Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Resident witnesses Boston Marathon bombings


Photo By: Courtesy of Bob Anderson’s ujena fit club
Photo Courtesy Of Bob Anderson’S Ujena Fit Club

Bob Anderson of Los Altos competes in his first Boston Marathon, which was marred by bombings.

Longtime Los Altos resident Bob Anderson isn’t likely to forget his first chance to compete in the Boston Marathon – certainly not when that first time was April 15.

Anderson, a 43-year Los Altos resident, was a block past the finish line, picking up his competitor’s medal, when the first of two homemade pressure-cooker bombs exploded.

The explosions injured more than 180 people and killed three – 8-year-old Martin Richard, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell and Boston University graduate student Lingzu Lu. Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was captured Friday evening, ending a tense 24-hour period that effectively shut down the Boston metropolitan area as authorities searched for him and his brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The elder sibling died early Friday morning during a shootout with federal and local law enforcement personnel.

“The sound, the smoke – people just didn’t know what was going on,” said Anderson, founder of Runner’s World magazine (launched in the late 1960s), describing the scene. “It was just unbelievable. … Nobody had any answers. It was a situation where it wasn’t clear what was going on. Nobody could’ve ever imagined something like this could happen at the Boston Marathon.”

Anderson, 65, said his thoughts immediately shifted to finding his son Michael, who competed in the marathon for the first time as well. Seeking some confirmation that his son was safe, Anderson made his way to a bag drop-off area for competitors and asked a local marathon official if his son had retrieved his belongings.

“It appeared that he did,” said Anderson, one of nine Los Altos residents registered to compete in the 2013 marathon. “Literally, I was almost shaking asking the question.”

Anderson returned to his hotel and reunited with his wife, who had been taking photos at the finish line but left the area before the blasts. She had been in contact with Michael and knew that he was unharmed.

They also learned that their son finished only 3 minutes before the first bomb detonated, leading to an emotional reunion at their hotel later that day.

“It was just the unknown – not knowing what was going on,” Anderson said in describing the tension as he searched for his son. “(The reunion) was quite emotional.”

Anderson noted that the weekend leading up to the marathon was a celebratory time, with “total strangers telling me, ‘Good luck tomorrow.’ Everyone was just so excited.”

Those positive feelings continued during the early stages of the race, he added, as Bostonians and other spectators lined the course, offering support to the competitors.

“It was such a great weekend, with so much joy in the air,” Anderson said. “There were kids giving you high-fives and handing out water to runners. … In my mind, it’s the same as someone putting a bomb in a church. For this to happen at that moment and to put (bombs) in the crowd, it’s just terrible.”

Tragedy on multiple fronts

Anderson, who returned home with family the day after the marathon, said his thoughts have since turned to those affected by the tragedy.

“The fact of the matter is, we should be totally happy and focused on what we did,” said Anderson, who is shooting a full-length documentary on his 50 years as a marathon runner.

The conclusion of the documentary, he added, was slated to include footage of his experience at the Boston Marathon.

“Obviously, our hearts go out to the victims,” he said. “It’s just so tragic.”

He noted that the April 15 event in Boston this year is a tragedy in more than one way. While expressing sorrow for those killed and injured, Anderson said the bombing was unfortunate from an athletic perspective as well. Many marathon runners spend years training for the opportunity to compete in the event – and may never get a second chance.

“This is one of the most prestigious (athletic) events in the world,” he said. “Obviously the real victims are the ones killed and injured. … At the same time, there were people there from all over the world and this may have been their only chance to compete in the Boston Marathon.”

Resolve

Anderson wasn’t the only runner in Los Altos with his thoughts trained on the bombing victims.

Like others on April 15, Adam Kemist – owner of On Your Mark at 378 Main St. – said his gaze was trained on his TV set watching national news coverage of the event. Seeing the tragedy unfold from the other side of the country, he added, initially left him with a helpless feeling.

“It brought back the same feelings I had with 9/11 – the Twin Towers,” said Kemist, who attended the Boston Marathon as a spectator in 2002. “I’m sitting here asking, ‘What do we do?’ You sit here on the other coast and all you really do is sit and watch.”

Sitting and watching quickly turned into a call for action. Kemist and his wife, Micheline, contacted friends and regular customers to organize a 3-mile tribute run last Thursday in honor of the victims.

Close to 20 runners – some donning Boston Red Sox hats, others wearing New England Patriots jerseys – participated in the run, a loop that started at Kemist’s storefront and wound down First Street and Los Altos Avenue. Participants included members of the Homestead High Track & Field team.

The Kemists took part in a nationwide 4.09-mile run Monday – the time on the marathon clock when the first of two bombs exploded – along with members of the Los Altos High Track & Field team.

Participants collected donations at the events, which Kemist said he would direct to funds established for victims and their families, including 11-year-old Aaron Hern of Martinez. The total amount was not available by the Town Crier’s deadline.

As for Anderson, who along with his family participated in Kemist’s 3-mile tribute run Thursday, the bombing has only strengthened his resolve to show his support for the marathon in the future.

“It just gives me more reasons to support a race like the Boston Marathon,” he said. “In my mind, I’m not going to give those who did this any more power than they’ve already gotten. They’re not going to rob that from me.”

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