Sun09142014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Day Worker Center helps clients beyond job placement


Photo By:
Dayworker Demetrio Renteria brushes up on his English during a class last week at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.

Members of Leadership Mountain View have been busy getting the word out about the many – and little-known – benefits of the city’s dayworker center.

Maria Marroquín, executive director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View (DWC), said the average worker gets two four-hour jobs per week – not nearly enough to subsist. Of the 80-plus workers who show up on any given day, approximately 30 find employment.

Still, Marroquín said, “We’re doing pretty well.”

That’s because the center serves as more than a clearinghouse for people seeking immediate work. With its various job-training classes, the center’s big-picture approach prepares clients to compete in today’s tough job market.

“We prepare people to fly with their own wings,” Marroquín said.

Empowering workers

According to Brian Fong, an El Camino Hospital executive and Leadership Mountain View member involved in dayworker outreach, the center “empowers workers to improve their socioeconomic condition through fair employment and education.”

In addition to job-skills training, Fong said the center offers language classes, computer training, art classes, legal guidance, health-care assistance and community service opportunities.

“The DWC gives back to the community through service projects, which include blood drives, landscaping projects for seniors, volunteering at local schools and knitting blankets for premature babies at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital,” he said.

Leadership Mountain View, a program run through the Chamber of Commerce, grooms residents interested in community leadership roles by exposing them to the work of local nonprofit groups. Members choose community projects in which six members at minimum volunteer eight hours a month serving a nonprofit center.

Six members of Leadership Mountain View have been involved in ongoing outreach efforts for the center, which include increasing a Web and social media presence and visiting various community organizations to publicize center benefits.

The group efforts stem from a “Health and Human Services” program day, held in December, during which several Leadership Mountain View students visited the worker center.

“The class was quite impressed with the variety of services/training opportunities that the DWC provides its employees,” Fong said. “The overall impression was that the DWC has the best interests of its employees at heart and is doing its absolute best to empower them with valuable skills that will allow them to succeed. Furthermore, we were very impressed that the DWC engages in several community service projects – a win-win situation for all in the community.”

Providing additional jobs

Leadership Mountain View member Bill Lambert, a trustee in the Mountain View-Whisman School District, got involved at the dayworker center after meeting with Marroquin. The former chemist, now a patent attorney, had been a math and science teacher-volunteer at a local school with a Hispanic population of approximately 70 percent.

“Some of the (students) are unconsciously brilliant,” said Lambert, who has since joined the center’s board. “They just weren’t getting the support or attention of the community.”

Likewise, Lambert was moved by learning that many of the dayworkers had made “great sacrifice” to travel here to help their families. Lambert said many were undocumented workers who lived under constant fear of deportation.

Through his and his team’s outreach efforts, the number of available jobs at the center has risen from approximately 500 to 800 a month. In addition, their outreach to the Mountain View Kiwanis Club resulted in workers helping out at the club’s tree lots and raising $10,000 for the center.

Spreading the word

For group member Armando Espitia, a 14-year officer with the Mountain View Police Department, getting the word out about the worker center also helped reduce some community “fear” of the unknown regarding the dayworkers.

“These people are very motivated, very willing to help,” said Espitia, who himself grew up in a Hispanic family in East San Jose. “Having had minority and immigrant parents myself, this is something I’d like to give back to.”

The Day Worker Center of Mountain View has operated out of its own facility at 113 Escuela Ave. since November 2010, as a result of the efforts of the city, local churches and Mountain View and Los Altos residents sympathetic to the dayworker cause. The center opened after years of controversy surrounding laborers who hung out on street corners at or near the intersection of San Antonio Road and El Camino Real.

The center, supporters contend, offers perspective employers and workers a structure and accountability for work performed at a starting pay of $12 an hour. Most of the workers are Hispanic, although Marroquin said she has observed more workers of different ethnicities in recent years.

For more information on the Day Worker Center, visit www.dayworkercentermv.org.

For more information on Leadership Mountain View, visit www.chambermv.org/leadership.

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