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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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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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