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News

First St. closure set for Saturday

First Street in downtown Los Altos will be closed Saturday (Nov. 22) between West Edith Avenue and Shasta Street for street paving. The closure is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the event of poor weather, the work will be rescheduled for a later ...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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