Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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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

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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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

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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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

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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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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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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