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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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Five must-dos during the holiday season: Other Voices

Decorations are up, Christmas music is adding cheer to the local department stores and children are busily writing their annual notes to Santa. The holiday season is in full swing. Regardless of how you celebrate this time of year, giving is always a central theme. This is the time of year that we give thanks for what we have, and give back to those less fortunate.

Every year, I vow to clean out my closet, volunteer with a local organization or cut a check to my favorite charity, but amid the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose track of good intentions. So what can you do to make sure this is the year you follow through? Before your in-laws stage a hostile takeover of your sofa bed, before you brave shopping lines to snag the hottest new digital toy (a Microsoft Surface Tablet, perhaps?), take the following steps to make sure that you spread a little joy this December:

• Clean out your house. If you haven’t worn it, used it or watched it over the past two years, donate it. The things taking up space in your home might make a world of difference to someone in need.

• Volunteer. There is no better way to get actively and passionately involved than to give your time. Look for organizations with missions that match your mindset. Choose a volunteer activity that’s actively solving a problem in your community. And while you’re at it, get the family involved. The children are home for the holidays, and what better way to spend quality time together than to improve someone else’s quality of life? See if your company has a volunteer matching program. At Microsoft, employee volunteer time is matched at $17 an hour. Double the impact of your good deed.

• Invest in a nonprofit. Nothing gives nonprofits more flexibility than a cash donation. In 2011, cash donations to nonprofits increased only slightly over 2010 – and have still not come close to matching pre-recession levels. If your company has a matching program, this is another way to double the impact of your generosity. Microsoft matches employee donations up to $12,000 and accounted for $100 million in nationwide contributions last year alone. While it’s great to donate clothing, food and home goods, there’s a real need around the holiday season for money. It keeps our favorite nonprofits afloat.

• Consider holiday gifts in support of nonprofits. Rather than buying your teenage nephew another pair of gym socks, give him a gift card to an organization like DonorsChoose or GlobalGiving. Trust me, he won’t miss the gym socks, and you could create a lifelong giver.

• Promote random acts of kindness. Buy groceries for a pregnant neighbor. Help the senior citizen who lives next door clean out his or her rain gutters. Give a jacket you don’t wear anymore to someone who looks cold. The little things we can do year-round to improve the lives of those in need of a helping hand seem extra special this time of year.

No dollar or deed should go to waste this holiday season. We want to see your good intentions pay off. Think beyond the holidays – will your commitment to an organization be sustainable for years to come?

So, get active. Research your options. Align your holiday giving with the organizations that do the greatest good for our community, and make sure your contribution has the maximum possible impact.

Sid Espinosa is director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Microsoft Silicon Valley in Mountain View.

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