Sun01252015

News

UPDATED: Missing Los Altos High School student found

UPDATED at 10:20 p.m. Jan. 21: Mountain View Police report that Avendano is safe after being located in Los Angeles County.

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The Mountain View Police Department is looking for 17 year-old Mountain View resident Lizbeth Avendano. Accordin...

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Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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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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