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News

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

The Los Altos Police Department received a call from a local resident reporting a suspicious vehicle in the area of Lockhaven and Stonehaven drives in Los Altos at 9 a.m. Monday. The resident, who reported that his mail was possibly stolen, provided ...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show


Courtesy of Bev Harada
Chi Am Circle members, from left, Gerrye Wong, Sylvia Eng, Pearl Lee and Muriel Kao flank Larry Chu Sr. at the Jan. 31 event honoring the club’s 50th and Chef Chu’s 45th anniversaries.

Chef Chu’s restaurant in Los Altos ho...

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Comment

Freedom's just another word: No Shoes, Please

It used to be that the word “freedom” held exclusively positive connotations for me, but now it’s really become a mixed bag. It all started in 2001 when President George W. Bush asked the question he felt was on the minds of most Americans regarding ...

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Special Sections

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts  classes, events and tours

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts classes, events and tours


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Scenes from Filoli: The historic estate in Woodside is a welcoming sanctuary for visitors. The grounds offer a rotating display of seasonal flowers, a tranquil reflecting pool and paths that wend through the 16-acre Engl...

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Business

Stock volatility still confusing

The market opened down more than 100 points Friday but by noon rose more than 130, the form of volatility that quickly draws investors’ attention. By week’s end, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial aver...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

CHRIS A. KENISON

CHRIS A. KENISON

Feb 13, 1945-Feb 6, 2015

Resident of Los Altos

Chris was born in Georgia and moved to Oklahoma as a young child. He grew up there and moved to California in 1965. He developed a strong work ethic from his grandparents and parents. He attended the...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

'Park' in the hills

'Park' in the hills


courtesy of Foothill Music Theatre
Dot (Katie Nix) imagines her dream job as a follies dancer in the Foothill Music Theatre production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” The play runs through March 8.

Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Su...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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A Christian pastor explores the gifts of Burning Man

This is the first in a three-part series on Young’s experience as a Christian pastor at Burning Man, the annual art event and temporary community based on radical self-expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

I spent the week before Labor Day participating in Burning Man. Every year in the dust of a dry lakebed at an elevation of 4,000 feet, volunteers build from scratch a temporary city, this year with a population of 68,000 people. The site lies 110 miles north of Reno and is accessed only by a single-lane road.

People who do not know me well wondered if I were suffering from a midlife crisis. They had seen pictures of partially clad people in outlandish costumes wildly dancing to electronic music at past events. My cousin wondered if it would be like visiting Sodom and Gomorrah, with everyone around me tripping out on psychedelic drugs in the physically punishing desert climate.

I had different hopes than some of those I met. I went to become a temporary citizen of another country, another America, with different rules and values. In our culture, we can feel powerless to make our world more humane. It may be difficult to even imagine alternatives to pictures of reality that limit or distort us. Burning Man, I hoped, could give me a clearer idea of how to serve in God’s kingdom, because God’s reign is not just what happens when you die. It is continuous with the way we live right now.

This spirit motivated the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the fourth and fifth centuries, whose spiritual breakthroughs ultimately led to the invention of monastic life. Those early Christians wanted to explore alternatives to the cruelty, slavery, exploitation and arbitrariness of the dominant Roman culture.

I went for similar reasons, to experience an alternative to the consumerism, bureaucracies and hierarchies that color every interaction we have with each other.

The desert monks articulated rules that governed their lives together. Burners similarly have 10 principles written by Burning Man founder Larry Harvey: radical inclusion of everyone, generosity, freedom from commerce (no buying, selling or even the display of corporate logos), self-reliance, self-expression, community, responsibility, environmental stewardship, participation and the value of immediate experience.

Burning Man will not cure all the ills of a broken, decadent and unjust society. It is not a replacement to our economic system that will last forever. It is a temporary experiment in how we treat each other. It is a chance to step into a more generous place with different freedoms and constraints, hazards and blessings. We came from different worlds but shared one experience in common – generosity, hospitality and openness to meeting new people.

The most striking element of this experience is giving. Walking down the street, people gave me hotdogs, Sno-cones, steak, pancakes, drinking water, beer, a telephone call home, clothes and costumes, Polaroid pictures, Pop-Tarts, jewelry, fresh peaches, entertainment, a newspaper, books and music.

In the desert, I saw hedonism and self-sacrifice, narcissism and generosity, indifference and grace, despair, self-destruction and signs of wonderful new life. People went there for different reasons and brought with them different expectations. But the one thing we all shared was the radical giving at the heart of that community, a kind of hospitality that should inspire all people of good faith.

The Rev. Malcolm C. Young, author of “The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau” (Mercer University Press, 2009), is on sabbatical from Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos. For more information, visit ccla.us.

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