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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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Sustainable routine starts early for Los Altos commuter : Green Habits

When I got my first job interview at Genentech, it was a no-brainer. My first question: What is the train schedule to South San Francisco?

Today I am a full-time cycling, Caltrain-riding green commuter. It is a fabulous way to get to work – no stress, no gas, no car maintenance costs. And I have some free time before and after my day in the lab to catch up on reading or sleep. I arrive at the lab refreshed and invigorated from my bike ride, ready for the day.

My green commute habits started early. I grew up in Los Altos, attended Oak Avenue, Blach Intermediate and Mountain View High schools. My parents did not drive me to Oak; instead, we walked nearly every day with our dog Princess. We met others in the neighborhood and Princess became famous along the route to school. On Bike to School Day, I said to my mother, “Bike to School Day is every day for us!” As it should be for more children.

As I got older and moved on to Blach, my friend and neighbor Tina Hsu would come over and Mom would make cinnamon toast before Tina and I headed out on our own. These days, children don’t get enough exercise and are stressed out, and that could be helped by walking or wheeling to school. I hope my story inspires more parents and children to walk or bike to school.

Establish good habits early

My friend Tina is living proof that learning good habits early can integrate into your life as an adult. She pursued green transportation as a career. Tina lives car-free and works in Oakland at TransForm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating world-class public transportation and sustainable communities in the Bay Area and beyond.

Here’s what she has to say about how her experiences walking to school have influenced her career choice:

“Confession: I didn’t always like walking to school, especially on cold winter mornings. I preferred getting to school in a quick car ride. Had it not been for Alexx and her parents stopping by my house every morning, I would never have walked. In junior high, I biked or rode my stylish Razor scooter to school with Alexx, but then in high school, I gave up the bike for a car because that was the ‘cool’ thing to do.

“During my senior year of high school, I watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and started reading news articles about how global warming was threatening the future of our environment. It made me realize how fragile our environment is and how humans are shifting its natural ways for the worse. That discovery shook me out of my car-dependency and got me back on my bike.

“I hold a degree in environmental studies and am working at a nonprofit that is changing policy to support public transportation and sustainable communities. State and federal funding disproportionately goes toward automobile infrastructure. We’re working on finding ways to ensure that public transit and walkable neighborhoods are priorities when allocating funding and designing communities.

“I know that not everyone lives in a community like Los Altos, where it’s safe to walk and bike places. Looking back now, I feel blessed that walking to school was even an option, and I regret not taking advantage of it more often. In the future, I want to see more people walking in neighborhoods than driving, and firmly believe that if kids are raised seeing walking and biking as a fun and easy way to travel around, they will grow up loving it. Green transportation has always been a part of my life, and it’s definitely going to be a part of my future.”

Alexx Smith is a research associate at Genentech.

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