Community Briefs: World Affairs, Chef Chu's milestone

World Affairs covers erosion of democracies

Stanford University Professor Anna Grzymala-Busse will discuss the “Erosion of New Democracies in Europe” at the Peninsula Chapter of World Affairs meeting scheduled 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Los Altos Youth Center, 1 N. San Antonio Road.

Grzymala-Busse will review the rise of illiberal political parties that govern in Poland and Hungary. The countries were leaders of reforms after the collapse of communism in 1989, the first to embrace democracy and pursue free-market reforms, yet over the past decade, voters in Poland and Hungary elected governments that have attacked liberal democracy. Grzymala-Busse will explore what happened, examining the roots and consequences of the erosion of democracy in the new democracies of Europe, and why they have taken such a path.

The Los Altos Library is co-sponsor of the event.

To volunteer to help set up chairs and tables, and for more information, email Katie Zoglin at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Awards luncheon set for Dec. 6

Tickets are still available for the 36th annual Los Altos-Los Altos Hills Joint Community Volunteer Service Awards luncheon, scheduled 11:30 a.m. Dec. 6 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4290 El Camino Real, Palo Alto.

The cities have bestowed the awards since 1983 to honor individuals and groups that have volunteered their time to serve in the communities. Over the past 36 years, nearly 400 individuals and groups have received awards.

A 12-member committee comprising six representatives from each city selected the winners from nominees recommended by local nonprofit organizations.

The list of this year’s honorees and the organizations that nominated them:

• Andy Danver – Sons In Retirement

• Ray Piontek – Sons In Retirement, Bay Area Furniture Bank

• Sharleen Thorson – Friends of the Library of Los Altos

• Sue Marrion – St. Simon Catholic Parish

• Mark Vasser – Los Altos and Los Altos Hills Little League

• Lindsay Carpenter – Rotary Club of Los Altos

Tickets are $35.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit

Chef Chu’s milestone focus of fundraiser

Fifty years ago, chef Lawrence Chu opened a small eatery in Los Altos, offering Chinese takeout. The restaurant evolved into the renowned Chef Chu’s, which now serves more than 500 customers daily, including celebrities, heads of state, dignitaries and local sports heroes.

Chu attributes a large part of his business’s success to the community, and in the spirit of gratitude, he plans to give back through a fundraising banquet Feb. 9, with all proceeds benefiting the Los Altos History Museum.

The event, dubbed “Chef Chu’s, Serving History: Celebrating 50 Years,” will include a VIP Champagne reception with Chu at 5 p.m., followed by no-host cocktails at 6 p.m. The banquet at 6:30 p.m. will feature dishes created for the evening by Chu and inspired by the regions of China.

Attendees also will receive a commemorative menu with personal notes written by the chef.

Seating is limited to 100. VIP Tickets are $500, Celebration Tickets are $300. The deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 10.

For tickets and more information, visit

Sons In Retirement meets monthly

Two Silicon Valley Sons In Retirement branches, 35 and 51, serve the Los Altos area. SIRs is an organization comprising retired men from all professions.

Branch 35 meets 11 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge, 4249 El Camino Real.

Branch 51 meets noon the first Wednesday of each month at Fremont Hills Country Club, 12889 Viscaino Place, Los Altos Hills.

For more information on Branch 35, visit

For more information on Branch 51, visit

LDS offers opportunity to research ancestry

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have scheduled an opportunity for local residents to connect with their ancestral roots at Sunday’s Festival of Lights Parade in downtown Los Altos. The parade begins at 6 p.m.

Visitors to 4 Main St. can learn how to research their ancestry by creating a family-tree chart. Hot cocoa will be served.

Event organizers will distribute fliers during the parade.

American Legion meets in Los Altos

American Legion Post 558, which serves Los Altos, hosts monthly meetings the first Wednesday of each month at 347 First St.

Meetings begin with a happy hour and dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a business meeting at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit

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