Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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