Thu07242014

News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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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 into L...

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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 ...

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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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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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