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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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