Tue11252014

News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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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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