Wed10222014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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