Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Sunday Friends: Earning through learning


courtesy of Sunday Friends
Children from low-income families combine education, self-sufficiency and fun at Sunday Friends.

Ali Barekat, executive director of Sunday Friends, beams with pride when he speaks about the positive impact his organization has made on low-income families in San Jose.

He can tell story after story about children and parents who have not only bettered themselves but helped others by joining Sunday Friends, which is unlike any other charitable organization in the country. There are no handouts here; participants earn tickets redeemable for items at its on-site store – from toys to toiletries – for taking classes and working on community service projects each Sunday.

Barekat recalled a recent encounter with 8-year-old Jose, who was asked what he planned to do with his pile of tickets.

“I have earned enough tickets to buy my own school supplies for this year,” Jose said. “Now I’m trying to earn more tickets to go buy more school supplies to bring to my teacher to give to the kids that don’t have them.”

Barekat pointed out that Jose – who began attending Sunday Friends programs with his family two years ago – has grasped one of the most valuable lessons that his staff and volunteers try to instill in the nearly 100 children they serve every week.

“He’s not just caring for himself – now he’s caring for others and worrying about how he can help someone else,” Barekat said. “It’s a testament to what we do and why it works. It brings a value system to these kids that many of them weren’t exposed to before.”

Their parents can also benefit from these activities and classes, which run noon to 7 p.m. Sundays on a rotating basis at Lowell and Anne Darling elementary schools in San Jose. Offerings promote healthy lifestyles, English proficiency, life skills and computer education – new this year.

“The computer classes started in January, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the reception we’ve received,” Barekat said. “I feel like these families need to see the value of a computer in their lives. They can get jobs, find bargains and interact with their kids’ schoolteachers through a computer. It can help them break the cycle of poverty.”

He is hopeful that another addition to the program contributes to this cause as well.

“At the beginning of the year, we will have a real bank stationed at our program,” said Barekat, who convinced a major credit union with ATMs at Walmart and Costco stores to work with Sunday Friends. “There’s going to be a computer, and families will bring their paychecks and deposit them into the bank right away. This bank is not going to charge them for cashing them; right now they pay 1 percent to those check-cashing places.”

He added that families would have the opportunity to sit down with a bank representative for a free financial consultation and learn such things as how to apply for a student loan or a credit card with a $300 limit instead of a high-interest payday advance.

“It’s a way to help low-income families and remove their fear of the banking system,” Barekat said. “We have taught them about financial literacy through our ticket system, which allows them to earn 2 percent every month on the tickets they’ve saved, and this is a good transition to using a real bank.”

For more information, visit sundayfriends.org.

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