Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also add ...

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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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