Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Resident raises funds for veterans’ educations


Courtesy of Chris White/ Foothill College
Ron Labetich, right, and fellow Los Altos Rotarian Jack Kelly, left, flank four Foothill College veterans prior to an on-campus Fourth of July celebration. Labetich helped secure 16 scholarships at $1,500 each for veterans returning to school.

The struggle to balance the costs of living while attending school may become a little easier for some local veterans enrolled at Foothill College.

The Friends of American Veterans, a local fundraising entity established by Los Altos resident Ron Labetich, recently surpassed its goal of providing 10 scholarships of $1,500 each for military veterans continuing their education at Foothill. To date, Labetich has secured 16 scholarships for the 2013-2014 year simply by asking for – and receiving – sponsorships from several friends and acquaintances, including a number of Los Altos residents.

“We needed 10, but people still wanted to contribute, so it’s been fantastic,” Labetich said. “For me to get the whole thing kind of started, it’s really quite rewarding. The main thing is that it benefits the veterans – that’s the ultimate goal here.”

A Los Altos Rotarian who serves on the organization’s Veterans Support Committee, Labetich said he found inspiration for his work in the son of a family friend – U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matt Manoukian. A Los Altos Hills resident who attended St. Francis High School, Manoukian was one of three Marines ambushed and killed during an August 2012 security meeting in southern Afghanistan.

The Foothill-De Anza Community College District recently established an endowment in honor of Manoukian to provide scholarships to future generations of student veterans. Labetich said he wanted to “span the gap” between the endowment’s creation and the wait for its funds to grow to enable doling out scholarships to veterans in need.

“With an endowment, you have to raise several thousand dollars, and you take the interest return on that for your scholarships,” noted Labetich, who added that the Rotary Club of Los Altos funded one of the $1,500 scholarships. “There are a lot of veterans here at Foothill who need help now. That’s the reason for moving ahead with (the Friends of American Veterans).”

Gratitude

Labetich’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by those at Foothill College who know the student veterans best.

Veterans Resource Specialist Carmela Xuereb, who manages the Veterans Resource Center, said the scholarships would go a long way toward helping some students achieve their educational goals.

Xuereb estimated that the school currently has more than 600 veterans enrolled in classes. Like other students, she said, they often struggle with the costs of buying textbooks while balancing basic living needs.

“Here in the Bay Area, rents keep going up, and it’s expensive for them to live here. … The cost of living can be a burden on them,” said Xuereb, noting that her center is just one of 12 established in the California junior college system to help veterans transition back to civilian life. “That $1,500 can assist them with books or other things. It’s going to help sustain them and allow them to continue their education.”

Foothill College publicity and publications coordinator Lori Thomas said that while the Montgomery G.I. Bill covers many costs for veterans returning to school, some expenses fall solely on the student.

“If you’re studying something that requires you to purchase computer-aided drafting software, that money doesn’t fall out of the sky,” she said.

Thomas said Labetich’s approaching the donors has removed some obstacles for at least 16 scholarship recipients.

“The scholarships will help streamline the experience so that student veterans can stay in the academic programs that they want to instead of having to make that hard (financial) decision,” she said.

Xuereb agreed, adding that the school’s involvement with local Rotarians like Labetich has made a positive impact on the students they collectively seek to help.

“Since I’ve been involved with the (Los Altos) Rotarians, they’ve been like a godsend to us,” she said. “They are the most generous people and friends that I’ve met. Our community, the people here, have been extremely open and generous.”

Labetich continues his efforts to add more scholarships before the 2013-2014 school year begins. He also aims to make a similar impact through his work as a Rotarian, such as helping veterans secure local jobs while they attend school.

Above all, Labetich seeks to spread awareness of the issues affecting veterans who return home from active duty.

“Once you have awareness, that makes other things possible,” he said. “We’re just trying to get more people involved.”

To donate to the Friends of American Veterans or for more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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