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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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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