Mon09222014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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Scouts vote to include gay youths

scoutsWhen the Boy Scouts of America voted en masse Thursday on whether to drop a ban on gay Scouts, a Los Altos Hills resident was among those holding a ballot.

Reached while still at the convention in Dallas last week, he gave the Town Crier local insight into the national event.

Scout leaders voted to reverse the ban on gay youth but declined to address the continuing ban on gay adult leaders.

Garth Pickett, president of the Boy Scouts’ Pacific Skyline Council, had spent months interviewing families, sponsoring organizations and alumni to solicit input on whether change was needed. The Scouts had had no formal policy on sexual orientation until recent years, when a court case spurred the organization’s leadership to clarify an exclusion policy that hadn’t been voted on by members. Some local groups, including a Cub Scout troop in Los Altos Hills, independently rejected the policy and voiced their demand for inclusion.

The data gathered by local leaders like Pickett directly led to the ballot last week, he reported. The Northeast region of the U.S. strongly supported welcoming gay members in Scouting, while the South strongly opposed the move. The Midwest and West were close to evenly split.

One question on the survey drew a powerful spike in support, Pickett said – the one addressing the narrow question of whether a young Scout questioning his orientation should be able to remain in Boy Scouts and receive support from the adults in his life.

“Is that the right thing for Scouting to do – train them they have to keep their mouth shut when they’re struggling with this, in an organization that gives them mentors they can trust when they’re developing as young men?” Pickett summarized. “That question struck a real strong chord across the United States. The vast majority said, ‘You’re right, Scouting is for every boy and young man.’ … That’s why (the BSA) came up with the proposal that they did.”

A tense vote

Pickett said Scouts from around the country delivered gut-wrenching speeches for and against the proposal, describing the support they had lost due to exclusion. He said the tone of the event was emotional but courteous, with speakers from both points of view showing remarkable thoughtfulness in deeply personal comments.

The BSA hired an external organization to run a tightly secured voting procedure, and after a day of impassioned pleas, representatives from around the country cast their ballots.

As thousands gathered in the huge assembly hall to hear the results, Pickett said a national leader predicted that the ballots might come back with a margin of only a dozen votes out of 1,400 cast by regional representatives. The BSA leadership had drafted the inclusive change and voiced their support for it but had said that if the organization as a whole voted no, the majority opinion would prevail.

“Wayne Perry, the national president, blinks, reads the results, and then he just got emotional – 61.44 percent in favor of change, 38.56 against change,” Pickett said. “No clapping, there were no hurrahs, just silence. Shaking hands, hugging and walking out of the room.”

Pickett said the vote would require a process of healing and outreach for some regions.

“I’m going to have to write letters to my friends in our area who’ve said that this is the end of Scouting,” he said. “I’m going to write them ... and see what we can do to get them to understand the reality of what’s going on and what the resolution says. Scouting will go on the same.”

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