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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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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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