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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Child Advocates: Transforming lives, one step at a time


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

By all accounts, Dana (not her real name) is a model student. The 17-year-old high school senior is scheduled to graduate a semester early. The U.S. Marine Corps has accepted her into boot camp to prepare for service. An articulate and thoughtful young woman, she is involved in the Vietnamese Student Union, the Filipino Club and the school choir.

Dana’s accomplishments belie the six tumultuous years she has spent in the foster care system, frequently shifted from school to school and family to family. In elementary and middle schools, Dana said, she “didn’t care much about education,” which was reflected in poor academic performance. During her high school years, she has attended three different schools as a result of her unstable home environment, which forced her into foster care.

What was the impetus for the transformation in Dana’s life? Six years ago, when she entered the foster care system, Child Advocates, a nonprofit Silicon Valley-based organization, intervened to support her case. She met Ineke Ligtenberg, a retired ESL teacher and Los Altos resident who serves as an Advocate. The Court Appointed Special Advocates are trained to counsel foster children and advance their interests in court, serving both as friend and personal mentor. For many young people, the assistance of an Advocate can make the difference between a life characterized by constant movement from one foster home to another and a life with a loving and supportive permanent family.

During the process of counseling and forming relationships, Advocates become trusted adults, often offering parental guidance. Dana and Ligtenberg have developed such a rapport, exchanging easy smiles and laughter as they recount shared experiences.

“I talk to Ineke like my mom,” Dana said.

As a result of Ligtenberg’s guidance, Dana’s academic performance has improved significantly, allowing her to graduate early and pursue her dream of serving in the Marines.

Reviewing the past several years of her life, Dana said, “When Ineke came in, I saw that I needed to change - to care more about my education, to keep in contact with my brothers and sisters and to figure out what to do after I finish school.”

Dana is just one of many individuals whose lives have been transformed through the work of Child Advocates. In fact, while only 50 percent of foster children nationwide complete high school, 85 percent of Child Advocates’ high school seniors earn high school diplomas or the equivalent.

By recruiting and training Court Appointed Special Advocates to serve the best interests of its child clients, Child Advocates has assisted more than 15,000 Silicon Valley children in their transitions to a stable home and more positive future.

Child Advocates Executive Director Karen Scussel said Town Crier Holiday Funds go directly to general support – recruiting, training and aiding advocates.

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