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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High school foundation finances new science technology for classrooms


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos High School Foundation donated $150,000 in lab equipment for high school science classes. Meghan Stratz, a biotechnology teacher at Los Altos High, demontrates how the new transilluminator can identify characteristics of DNA strands.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District last month presented a Science Showcase, highlighting the $150,00 in lab equipment recently purchased to enhance the science curriculum.

The Mountain View Los Altos High School Foundation and Google Grants donated the funds for the new equipment. The foundation has made enriching the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program at local high schools a priority.

“A major goal is to focus on STEM education for all students and to do more than textbook learning,” said Superintendent Barry Groves. “We want to be hands-on and to be excited about science. These things that the foundation is supporting are the things that are going to make a difference for our kids.”

The Science Showcase consisted of several brief presentations from science instructors, who demonstrated the new bells and whistles available in classrooms this year.

Teri Faught, who teaches biology, earth science and environmental science at Mountain View High, said she was thankful for being able to purchase new specimens – two cow hearts and a sheep’s brain.

“Tangible specimens often inspire students to enter research or the medical field,” she said.

Digital microscopes also “brought life back to microbiology,” Faught said, adding that before acquisition of the new technology, the department was using 20-year-old slides.

Faught praised the classroom set of pressure cuffs and stethoscopes, noting that students became more engaged with the new equipment.

Steven Widmark, physics and earth science teacher at Mountain View High, presented a video showing students operating new equipment in classes. The students used Labquest 2 Data Collection Units to record information live during experiments dealing with distance and velocity. He also touted the use of a radio frequency responder that polls students after posing a question.

Mountain View High biology and chemistry teacher Anthony Gallego lauded the new technology, which aided his students during data collection. He explained the benefits of receiving 32 Microsoft Pro tablets.

“Students are no longer chained to the lab table,” he said. “These tablets allow robust data analysis. It allows students and teachers to project their work.”

Greg Stoehr, biology and environmental science teacher at Los Altos High, extolled the gift of digital microscopes. He projected slides on a large screen, demonstrating how both teacher and students can make annotations on each digital slide and save the images.

“The students spend more time analyzing,” he said. “This totally changes the way we teach with slides.”

Darren Dressen, chemistry teacher at Los Altos High, discussed the benefits of the miniature gas chromatograph, which assists students during experiments. He said the technology helps to answer students’ questions, encouraging their curiosity and engagement.

Los Altos High physics teacher Adam Randall uses a high-frequency vibration tool to study waves and patterns in his class.

Meghan Stratz, biotechnology teacher at Los Altos High, outlined a new course she was able to introduce at the school.

“The really neat thing about this course is that it allows us to tie in everything the students have learned or are learning in their bio, chemistry and physics courses to understand genetics at a better level,” she said.

Stratz demonstrated the transilluminator, showing the audience how students can use the tool to take pictures of DNA and identify characteristics that indicate a genetically modified organism.

“What I really appreciate about this is that we can now allow students to do real science or citizen science projects,” she said.

Mountain View High chemistry teacher Katie Thornburg addressed the donors in the audience.

“I would like to thank all of you for the contributions you have made,” she said. “You have made our program much richer and much more attractive in many, many ways.”

For more information on the foundation, visit mvlafoundation.org.

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