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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Los Altos resident still dancing at 100


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ken Haukom Sr. is set to blow out 100 candles on his birthday cake Thursday.

Kenneth A. Haukom Sr. turns 100 years old Thursday.

The longtime Los Altos resident fondly remembers the days when Los Altos had a population of 16,000 instead of today’s 30,000.

“There weren’t any sidewalks then,” he recalled. “The only sidewalks were downtown.”

But even with a few more neighbors, Haukom wouldn’t want to celebrate his centennial anywhere else. The adventures he experienced and the friendships he forged in Los Altos have kept him young.

These days, on the eve of his 100th birthday, Haukom stays busy checking his mail, watering his lawn and following the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. You can also find him dancing with members of the Mid-Peninsula Widows and Widowers Association or stopping by the Los Altos Senior Center.

Early years

Born July 18, 1913, in Conrad, Mont., Haukom was the youngest of three siblings born into a family of Norwegian descent. He spent his early years moving from city to city in the Northwest and Midwest. Haukom spent many childhood summers in Minnesota, splashing around in irrigation ditches to keep cool, getting sunburned and even testing a gun on a friend. Needless to say, he didn’t hit his target.

In the winter of 1934, Haukom and a friend determined to hitchhike across the country. Trekking through knee-deep snow, they reached Chicago before they abandoned their pursuit to take a job driving cars in a caravan to California.

“I didn’t have a driver’s license then,” Haukom said. “So the guy who hired us asked me, ‘What’s your name?’ and I said ‘Ken Haukom.’ So he wrote that on a card, handed it to me, and said, ‘There’s your license.’”

While driving through the mountains in New Mexico, their massive car caravan blocked the only road through the steep and treacherous peaks. A 20-car-long line snaked out behind them, honking the entire time.

“We weren’t popular with anyone,” Haukom said with a chuckle.

Finally entering the Golden State, Haukom said they hadn’t realized it was illegal to drive between states with dealer license plates and were stopped by authorities. They waited in Needles overnight while paperwork was sorted out with the dealership. Although it wasn’t the cordial welcome he expected from California, he made the state his home and has stayed for nearly 80 years and counting.

A West Coast home

After his road trip to California, Haukom set out to sea on a Norwegian tanker to take pictures of Japanese facilities for the U.S. Department of Defense, known then as the U.S. War Department. He returned to the U.S. a year later and graduated from UC Berkeley in 1939.

Fast-forward to Christmas Eve 1940. Haukom married Beverly Rouse, his college sweetheart from the University of Minnesota. The couple met at a freshmen mixer, where Haukom was so intrigued by Beverly’s footwork that he asked her to dance.

“I said, ‘You’re a pretty great dancer.’ She said, ‘I dunno,’ so I said, ‘I dunno, either,’” Haukom said.

The couple moved to Los Altos in 1956 and raised their two children as Haukom worked as an engineer.

Following his retirement in 1978, Haukom and his wife visited 36 foreign countries and racked up 60,000 miles on their motorhome traveling the U.S.

When not on the road, he volunteered at a number of local charities, held a desk job at the Los Altos Senior Center and served on his church council for 16 years.

“He just likes people,” said Haukom’s son, Ken Jr. “He’s 102 percent Norwegian.”

After his beloved wife passed away in 1997, Haukom continued to nurture friendships old and new.

Haukom met Bess Whitaker – a widow who shares his love of theater, travel, TV and dancing – at a Widows and Widowers Association gathering.

“He was pretty good at the polka,” Whitaker said. “One day he told me, ‘Now we can do the three-legged polka – your two and my one.’”

Whitaker and Haukom have been dancing for 13 years straight.

After 100 years of living, Haukom shared his secrets to longevity.

“Stay involved, keep busy and don’t expect the world owes you anything,” he said.

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