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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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Fred Kent-guided discussion addresses Los Altos community center of the future


Juan Romero Corral/Special to the Town Crier
A cross-section of local residents, ranging from youth to seniors, participate in a “Community Conversation” Jan. 27, registering their preferences for features a new civic center might include.

Fred Kent, an authority on revitalizing city spaces, led a “Community Conversation” Jan. 27, with 110 participants envisioning what a revamped Los Altos community center might look like.

The Los Altos Forward-sponsored event was held a day before the Los Altos City Council’s discussion on the civic center. At their meeting, councilmembers opted to re-engage Anderson Brulé Architects to facilitate workshops and public meetings over a 10-month period to develop a new plan for replacing the dilapidated Hillview Community Center. Two of the five councilmembers were present at the Kent event.

The center, comprising 50-year-old buildings that once housed Hillview School, is part of the 18-acre civic center complex that includes the library, the Los Altos History Museum, city hall, athletic fields and the police station.

Kent, founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, introduced possible elements a high-functioning community center could feature. He broke participants into eight groups, each focusing on a specific interest, ranging from the senior center to a skate park.

“People were coming up with amazing ideas,” Kent said after the meeting. “They were realizing what could be done.”

Some improvements could be incorporated in the short term without major expense. Among the options, Kent suggested realigning walkways to provide better connectivity between the library and History Museum. The parking area in front of the library could be converted into a plaza that encourages people to walk around and mingle. Even small changes like strategic placement of tables and chairs could make a big difference, participants discovered. Some changes could be installed within three months, Kent said.

Kent’s philosophies include the beliefs that a community’s residents have better ideas about placemaking than architects, and that often elements must be turned upside down before they can be set rightside up. He urged participants not to limit themselves in their visioning.

At one point, event organizer Event organizer Kim Cranston asked participants for a show of hands as to how many would support a community center three stories or higher. All but two of the 110 attendees raised their hands. Supporters contend that a higher-density community center could consolidate functions, cost less and allow more open space.

Groups were asked to weigh in on what they like and don’t like about the current community center.

Gary Hedden, a member of the Los Altos Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, said his group, assigned to parks and recreation elements, appreciated the trees at the center but noted that Hillview has a “run-down look.” He came away from the meeting encouraged that “things can be done without spending a lot of money.”

Karina Nilsen was so inspired by the Kent presentation that she attended the city council meeting the following night to suggest ideas for the community center, including adding a dog park and creating a prominent fountain or water element that brings people together.

For 13-year-old Dre Ortiz, the Kent presentation was his first public meeting. He attended to lobby for a permanent skate park at Hillview. The Blach Intermediate School student said a skate park similar to the one at Burgess Park in Palo Alto would be used by “tons of people.”

The next Los Altos Forward “Community Conversation,” featuring former Los Altos City Manager Arne Croce, is scheduled 5:30-7:30 p.m. today at Main Street Cafe, 134 Main St. Croce’s topic is “Life After Dark: Let’s Go to the Movies! An Epic Tale of Downtown Resilience.”

Los Altos Forward is a project of the Los Altos Community Foundation.
    For more information, visit losaltosforward.org.

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