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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Local family's book promotes group play


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Breier family of Los Altos Hills enjoys the benefits of group play, and they’re spreading the word about the value of games in a new book.

The Breier family of Los Altos Hills believes that games are a force for good, so they’re spinning their ideas into a book that encourages other families to discover the benefits of group play.

“More interaction is better … so any game that gets people interacting instead of listening to music or diddling on their own little screen is a force for good,” said 21-year-old Corey Breier, the eldest of the family’s three sons. “You’re not going to be at the end of your life and say, ‘I wish I’d played more Angry Birds.’”

Creating and publishing a book of games comes naturally to a family that has experience blogging and authoring books. From sock wrestling to pool basketball and word contests, games are an integral activity in the Breier household. In fact, it was while playing a game in their car during a recent road trip that the family first pondered the idea for the book.

“We know a lot of games, and some families don’t,” Breier said.

Unlike the stereotypical camp games that come to mind when many people think of games, the Breiers aim to present creative content that is fun, extensively tested through personal experience and meaningful enough to foster engagement in complex social situations. Although most of the games in their book are simple and require only a bit of imagination, the Breiers also highlight some board games and multiplayer video games.

Even though a book of games may go against the grain of popular culture – the family considered building an app as well – Breier said a well-illustrated coffee-table book seemed to be the most appropriate format to lure children and adults away from mobile phones and other technology to socialize face to face.

“If you have a game in which everyone is engaged and they’re actually enjoying the game because they like it, you don’t have to think about your phone,” he said.

Kickstarting a fundraising campaign

After giving their book a title – “Life Is a Game: 101 Group Games for Family and Work” – the family launched a Kickstarter campaign in early July to fund the project and measure interest. They need $5,000 to pay for illustrations, hire a layout designer and finance the first run of the self-published book. If they meet their goal by the Aug. 7 campaign deadline, the book could be ready for distribution as early as October. The family has already received more than $2,600 from 47 contributors as of this week, a head start toward their fundraising goal.

Unique to the project is the extent to which the entire family is involved – dad Mark oversees marketing, mom Ronda serves as copy editor and the three boys – Riley, 11; Travis, 19; and Corey – are contributing chapters on their favorite games.

Breier is so confident that the endeavor is a winner that he turned down a summer internship to shepherd the book to fruition as project manager. He said the project gives him something to wake up to every day, and it’s fostering his growing passion for connecting people through games.

“At first – as any kid would – well, I didn’t want to do it,” said Breier of his childhood resistance to his father’s prodding to play games.

In time, Breier inherited his dad’s role as a game catalyst. He said games find their way into his daily routine – whether at parties on his college campus or during downtime while studying abroad.

“If we’re talking and we don’t have a game, the onus is on each of us,” said Breier of the awkwardness that can characterize a gathering of unfamiliar faces. “With a game, it makes its own little rules.”

For more information on the Breier family’s book project, visit 101groupgames.com.

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