eyes, my mother’s gaze locked me into a hypnotic trance. Like a python wrapping its thick body methodically around my neck poised to overtake me, she snarled, “Have you written your thank-you notes yet?”

As a young girl, perfect penmanship and flowery descriptions of gratitude were right up there with impeccable table manners. If it wasn’t done in a timely fashion and to her satisfaction, my life was hell for months to come.

Guiltily, I hung my 7-year-old head in shame and said with a tremor, “No.”

Gripping her candy-apple-red nails around my wrist in white-knuckle fashion, my mother led me to my room. As she pulled out a box of stationery, she icily declared, “You’re not to leave this room until all of them are done. It’s either that or I send all your gifts back.”

Wanting the gifts, I wrote.

For years, I followed her Miss Manners instruction in precise detail – until the day I discovered a lovely little thing known as email. Why let your fingers get all cramped up when typing is so much easier, not to mention cheaper? Then, last year, one magical moment changed my way of thinking when I found a box hidden deep inside our attic.

Opening the golden lid, inside I discovered a stack of letters from a time gone by. Most were written in chicken scratch (boys rarely had good penmanship), but the declarations of young love spoke loud and clear. Poring over them line-by-line, my emotions were mixed with laughter and tears. I giggled over the ones that professed undying devotion, as I remembered that going steady typically lasted only 24 hours. I teared up over ones that would stay, teach me about the woman I was meant to become and then leave as well. Youthful adoration can be painfully fragile.

Carefully replacing the stained pages into the velvet lining, I couldn’t help but think how sad it is that my daughters won’t have this same experience when they turn 61. Their generation is famous for read and delete. Perhaps a handwritten card found its way into their mailbox with a few lines scribbled, but gone are the days of pouring one’s heart and soul onto the pages of thinly lined binder paper.

In generations past, writing to family and friends was the only way to communicate at great length. Making a telephone call was prohibitive. And in those letters, feelings, thoughts and experiences gushed forth, leaving behind a history of two souls and their journey through life together.

Reflecting on what I’d just read, I magically traveled back in time to the girl I once was – the lovestruck 16-year-old mesmerized by the star quarterback; the college co-ed exploring relationships that hung on for more than a month; and the brokenhearted woman sobbing over the five-page breakup of a union that was headed for marriage, promise ring and all.

Covering the lid and moving the box to my closet, it dawned on me that the mailed letter is becoming a lost art, something future generations will only read about on Google. But maybe it’s not too late to turn that around.

We’re embarking on a new year and formulating ideas for change. For me, I plan to put away the computer and take out the stationery when sentimental communication calls for it. In my best cursive, I’ll share memories, express affection and convey to the recipient that in a special moment of time, they made a difference in a life – mine.

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