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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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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