Sat09202014

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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Neutra House camp builds foundation for design careers


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Ellie Dupin sketches a vision for Los Altos during Neutra House’s Design Camp.

While the city of Los Altos pulled out jackhammers to improve downtown aesthetics, a number of aspiring young designers took to the streets of Los Altos last week, armed with sketchbooks and clipboards to create ideas of their own.

If these local youth had it their way, they would transform the Civic Center site into a 6-acre lake or renovate Los Altos’ Community Plaza with trees, tables, a fountain and additional landscaping.

Even if only on paper, 12 incoming eighth- and ninth-graders flexed their creative muscles in a series of architecture, urban planning and landscape design exercises last week at Los Altos Neutra House’s inaugural Design Camp. During the career-immersion camp, a volunteer faculty of professionals from around the Bay Area challenged students to redefine how they see the world around them.

“We told the students they were the MVPs of the class,” said King Lear, Neutra House director. “They put in a full 40-hour workweek, and they didn’t flinch.”

After mastering the basic tools of the trade – map reading, developing a design concept, perspective drawing, collaboration and consensus building – students tackled a variety of real-world design problems. In addition to field trips to architectural landmarks in Los Altos, they explored downtown and studied how landscape design, urban planning and architecture shape the environment.

“I go there with my friends and hang out … but it was fun to take a place you see every day and try to change it,” said Sana Khader, an incoming Los Altos High School freshman, of the experience of redesigning the town plaza during the camp.

Studio time at the end of each day offered students the opportunity to develop their design skills alongside professionals.

Pairing traditional skills with Google SketchUp to create computer-generated 3-D models, students designed and developed their dream homes and site plans – roads, landscaping and planning elements included. Instructors mentored students in the improvised studio space at Neutra House, providing constructive criticism and insight into careers in the design field.

“It was so amazing to get feedback from people who do it for a living,” said Design Camp participant Ellie Dupin, who said she has wanted to be an architect since she was in sixth grade. “You don’t need to be perfect, don’t need an eraser … that was really interesting to me.”

Volunteer instructor Jonathan Pearlman, design principal at Elevation Architects, said he found the maturity and focus of the Design Camp students impressive. Although accustomed to teaching at the university level, Pearlman added that he was pleased to discover that the students didn’t need much persuasion to express themselves or push creative boundaries.

“I think the thing that surprised me the most was their level of sophistication,” he said. “They had an incredible facility for tools.”

Design Camp was an eye-opener for students as well, according to Pearlman. Even the campers who expect to pursue other careers gained invaluable insight, he said, with the opportunity fueling interest in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.

“The notion that this little house can bring an education about architecture to a community is exciting,” Pearlman said of Neutra House, designed by famed architect Richard Neutra in 1935 and preserved by the Los Altos Community Foundation.

Lear and Pearlman said they plan to offer the camp again next summer.

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