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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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CSMA classes serve developmentally disabled, autistic students


Photo By: Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Photo Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier

Kyle Sofman, right, accompanies Molly, who grew up in Los Altos, during a class at the Community School of Music and Arts. Donations enable people with autism and developmental disabilities to take CSMA’s music and art classes at no charge.

Jangling musical shakers and smacking mallets on marimbas, students act out a love for rhythm and noise in the Artistic Intelligence Program at the Community School of Music and Arts. The racket they raise, though, has special meaning. For many of the autistic and developmentally disabled participants, sensory experience brings special challenges – and opportunities for success.

“A lot of them come here with issues about being out in the world and the kind of input they have to deal with,” said Linda Covello, director of CSMA’s art school, who explained that the music classroom in Mountain View is “a safe environment where they can react to crazy sounds and different materials.”

The program provides art and music classes for approximately 50 teens and adults who live on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. Students come from the Morgan Autism Center (based in San Jose, formerly in Los Altos), Abilities United (Palo Alto) and AchieveKids (Palo Alto and San Jose). They participate in the classes at no charge, thanks to fundraising by CSMA and partner organizations.

On a recent afternoon, students from AchieveKids and the Morgan Autism Center crooned “What a Wonderful World,” matching illustrations of skies of blue and trees of green to the lyrics as they went. The music class provided a venue for different groups to work together. Covello said CSMA sees the arts as an opportunity to practice the interaction and communication that go into teaming up on a musical piece.

One student who grew up in Los Altos, Molly, jumped up to help lead the class every time she had an opportunity to join teacher Kyle Sofman at the front of the room. Molly provided a one-woman rhythm section as backup for Sofman’s zither, later wielding the lyric cheat-sheet for “Do-Re-Mi.” Molly’s gleeful interest in the musical process reflects the program’s aim to provide a friendly, comfortable place for learning new tunes and showing off one’s choral initiative.

“They get to mix with a larger population,” Covello said. “Much of their world is one-on-one or small group. The social experience (at CSMA) is almost as important as the music and art.”

Covello has watched students move from initial stress from the unfamiliar setting and materials of CSMA’s art class to an excited response. Engaging in the artistic process, practicing self-expression and working with new media give students an outlet worth celebrating, she said.

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