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Excavating a life: A Piece of My Mind

My husband’s mother, known to friends and family as “Dimi,” died at age 102. I went with my husband to help arrange funeral services and reacquaint ourselves with family. We stayed in his boyhood bedroom in his mother’s abandoned house in Pennsylvania.

The house had been rented for a year to a family connection, who had used the first floor. Nearly all Dimi’s belongings had been moved to the second floor. They included a couple of bedrooms’ worth of furniture, a couple of closets full of her clothes, plus boxes and baskets of documents, oddments, gewgaw and bric-a-brac.

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Downtown success comes with growing pains: Editor's Notebook

An ideal downtown achieves great balance through destination stores, no-hassle parking, special events and open space. It offers something for the young, the old and the in-between. Achieving that balance is difficult as downtown Los Altos grows and changes. There’s been a recent uptick in interest and business with the improving economy. But efforts leading to that uptick bother some of the old-timers who remember the downtown as a quaint little “village.”

The sounds of construction and the resulting steel framework serve notice that First Street between Main Street and Edith Avenue will never be the same. The new construction is good news, in one respect. People have an interest in investing downtown, which means the downtown is popular again. The downside is that Los Altos is becoming less and less a village. The smallness and quaintness of the area brought with it a sense of security, community and convenience. Visitors could usually park right in front of their favorite stores.

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Before and after with 'horrific' results


PG&E is cutting down 50-year-old redwood trees in Los Altos because officials have decided that it will save them money. This is being done over the objections of the property owners and is significantly impacting their property values.

PG&E recently cut down three 40- to 50-year-old redwoods among other trees at 401 Los Altos Ave. The impact to the property is horrific. What was once a beautiful home in Los Altos – recently purchased by its new owner for $2.5 million, with mature redwoods in the front yard – now looks like any tract home in Los Angeles selling for a lot less. See the “after” photo above.

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Letters to the Editor

Enforce pedestrian violations

Kurt Ayers made excellent points in his March 19 letter (“Address Main & Second before it’s too late”). I totally agree and support his position.

He accurately describes a “pedestrian blatantly in the center of a crosswalk” and other offenses relating to “Driving While Stupid” (DWS), and space likely limited his including jaywalking (JWS?), stop-sign crashes by cyclists, skateboarding – and the list goes on.

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Letters to the Editor

Longtime businesses forced out of downtown

I just stopped by to pick up my car from Alan and Amanda Pickett at California Automotive Service on First Street in Los Altos. They told me that they have lost their lease (See related story on page 4).

Here we go again – another business being forced out of downtown, a convenient and honest business that my family has used for years. They are family to us.

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Birthday greetings

In the third grade, kids called me the “Earth Trumbler.” “Trumbler” is a combination of the words “tremble” and “rumble,” and the claim was that I was so fat, the ground did both when I walked. Although several classmates used the term, the boy who coined it, David, addressed me that way more often and with relish.

That particular year, I was sick on my birthday. However, my mother had already baked cupcakes the night before, so she sent them to school anyway via my older sister.

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Letters to the Editor

District engineer adds to Neary Tank stats

Thank you for highlighting the Neary Tank Utilization Project (“LAH water, fire districts working to make pipes, tanks more quake-proof,” March 5).

As mentioned in the article, the project will greatly enhance the seismic reliability of the water system in Los Altos Hills. The project would not have been possible without the generous contributions of the Los Altos Hills County Fire District.

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