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News

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water says no E. coli in water; limits boiling advisory area

Cal Water officials said today that preliminary water quality test results were negative for E. coli were negative and "only a single hydrant" in the South El Monte area of Los Altos showed the presence of total coliform. They reduced the "boil your ...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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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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