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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Music for Minors showcases song as science and craft


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
First-graders rattle and tap in a Music for Minors class last week in Cupertino.

First-grade teacher Kenzie Brand shepherded her troupe of 20 students into a Cupertino elementary school’s portable music room last week to the bopping rhythms of samba music. Music for Minors’ docent Daphna Rahmil hefted a guitar to lead them through the familiar words of “their” hello song – “I’m in the mood for singing, hey! How about you?”

Singing included much more than following her lead – students practiced vocalizing not piano, and not forte, but at just the right volume, and worked on learning the lyrics without Rahmil’s help. To “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” they practiced clapping the la-la-las, striking hands to anticipate the eight-fold percussives.

The nonprofit organization, founded in Los Altos, brings song and sound to schools across the Bay Area that lack music programming. Sometimes, parent groups muster together to find and train volunteers for the program. In other areas, school communities need even more assistance, and Music for Minors, with help from donors, sends in a professional music teacher to bring music to a school for the first time.

Supporters such as the Town Crier Holiday Fund help provide materials and a 50-hour training class for the primarily volunteer-led teaching project, which reaches approximately 18,000 students in the community each week.

A Music for Minors class loops the whole body into the process as young people learn to handle and silence instruments, and bob heads and swing hips to illustrate songs.

Brand’s class didn’t just learn a new song about thankfulness last week, they also picked up the sign language to narrate along with the tune. One student stayed after class as his peers careened off to recess, to ask Rahmil whether she knows music from everywhere. He was wondering whether they could sing the Indian national song sometime.

“The emotional, the social – the connection – should never be undervalued,” said Rahmil, a seven-year volunteer with Music for Minors. Her students learn standards-based musical skills such as singing on pitch, how to read rhythm notation and how to follow a tune. But they also take turns leading demonstrations and doing solo work, working together to make their sounds.

Brand described some of her students’ irresistible desire to move their bodies throughout the school day, and stressed how hard it can be to fit that kind of energy into a traditional classroom space.

“Here, I don’t have to limit that as much,” she said, noting how even though the class allows for physical expression, it also showcases students’ ability to channel their enthusiasm into following thoughtful directions.

Unless Brand plans a specific craft for her classroom, this one hour of music is their only arts class during the week.

“When you’re young, these things get ingrained in you,” Rahmil said of early musical exposure.

She described Music for Minors as opening a door for local young people to become creators of music, not just consumers.

For more information, visit mfm.org.

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