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News

Paws-itively  ready for  disaster

Paws-itively ready for disaster


Dozens of local residents participated in the Pet Ready! program, which included first-aid tips for animals from Adobe Animal Hospital veterinarian Dr. Cristi Blackwolf, above right. Girl Scouts Rachel Torgunrud, above left, in purple of Sunnyv...

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Schools

Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge

Local students earn honors at Tech Challenge


Courtesy of Ann Hepenstal
Gardner Bullis School’s Tech Challenge Team “Fantastic V,” above, recently showed their project at the school’s STEM Expo. Teammates, from left, Brandon Son, Will Hooper, George Weale, Tripp Crissma...

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Community

Merchants, maypoles, music: Farmers' Market season launches May 1

Merchants, maypoles, music: Farmers' Market season launches May 1


Town Crier File Photo
Visitors examine the fresh produce on display at last year’s Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

It wouldn’t be spring without the return of the Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market May 1. The Los Altos Village Association sp...

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Sports

LA tops MV behind Beutter's big day

LA tops MV behind Beutter's big day


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High pitcher Lizzie Beutter went the distance to earn the win against Mountain View.

The number of Los Altos High hits and Mountain View High errors may be in dispute, but there’s no debating which softball ...

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Comment

Enlightened California: No Shoes, Please

I recently read a newspaper article about the newly adopted sex-education curriculum in the state of Mississippi. In the city of Oxford, the following exercise is included: Students pass around a Peppermint Patty chocolate and observe how spoiled it ...

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Business

Cobblery makes short move next door: Longtime business relocating to State Street in May

Cobblery makes short move next door: Longtime business relocating to State Street in May


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
European Cobblery owner Paul Roth is relocating his business from 201 First St., above, to 385 State St. in May.

The European Cobblery, a family-owned and -operated shoe store, is relocating to a new home just a f...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

'Champions for Youth' announced

Challenge Team will honor Mountain View Police Chief Scott Vermeer as “Champion for Youth” at the nonprofit organization’s annual fundraising breakfast, scheduled 7 a.m. May 7 at Michaels at Shoreline, 2960 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

Lauren ...

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Stepping Out

Last go-round for 'Hound'

Last go-round for 'Hound'


Tracy Martin/Special to the Town Crier
The actors in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” – from left, Darren Bridgett, Ron Campbell and Michael Gene Sullivan – take on dozens of roles.

TheatreWorks is slated to present “The Hound of the Baskervilles...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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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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