Thu09182014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Actors stand out in Bus Barn's production of 'Farndale Avenue'

Theater review

I dare you to take a deep breath and say the title of Bus Barn's new production all in one effort.

The title, "The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of 'A Christmas Carol,'" also tells you, beyond its length, that you are in for a zany theatrical experience.

Have a cup of mulled cider, and you will be in the proper mood for watching the plot about a small group of hopeful thespians staging the annual holiday show, "A Christmas Carol."

They must do so with a cast of just six since all others fail to show up. Against an attractive backdrop of painted holiday scenes, the courageous and often ridiculous actors trade male and female roles, knock down set furniture, goof up their lines and revert to their non-acting selves with disconcerting regularity.

It is immediately obvious that the story of Dickens' Scrooge and his mind-changing alteration from a miserable old skinflint to an affable and generous man is not the purpose the playwrights have in mind.

We must accept the play as a wild romp and suspend disbelief. Absurdities abound as the plot allows interaction between the characters and audience members in the front row.

The dignified Mrs. Reece (Colleen O'Kane Block) complete with snooty high-pitched voice, acts as greeter, narrator, Tiny Tim and a ghostly spirit.

She tells us at the end of Act I, "Don't worry, the second act is short." As Tiny Tim, she crouches low and stumbles along the stage saying, "I'm a poor crippled boy who's temporarily forgotten his crutch."

Her basic prop is a shiny red purse which always clues us to her identity, even when it swings out from her black shroud as one of the spirits that takes Scrooge on his journey.

Block stands out in all her roles and helps us to laugh heartily while wondering what on earth is happening.

Another outstanding performance is by Melody Cole who as Thelma is the strong leader of the manic acting group. She plays Scrooge and, though she fumbles and bumbles through the various stage props, does give the play within a play a fragile continuity.

Some of Cole's funniest moments come when she reacts with irritation to the mistakes of others and reverts to being Thelma venting her annoyance.

It's fun to be taken backstage along with the struggling cast as they shift roles, double up, or as their stage manager (Michael Afendakis) does, act with inappropriate silliness.

Act II continues the journey of Scrooge but uses a party situation to involve the cast and audience in charades. We simply shake our heads and accept the singing and dancing of the entire ensemble.

Director Kathy Gutto persuades us that we are participating in wild and crazy events.

The other cast members, Angela Bunting, Lynda Marcum and Buffy Afendakis, do a good job as the blundering members of a goofy amateur drama group.

The play runs through Dec. 30 at the Bus Barn Theatre, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos.

For reservations and more information, call 941-0551.

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