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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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 ad...

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‘Theological tennis’: The fall and rise of Christian morality

Editor’s note: The following column is a response to the article that ran in last week’s Spiritual Life section, “Back and forth: A stirring game of theological tennis,” by Los Altos resident Mike Bushell.

“If we discovered tomorrow that there were no God, would the world grind to a halt?” asked Mike Bushell, who calls himself an agnostic. “Would you start acting differently? Would society break down into some amoral anarchy?”

According to Bushell, the answer is no. He wrote, “We have the capacity and the responsibility to act morally ... without abrogating that responsibility to a Supreme Being.”

Is he right? After all, the world is changing fast. The widespread rejection of a Bible-based conscience has accelerated that change, and our news media bombard us with evidence of today’s heartless cruelties and amoral lifestyles. In fact, the word “moral” is fast fading from our vocabulary.

Reporter Melanie Phillips describes the social decay in British cities: “What has been fueling all this is not poverty ... but moral collapse. What we have been experiencing is a complete breakdown of civilized behavior. .... It’s a world without any boundaries or rules.”

Especially moral boundaries.

Yet, as centuries come and go, history occasionally reveals sudden, momentous changes that transform cultures in ways that defy logic. One of these leaps began more than 400 years ago. Its transforming power brought light into the dark Middle Ages. It spread hope among people bound by fear, superstition and tyranny.

Historian Randall Roth summarizes what happened. His research showed little variation in the rate of human violence between the 14th and 16th centuries. “Then, in the 17th century, there is a very big, dramatic drop,” he wrote.

Why? How did people suddenly become less violent?

According to James A. Sharpe, historian at the University of York in England, “The great decline in homicide in the 17th century was not accompanied by a rise in property offense prosecutions but rather by their diminution.”

In other words, theft as well as murder plummeted in the 17th century.

People had actually changed their values. They had become more honest as well as peaceable. But again, why?

History teacher Tom Cohen helps solve the puzzle: “The Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation put a lot of emphasis on individual conscience. ... The conscience becomes the internal gyroscope. (It builds) personal self-control.”

By God’s grace, people in Northern Europe were suddenly free to print and read the Bible, live by faith and follow their conscience. A century later, the evangelistic zeal that spread God’s truth and love throughout Europe would cross lands and oceans to reach the earth’s most oppressed people.

We still reap the benefits of a world pacified by the spread of Christianity. But it may not last long, for we now face a reversal of the tide that brought truth and hope to a broken world.

We face a new era. Christianity is mocked and the Bible-trained conscience is being replaced by contrary guidelines that twist, scorn or deny God’s truth. Consequently, many now redefine the conscience to match new cultural values.

But the Lord is our strength and refuge!

“Thanks be to God who leads us in His triumph!”

Berit Kjos of Los Altos Hills is a member of Union Presbyterian Church.

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