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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Westwind program founder Kawasaki rides off into sunset


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier Westwind Community Barn’s Jane Kawasaki, right, teaches Lauren Rock, left. After directing the barn’s Year Round Riding Program for more than a decade, Kawasaki is departing for a new adventure.

Some teachers impart words and numbers, others proverbs and wisdom. Longtime Westwind Community Barn riding instructor Jane Kawasaki leaves a legacy of compassion and care as she embarks on a new endeavor in equine-facilitated coaching in Washington at the end of the month.

Kawasaki, a Los Altos Hills resident, said she fantasized about forgoing college to purchase a horse but instead pursued an international career and raised three daughters. Whether by luck or fate, she eventually realized her dream as director of Westwind’s Year Round Riding Program in 2002.

“It just happened,” Kawasaki said of the town’s decision to hire her to develop and manage riding programs at Westwind – the 15-acre facility owned by the town – after she volunteered as part-time barn director.

With a vision of fostering a “continuum of learning,” Kawasaki and Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Committee co-chairwoman Rebecca Hickman launched the Year Round Riding Program. At the time, 4-H Riding for the Handicapped was the only public program available for riders, and Kawasaki remembers borrowing horses for lessons. With support from the town, they added horses and on-site infrastructure.

“Kids who didn’t have a horse could lease a horse,” Hickman said of the service that few other barns provide.

From occasional summer camps 10 years ago to a bustling year-round program that engages more than 100 students annually, supporters said Kawasaki’s vision and passion gave root to the community asset that Westwind remains today.

“She drove the program herself and devoted countless hours to making this a joyful and meaningful activity that is a cornerstone of the town’s recreational program.” said former Los Altos Hills Mayor Mike O’Malley.

Horses first

A young girl hovered around Kawasaki as she orchestrated the post-ride routine of horse washing and grooming during a recent summer camp at the barn. When several students sneaked away to eat their lunches before leading their horses back out to pasture, Kawasaki called them back to complete the job.

“For me, the emphasis is not just riding well, but the whole picture of good horsemanship,” she said of the values she instills in her students.

Over the years, Kawasaki estimated that she’s instructed between 500 and 600 riders at Westwind. Although some of her students advance into competitive horsemanship, she measures her success by the care her riders show to their horses.

“If you stand next to a horse and you’re breathing alongside it,it's a very calming experience,” said Simon Patmore-Zarcone, 14, a rider who began taking private lessons from Kawasaki after she introduced him to horses at one of her summer camps.

Although Patmore-Zarcone once feared horses, Kawasaki always paired him with horses that accommodated and challenged his skills while simultaneously keeping him safe. There have been no major accidents during her tenure at the barn – an accomplishment she attributes in part to how much respect the horses receive.

When asked the secret to her teaching success, Kawasaki passed the reins to her equine companions.

“The horse is the main teacher, and I just happen to be there to call everybody in,” she said.

To stay in touch with Kawasaki and for more information, visit windhorses.net.

For more photos of Kawasaki teaching riders at summer camp, click here.

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