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News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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