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News

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

Los Altos Police nab alleged burglar, identity thief

The Los Altos Police Department received a call from a local resident reporting a suspicious vehicle in the area of Lockhaven and Stonehaven drives in Los Altos at 9 a.m. Monday. The resident, who reported that his mail was possibly stolen, provided ...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show

Chi Am Circle, Chef Chu's prove 'golden': Club sets fundraising goal of $200K for March fashion show


Courtesy of Bev Harada
Chi Am Circle members, from left, Gerrye Wong, Sylvia Eng, Pearl Lee and Muriel Kao flank Larry Chu Sr. at the Jan. 31 event honoring the club’s 50th and Chef Chu’s 45th anniversaries.

Chef Chu’s restaurant in Los Altos ho...

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Comment

Freedom's just another word: No Shoes, Please

It used to be that the word “freedom” held exclusively positive connotations for me, but now it’s really become a mixed bag. It all started in 2001 when President George W. Bush asked the question he felt was on the minds of most Americans regarding ...

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Special Sections

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts  classes, events and tours

Filoli in bloom: Historic estate hosts classes, events and tours


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Scenes from Filoli: The historic estate in Woodside is a welcoming sanctuary for visitors. The grounds offer a rotating display of seasonal flowers, a tranquil reflecting pool and paths that wend through the 16-acre Engl...

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Business

Stock volatility still confusing

The market opened down more than 100 points Friday but by noon rose more than 130, the form of volatility that quickly draws investors’ attention. By week’s end, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and the Dow Jones industrial aver...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

CHRIS A. KENISON

CHRIS A. KENISON

Feb 13, 1945-Feb 6, 2015

Resident of Los Altos

Chris was born in Georgia and moved to Oklahoma as a young child. He grew up there and moved to California in 1965. He developed a strong work ethic from his grandparents and parents. He attended the...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

'Park' in the hills

'Park' in the hills


courtesy of Foothill Music Theatre
Dot (Katie Nix) imagines her dream job as a follies dancer in the Foothill Music Theatre production of “Sunday in the Park with George.” The play runs through March 8.

Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Su...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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A year of change for Career Closet offers new possibilities and hope


Diego Abeloos/ Town Crier
Andrea Silva, left, participates in the work experience program at Career Closet, the nonprofit agency led by Jean Cecil, right. The organization provides interview-ready attire and accessories as well as training for job-seekers.

Change can be a good thing. If you ask Career Closet Executive Director Jean Cecil, it was also a necessity in 2013.

When she discovered earlier this year that a $75,000 annual contract with Santa Clara County would not be renewed, Cecil sprang into action to keep the organization – which has provided a week’s worth of free professional attire to women in need for more than 20 years – above water. The funds, she noted, covered a considerable chunk of Career Closet’s monthly operating costs of $35,000.

The result is an organization that now offers a two-tier service system to the 120-plus partner organizations – and referred individuals – they serve collectively.

The first tier is a free basic level of service that offers each individual one outfit – including shoes – to wear on job interviews and in the workplace.

The second tier – known as the Interview-Plus Level – offers recipients a package that includes a suit, slacks or skirt and three tops, in addition to shoes, makeup and other accessories, at a cost of $50 per person to partner organizations.

“We had to turn around and say, ‘Oh, by the way, starting Aug. 1, you’re going to have to start paying us $50 per person,’” said Cecil, who also reduced the organization’s hours in San Jose to four days per week. “It was a very hard thing to do.”

The organization closed its Foster City location in June after seeing more than a 50 percent dip in the number of underprivileged individuals it served – something Cecil partially attributed to poor public transportation access in the area.

Still, things are beginning to look up for the organization, which dressed 1,200 women in 2012. Cecil noted that Career Closet’s Work Experience Program remained intact and assisted 50 individuals last year. Participants can learn hands-on skills and workplace etiquette in the organization’s clothing boutique – which is open to the public and generates a significant portion of the organization’s revenue. As has always been the case, Cecil noted, each person is treated with respect and dignity – and without judgment.

“We approach individuals without judgment and try to create an environment where it’s safe for failure to take place,” said Cecil, who used the 2012 Town Crier Holiday Fund contribution to set up a computer lab available to Career Closet clients as they complete their GEDs or seek other educational advancement through Khan Academy.

The organization also extended its service to men in need and is now accepting donated workplace attire such as suits, slacks, dress shirts and ties. The program currently serves three to five men weekly. Overall, she added, the program is averaging between 135-145 men and women served per month this year.

For more information, visit careercloset.org.

BOX

Location: 43 East Gish Road, Suite 100, San Jose

Founded: 1992

Annual budget: $465,000

Staff: 2 full-time, 3 part-time employees; more than 100 volunteers

Mission statement: To provide individuals with business attire and work experience in a safe environment, helping them gain self-confidence and find their life goals.

Information: (408) 451-1200; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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