Sat09202014

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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MV-LA board approves return of Alta Vista to Shoreline site

Alta Vista High School, an alternative school for students with mostly attendance problems, will relocate to its original site and undergo a shift in focus, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District board members decided at their March 24 meeting.

The board approved a conceptual plan that would change Alta Vista into a continuation school and move facilities back behind the district office, the old Shoreline High School site next to Mountain View High School on Truman Avenue.

The move results from a dissolved partnership the district had over the past three years with Foothill College. Superintendent Don Phillips said Alta Vista operated out of Foothill's Middlefield campus, the old Cubberley High School site on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. The idea was that Alta Vista students would take advantage of Foothill services or apply to the college after high school.

"Neither materialized to the degree Foothill was hoping for," said Brigitte Sarraf, associate superintendent in charge of educational services.

"They needed us to move so we had to find a new home," Phillips said.

With the lack of available commercial property, district officials turned to the Shoreline site, which has been renovated to accommodate the spillover of Mountain View High students in the midst of the district's $58 million renovation of the main high schools.

In changing the focus from an "alternative" to a "continuation" school, district officials plan on limiting Alta Vista to students 16 years and older. Students with attendance problems and/or failing grades would be admitted. The district also envisions a 25-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio and an enrollment topping at 150 students.

As a continuation school, Alta Vista students would have to meet minimum weekly attendance requirements stipulated in laws that govern continuation education.

Phillips said the district also plans stronger curriculum for basic skills such as English and math.

Sarraf added Mountain View High services, such as foreign language classes, would be available to students who are up for the challenge.

The change saves the district $166,000 in "double staffing" between the regular high schools and Alta Vista, and by reducing duplication of programs, Phillips said.

"Some of the changes, we think will enhance (the program)," Phillips said. "We want to ensure these kids are challenged. Most of these students have basic literacy deficits, so we want a very strong skill development focus in the program - and a strong career-to-work path."

"We're trying to take this as an opportunity (for improving) quality, enhancements, facilities - and save dollars at the same time," he said.

Sarraf said administrative staff would return to the board with requests for more specific changes to the Alta Vista program within two months.

"We're still excited with all the changes that have occurred over the past couple of years as we continue to improve and refine the program," she said.

Bill Pierce, who had been an interim principal at Alta Vista, was named Alta Vista principal at the last board meeting.

DISTRICT OFFICE FIXES: Phillips said he'll be proposing a host of fixes for the district offices at 1299 Bryant Ave., in Mountain View, before the board at its next meeting, this coming Monday.

The proposed renovations, running about $500,000, include installing handicapped accessible ramps to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, improving parking, renovating bathrooms, replacing the roof and removing asbestos from the ceilings.

Work on the 30-year-old building would begin in the summer of 1998, pending board approvals.

Monday's proposal calls for the board to give the go-ahead for design and planning work, Phillips said.

The board also is in the process of developing annual goals, which include higher academic standards, improvements to the building program and improving technology.

District officials will be seeking public input at the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the district board room, 1299 Bryant Ave.

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