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News

Loyola Corners economics, traffic rise to top of planning concerns

Loyola Corners economics, traffic rise to top of planning concerns

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Loyola Bridge construction parallel to the Fremont Avenue frontage may lead officials to alter circulation plans for the area.

Loyola Corners stakeholders last week mulled the issues that will likely shape the area&rsquo...

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Schools

LAHS Green Team commemorates Earth Week

LAHS Green Team commemorates Earth Week


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Los Altos High School Green Team members, above, quiz their classmates about water conservation. The club distributed plants as prizes during the club’s Earth Week activities.

Members of the Los Altos High School Green...

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Community

Local pianist, 11, slated to perform Saturday at statewide competition

Local pianist, 11, slated to perform Saturday at statewide competition


Courtesy of the Cha family
Spencer Cha plays piano at a Santa Clara University recital. The sixth-grader also enjoys soccer, tennis, golf and skiing.

Spencer Cha has come a long way since he first sat down at the piano at age 2.

“I remem...

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Sports

Spartans net second place, eye top prize next season

Spartans net second place, eye top prize next season


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Jeremy Hsu, Mountain View High’s top singles player, competes against Pinewood Thursday. The Spartans won the match 7-0.

With freshmen playing the top three spots in singles, the future of the Mountain View High boy...

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Comment

Los Altos at a leadership crossroads: Editorial

Don’t look now, but there could be some major changes ahead regarding how the Los Altos city government is run.

The current city council has the opportunity to hire a new city manager in the wake of Marcia Somers’ recent resignation. Fur...

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Special Sections

How to personalize the wedding bar

How to personalize the wedding bar


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
A seasonal signature cocktail adds interest beyond the standard wedding bar’s spirits and mixers. Focus on one set of fresh ingredients, such as blueberries, blackberries and mint for a dose of budget...

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Business

Farmers prepare to market season's bounty

Farmers prepare to market season's bounty


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Journeyman farmer Jen Friedlander waters Hidden Villa’s greenhouse plants, which will grow stronger in the controlled indoor environment before being transferred to the field outdoors.

Around Hidden Villa, the gree...

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People

BUOL JOANNE DOUGHERTY

BUOL JOANNE DOUGHERTY

1930-2016

Heaven gained a beautiful angel today. Our beloved mother’s blessed life ended in her Los Altos home surrounded by her loving family on April 18, 2016.

Buol Joanne Dougherty was born Sept. 28, 1930 in Chicago. At the age of two, M...

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Stepping Out

'Catch' comes to conclusion LA Stage Co. comedy  ends run this weekend

'Catch' comes to conclusion LA Stage Co. comedy ends run this weekend


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
Bryan Moriarty, left, stars as Yossarian and John Stephen King plays the Psychiatrist in Los Altos Stage Company’s “Catch-22.”

Los Altos Stage Company’s presentation of “Catch...

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Spiritual Life

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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