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News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Brat Packer packs his bags: Traveling helps actor find himself, settle down


Photo By: Eren Gknar/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Eren Gknar/Special To The Town Crier

Actor and author Andrew McCarthy shares how travel changed his life at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show. His new book, “The Longest Way Home,” chronicles his adventures.

Travel transformed actor and director Andrew McCarthy from someone who wandered his entire life into a man who embraced family life and a new career.

Previously divorced and engaged to his fiancee for four years, McCarthy was unable to fully commit when he set off on multiple trips, including one to Patagonia. His wife-to-be remarked, “I’ll see you at the altar, I guess.”

He had an excuse – he was on assignment for National Geographic Traveler magazine. He also wanted to confront his inner demons. McCarthy’s lifelong struggle became the focus of a book, “The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down” (Free Press, 2012).

McCarthy found himself at a crossroads, “trying to come to terms with getting married, one foot in and one foot out,” he told a standing-room-only audience at last month’s Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show in Santa Clara. “Travel is about intimacy and separation, it’s about sitting in the back of the room.”

Many in the audience probably remembered McCarthy from his days starring opposite Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink” and in 1980s Brat Pack movies like “The Breakfast Club” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Now 50, McCarthy still projects amiability and retains his boyish good looks. Solitary by nature, he credits travel with helping him break out of his shell.

“It makes you vulnerable,” he said. “You go someplace, you get lost and you’re forced to ask someone, ‘Please, can you help me?’”

As a writer, he also needs to get quotes for his stories, so he has to engage the bartender or whoever is around for more information.

He hopes to persuade travelers to set off on solo trips.

“That’s the quickest way to find out who you are,” he said.

He confesses, however, that beach vacations make him panic.

“I always say I need a vacation after that, because a change is better than a rest,” he said.

McCarthy, like most of us, occasionally likes the “mai tai” trip, but “I don’t do all-inclusive, big-walled resorts, because … experiential travel is about getting beyond the walls.”

For example, he said, seeing the Trevi Fountain in Rome for the first time: “Now that’s insane – that brings about the sense of discovery, kind of like we see things only once as children.”

A life-changing trip

McCarthy read “Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain” (Simon & Schuster, 1994) by Jack Hitt and wanted to do that trip.

He set off on the 500-mile walk and soon found he was miserable, suffering from bleeding blisters.

“One day, I’m sobbing, saying all the things that were against my Catholic upbringing, and at the end of my tantrum, my bus/limo doesn’t come to pick me up,” he said.

Amazingly, the next morning, McCarthy said he woke up “without the fear that had consumed me my whole life, which was such a shock to me that I skipped across Spain.”

When he returned home, he wrote down scenes from his travels and called magazine editors to sell them destinations.

“Travel changed my life and it will change yours – I drank that Kool-Aid,” he told the audience.

Only 30 percent of Americans have passports, according to McCarthy.

“If Americans traveled more, we would loose our preconceived notions,” he said.

A woman in the audience raised concerns about solo travel as a woman.

“The world is a much safer place than we believe,” he said.

McCarthy recently traveled to Namibia – “a really spiritual place,” he said – and recommends catching the glaciers of Argentina as well as Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Travel is not an indulgence – it’s an imperative,” he said.

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