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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Friendship Force


Photo By: Photo courtesy of the Gustavsons
Photo Photo Courtesy Of The GustavsonsLos Altos residents Dave and Dee Gustavson keep warm at the Jkulsarlon glacial lagoon in Iceland. The Gustavsons have journeyed abroad numerous times as ambassadors with Friendship Force International, a non-profit group that offers homestays to promote cultural understanding. photos courtesy of the gustavsons

Los Altos residents Dee and Dave Gustavson shared stories of the lukewarm response they received when they attempted to start a Friendship Force International chapter in Iceland last August.

President Jimmy Carter introduced the Friendship Force organization in 1977 to promote grassroots diplomacy – earning the group a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for encouraging international understanding. The non-profit cultural exchange program arranges home stays, which allow participants to experience how citizens in other countries live.

Addressing a standing-room only crowd at the Los Altos main library Jan. 8, the Gustavsons reported on the Icelanders’ resistance to their mission.

Dave said they spoke to a Rotary Club in the country’s capital, Reykjavik, and to another club in Akureyri.

“They didn’t seem to think their homes were big and nice enough,” he said, perhaps compared to the American homes seen on television.

The concept seemed new to them as well, Dee added.

Through Friendship Force, Dee has visited 16 countries, including Cuba, Egypt, China, India, Uzbekistan, Poland, the Czech Republic and Brazil, and the couple together have traveled to Japan, Hong Kong, France, Germany and more.

Dee had nothing but praise for their experiences with Friendship Force, which takes turns hosting travelers for a few days. Participants become ambassadors abroad, sharing meals and living under one roof with citizens of other countries for a few days.

“By the end of the week, you feel like they’re part of your family – they’ve taken you shopping, to their church, you’ve met their children and you really feel like you know them,” Dee said. “They have similar problems.”

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Friendship Force boasts approximately 100 members, several from Los Altos and Mountain View.

“It just feels like the world is smaller,” said Dee of her experiences with the group.

 

Iceland: A cool place to visit

During the Gustavsons’ presentation, Dave flipped through slides of geometric concert halls, molten rock lava, geysers and farmland, sharing facts and observations from their trip.

Air travel time, including a stopover in Frankfurt, spanned approximately 12 hours. Despite its nippy name, thermal gases actually make Iceland pretty green. The weather stayed cool, reaching the 50s and 60s during the day.

They didn’t see the aurora borealis, because it was August and daylight continues until 10 p.m. Dave said many of the towns they visited had decorating competitions with colored flowers, and several communities had museums dedicated to World War II.

Reading and watching the Nordic sagas are an Icelandic pastime, he said, and characters from the sagas appear for sale in stores or on display.

Dave showed slides of contemporary-looking churches with modern mosaics that impressed him greatly, and noted that “elegant” public art also graced the common areas.

Iceland’s population is 320,000, with individualistic personalities abounding, Dave said. One 90-year-old woman had made a museum of her yard by collecting all kinds of stones, which she carefully categorized. In one corner, she had branched out into mechanical pens of different colors.

While visiting Iceland, the Gustavsons toured the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal springs and spa in Reykjavik, but they weren’t allowed to bring their camera in.

After Iceland, the Gustavsons stopped in Greenland, which had more ice than Iceland – and cost them approximately $1,000 per day to visit.

For more information on Friendship Force International, visit www.ffsfba.org or call Dee Gustavson at 961-3539.

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