Wed09172014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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LAH resident gives his time to the forests

Photo Courtesy Of Dave Lautzenheiser

Dave Lautzenheiser works with an all-volunteer organization that protects state wildlands.

This is the third in a series of monthly articles that highlight local volunteers.

Los Altos Hills resident Dave Lautzenheiser is a volunteer with Ventana Wilderness Alliance, an all-volunteer organization that protects the wildlands of the northern Santa Lucia Mountains and the Big Sur Coast.

Q: How did you hear about your organization and for how long have you volunteered?

A: After having a very miserable hiking trip in the Big Sur wilderness, I went online to seek information about difficult trail situations. I found reports of conditions on the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Web site written by folks who had actually been hiking there. I have worked with them for five years.

Q: What tasks do you perform?

A: Our focus is on trail restoration in the greater Big Sur wilderness area. This involves two main tasks. The first is removing the brush that has grown into the trail or has fallen on the trail from above and is generally done with heavy-duty pruning tools. Some larger items require sawing with pruning saws. In the case of fallen trees, a number of volunteers have large, two-person manual crosscut saws that we use. The second general task is restoring the trail tread, the part that you walk on, using a variety of digging and raking tools. We remove debris from the trail and dig out and level any areas that have fallen rocks, dirt or brush roots in the trail tread.

Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering?

A: The best part of this particular "job" is the huge transformation in the usability of a trail. We take areas that are virtually impassable and convert them into a "wilderness freeway" in a short period of time. Often while we are out working on the trails, hikers come through and their thanks only adds to the satisfaction.

Q: What skills are needed to do this job?

A: The leaders of the work trips provide the small amount of instruction needed to accomplish most of the tasks. For those who have the inclination to take their hand at the two-person crosscut saws, there are classes to become certified in accordance with Forest Service regulations. Every trip begins with a mandatory safety briefing. The crew leader for each trip works closely with new volunteers to be certain that they are using tools properly, are adhering to appropriate safety practices and are, most importantly, enjoying the time in the wilderness!

Q: What is the time commitment?

A: Work trips are generally two-day events on weekends and we camp out at night. There are some opportunities for one-day trips that are a great way to get started. There are also a few longer trips, generally three or four days, particularly if we are working a trail remote enough to require a long hike into the wilderness. Trips are planned for at least one weekend per month from October to June. I personally try to do four or five trips per season; others are out every month and some folks come out only once a year.

Q: What do you get out of volunteering?

A: This activity is all about making a difference for hikers to enjoy this wonderful area of the state. Our goal is to improve the trails so that a larger number of users can enjoy them and, if we can increase the use of the area, perhaps the Forest Service will get additional funding to restore other facilities that are beyond the scope of our activities.

Q: What type of people might enjoy this volunteer job?

A: Anyone who enjoys outdoors and hiking is a good candidate. Also, a desire to camp out overnight in a remote area is a definite plus but many of the two-day trips can be done without the luxury of sleeping out under the stars in one of the most beautiful wild areas in the state!

Q: How may others contact your organization to volunteer?

A: The Web site is www.ventanawild.org. Click on the "Trail Crew" button on the left side of the page for more information.

Carol Crites is a Los Altos resident and longtime volunteer. Suggestions for this column can be sent to Editor Bruce Barton by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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