Thu09182014

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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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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