Tue09162014

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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EPAK continues to have positive impact on Ravenswood teachers


Courtesy of tami espinosa
Ravenswood School District students benefit from special experiences, such as field trips, thanks to regular grants from the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation.

This year marks 20 years for the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK). Its continued success isn’t owed to radical change – its hallmark is stability.

The mission remains the same: Provide a consistent source of funding for teachers in the Ravenswood School District so that they can pursue their own class activities such as field trips. EPAK funds projects otherwise unfulfilled within the financial constraints of a school district located in an economically disadvantaged area.

“I absolutely could not do without it!” said Allison Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at Brentwood Academy. “I supplement nonfiction with passages and articles printed from the Internet, but I believe having real nonfiction books in the class is really important for our students. … I know that if we can’t find funding in any other way, EPAK is our only option for helping to pay for buses for our science camp field trip in the spring. EPAK is amazing. They help provide critical supplies and funding for programs that students at my school depend on.”

“We’re still an all-volunteer board, we’re still serving all the teachers,” said Tami Espinosa, EPAK board president and principal at Ravenswood’s Brentwood Academy. “Still core to our beliefs is asking teachers what they want. We still believe teachers know what’s best for their classes. We want to empower them.”

One notable change to EPAK is the board’s decision to fund specialist teachers along with classroom instructors. EPAK currently funds 240 teachers serving 5,000 students annually, providing two $600 grants for each teacher.

The nonprofit organization has rebounded from an economically bumpy 2010-2011, when funding decreased as class sizes increased.

“Corporate giving has increased – the (individual) donor base has shrunk a little,” Espinosa said. “We’re working on increasing the donor base.”

She also wants to see an increase in board member participation. Having an expert in accounting on the board, for example, could be a big help come budget time.

Espinosa got involved in EPAK after being a recipient teacher eight years ago. Thanks to an EPAK grant, she was able to take her fourth-grade class on a field trip to Sacramento and Sutter’s Fort.

Teachers use some grants for tech tools such as projectors and e-readers. One teacher purchased iPod touches as a teaching tool for students with special needs.

“It’s fascinating,” Espinosa said of teachers’ creativity. “One of the good things about being on the board is hearing about all the ideas (for projects) from the teachers.”

Espinosa said the annual Town Crier Holiday Fund check makes a big difference.

“Getting thousands of dollars from (the fund) that has been loyal to us is pretty amazing,” she said. “It’s been that base that has given us a sense of security so that we can support teachers every year. … We don’t ever want to drop a grant cycle. Teachers depend on us.

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