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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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Church's film screening reveals wounded veterans' struggles and triumphs


Courtesy of Didrik Johnck
A group of wounded Afghanistan and Iraq war vets scale the 20,000-foot Mount Lobuche in Nepal, chronicled in the movie “High Ground.”

Two members of Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos decided to honor American military veterans by showing a movie, of all things.

Church Deacon Lauren McCombs and longtime Los Altos Hills resident Christopher Smith hosted a screening of the documentary “High Ground” for approximately 100 church members and local residents last week at the church’s parish hall. The award-winning 90-minute film depicts the struggles and triumphs of 11 wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and one Gold Star mother as they climb to the summit of the 20,000-foot Mount Lobuche in Nepal.

The Nov. 6 screening at the church, held partially in honor of Veterans Day, ended with a brief panel discussion that included two military veterans, Smith and one of the film’s cinematographers, Oracle Corp. Senior Producer John von Seeburg.

McCombs said she had the chance to view the film – now available on Netflix – earlier this year and walked away inspired, wanting to share its messages with others. Specifically, she pointed to the detailed accounts in the film of the 11 veterans overcoming physical obstacles – such as amputations – as well as mental hurdles like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries to achieve their feat together. McCombs added that the film also offers stark reminders about the troubles some veterans face as they transition back into civilian life.

“I’m a pacifist, I need to say that to start, but I believe in our nation and I believe in those people who have served in the wars,” McCombs said. “I believe we need to support them when they come back.”

McCombs later added that the veterans’ experiences – what happened in the war and how they got wounded – made a profound impression on her.

“For me, that’s the part I recognize where we as a nation need to step forward and help transition them back,” she said.

Invisible wounds

East Bay native von Seeburg told the Town Crier he was thankful his employer, Oracle, gave him the time off to join the Nepalese expedition and film the veterans in action. Von Seeburg added that the veterans and film crew experienced “a really intense, emotional experience – and it wasn’t on the summit.”

“It was all of the things that happened day-to-day in our interactions with these guys that actually were the most meaningful,” von Seeburg said. “A lot of barriers were broken between us as filmmakers and them as soldiers. When you think about it, it’s really courageous for them to tell their stories on camera.”

Von Seeburg said the experience gave him a new appreciation for Veterans Day. He hopes the film spreads awareness about the debilitating issues some veterans face as they return home from war.

“It changed me – definitely did,” he said. “I came back understanding that some of the worst wounds are the ones you can’t see – it’s the hidden, invisible wounds that are some of the worst and the hardest to recover from. I never really understood that or knew that.”

A ministry to veterans

Smith, an 11-year U.S. Navy veteran and 40-year Los Altos Hills resident, noted that Christ Episcopal Church and its members are no strangers to military veterans issues. Smith and a group of church members supply pasta dinners once a month to recovering veterans and their families at the Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center.

“The challenges that they face, I’m just so impressed with them and their families,” Smith said. “You’re looking at a guy and you see that his wife is actually feeding him and you just think, ‘Wow, these people have a long, uphill climb.’ We really owe them a lot.”

In addition, five members of the church – including McCombs – cook dinner monthly for the families of veterans living at The Fisher Houses associated with the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto. The living facilities offer families a place to stay while veterans receive medical treatment at the hospital.

“We sit down with them, talk to them and offer them a meal. … It adds some normalcy to what they’re experiencing,” said McCombs, adding that the church also hosts an annual Valentine’s Day dinner and dance to raise funds for veterans at the hospital.

For more information, visit highgroundmovie.com.

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