Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Ascending the ranks


Erica Caldwell/Charlotte Knights
Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Erik Johnson has gone from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte this season.

Pitcher Erik Johnson continues to climb the organizational ladder of the Chicago White Sox, rising from Single-A to Triple-A in a year. But the Los Altos High graduate takes his success one step – and one start – at a time.

“Like any year, I’ve been learning a lot,” said Johnson, promoted to the Charlotte Knights in June after going 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 14 starts for the Double-A Birmingham Barons. “I try to take away something new with every start I make. … For me, it really comes down to what I’m doing down there (on the field). It’s always just me and the (catcher’s) glove. It’s a tough game and a long season, so really the simpler I can keep it, the better.”

The focused Johnson was a standout starter at UC Berkeley prior to being chosen by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

In 2012, his first full year of minor-league ball, the right-hander jumped from low Single-A Kannapolis to high Single-A Winston-Salem by midseason.

Johnson finished the campaign with a 6-5 record and a 2.53 ERA in 17 starts, while posting a nearly 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the season.

Others took notice of Johnson’s solid season. Baseball America, for one, ranked the Mountain View native as the No. 4 prospect in the White Sox organization, as well as its top pitching prospect.

Johnson, however, said he’s unaffected by glowing scouting reports or rankings. His focus remains on the one thing he can control – his performance on the field.

“I don’t read anything into that; it’s singular focus for me and keeping it on the field,” said Johnson, who is 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts for Charlotte. “It really comes down to each start – you can’t think past your next start. It’s just taking it day-by-day, working hard, staying focused and staying healthy.”

Prior to starting the season with Birmingham, Johnson earned an opportunity to participate in his first spring training with the big-league club in Arizona. The non-roster invitee said he cherished the chance to spend time in the same clubhouse and on the same field as Chicago’s major-leaguers.

“That’s the biggest part I wanted to take in as a goal – learn as much as I can while I was there,” said Johnson, who arrived at camp in late January. “I was always listening and watching some of the older guys throw their bullpens. … Just being out there and facing big-league hitters (in exhibition games) was the opportunity I wanted.”

Johnson’s steadfast focus hasn’t prevented him from realizing how important off-the-field supporters have been to his career. He noted that family and friends back home have provided unwavering support during his career – from as far back as high school. Johnson’s parents have traveled to see him play at Birmingham and Charlotte this season and watch his starts online as well. Sandy Wihtol, his coach at Los Altos High, calls every few weeks to check in on his former baseball pupil.

“It’s nice to have them there to support me as much as they can,” said Johnson, who added that he chats by phone with his parents after every start. “For me, it’s really a family and community support structure.”

Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players in September, but Johnson said he hasn’t let the thought of being among those called up to creep into his head. As usual, Johnson’s focus remains on the diamond – and away from any speculation.

“I don’t think I’ve surprised myself, because baseball is one of those things I’ve always excelled at,” he said. “It’s about me just climbing and trying to reach that goal of mine. … It always comes down to just me and that glove again.”

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