At the end of Loma Alta Ave in the foothills sits the Los Gatos campus of Uplift Family Services, formerly Eastfield Ming Quong (EMQ) Family First. Tucked away among quiet residential streets, this unassuming establishment often goes unnoticed by locals, but it has deep roots in this Town and across the Bay Area, and especially within the Chinese community.
Origins: “Radiant Light”
Discriminatory laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) took their toll on US Chinatowns. Organized crime took hold in US Chinatowns and with it, human trafficking. Tong kidnaped Chinese women, smuggling them through the Golden Gate and into prostitution and slavery. In the late 19th century, Presbyterian missionaries in San Francisco began an effort to help the victims, women and children, escape to safety.
This undertaking expanded, providing safe houses and orphanages: Chung Mei (“China America”) Home for boys and Ming Quong (“radiant light”) Homes for girls.
On July 20, 2021, my termite inspector, Miguel Torres, Thrasher Termite & Pest Control, died without warming. He was a single dad and leaves behind a devastated family and minor kids who could use support. Today I am writing to request your help with the GoFundMe (and if you are one who prays, please also send some prayers for this family).
UPDATE: The goal has been met, thank you to all who helped!
Never before have I blogged to ask my wonderful readers to contribute to a charity or fund, but this one is personal.
Thrasher Termite & Pest Control has been my go-to, most trusted termite and pest control company for my entire career (1993 to today). Janet and Duff Thrasher started the company, but 21 years ago, Duff suffered a fatal heart attack while at the beach with Janet and their 3 kids. Miguel stepped up to help Janet and to grow the company. Miguel’s passing is a lot like lightening hitting the same spot twice.
But I digress.
Miguel was a trusted professional, careful with his work (neither overstating nor understating issues), as good with my clients as with the details of his profession. He was reliable, friendly, kind. I could not have asked for better either from him or from Thrasher.
Miguel has 3 children, two of whom are dependent.
Janet Thrasher, his employer, started a GoFundMe account to help keep the 2 dependent sons in their rental home for the next year while things get sorted out. There are enough sea changes without also being forced to move.
Every donation, great or small, matters a tremendous amount.
If you would consider donating and spreading the word, I would be immensely grateful.
One of my favorite shops in downtown Los Gatos is Black Cat Hats, which features all kinds of accessories in addition to hats for men and women. The folks there are friendly and knowledgeable and take a personal interest in helping customers to find just the right item they want or need.
Over the last week, we’ve been there twice – first for a hat for me, and then a couple for my better half. Both times we got what we needed quickly.
We were impressed by the nice selection among the men’s hats. Truthfully, I hadn’t paid much attention to them previously, but there was a good variety of styles, colors, and sizes.
A couple of days ago, my husband, Jim, and I enjoyed outside dining at North Restaurant, a downtown Los Gatos eatery offering seasonal Vietnamese food. It was our first visit there. The meals and service could not have been better, so I wanted to give them a shout out here on the Live in Los Gatos blog.
We arrived at North a little before 12 noon and wanted a table away from other diners and the sidewalk. It wasn’t too crowded and we were seated in a corner by ourselves. A nice surprise was noting plexiglass between our table and one nearby. The parklet was also covered, which was helpful with the summer sun.
Superb service at North Restaurant
Our server was masked, which we appreciated, and came quickly to take our order. We didn’t have to wait long for the food after ordering. Throughout our meal, he would look in our direction to see if we might need anything, and did step over to ask directly if all was ok and if he could get us anything. We never felt rushed, but he was around. When we paid our bill it was the same – he didn’t waste any time, but never made us feel like we needed to hurry. Kudos on the service, it was an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. (He probably told us his name, and we forget it, unfortunately!)
North Restaurant menu offerings
The offerings were diverse and tempting! One item that I’ll return to have next time is the crab spring rolls, which was advertised as including “Rice Paper, Dungeness Crab, Avocado, Mango, Rice Vermicelli, Green Leaf Lettuce, Mint, Soy Vinaigrette”. So often, restaurants offer crab dishes but actually serve fake crab – but this is Dungeness!
The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce invites the community to celebrate summer together with free live music all summer!
Thursday Promenades in Downtown Los Gatos
There’s a party in downtown every Thursday Promenade beginning this week! Every Thursday evening, 3pm to 8pm from July 1st to August 12th, the stretch of North Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Los Gatos between Main St and Bachman (that’s from Dolce Spazio to Andalé for the foodies) will transform into “the promenade.” The street will be open to foot traffic, and two stages will bookend the promenade with live musical entertainment!
Bands will begin performances at 4:30pm on the North Stage (Bachman), and at 5:30pm on the South Stage (Main), with entertainment from a different group each week. See the lineup (and any changes) on the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce calendar, the Thursday Promenades page linked above, or Camber of Commerce social media pages.
Drivers, plan to reroute around this stretch of N. Santa Cruz Ave on Thursday nights. While there is usually plenty of parking along the old rail line behind the shops, it tends to fill up with festival traffic, so schedule in some extra time for parking. If you’re coming for the event, consider traveling by bike, or using a ridesharing service if you plan on patronizing any of the bars or brewery!
Spring has stretched into summer and while closure protocols remain in place, the Town of Los Gatos has been progressively re-opening.
Safe Summer Reading
Socially distant opportunities are ever-expanding. The Town Library is working hard to circulate your summer-reads safely. Residents can now check-out material online with safe patio pick-up for books, CDs, and DVDs. Virtual services include online classes and remote storytimes in addition to the virtual library services already in place.
Unfortunately, increasing virus spread has led to a rollback on opening many indoor services. Outdoors, however, there’s plenty to do!
Back in May the Town Council began work and the April-approved reallocation of $1.9M in surplus to bolster local COVID-19 economic recovery. Some of this has been used to help create the outdoor expansions into temporary parklets.
If you haven’t been downtown recently, it’s all hustle and bustle with the new setup. Patio dining is now available at many of your favorite restaurants. Personal services including hair salons, cosmetologists, nail salons, and barbershops are now also open for business – outdoors and by reservation only. The weekly farmers market is still open for business every Sunday.
While indoor malls remain closed you can still enter shops in outdoor malls or at standalone stores, so window-shoppers, follow the posted rules and enjoy stalking the shelves!
Re-Opening the Outdoors
Trails and parks remain open with social distancing requirements. Boating on Vasona Lake is open with plenty of safety protocols in place. County parks have yet to reopen playgrounds, water fountains, and group picnic sites, according to their website, so keep that in mind when you plan a Vasona visit. Town parks have reopened some sports equipment (such as tennis courts), and playgrounds, picnic tables, and BBQ areas are all open for use. The Town of Los Gatos is accepting picnic site reservations online again.
The Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce is working hard to keep local industry strong!
You may have seen signs in lawns or someone wearing a shirt which reads “We got this LG!” in bold letters. This is a campaign run by the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce, which is working non-stop to support the many local businesses that are affected by the pandemic.
The upbeat message of this campaign is to stay positive and to strengthen community spirit! If you love strolling through downtown Los Gatos, or you’re missing your favorite shop, you can still support many of these businesses from a safe social distance so that when you’re able to come back, they’ll be there, too. But it’s not just lawn signs and t-shirts. We Got This LG! is introducing events like the Shop Local Raffle and a Mother’s Day Virtual Gift Shoppe to incentive’s shopping and introduce locals to more Los Gatos businesses.
Of course, to join the campaign you’ll want to know what’s open. The Chamber is keeping track of that, too, and has provided information on which shops, restaurants, and even services that are providing socially distant experiences.
The restaurant list is your one-stop-shop, which offers hours of operation, delivery vs curbside pickup information, links, and phone numbers. (Their list is much more extensive than my Takeout Food for Shelter in Place from March!) Check out the merchants page for information on pickup or mail delivery on practically everything: wine, clothes, toys, fresh flowers, gallery artworks, and craft supplies! Under “Other Services” are a collection of service-providing local businesses that are providing remote or curbside options, such as online fitness classes, curbside or delivery repairs, and tele-consultations. On the essential services page you can find out what’s open for your essential needs in Los Gatos.
Beyond the campaign, the Los Gatos Chamber continues to be an essential resource to businesses as well as for customers and clients. Take a look at their calendar and you can see there are Digital Marketing Webinars, virtual mixers, and classes to help members manage the changing market. The Chamber is also supporting FeedtheNeed (aka #FEEDtheNEEDBAYAREA) to help bring free hot meals where they are needed most: seniors, displaced employees, and medical workers. You can find out where meals have already been distributed in Los Gatos and donate to the cause though the link.
Most importantly, remember this won’t last forever and…