Father, son donate early electric car to auto tech program

Courtesy of Bill Palmer III
It still runs: The father-and-son team of Bill Palmer Jr., left, and Bill Palmer III sit in what was arguably the first electric car in Santa Clara County.

Teslas may be all the rage in Los Altos these days, but the electric car in these parts is nothing new. In fact, Los Altos may be home to the first electric vehicle operating in Santa Clara County.

Longtime residents Bill Palmer Jr. and his son, Bill Palmer III, designed and built the car in the mid-1960s. It’s been their pride and joy for decades, but father and son recently determined that it was time to let it go. Two weeks ago on a rainy Friday, the Palmers donated their vehicle to De Anza College’s Automotive Technology Department.


Memory master offers Rotarians methods, tips to remember him by

Randy Gard/Rotary Club of Los Altos
Chester Santos, “International Man of Memory,” demonstrates his techniques for boosting memory skills for a Rotary Club of Los Altos audience Oct. 30.

“International Man of Memory” Chester Santos shared his methods for improving memory with Rotary Club of Los Altos members Oct. 30.

Santos’ tips for boosting memory skills have received national coverage from media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle and CNN. He was named the 2008 USA National Memory Champion.


Town Crier announces winners in Spooky Stories contest

Fourth-grader Noah Levy won first place in the Town Crier’s annual Spooky Stories contest.

Noah received more than 50 votes for his humorous tale, “The Difference Between a Scary and Non-Scary Halloween.”


How successful was ALearn event? Let us count the ways

courtesy of Kim Guptill
Barry Groves, from left, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, joins forces with Lisa Sobrato Sonsini and ALearn founder Kathryn Hanson.

More than 350 people attended ALearn’s Dream Makers Dinner Oct. 15, generating $286,675 for the nonprofit organization’s efforts to help underserved students prepare for college.

At the event, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, ALearn honored Lisa Sobrato Sonsini and Sobrato Philanthropies for their contributions. ALearn also recognized participating students, teachers and teaching assistants.


ECH's Behavioral Health Services receives $1 million from Los Altos couple

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Donna and John Shoemaker are all smiles as they announce their $1 million donation to El Camino Hospital’s Behavioral Health Services.

It didn’t take a direct personal connection to a serious behavioral-health-related matter to inspire a Los Altos couple to invest in local families.

“When you see a child take their life, it’s your child. Or when you see a senior who has lost their spouse and is depressed, it’s our parent,” said Donna Shoemaker of why she and her husband, John, recently donated $1 million to boost Behavioral Health Services at El Camino Hospital. “This hospital is a place where we feel safe and where we want other people to come and feel safe.”


Morning Forum speaker puts teacher tenure on trial to 'fix' public education

Kathryn Tomaino/Special to the Town Crier
Students Matter founder David Welch addresses the Morning Forum of Los Altos Oct. 21.

Students Matter founder David Welch, Ph.D., has spent the past three years using his time and money to change an education system that he claims “doesn’t prioritize the interests of its students and ... denies them access to quality teaching.”

In his Oct. 21 Morning Forum of Los Altos presentation, “Vergara v. California: For a Basically Equal Opportunity to a Quality Education,” Welch, a fiber-optics engineer, inventor and co-founder and president of Infinera Corp., said his work with the nonprofit Students Matter centers on the premises that “it’s never acceptable to place an ineffective teacher in the classroom” and that effective teachers are the key to helping low-income students succeed.


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