Sat11012014

News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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What value, education?: A Piece of My Mind

My niece Jen teaches English in a small pre-K through adult school district in a small town (pop. 8,000) in northern Spain. The town is most notable for its Romanesque church, its castle ruin and its cookie factory – the largest in Europe.

Each morning, Jen begins her day with 5-year-olds in a classroom in the school basement decorated with colorful posters and student artwork. The letters of the alphabet with pictures (A for Apple, B for Book) ring the tops of the bulletin boards. A long, two-sided bookcase divides the classroom. On one side are several small round tables with chairs, on the other a playhouse, a large rug and a SMART Board (combination whiteboard, computer touch screen and video player). Except for the s SMART Board, it looks very much like the kindergarten my children attended.

The students begin to arrive at 9 a.m. They exchange good mornings with Jen, hang up their coats and sit around the rug. The 5-year-olds wear purple gingham smocks with their names embroidered along the front. The Pre-K group of 3- to 4-year-olds wears bright red smocks with yellow piping and a blue screen-printed border, with their names embroidered in yellow.

Jen starts up the SMART Board. A young man with a guitar appears on the screen to lead the children in a good morning song, while Jen helps the younger children settle in place and makes sure they are paying attention. Xavier, one of the Pre-K students, is Class Leader for the day. He directs the class through several phonics-based games using the touch screen.

“The SMART Board is great,” Jen whispers to me. “It’s like having another teacher in the room. Every class in the school has one.”

Next, the students practice the poem they will recite at the school’s Open House in a week. Afterward, they break into groups to color pictures for the presentation. Everything is done and said in English. The 3-year-olds are still making mistakes, the 4- and 5-year-olds are nearly flawless.

During her break, Jen takes me on a tour of the school. In the sixth-grade class, each of the students is working with his or her personal notebook computer. I am feeling a bit envious – this little town’s school seems as well-equipped as those of Silicon Valley, and the 3-year-olds are already learning English. Here is a country that really puts value on education!

However, while walking back to Jen’s house from the school, we meet one of her friends. He is an attractive young man of approximately 30, who speaks excellent English and has a master’s degree in business administration from one of the best universities in Spain. But he still lives with his parents. He has been looking for work since getting his degree. The best he has been able to manage in Spain’s economic meltdown is a part-time job on the night shift at the cookie factory.

What value, education?

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