Mon09152014

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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Project Los Altos artist collecting everyday records from residents

COMM SFMOMA KaterinaSeda-8350
Šedá, above, wants local residents to enter records for best, worst, biggest and smallest for her “Project Los Altos” installation at 359 State St. For more details, visit everythingisperfect.org.

When Katerina Šedá, an artist from the Czech Republic, arrived in Los Altos this fall to research and design a commissioned installation for “Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley,” she heard from residents time and again that “everything is perfect” in the community.

“I was so tired of hearing this that I wanted to use it in the project,” said Šedá, who decided to collect “ordinary” records for inclusion in “Everything Is Perfect,” a project that culminates in the publication of the “Los Altos World Records” book next spring.

Observing that many local residents were already winners in life, Šedá wanted to produce something that offers a different perspective on what it means to be “the best.” Twisting the assumption that only world records count, “Los Altos World Records” intends to show that every person can be successful at something.

Selecting from a list of existing record categories or one that a resident proposes, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents can submit records through Jan. 31, after which the submissions will be verified and category winners declared. As an incentive to enter, every participant who sets a record will receive a certificate and a copy of “Los Altos World Records.”

“The best records are ordinary and easy,” Šedá noted. “This is the paradox.”

Šedá has received approximately 40 entries so far, including Martin Alter’s submission for the “Largest Collection of Rubber Ducks” at 300 and Laura Brewer’s claim to “Fastest Stenographer Using a Steno Machine” at 290-300 words per minute.

Although some records are so unique that they’re unlikely to be surpassed, entries like “House with the Most Evergreen Trees Out Front” at seven, “Largest Conference Table” at 14 feet long and “Most Friends on Facebook” at 869 might draw a challenge.

At its core, though, the friendly competition isn’t about numbers at all.

“I want to connect people through ordinary stuff,” Šedá said. “It’s not really about success as much as it’s about thinking creatively about our own lives.”

To ensure her project’s success, Šedá is counting on participation from local residents, which is more difficult than she expected.

When visitors arrive in the back room of 359 State St., where Šedá’s installation is set up, they will find a desk with a computer and an assortment of accessories – a nondescript setup. So normal, in fact, that some guests have expressed initial confusion. Visitors have wondered why the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art would rent gallery space to another business, while others ask Šedá where her completed project is.

“They don’t understand that this is art,” said Šedá of how her project challenges the mainstream idea that art is something that is finished and sits passively on a gallery wall.

Once guests grasp the concept behind the project, Šedá noted, they’re receptive to her modern art.

She said she still finds coaxing residents to submit records challenging, in part because “they’re afraid their records aren’t special enough.”

Šedá is dispelling the perception by taking to the streets, going door-to-door with project flyers and talking with residents about submitting a record. She would also like to add more children’s entries to the project and is reaching out to school administrators.

Completed submission forms along with documentation of the record (a photo, business card, certificate, etc.) can be dropped off at the 359 State St. submission office 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays; mailed to “Los Altos World Records,” 359 State St., Los Altos 94022; or submitted online at everythingisperfect.org. There’s no limit to the number of entries an individual can submit. For inspiration, view a sampling of photos illustrating current entries in the installation space or in the “Submitted Records Gallery” on the project’s website.

By connecting people who may never cross paths, Šedá is confident that her project will achieve its mission of helping the local community redefine “success.”

“Success is something that divides people, and I’m trying to create a different picture.”

For more information, visit everythingisperfect.org.

COMM SFMOMA KaterinaSeda EverythingisPerfect graphic small

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