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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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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

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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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

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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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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Small details, big picture

“My A is flat,” I whispered. “It’s OK, no one can hear you,” my friend whispered back to me. We play violin in a local orchestra. We were in rehearsal and it was bothering me that my A string was flat, but I couldn’t tune it because we were in the middle of the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Da, da, da, DAAA!

Waking up this morning in a groggy fog after a late night, all I could think about was going over the passages I had missed because I was so intently focused on my out-of-tune string. Over a cup of tea, I could hear the words my friend said to me. Once the caffeine kicked in, I realized that she was right. I wasn’t the soloist, and I wasn’t carrying the melody. Obsessing over being slightly out of tune distracted me from the goals of rehearsal – to learn from mistakes early and to make decisions as we go.

In my “Aha!” moment, I couldn’t help but apply that same principle to the sometimes heated discussions I have been hearing in coffeehouses and reading in emails and newspapers.

There has been much debate lately about math in the school district. Some parents want a more rigorous math curriculum because they believe it will enhance the quality of their children’s education. Other parents argue that the curriculum is fine the way it is and that it affords children a quality of life without added academic stress at an earlier age. There is evidence to support both sides.

There is also debate over stay-at-home working moms vs. career working moms. Some people argue that having a parent at home provides a life for the family that cannot be matched with two parents working outside the home. Others believe that career working moms are good role models for their children and offer more opportunities for independence. There is evidence to support both sides.

Obviously, one size does not fit all, and there are two sides to every coin. But obsessing over the details of the choices we make, if we have the luxury of choice, can sometimes prevent the big picture from coming into view.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the here and now and lose sight of what we want for our children in the end – to be happy and comfortable. But at the end of the day, when the dust has settled and everyone is just fine, are we going to look back and say, “I’m glad I spent countless hours arguing over when my child took geometry and defending my status with respect to being a mom”? Or are we going to wish we had spent those hours knowing that those details weren’t going to make or break the quality of our children’s lives as adults because we were focused on what was working for our families?

Preoccupied by the flat notes coming from under my left ear, I missed out on aspects of the rehearsal that could shape my performance in the concert. The quality of an orchestra is only as good as its musicians, the director and the repertoire. It was up to me to make adjustments, to the best of my ability, for my particular situation.

As far as I know, life is not a rehearsal. But I know that with or without my violin, I will do my best, learn from myself and from others, make adjustments and be happy with my decisions, even if no one can hear me.

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