Thu09182014

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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German immigrant, U.S. Navy vet reflects on WWII service



Henry Burger, pictured today with his wife, Lottie, far left, escaped Hitler’s oppression as a young man and joined the U.S. Navy. Courtesy of Moldaw Residences

People have many reasons for volunteering to serve their county. A victim of Nazi oppression growing up Jewish in Germany, former longtime Los Altos resident Henry Burger was motivated to enlist at 17 after his family successfully immigrated to the U.S.

Burger’s parents were able to bring their family to New York in 1938, escaping Hitler’s oppression. By the mid-1940s, Burger attempted to join the military to fight those who were persecuting his family and friends who remained in Germany. However, he was rejected because he had not been in the U.S. long enough to apply for citizenship and was therefore categorized an “enemy alien” during much of World War II. Later, Burger was drafted into the U.S. Navy and finalized his citizenship after completing boot camp.

Now, looking back at his time in the military, the 87-year-old resident, who moved to Palo Alto’s Moldaw Residences in 2010, said he is grateful for what he believes was an enlightening and interesting experience.

“I was in the same mindset as countless others – stop Hitlerism any way you could,” Burger said. “Having been a victim of the Nazis, I was anxious to serve in any capacity and glad I had the chance to repay the U.S. for what this country has done for me.”

Burger’s family lived in one of the worst cities under Hitler’s control – Nuremberg, where Hitler addressed the masses. He recalled the different ways he and other Jews living there were oppressed during his childhood.

“In ’34, we couldn’t go to public schools anymore – we were sent to separate Jewish schools – and the next year all non-Jewish teachers were told they could no longer teach us there,” he said. “My parents got us out just 10 days before Kristallnacht, a series of violent attacks and demolitions targeting Jews, so we were very fortunate.”

After finishing boot camp, he went before the court to verify his U.S. citizenship before deployment.

“If I had been captured by the Germans during the war, I would have been killed on the spot as a ‘traitor of the nation,’” he said.

Burger underwent additional training in Fort Lauderdale and Guantanamo Bay, and then was sent to various naval bases. He was also stationed on the USS Oregon City, a newly built heavy cruiser.

“Although I didn’t get the opportunity to engage in combat, I am glad I served,” he said. “It was an interesting experience for sure, and I think everyone learns a lot when serving in the military.”

Burger said being in the military makes one more sensitive toward the needs of others and develops deep relationships. Probably the most important life lesson learned during his time in service, he noted, was how to get along with different kinds of people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Burger maintains that it’s important to hear the stories of those who have served and be reminded of veterans’ sacrifices.

“America is the greatest country in the world, despite the many problems we may face,” he said. “In my opinion, we need to do more to meet the needs of our nations’ veterans once they return from service.”

When Burger finished his military duty, he enrolled in college and simultaneously finished his high school requirements during night classes. He enjoyed a successful career in public accounting and married his childhood sweetheart, Lottie, who had escaped from Germany with her family at approximately the same time his family did. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

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