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News

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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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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