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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Community Botball robotics teams win big at Northern California tourney


Photo By: Courtesy of Botball STaff
Photo Courtesy Of Botball Staff

Lauren Yang and Brandon Huang set up their winning robots for a match at the Northern California Regional Botball Tournament.

Four teams of students from Los Altos competed against 15 Bay Area teams at the Northern California Regional Botball Tournament April 27, racking up a number of victories.

The competition, held at Independence High School in San Jose, finished with three of the Los Altos teams placing first, second and third overall; first, second and third in seeding; first and second in double elimination; and first and second in documentation. One team won the Overall Judges’ Choice Award, and another earned the Outstanding Sub-System Award.

Several teams will advance to the International Botball tournament to defend their 2012 International Championship.

The Botball Educational Robotics Program engages middle- and high-school-aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition. Botball robots are autonomous and rely on computer programming to start, stop and maneuver on the game board. The teams build robots from a predefined set of parts and use a Linux-based robot controller developed by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. Students program their robots using the C language.

After eight weeks of planning and development, teams take their robots to the regional tournament to compete against others in the current season’s game challenge. Each season presents a unique challenge.

The tournament consists of a seeding round, in which each team runs its robots alone on the game board, and a double-elimination round, in which two teams run on the game board at the same time, competing against each other. Teams are judged on their documentation and presentation of the process and lessons learned.

“The Botball tournament days are my favorite days of the year,” said Michael Schuh, competition announcer and local Botball team organizer. “I love seeing how intensely the students compete with their very creative and impressive robot designs. They are clearly having lots of fun and are fully engaged. It is heartening to spend time with such bright and talented youth.”

While most Botball teams are school-based, the Los Altos team is a community effort that includes students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose. Team members’ parents coach the teams.

The Los Altos teams prioritize learning how to build and program capable robots and working together as a team over winning.

According to Schuh, Botball is a great opportunity for students, team leaders, mentors and parents to network and interact with others who share an interest in educational robotics.

NASA is the major sponsor of Botball, giving potential scientists and engineers the opportunity to collaborate on fun and creative projects.

For more information, call Schuh at 965-8037 or visit Botball.org or LosAltosRobotics.org.

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