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News

Obama's coming to town

Obama's coming to town

The president is scheduled to make a stop about noon today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills. He and his entourage are expected to travel south from San Francisco to the event, then head back north for San Francisco International Airport and ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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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.

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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...

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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 ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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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 ...

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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...

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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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