Fri09192014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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To forgive, divine

Shortly after 9/11, an event was sponsored in New York for the benefit of the police officers and fire fighters who had sacrificed so much during that tragedy. I think it was a concert/tribute-type thing, but my memories are now vague. What I remember clearly, however, is that Richard Gere was a celebrity participant, and when he spoke, he suggested that it would be worthwhile to acknowledge that - even when confronted with such horror and grief - peaceful, nonviolent roads might still be walked. Gere was then almost booed off the stage.

In the raw aftermath of 9/11, it was understood that justice and vengeance were the most natural response to an attack on our nation's soil. But it did make my heart sink a bit when I heard peace being booed. Maybe, I thought, one might sit stone silent and make a mental note to never elect Gere to high office, or remark to the guy in the next seat that Gere is better off preaching to the choir in Tibet. But booing peace? I wondered if that were a stunning insight into our national soul, and would we as a people ever opt to, as the John Lennon song goes, give peace a chance?

That, however, is exactly what the Amish in Pennsylvania are doing, having only recently experienced what they call their own 9/11. This community, which doesn't deal with electricity or zippers, immediately and unequivocally chose the path of forgiveness after their daughters were executed in cold blood. Amish families, for example, attended the funeral of the gunman, Charles Roberts. The family of 13-year-old Marian Fisher - who had asked to be shot first, hoping the younger girls might be spared - invited Roberts' widow to the girl's funeral, to encourage healing. Receiving non-Amish neighbors at the viewing of his daughter's body, another Amish father asked if any of them knew the Roberts family, and said, "If you see them, please tell them that they are in our prayers." As donations poured in from around the country to help the families with their medical expenses, the Amish requested that a fund for the Roberts family be created as well.

To be sure, forgiveness as exemplified by the Amish may be more realistically achieved because the scale of violence is small in comparison to something like 9/11. But South Africa tried. In the late 1990s, it created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to tackle the legacy of apartheid. The commission, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, provided amnesty for some perpetrators of the nation's government-sponsored human rights abuses in exchange for their honest testimony. The idea was that if black and white communities addressed their brutal, shared history in public, airing and accept what actually occurred, together they might build a free and democratic South Africa. Reconciliation was thus favored over retaliation as a building block for the future.

The Pennsylvania Amish are Americans rigidly entrenched in outdated modes of dress and transportation, but ironically, at this critical moment in our country's history, they may have provided a glimpse into our future - a hope for an alternative response to dark times, a hint of how to survive in an extremely violent world. It isn't the easiest path a person, a community or a nation can follow, but is it effective? I wonder, and I do hope.

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