Wed09172014

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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Community Botball Robotics teams return from international competition


Courtesy of Lauren Yang
Los Altos Community Botball Team members collaborate on their robotics challenge.

Three Los Altos Community Botball Teams attended the Global Conference on Educational Robotics, an international robotics competition, July 6-10 in Norman, Okla. More than 50 teams worldwide competed in the International Botball Competition.

Botball is a program that teaches students in middle and high school about robotics, engineering, math and programming though a team environment. Teams begin with a set of parts and two Linux robot controllers, then construct and use the C programming language to program one or two autonomous robots to perform.

The Mars Space Rover was the theme for this season’s Botball challenge. To score points, the robots had to place rocket boosters on vertical launch poles. The tubelike objects represented the rocket resources needed to launch the Rover. Organic and inorganic samples that Rover would collect were represented by pom-poms that the robots gathered for points. To add points, teams could sort the pom-poms by color.

One Los Altos team attempted to place 10 boosters on the tallest launch pole, requiring them to construct and program a robot to lift an arm approximately twice its size. Another team attempted to sort the pom-pom objects by color with a camera sensor. All three local teams designed robots to place rocket boosters on the launch poles, the most challenging task.

One of the Los Altos teams placed sixth overall, another came in 20th. The third team was handicapped by the closure of San Francisco International Airport, which delayed the arrival of its robots.

Multiple reference resources were available to the students as they worked on the robots. The conference included educational lectures and workshops, with topics ranging from best practices in programming to microcontrollers. The conference experience encourages teams to meet and socialize with other teams and share techniques that make their robots function.

Although the majority of Botball teams are school-based, the Los Altos Community Botball Teams comprise students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose. Before the season begins, experienced team members conduct an eight-week training program focused on programming skills so that new members learn the basics of C programming.

Because the Botball program contains development phases of brainstorming, design, implementation, testing, debugging, documentation and meeting a deadline, the tournament provides team members a realistic preview of the demands of careers in technology, science and math.

For more information or to sign up for next year, call 965-8037 or visit Botball.org or LosAltosRobotics.org.

Lauren Yang has been a member of the Los Altos Community Botball Team for two years. She recently graduated from Blach Intermediate School and will be a freshman at Menlo School in the fall.

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