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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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Life's big questions pondered in the pit


courtesy of Joe Chan
Students at Almond School convene in a sea of balls to engage in conversations that center around a question or a prompt.

As Almond School principal Erika Benadom’s teachers gathered at the beginning of the school year, they pondered life’s big questions via icebreakers designed to build a sense of relationship and community.

The idea came from SoulPancake, a company that recommends ways to engage with “big think” topics from the realms of philosophy and spirituality. The company suggests exploring such weighty topics while seated in a pit of plastic balls.

Benadom said the scheme “captures the magic that ensues when two people engage in dialogue around a question or prompt.”

After a dry run sans ball pit (not yet a standard feature on local campuses), a teacher urged the school to make one. One shipment of balls later, the teachers were ready to build with students participating. They quickly realized that 1,500 balls – the initial order – only rose knee-height in the box a parent had crafted for their plan.

“We brainstormed how to fix this. … Then brilliance struck. … What if we add playground balls?” Benadom recounted. “The assembly was a great success. The students’ curiosity was piqued and a playful atmosphere arose when the parent putting together the pit tossed balls into the audience. It was electrifying.”

Student volunteers climbed in to jump-start the philosophical conversations – and then had to devise an exit strategy from the vat of balls. Since that first attempt, classrooms have been collecting their own conversation starters for future ball-pit encounters, ranging from “What do you look forward to the most when you wake up each day?” to “What is your pet peeve?”

“This ball pit will be a centerpiece for our school at underscoring our commitment to each other. We’re thinking through how we might recruit a group of students to lead this effort in creating a mobile ball pit that potentially could be marketed to schools around the country,” Benadom said. “The students will be part of designing the business model, improving on the prototype, conducting market research, advertising, budgeting and more.”

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