Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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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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