Mon09152014

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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Safari, so good: Traveling to Africa for a cause


Photo by Rich Carpenter/Special to the Town Crier
On her recent trip to South Africa, Rotary Club of Los Altos member Val Carpenter watched students at the Siloe School for the Blind perform and observed elephants at the Kings Camp watering hole.

My husband and I recently returned from a spectacular safari that also contributed to a good cause: raising money to support the service projects of the Rotary Club of Polokwane, South Africa. For more than a decade, Charles Hardy has organized weeklong safaris in May and August for eight guests at a time as his club’s primary fundraising activity.

We arrived in Johannesburg and spent the first night at a guesthouse in Pretoria, getting to know our safari companions over dinner. The following morning we were driven three hours to Polokwane and the homes of our hosts for the next two nights. At a formal dinner in our honor, we met a surprisingly diverse group of Rotarians and their spouses.

Our first game drive was in the Polokwane Game Reserve, followed by lunch at the Polokwane Country Club. We also visited the Siloe School for the Blind, where we toured the new music rooms built with the Rotary Club’s contributions and enjoyed a performance by their students.

The next morning we took a beautiful drive through the mountains to Kruger National Park. We spent three nights at Lataba Camp in the Fish Eagle Guest House in large individual bedroom suites with private baths and a great room with a full kitchen. Rotarian Celia Lister served delicious home-cooked meals featuring traditional South African fare between game drives.

For our final three nights, we stayed at the enchanting Kings Camp private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in a luxurious suite overlooking the watering hole beyond the swimming pool.

We visited in late August, at the end of the winter dry season in these mostly flat grasslands. Because the trees and shrubs had not fully leafed out, we had good views of the animals, though for such large creatures they blend in remarkably well. Cold mornings were followed by warm, sunny days. The night sky was clear and full of stars; seeing the Southern Cross constellation was a thrill for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers.

We saw an astonishing variety of animals, some from just a few feet away – zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus, crocodile, rhinoceros, leopard, lion, cape buffalo, honey badger, scrub hare, hyena, jackal, wild cat, baboon, monkey, antelope, wildebeest, warthog, mongoose, snake and many beautiful birds.

In one memorable morning game drive, we saw the Big Five – cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros. Viewing highlights included family groups with their young, a leopard with two cubs and a kill in a tree, several dozen hyenas devouring a dead cape buffalo and three male lions attacking a herd of cape buffalo.

Our week in South Africa ran like clockwork, with a full schedule and limited downtime. Accompanied by locals, we never felt unsafe. As they sing in Disney’s “The Lion King,” “hakuna matata” – Swahili for “no worries.”

Non-Rotarians are welcome on these trips. We highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. For more information, email Charles Hardy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Val Carpenter is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos and serves on the Los Altos City Council.

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