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News

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council earmarked $7,000 for the purchase of Chris Johanson’s artwork.

The city of Los Altos will contribute $7,000 toward the purchase of a $28,000 art installation featured in the San Francisco Museum...

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Schools

LASD students celebrate service learning

LASD students celebrate service learning


Courtesy of Sandra McGonagle
We Day, held March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, exhorts students in the Los Altos School District to effect positive change.

More than 150 Los Altos School District student leaders joined 16,000 Bay Area students to ce...

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Community

Film career launches with Cannes screening

Film career launches with Cannes screening


Courtesy of Zachary Ready
Los Altos native Zachary Ready, front left, and co-director Andrew Cathey, right, celebrate their Campus MovieFest awards.

After learning the art of filmmaking as a child in the front yard of his family’s Los Altos home...

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Sports

Sports on the Side

Pathways Run/Walk slated May 10 in Hills

The 13th annual Pathways Run/Walk is scheduled 9 a.m. May 10 at Westwind Community Barn, 27210 Altamont Road, Los Altos Hills. The course wends through Byrne Preserve and onto the Los Altos Hills Pathways sys...

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Comment

Now is the time to expand parking: Editorial

Just a few short years ago, vacancies dotted downtown Los Altos. Property owners had a hard time attracting businesses because there was a shortage of customers. That is no longer true. Now, the cry is: Where are my customers going to park?

The city...

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Special Sections

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability


Courtesy of Michael McTighe
Mary Clark Bartlett is founder and CEO of Los Altos-based Epicurean Group.

Labels such as “healthy,” “organic” and “green” are rarely used to describe the meals served in most corporate cafes in Silicon Valley. But on...

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Business

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Coldwell Banker recently recognized realtor Kim Copher, right, for her philanthropic efforts. Copher and colleague Alan Russell, left, volunteer at Reach Potential Movement, where they collect books for its Bookshelf in ...

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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

Noteworthy

RotaCare honors local volunteer

RotaCare Bay Area honored Jim Cochran of the RotaCare Mountain View Free Medical Clinic with the Outstanding Clinic Volunteer Award April 10 for his commitment to RotaCare’s mission of providing free medical care to t...

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Travel

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
Sausalito offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. A number of companies schedule boat tours that sail past Angel Island and Alcatraz.

On a clear day, Sausalito offers spectacular views of the San Franc...

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Stepping Out

Western Ballet performs this weekend  at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills

Western Ballet performs this weekend at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills


Courtesy of Alexi Zubiria
Western Ballet’s “La Fille Mal Gardée” features Alison Share and Maykel Solas. The production runs Friday and Saturday at Foothill College

Western Ballet is slated to perform “La Fille Mal GardéeR...

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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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Why I don’t give money to beggars: Other Voices

I don’t give money to beggars holding cardboard signs on the medians of our roadways. I don’t drop coins in the paper cups of disabled veterans outside the ballpark. I don’t give cash to transients looking for a tank of gas coming to my office at church.

It is difficult to say this out loud. I can’t escape Jesus’ words: “Give to everyone who begs from you”(Matt. 5:42, Luke 6:30). His call to compassion for the beggar is unequivocal. And my response is full of qualifications.

I want to follow his teachings. I want to follow his example. But as with his insistence that “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Matt. 5:30 and 18:8), I don’t take his begging admonition literally.

Handing a few dollars to the one holding the cardboard sign by the side of the road or dropping a few coins in a cup is designed to make us, the donors, feel good – benevolent, superior. Those invested in begging count on that. Such charity does little to move a suffering individual to wholeness.

When a transient comes to the church looking for money for food, I personally take them out to lunch or to the grocery store and pay the bill. When they come looking for money for a tank of gas, I drive with them to the gas station and pay for a full tank.

I don’t lecture or proselytize in such encounters. I try to listen to their stories and affirm their humanity. If they are local, I refer them to organizations that can assist them to work toward self-sufficiency, if that is their goal. If they are just passing through, I bless their journey.

Dropping a dollar in a cup doesn’t involve a conversation or an encounter with a human being. It’s designed to be convenient and detached for the donor.

Is that what Jesus had in mind?

He sets his admonition about begging in the verses about “turning the other cheek,” “going the second mile,” “lending to any in need of borrowing” and “praying for our enemies.” Vulnerability, openness and connection between human beings were his call.

My bias is to serve the Community Services Agency, the local food bank/direct assistance nonprofit agency and “safety net” for our community’s poor and frail elderly.

I have been on CSA’s board of directors for years and have worked with similar agencies throughout my 36 years in ordained ministry.

Our local Alpha Omega Homeless Services program assists the transition to decent housing and economic self-sufficiency for an average of 350 people each year.

When we distribute food and/or emergency PG&E or rent monies to those facing hunger and potential homelessness, we do so with trained social workers developing a plan toward self-sufficiency for our clients. We work with them in an ongoing relationship. Dignity in such a process is one of our highest priorities as an agency.

What dignity is there for the person begging on the side of the road when we drop in a few coins and just pass by?

Jesus didn’t intend for alms-giving to be an exercise in convenient piety for the donor, but a spiritual practice in which we participate in God’s promise that someday all will have enough, all will be treated with dignity and all will have a safe place to call home (Luke 4:18-19).

I won’t give money to beggars. I will contribute to the team/community effort it takes to restore a life.

The Rev. Mark S. Bollwinkel is senior pastor of Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave. For more information, visit www.laumc.org.

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