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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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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