Wed05042016

News

MV council adopts rent dispute ordinance, despite reservations

Despite criticism that it lacked teeth, the Mountain View City Council approved last week a second reading and adoption of a controversial program aimed at resolving rental-housing disputes between tenants and landlords.

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alwa...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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