06292016Wed
Last updateWed, 29 Jun 2016 8am

News

LAH council weighs short-term occupancy tax

The next time Beyoncé and the Biebs hit up their favorite Los Altos Hills Airbnb listing, the pop stars may discover that the price has jumped – again.

Beyoncé Knowles paid $10,000 per night for her February Super Bowl digs, a contemporary 9,8...

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Schools

St. Nicholas Catholic School goes solar

St. Nicholas Catholic School goes solar


Courtesy of SilRay
St. Nicholas School recently added 105 SilRay solar panels to its roof to help reduce energy costs and spread environmental awareness to students.

Los Altos-based SilRay recently completed a solar installation project at St. Nich...

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Community

Bill Almon: LAH resident led fight against quarry to the end

Bill Almon: LAH resident led fight against quarry to the end


Bill Almon, a Los Altos Hills environmental activist who led a prominent campaign to shut down the Lehigh Hanson Cement Plant and quarry, died June 13 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Almon was 83.

A native of St. Louis, Mr. Almon earned a bachelor...

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Sports

SF baseball coach switches to softball

After 10 years as St. Francis High’s baseball coach, Mike Oakland is making the switch to softball.

Oakland – who guided the Lancers to three Central Coast Section titles and six consecutive West Catholic Athletic League crowns – w...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Los Altos coyotes must be removed

There have been several coyote attacks in highly populated areas, in broad daylight, in the South Clark Avenue area of Los Altos recently.

These aggressive hunter-scavengers represent a clear danger, not only to pe...

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Special Sections

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers


Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Mary Randazzo purchases older homes in Mountain View to “flip” after they undergo a makeover. Her transformed houses feature open floor plans and she searches for properties with “good bones.”

Amy...

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Business

Young skaters learn to push,  carve and yield downtown

Young skaters learn to push, carve and yield downtown


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Skateworks instructor Andrew Langi teaches Mountain View resident Carter Cox, 8, the rules of the sidewalk.

You’ve seen them downtown: pint-sized athletes, decked in pads and helmets, learning the etiquette of four-wh...

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People

RICHARD MILTON LEWIS

Richard Milton Lewis of Ponte Vedra, Florida, passed away peacefully at home on 13 June 2016. He will be reunited with his wife of 49 years, Claudia Stoney Lewis. He is survived by his four children, twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren...

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News

LAH council weighs short-term occupancy tax

The next time Beyoncé and the Biebs hit up their favorite Los Altos Hills Airbnb listing, the pop stars may discover that the price has jumped – again.

Beyoncé Knowles paid $10,000 per night for her February Super Bowl digs, a contemporary 9,800-square-foot mansion located off Moody Road. By ...

Readmore

Business

Young skaters learn to push, carve and yield downtown

Young skaters learn to push,  carve and yield downtown

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Skateworks instructor Andrew Langi teaches Mountain View resident Carter Cox, 8, the rules of the sidewalk.

You’ve seen them downtown: pint-sized athletes, decked in pads and helmets, learning the etiquette of four-wheel, two-sneaker navigation from an overseer. But ...

Readmore

Sports

SF baseball coach switches to softball

After 10 years as St. Francis High’s baseball coach, Mike Oakland is making the switch to softball.

Oakland – who guided the Lancers to three Central Coast Section titles and six consecutive West Catholic Athletic League crowns – will try to turn around a softball team coming off ...

Readmore

Community

Bill Almon: LAH resident led fight against quarry to the end

Bill Almon: LAH resident led fight against quarry to the end

Bill Almon, a Los Altos Hills environmental activist who led a prominent campaign to shut down the Lehigh Hanson Cement Plant and quarry, died June 13 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Almon was 83.

A native of St. Louis, Mr. Almon earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the U....

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Los Altos coyotes must be removed

There have been several coyote attacks in highly populated areas, in broad daylight, in the South Clark Avenue area of Los Altos recently.

These aggressive hunter-scavengers represent a clear danger, not only to pets, but to children and fragile adults. Humans tha...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Islam's holy month of fasting, prayer and charity ends with joyful holiday

For the more than 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan has begun.

Observed the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (this year beginning at sundown June 6 in the U.S. – dates vary slightly by country), Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer and charitable activities. It is considered on...

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People

RICHARD MILTON LEWIS

Richard Milton Lewis of Ponte Vedra, Florida, passed away peacefully at home on 13 June 2016. He will be reunited with his wife of 49 years, Claudia Stoney Lewis. He is survived by his four children, twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Richard was born in Topeka, Kansas and was a chi...

Readmore

Schools

St. Nicholas Catholic School goes solar

St. Nicholas Catholic School goes solar

Courtesy of SilRay
St. Nicholas School recently added 105 SilRay solar panels to its roof to help reduce energy costs and spread environmental awareness to students.

Los Altos-based SilRay recently completed a solar installation project at St. Nicholas Catholic School.

Readmore

Special Sections

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

From derelict to desirable: House flipper transforms old properties into showstoppers

Megan V. WInslow/Town Crier
Mary Randazzo purchases older homes in Mountain View to “flip” after they undergo a makeover. Her transformed houses feature open floor plans and she searches for properties with “good bones.”

Amy Randazzo is improving neighborhoods one house at ...

Readmore

Stepping Out

LA Stage Company reveals lineup for 21st season

Los Altos Stage Company recently announced its lineup for its 21st season, scheduled September to June at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

The season’s lineup features two musicals and three plays.

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Obituaries

RICHARD MILTON LEWIS

Richard Milton Lewis of Ponte Vedra, Florida, passed away peacefully at home on 13 June 2016. He will be reunited with his wife of 49 years, Claudia Stoney Lewis. He is survived by his four children, twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Richard was born in Topeka, Kansas and was a chi...

Readmore

Magazine

Aging Matters: Take preventive steps to avoid slips and falls

Aging Matters: Take preventive steps to avoid slips and falls

Courtesy of silver sneakers
An exercise program like Silver Sneakers Fitness can help seniors with strength, balance and flexibility.

The statistics on seniors who slip and fall are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

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Art with heart Los Altos Art Docents create a masterpiece in the classroom


Courtesy of Los Altos Art Docents
The Los Altos Art Docents teach art appreciation and hands-on art lessons in the Los Altos School District, skills they wove into the mural they painted at the district office.

Volunteers with the Los Altos Art Docents teach art with heart.

Founded in 1970 to offset funding cuts to art instruction in public schools, the Los Altos Art Docents comprises 80 volunteers who teach nearly 800 visual art lessons annually to elementary-school-age students in the Los Altos School District.

Although the nonprofit program has thrived for more than four decades, no two years are alike. There are no dramatic shifts in the curriculum from year to year but rather a series of continual tweaks. This year, docents will introduce new lessons for students as well as educational and social activities for themselves.

According to director Kimberly Dickerson, one recent change involves presenting lessons that include instructional strategies for areas in which teachers have been trained.

For example, sixth-graders work in groups, studying ancient works of art and figuring out where they originated. Such assignments not only encourage collaboration - a skill docents are instructed to weave into their lessons - but also complement the social studies curriculum.

"We’re really excited, because it’s a different way for us to bring appreciation lessons to the students," Dickerson said.

But it’s not just the oldest students whose curriculum is being updated - kindergartners will also see a change. This year’s plan includes the full rollout of a drawing and watercolor lesson partially introduced to students the previous year.

"(It) incorporates some techniques to help them draw and do a little bit of painting … and incorporate some of their social studies curriculum - the study of animals and their habitats," Dickerson said "We do this underwater sea scene with them, and that’ll be fun."

The benefits of volunteering

Los Altos Art Docents volunteers reap blessings that go beyond the joys of teaching art and art appreciation to young students - the volunteers enjoy the classroom engagement and the social and educational benefits of the program.

"It makes you smile when you think about the program, because it’s not just about going into the classroom and teaching the kids, it’s also about (docents) learning a bit more about art and having a good time together as well," said publicity coordinator Kristine Bardman.

Over the summer, docents attended a series of art-related camps where they practiced working with wire sculptures and clay. At one camp, docents threw darts to pop paint-filled water balloons attached to a canvas. Volunteers also sharpen their art history and creative skills via field trips throughout the year, most recently to the San Jose Museum of Art.

Bardman said one of the things she likes most about the program is that it’s a group of like-minded people who really enjoy the arts and one another’s company.

"So we see each other socially, we see each other in the classrooms," she said.

Making a mural

One of the larger projects docents have worked on is an 8-foot-by-10-foot mural outside the district office on Covington Road. What started as a team-building exercise in 2012 turned into a yearlong project that took four months to complete. Once they decided to create a mural, docents invited a local muralist to discuss the process with them.

Docents faced several obstacles before they could begin painting, including funding the project. The group applied for a grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Donor Circle for the Arts and their outreach paid off. After securing funding, they had to agree on a design for the mural.

"Because we teach hands-on art lessons and also art appreciation lessons, we were struggling with how to combine both into one mural," Dickerson said.

Docents wanted to include their signature red apron in the design, which Dickerson described as a "strong symbol" of the program. They also wanted to make sure that it was a project to which many people could contribute.

In the end, the group painted squares with images from many famous works of art, arranged them in a grid pattern and overlaid a picture of the red apron.

Group members set up boards in their office so that docents could drop in and out, each painting different squares. Docents who weren’t able to paint a square for the mural completed other tasks, such as applying a layer of varnish over the final product.

Bardman said students will recognize many of the works of art depicted in the mural, because docents discuss the artists and their masterpieces in their classroom lessons.

New year, new lessons

With a new school year, new lessons and new activities, docents are excited to step back in the classroom.

"The reason why I joined the program, and I think most of the docents joined the program, is because we love being in the classroom with the kids," Bardman said. "So it’s exciting for us to get back to school and get back to teaching lessons."

The Los Altos Art Docents seeks new recruits. No experience or artistic talent is required - the group provides training. Volunteers are asked to commit to teach once a week in the classroom during the school year.

To volunteer, call 947-1195 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information, visit losaltosartdocents.org. n

Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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