Wed09172014

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

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

'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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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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