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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Hidden Villa's summer experience plants seeds that last a lifetime



Youth who attend summer camps at Hidden Villa benefit from both the social interaction and communing with nature. Town Crier file photo

Youth circle around a countertop island in a small kitchen learning to bake a cake as others converse under a grove of trees on an outdoor patio. Minutes later, with baskets and shovels in hand, the teens fan out across the farmyard to clean bedding from the pigpens and gather eggs in the henhouse.

There are no televisions, mobile phones or fast food anywhere in sight, but these campers don’t seem to notice. The magic of Hidden Villa – the 1,600-acre nonprofit organic farm and preserve in Los Altos Hills – sets in, giving modern adolescents a memorable experience with lasting impact.

“Overall, it just has the best vibe around it possible,” said 17-year-old Hidden Villa camper and counselor-in-training Steffan Salas. “It’s really a nonjudgmental place where you can be yourself. … It’s pretty hard to find a place like that.”

Salas, a high school senior from Menlo Park who has spent 11 summers at Hidden Villa Summer Camp, noted that camp counselors and other campers serve as an important support network as he navigates the pathway to adulthood. Last summer he returned to Hidden Villa for his first “official paying job” as a residential camp intern.

“It’s kind of cool to move on from a part of childhood and start acting and fulfilling an adult role here and in life in general,” he said.

Whether at day camps for first- through fourth-grade children, or wilderness camps in the Santa Cruz Mountains for eighth- through 10th-graders, molding young people into responsible citizens is an important component of the Hidden Villa experience, which has roots in promoting social justice since it hosted the nation’s first multiracial camp in 1945.

According to Hidden Villa Camp Director Nikki Bryant, staff members are trained to be educators who can facilitate conversations that encourage curiosity and critical thinking. Evening gatherings at the campfire allow campers to reflect on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, family and the environment.

“We show them how the actions they perform are contributing to the well-being of the community they’re in,” Bryant said. “We reach for growth and connection in a way that the world often fails to do for people.”

Contributions from the Town Crier Holiday Fund and other donors enable youth of all socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in the Hidden Villa camp experience.

Nearly 50 percent of the 1,200 students who attend camp each summer are supported by a scholarship. Bryant said a stockpile of camp necessities like sleeping bags and swimsuits donated by local residents are also available, a measure that ensures a positive experience for every camper.

“We want (youth) to be somewhere where they can wander around without having to worry about the complications they’re used to in their communities,” she said. “Camp provides you with an opportunity to talk with one another, resolve conflict and be confident in what you do – something our society just doesn’t have a lot of systems for.”

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