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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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To do or not do, to like or not like

Reflections

Like Tevya In "Fiddler On the Roof," I have a constant dilemma: making up my mind. Tevya sets up one side of a question, makes up his mind, then says,"On the other hand ..." I understand him completely. A mind that balances both sides of an issue finds it difficult to make a decision.

In my days of grading student essays, I'd anguish over choosing a high grade for creativity and logic vs. a lower one for frequent errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. It wasn't only a professional judgment on my part, but also the ever-present compassion. This student was someone's child, with feelings of pain and loss of self-respect if dealt the lower grade.

The pain became mine, however, because of the need to reread each paper several times before my professional judgment won out. At least I decided to use green or purple ink rather than the blood-red marks all over the paper. I knew also that students counted the "goods" and "well-dones" in the margin that helped to soften the "needs more work" or "How about a specific example?" scribbled in other places. I could not, in good conscience, ignore the errors, hearing in my head parents' shocked comments or the weary complaints of college English teachers who felt that we forced them to do remedial work.

Other judgment calls put me on the fence as well. As a drama critic, I must evaluate the success of local theater groups in presenting the opening of a new play. To be supremely objective, one must divorce oneself from audience reaction, personal favorites or the opinions of fellow critics.

Recently, I praised the musical "Raisin" for its sincere adaptation of "Raisin in the Sun," which I had taught many times. Should I carp at some of the singing that sounded a bit strained or at the contrast between the raucous music and the emotional story? The worst scenario occurred when a fellow critic blasted the production as "dated" and some friends agreed. Wait a minute. The audience can recognize a play's themes even if time has changed the way history views the passions of the black American characters in Lorraine Hansberry's drama. Can one say that "Saving Private Ryan" is dated because of the language of some of the GIs?

As a former film reviewer, I find it hard to view a film dispassionately. We went to see "There's Something About Mary," fully expecting to laugh and relax as Siskel and Ebert promised we would. We left the theater disgruntled and annoyed with the inanity of the plot and the antics of the characters, not one of whom we could find sympathetic. For once I had no problems making up my mind. Boo, hiss!

Unhappily, I find that I have joined the majority in judging Bill Clinton. I went from a very naive belief in our president's denial of wrongdoing to painful cynicism when the tawdry details came out. Being on the fence in this case proved terribly destructive to my belief in Clinton's public statements. Wanting something to be true does not prove to be an intelligent way to evaluate an important problem. How can one trust a liar, a public liar at that? It didn't help to be aware of President Kennedy's amoral behavior or of President Roosevelt's dancing around the horrors of the Holocaust. Most of those revelations came out long after their time in office.

I suspect my Tevya-like balancing act will always be part of my need to evaluate our times. Uncomfortable as it may be to stand alone, I realize I find it hard to divorce my judgments from my instincts to see the world in a positive way.

I value the words of Thoreau:

If a man does not keep

pace with his companions,

perhaps it is because

he hears a different drummer.

Let him step to the music

he hears,

however measured or far away.

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