Wed09172014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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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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