Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

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 add ...

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Simple gifts ring true and may nurture better health

For the first time in history, retail sales on Black Friday topped $1 billion as millions of Americans began their holiday gift shopping early – and in earnest. But the momentum didn’t stop there, as Cyber Monday posted a 30 percent increase in sales over last year.

At first blush, this looks like pretty good news. If nothing else, it would seem to indicate that consumer confidence is improving, even though by most accounts a broader economic turnaround is still a distant dream. On the other hand, such increased spending – as well intentioned as it may be – could simply be an indication of an ongoing and potentially unhealthy consumerism that is forever seeking solace in the latest, greatest gadget.

I say “unhealthy” not because gift-giving itself is bad, but because the media-driven desire to buy this or that can cause considerable stress, particularly if the cost is beyond our present means or the desire is left unsatisfied.

While most of us consider stress no less a part of the holidays than Santa Claus and mistletoe – unavoidable but essentially harmless – medical research paints quite a different picture. In fact, studies indicate that stress accounts for 60 to 90 percent of all visits to the doctor and acts as the precursor to a variety of more serious health issues.

The underlying problem, of course, is not one of material lack. If it were, we’d see doctors prescribing fewer drugs and more widescreen TVs. It is, instead, a kind of spiritual void that would have us believe that happiness is found in things, that our worth is measured in terms of material possessions and that this void can only be filled with more spending.

This is not to say that buying fewer Game Boys and Furbys would make us happier and healthier. (I mention this in case anyone reading this column has already bought me a Furby for Christmas.) Over the years, however, I’ve found that it’s the simpler gifts that are the most meaningful.

I remember my first trip to Nepal more than a decade ago when my hosts greeted me with a garland of marigold flowers. To this day, I keep it inside a small earthenware pot as a reminder of what it means to give what you have to another, no matter how simple or insignificant it may seem.

My host accompanied his offering by saying “Namaste” and making a slight bow of his head with his hands pressed together in front of his heart – an outward expression of the belief that there is a divine spark residing in each of us. Although I’m not accustomed to greeting people this way, I do make it a habit of seeing the God-given good in others, even if I don’t share this sentiment as often or as visibly as I might like.

Even the simplest expression of gratitude, the slightest acknowledgment that we are loved, has been proven to have a significant impact on our health.

Whether or not this sort of thing could have an impact on the national economy remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that these gifts from the heart are by far the most readily available, the most lasting, the least expensive and the most enriching.

Eric Nelson, a Christian Science practitioner, is media and legislative spokesman for Christian Science in Northern California. For more information, visit www.norcalcs.org.

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