Thu05262016

News

FAA report

FAA report "a start" in allaying noise onslaught


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Anti-noise advocates exchange informational door hangers to give to neighbors.

A federal report released last week identifies possible solutions to the aircraft noise plaguing South Bay communities.

The Federal Aviation...

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Schools

Almond community packs meals for those in need

Almond community packs meals for those in need


Courtesy of Polly Liu
Almond School families worked together last month to package more than 15,000 meals for the Stop Hunger Now organization. Approximately 85 volunteers, including students in grades K-6, packaged meals of rice, soy, vitamins and...

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Community

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Marie Houghton Mong relaxes with one of her two 16-year-old cats at The Terraces at Los Altos retirement community.

On the average day, Marie Houghton Mong can be found in her attractive and comfortable apartment at T...

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Comment

Blame it on Rio: No Shoes, Please

In 2008, I wrote a column explaining why I thought Beijing was an inappropriate venue for that year’s Summer Olympic Games. I cited health risks: the city’s terrible pollution and the country’s corrupt food supply chain. I also note...

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Special Sections

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Melissa and Nick French, right with son Grayson, pooled their talents to design their dream home. Melissa designed the living room sofa and table.

Melissa and Nick French took “do it yourself” to a new dimens...

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Business

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Chamber of Commerce Mountain View presented this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award to Maria Marroquin, left, and Leane Reelfs, right. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award went to Diana Bautista, center.

Chamber ...

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People

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

Resident of Los Altos 
August 18, 1920 - May 11, 2016 

Ernie died peacefully at his home, just a few months short of his 96th birthday. 

Ernie had an amazing life, born in Germany he and his family fled the Nazi's soon after Kristal...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent


Courtesy of Eileen Eng
Mountain View High junior Julia Rogers, 2015 South Bay Teen Idol winner, is slated to perform at Tuesday’s “Arts Razzle-Dazzle” at Bus Barn Theater.

Los Altos Stage Company shines a spotlight on the perfo...

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Spiritual Life

Former St. Nicholas pastor shares his story as exorcist

The Rev. Gary Thomas served the Los Altos faith community as pastor of St. Nicholas Catholic Parish for several years before he announced in 2005 that San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath had assigned him to study in Rome, not unusual for U.S. priests...

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Drive Less Challenge set to begin Sunday


Photo By: Courtesy of Peg Champion
Photo Courtesy Of Peg Champion Dr. John McBirney, outside his Los Altos dental office on Second Street, competed in the Drive Less Challenge last year, challenging himself to give up “selfish habits.”

Earth Day is Sunday, which means GreenTown Los Altos is gearing up for its Drive Less Challenge.

For a two-week period starting Sunday, local residents are asked to challenge themselves to drive their cars less and instead use an alternative form of transportation to run errands and get to and from work or school.

GreenTown Los Altos’ Karen Janowski launched the challenge in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in 2011.

“Last year, our GreenTown Los Altos community collectively logged a total of 8,837 green miles, saved more than 5,400 pounds of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and placed fifth out of nine participating communities,” she said. “Our goal this year is to double our miles – and our carbon savings.”

Drive Less Challenge participants can win prizes donated by local shops and services. Grand prizes are awarded for best performance in several categories. Prizes will be presented at GreenTown’s Bike, Walk, Win! Party, scheduled 6-8 p.m. May 10 – Bike to Work Day – at 359 State Street, the pop-up bicycle shop in downtown Los Altos.

Motivation not a problem

Previous winner Dr. John McBirney recently explained his motivation for participating.

“I challenged myself to give up selfish habits,” said McBirney, a Los Altos dentist. “Instead of thinking of all the reasons not to ride my bike to the office, I asked myself, what are the reasons to ride?”

He said he found plenty.

“Riding increases vitality and clears your head. It allows you to engage with people and with your environment,” said McBirney, one of 900 Peninsula residents who took part in last year’s program. “Plus, you save energy and money.”

Chris Hlavka, another 2011 winner and a member of the Los Altos Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said she participated last year to increase awareness of alternative modes of transportation.

“Strong participation in the Challenge encourages cities like Los Altos to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists,” Hlavka said.

Tom Fenstermacher, GreenTown’s overall winner a year ago, added, “The Drive Less Challenge provided the motivation I needed to change my San Francisco commute routine. I started taking Caltrain and biking to and from the station. I got 5 miles of exercise, left work at a consistent time, caught up on email and arrived home in time for family dinner. Thanks to the Challenge, I was happier and healthier.”

Children can enter the challenge, too.

Last year Dylan Weitz, then a first-grader at Gardner Bullis School in Los Altos Hills, traveled by bike to school with his dad, Marvin, every day of the Bike Less Challenge and won in the student category for Most Miles Biked.

Los Altos Mayor Val Carpenter is taking the challenge this year and plans to walk to work downtown, rather than drive.

“Walking is a great way to get to know your neighborhood,” she said. “We live in a beautiful area with fantastic weather – get out and enjoy it.”

Los Altos Hills Mayor Rich Larsen said he believes in the health and environmental benefits of biking and is challenging himself to ride to at least one meeting per week.

Challenge benefits all

Joe Eyre, a member of the Los Altos Environmental Commission, said he plans to participate again this year.

“It makes you think about what you are doing for yourself and your community, every time you head out the door,” he said.

According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, motor vehicles are a major source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area.

The Drive Less Challenge started in Menlo Park in 2009 to promote health and quality of life and to reduce solo trips in gas-powered vehicles. Each year, the program has spread to additional Peninsula communities.

To sign up for the Drive Less Challenge, visit drivelesschallenge.com.

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