Tue07292014

News

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

Bullis Charter School board members unanimously approved a five-year agreement with the Los Altos School District just before midnight Monday. The agreement, also unanimously approved by LASD trustees earlier in the evening, outlines facilities uses ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Friendly visitors bring kindness, friendship to Los Altos seniors

Los Altos resident Fran Millett didn't know what to expect when she volunteered as a "friendly visitor" for the Friendly Visitor Service of Santa Clara County, a service that brings together volunteer visitors and older individuals who are isolated and have no immediate family or friends to help.

"When I first met Helen, it was like we had been friends our whole lives," Millett said of her friend Helen, whom she meets once a week. They've been meeting for almost a year now.

"We talk about so many interesting things, we read some of the same books," Millet said. "Helen is 87 years old and is a very talented artist and incredible poet. You should hear the words that pour from her mouth when she speaks. She is so gifted."

"We are both Southern girls," said Millett who is from Arkansas. Helen hails from Virginia. Fran Millet said she and Helen talk about Southern Cooking "Ah, the corn bread!" they say. "We enjoy the corn bread at Marie Callendars together." They will be going again soon.

Many of these special friendships are due to the astute matchmaking skills of Charlene Piercey, coordinator for the service, who tries to match pairs according to backgrounds, interests, personal schedules, and where one lives or works.

"We're talking about friendships, two-way friendships, what starts out as a service turns into special friendships," Pierce said. "Clients are living independent, dignified lives and often learning to cope with new found isolation and limited access to socialization and transportation."

The Friendly Visitors Service is a non-profit, countywide program sponsored by the Council on Aging of Santa Clara County. It is a 30-year-old senior service agency which matches volunteers with older people who enjoy being independent but are limited in their link to the outside world. The Service has three volunteer opportunities: friendly visitor, nursing home cheergiver, or phone friend.

Friendly Visitors are matched with older people and provide weekly visits involving, for example, a cup of coffee, conversation, reading or writing letters, an outing to a library, restaurant or store. Volunteers can visit an elder right here in Los Altos or in the city in which they work.

Nursing home cheergivers visit a nursing home on a weekly basis and share time with many residents for an hour at a time. More than 50 percent of nursing home residents are usually too frail physically or mentally to have an hourlong visit.

"Shorter visits bang people a smile, a laugh, human association, a touch," said Pam Murphy, cheergiver coordinator, "and among our cheergivers we have at least six sets of mother/daughter pairs in the county who visit nursing homes."

For volunteers who can't get away, they can volunteer to be a phone friend and make a brief daily phone call to someone who needs a quick "cheer up" call.

Heemook Kwan of Los Altos has visited her friend for more than three years now. Both are immigrants to America, Kwan from Korea and her friend from Switzerland.

"Our friendship is of mutual benefit to me," Kwan said. "She is a source of comfort to me. I never feel obligated to see her, I go because I enjoy being with her, too. We have a cup of coffee and talk."

Kwan's friend will be leaving the area soon to live with her daughter. A heart-sick Kwan said, "I will miss her - a lot!"

Los Altos resident Veronica Kent moved here from Canada five years ago. "I was a foreign student at Stanford and when I decided to stay here I wanted to give some time to the community.

"I was looking for volunteer work and discovered the ad in the Town Crier for the Friendly Visitor Service," said Kent, who works full-time and who has been visiting her British friend for two years. "We talk about everything, the news, we go for a walk with the dog and she has even made me a British cake. Because of her deteriorating eyesight, we go through the TV Guide and I mark with a big red pen the shows that we decide look interesting.

"I forget I am volunteering for the service," Kent said. "My friend is like my family. I learn so much about British history from her and drink my cup of tea every time I visit. I encourage people to volunteer because it is a pleasant experience that does not feel like an obligation."

Kent's husband, Mark, recently visited his wife's senior friend while she was on a trip to Canada.

Los Altos resident Peggy Landers, a mother and in part-time work, also enjoys volunteering for the service.

"This is so easy to do and makes a difference in life," she said.

Landers' stepfather had a stroke and saw her own mother visiting many other patients as well as her loved one. "I wanted to do the same," she said.

When the Friendly Visiting Service called Peggy Landers with a possible match, coordinators said there might be a problem: the senior has three dogs.

Landers recalled saying, "That's perfect - so do I! We love animals, especially dogs." The relationship was clinched and now daughter Jamie, 12 years old, visits also. Landers' friend has been frustrated by diabetes and can't read very well. They take trips to the Los Altos Main Library find large-print Readers Digest magazines, a favorite for this pair.

Rita Baum, director of Friendly Visiting Service, described the organization's set-up: "We are funded by the Council on Aging, United Way, and friends in the community who are concerned about the well being of isolated, older persons living in private homes, board and care home or skilled nursing facilities.

"We are hoping to get funding to expand to other cities and we have started an intergenerational program at two nursing homes with students from two Santa Clara high schools as nursing home cheergiver volunteers," Baum said.

There is no fee for this service and it is available to Santa Clara County residents aged 60 and older. To inquire about donations, register as a volunteer or register for this service, call 329-0888.

If you know of someone who has performed an Act of Kindness, write to Mary Cunneen-Lion courtesy of the Los Altos Town Crier, 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, or call 948-9000, ext. 313.

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