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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Mtn. View High students view horrors of drinking and driving


Photo By: Traci Newell/Town Crier
Photo Traci Newell/Town Crier In a mock exercise designed to dissuade students from drinking and driving, Mountain View firefighters use the Jaws of Life to extract “injured” students from a staged drunken-driving accident at Mountain View High School last week. The Every 15 Minutes program sponsored the event.

Mountain View High School students experienced firsthand the potential consequences of drinking and driving last week, when volunteers staged the Every 15 Minutes program.

Every 15 Minutes is a two-day exercise that challenges high school students to reflect on drinking alcohol, personal safety and mature decision-making when lives are at stake. Established in the 1990s, the program takes its name from the statistic that every 15 minutes in the U.S., someone dies from an alcohol-related collision. Since the program’s inception, that statistic has steadily improved – it is now only every 36 minutes.

The program stages a mock accident and faux injuries and deaths to communicate graphically the effects of drinking and driving.

Day one

The program began early April 17, with a person dressed as the Grim Reaper roaming the campus and removing 18 students and one teacher from their classes. Shortly afterward, a uniformed police officer entered the classrooms, informed students that their classmates had died from an alcohol-related vehicle accident and read their obituaries.

Meanwhile, the “victims” were transformed into the “living dead” via makeup and fake blood. Officials visited their parents at work or home to notify them of the deaths.

Staff, students and parents had been alerted ahead of time that this was a mock situation.

During fourth period, the students went to the football field to witness the aftermath of a drunken-driving accident.

Student Nicole Korpontinos, made up to look as if she were missing a limb and bleeding from her head, lay on the ground outside a car. A coroner took her “body” away.

Student Drew Taylor, the alleged driver of a vehicle littered with empty beer bottles, exited the car and realized what had happened as a result of his decision to drink and drive. After failing a sobriety test, Taylor was escorted away in the back of a California Highway Patrol car. At the jail, he was fingerprinted and booked.

As part of the exercise, Kor-pontinos’ parents went to the morgue to identify her body.

Two students, Russell Blockhus and Aimee Fontanilla, were trapped in another vehicle as emergency responders used the Jaws of Life to extract them. Ambulances transported Blockus and Fontanilla to Valley Medical Center.

After viewing the “accident,” students returned to their classrooms and resumed their studies – minus a few faces and haunted by the memories of the realistic scene.

Blockhus and Fontanilla arrived at Valley Medical Center for treatment but later “died” from their injuries. When their parents arrived, doctors informed them that their children were dead.

Following the exercise, the “living dead” and “crash” participants took part in an overnight retreat where they practiced team building and played trust games. Their absences from home and school intensified the emotions of family and friends after witnessing what could have been a real-life tragedy.


Every 15 Minutes simulation - Images by Los Altos Town Crier

Day two

The program concluded Thursday with an emotional mock funeral.

The “living dead” and “crash” victims marched into the assembly carrying a white casket covered with flowers and led by a bagpiper.

Parents and friends, fighting back tears, shared what they wished they could have said to the dead students before it was too late.

“You’ve been that friend that has always been there,” one student said of Blockhus. “I was looking forward to our future. I don’t know what I’ll do without you, but I’ll miss you forever.”

“I’m here and you’re not,” one student said. “There are so many things I wish I could tell you – what happened to you should not have happened.”

Parents shared the heartache of never seeing their son or daughter learn to drive, graduate, attend college or get married.

Some of the “living dead” shared what they wished they could have told their parents.

“Dad, I’m sorry for disappointing you more often than not,” one student said.

“Today I died,” another student said. “I never got the chance to tell you how much I love you. Over the past 17 years, I’ve tried not to disappoint you and I’ve screwed up in the worst way.”

Then the program’s keynote speaker, Louise Roy, shared the true story of how she lost her son on his 21st birthday. Her son had promised to be smart and not get behind the wheel when drinking.

“When you are drinking, all those promises go out the window,” she said.

Roy received the dreaded call approximately 2 a.m. the day after his birthday – he had died in a motorcycle accident.

“There will always be this hole in my heart,” she said. “I still wake up and have to remind myself that he is no longer with us.”

She said she shares the “worst day” of her life to reach out to students – even if only one person hears the message.

“I’m sick of seeing young people die,” she said. “You are all as precious as my son.”

The audience gave Roy a standing ovation.

The assembly ended with a challenge to students to make good choices – never drink and drive and never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.

For more information, visit www.every15minutes.com.

 

 

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