Wed07232014

News

Local tank drainage concerns water-conscious Los Altos resident

Los Altos resident Frank McKee recently watched water flowing down Valencia Drive and knew something wasn’t right.

The water was emptying from a 30,000-gallon California Water Service Co. tank on Valencia, near Los Altos High School. The water...

Read more:

Loading...

Schools

County board names new superintendent

County board names new superintendent


The Santa Clara County Board of Education voted unanimously July 16 to appoint Jon R. Gundry as new county superintendent of schools, effective Aug. 1.

The sole finalist for the position, Gundry currently serves as superintendent of the Pasadena U...

Read more:

Loading...

Community

San Juan dancers attend national convention

San Juan dancers attend national convention


Courtesy of Jordan Micek
Dancers from the San Juan School of Dance are all smiles as they pose with the trophies they won at the recent American Dance Awards National Convention in Boston.

Nearly two dozen girls from the San Juan School of Dance...

Read more:

Loading...

Sports

Junior All-Stars eliminated from Section 5 tourney

Junior All-Stars eliminated from Section 5 tourney


Courtesy of Bobby Glasspole
The Los Altos & Los Altos Hills Little League Junior All-Stars posted a 1-2 record in the Section 5 Tournament in San Jose after winning the District 44 championship. Front, from left: Case Herbert, Bo Fick, Chris Gi...

Read more:

Loading...

Comment

Guest workers: No Shoes, Please

Last month, I hired a housecleaner for the first time in my entire life, and a good friend of mine exclaimed to me, “Oh, Gracie, you’re going to LOVE it!”

Truth be told, I really don’t. But that isn’t to suggest that this new relationship is anythin...

Read more:

Loading...

Special Sections

Recreation-related concussions on the rise in children

Children are getting more sports- and recreation-related concussions than ever before. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of concussions in children has risen 60 percent during the past decade. Each year, more than...

Read more:

Loading...

Business

Are you ready to retire to South Dakota?

Bankrate.com recently ranked the 10 best states for retirement. The list, which includes such rugged spots as Colorado, Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming, was topped by, of all places, South Dakota.

Read more:

Loading...

Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

Read more:

Loading...

People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

Read more:

Loading...

Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

Read more:

Loading...

Stepping Out

Foothill opens 'South Pacific' this week in Los Altos Hills

Foothill opens 'South Pacific' this week in Los Altos Hills


David Allen/Special to the Town Crier
Emile de Becque (Daniel Cameron) and Nellie Forbush (Madison Genovese) watch the sunset in “South Pacific.”

Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “South Pacific” is scheduled to run Thursday through Aug. 10...

Read more:

Loading...

Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

Read more:

Loading...

Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

Read more:

Loading...

Local leader honored for day-worker advocacy


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Maria Marroquin cradles the “Bay Area Local Hero” award she received last week, which honored her work as executive director at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.

When Maria Marroquin cleaned her first house as a day worker nearly 15 years ago, she gazed around at the completed job – and felt pride. The local workers picking up informal jobs hour-by-hour in Los Altos face unpredictable days and legal problems (many lack permission to work in the United States). But they also bring talent and experience to their work.

Marroquin worked for a union and then as a legal assistant in Mexico before coming to the U.S. in the late ’90s. She began to work here before securing the documents that now declare her employment eligibility.

She joined a community of day workers organizing in Los Altos to create a safe gathering space off the streets, and discovered a mission that endured long after she transitioned to having a green card and access to mainstream job markets. She became a volunteer and advocate for the center, ultimately taking on the role of executive director.

KQED honored Marroquin this month as a “Bay Area Local Hero” for her work as the diplomatic heart of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View. The center sometimes faced steep resistance to its existence. Bouncing between rental spaces and church halls, it often encountered neighborhood opposition to the idea of a congregating place for day workers.

Forging a collaborative relationship

Times have changed. As relationships grew over the years – among city officials, local residents and motivated volunteers – the tone of talk about the center changed.

Three years ago, volunteers, donors and day laborers themselves inaugurated a new, permanent space for the center on Escuela Avenue in Mountain View. Their relationship with neighbors, and the city of Mountain View, appears to have transformed into one of collaboration.

“We have neighbors who brought green beans, tomatoes from their backyard – because they love us and want to share,” Marroquin said. “It’s a place that attracts anyone who wants to make a community and, by bringing them together, serves as a glue that makes us a richer and better community.”

The center’s foundational task – to match day workers with employers in a safe, supportive environment – comes with a multitude of ancillary possibilities.

Supported by donations and volunteer help, the center introduces its members to computers – to seek work, make resumes, translate information or even just Skype with family long separated by borders.

“When they realize they can learn, they can write – they can see the faces of their loved ones – it’s indescribable,” Marroquin said. “It’s a new world.”

Daily English lessons and skills development training provide constructive options for downtime when there are more workers than employment. Workers typically face almost crushing financial insecurity when they are first finding ways to support themselves and their families. Marroquin remembered moving with her son into a house shared with 17 other people when she first arrived in the Bay Area.

Maintaining hope under stress requires help. Understanding the human difficulties of life as a day laborer, Marroquin said, has an irresistible effect on volunteers and supporters – and worked on her own understanding, as well.

“Despite many emigrating from other places, day laborers have become an integral part of the community, and people see that, even with so little, they give so much,” she said at the awards ceremony last week.

Expanding focus on children

She sees a growing urgency to serve the children within the day-worker community. The center is expanding its after-school program to two days a week, working with student volunteers to offer homework assistance to students hanging out as their parents seek work.

Parents are a key part of Marroquin’s vision for the young people – children often serve as translators and assistants to parents with limited or no literacy. The center’s youth program focuses on the parent/child relationship, working with families to improve communication and find ways to listen and share with each other.

“Many kids from my community don’t have a lot of good role models,” Marroquin said of her goal to expand the educational aspirations to which children at the center can and should be exposed. “It’s like putting good seeds in good soil.”

Schools »

Schools
Read More

Sports »

sports
Read More

People »

people
Read More

Special Sections »

Special Sections
Read More

Photos of Los Altos

photoshelter
Browse and buy photos