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News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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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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Pinewood School hosts academic enrichment program


Niuniu Teo/Special to the Town Crier
Pinewood School math teacher Scott Green helps Francisco “Paco” Rivera Navarro with a problem during the school’s summer Peninsula Bridge program.

The school year has long surrendered to summer, but classes are still in session at Pinewood School.

The Pinewood Upper Campus in Los Altos Hills welcomed a new batch of middle-schoolers for the summer, hosting the seventh- and eighth-grade summer component of the Peninsula Bridge program.

Peninsula Bridge, a donor-funded nonprofit organization, collaborates with local schools to provide tuition-free academic enrichment for motivated students from under-resourced communities.

Pinewood opened its campus for the program last year for the first time.

“They wanted to expand, and we were looking for a summer outreach program to participate in, so it worked out,” said Bonnie Traymore, Pinewood’s site director.

The program is volunteer driven. Pinewood students and alumni serve as teacher assistants (TAs), and instructors from Pinewood and other local schools are hired to teach.

A career perspective

Traymore, a certified college-counselor, emphasizes a constructive college and job-hunting perspective.

“I start from the perspective of careers,” she said. “It’s not just about school and more school, it’s about the end result, and it makes more sense to them.”

This year, DPR Construction, a major donor to the program, visited the campus and taught students about bridge building.

“The surprising thing is, they didn’t just bring in architects, construction workers, who you might expect,” Traymore said of DPR. “They brought in people in computer science and graphics so that you could really see why it’s worth it to go to college and how many cool jobs you can do afterwards.”

Traymore said she plans to expand the career-planning component of Pinewood’s program next year.

“People assume that the kids just know what they’re working for, but a lot of the time they don’t,” she said. “We want to expand our focus on careers, and get local businesses involved, like Google and Facebook – get the kids thinking about jobs they could do in their community.”

Role models

The high school students who volunteer to assist in the program play an important role in the program’s mission of setting middle-schoolers on a path to college, according to Traymore.

“We want to infuse them with a college-going mindset and culture,” she said. “Having the TAs going through the college application process, or having gone through it, gives the kids role models that they can respect and try to follow.”

The volunteers said they enjoy the teaching experience as well, contributing significant amounts of their summer to the program.

“I really like seeing how they start out in the beginning and how they end up,” said Chloe Robinette, a two-time Bridge volunteer, of students in the program. “In the beginning, they’re hesitant to even raise their hands or put in effort. But in the end, you can just see that they really value working hard. I love seeing their confidence just skyrocket.”

According to Robinette, soft-spoken eighth-grader Yasmine Naeata, black curly hair escaping from under her turquoise beanie, is one of their “rock-star students.”

“I do feel a difference (from school),” Naeata said. “There are more activities and fewer people, so you feel like you’re being more engaged because you’re being talked to more often by TAs and teachers.”

Future leaders

Traymore has high hopes for the students.

“The goal is that they pre-learn the material and stay ahead in class,” she said. “That way, they become leaders in their classes and maybe change the culture, make it cool to get ahead, work hard and get good grades.”

In a seventh-grade pre-algebra class, the summer students can both get ahead and goof off.

Rohan Suresh, a junior at Pinewood, sits in a huddle with his group of seventh-graders, desks pushed into a circle. He’s teaching absolute-value pre-algebra. Or rather, he’s trying.

Peninsula Bridge student Francisco Rivera Navarro, who goes by Paco, has just grabbed Suresh’s pen.

“Give me the pen,” Suresh says, hand extended.

Navarro gives an impish smile. “No.”

“Give. Me. The. Pen.”

Paco places it in Suresh’s outstretched hand, then snatches it away before Suresh can close his fingers. Navarro chuckles to himself. At this point, Suresh abandons all pretense of a diplomatic approach, grabs the pen and calmly continues to teach pre-algebra.

Standardized testing, college admissions and careers are far from their minds – after all, it is summer.

For more information, visit peninsulabridge.org.

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