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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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Local filmmaker brings light to dangers of chemicals


Nachman

When “The Human Experiment” makes its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival Oct. 6, it will fall five days short of the 38th anniversary of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act – a bill that allowed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to scrutinize commercial chemicals prior to their use by manufacturers.

This is an appropriate coincidence, considering that the film, written, co-produced and co-directed by Los Altos filmmaker Dana Nachman and narrated and executive produced by actor Sean Penn, explores the risks consumers face through exposure to everyday chemicals.

The Toxic Substances Control Act inventory lists more than 84,000 chemicals, but only several hundred are tested for consumer safety. Given the disconcerting statistic, Nachman responded with a film that unravels assumptions.

“We think that this issue is one of the biggest environmental disasters of our time, one that most people haven’t even thought of,” Nachman said.

What began as a reporting assignment for Nachman during her years in television journalism grew into an interest she couldn’t resist exploring. A mother of two, she imagined that other parents would be as outraged as she was by how lax chemical regulations were in the U.S. compared to Europe and China.

“When I learned that most of the products we use in our homes and our lives are not vetted for the market, I was shocked,” she said. “Usually when I find something shocking, it turns into my next documentary.”

With a number of documentary films under her belt, Nachman joined colleague Don Hardy to develop “The Human Experiment” three years ago. Crisscrossing the country from residences in the Bay Area to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., the film investigates the dangers of chemicals found in common household products and questions why the EPA has not modified chemical testing in 38 years.

Moving moments

Skirting the line between education and social activism, Nachman noted that “The Human Experiment” is intended as a wake-up call to audiences. She thinks her film could be the next “An Inconvenient Truth,” the 2006 documentary on global warming.

“I think people intuitively want to know why we see kids with cancer, with learning disabilities, more than we did when we were kids,” Nachman said. “We think this movie puts it out there on a more level playing field of what is actually happening so that mothers and fathers and all of us can have the knowledge and then take the risk.”

The documentary follows a group of people from different walks of life, from an infertile couple to a mother with an autistic son, who are dedicated to changing policy in Congress. A politically conservative lobbyist trying to eliminate polyvinyl chloride from construction products joined them. “The Human Experiment” weaves a diverse set of perspectives to tell the story of the hidden risks behind chemicals and issues a call to action for Americans to take control of the situation.

With support from Penn, scheduled to appear at a question-and-answer session at the Mill Valley premiere, Nachman said she is confident that the film will take off. The first showing is sold out, and she recently received a call accepting the documentary into a “major European film festival.”

Nachman plans to bring the film back to Los Altos for viewing in local schools. An advocacy toolkit will accompany the documentary to inform people how they can join consumer activists to effect change.

“Even if we make several hundred people more aware, we’ve done our job,” she said.

Although shedding light on critical issues and documenting the stories of inspiring people motivate Nachman, more importantly, she said, she does the work for her children.

“I just want everything I do to really help my kids down the road,” she added.

To purchase tickets for the Mill Valley showing, visit mvff.com.

For more information on the film, visit thehumanexperimentmovie.com.

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