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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Positive memories of a positive person


Valentine Leborgne

Those who knew Valentine Leborgne in her hometown of Los Altos have been hard hit by the news that she is no longer with us.

Valentine, who interned with the Town Crier last summer, died Nov. 23 north of Vancouver, Canada, when the vehicle she was riding in with three other University of British Columbia students hit a pickup truck head-on. The driver, Valentine’s roommate Olivia Robertson, also died. The two other passengers survived.

I found out about it the next day in an email from Sophie Ho. Sophie, a Mountain View High School graduate attending UC Berkeley, also interned with us over the summer. She and Valentine became fast friends. A Homestead High School grad, Valentine, only 19, was in her second year at UBC.

To say this is a tragedy is a gross understatement. According to authorities, the girls were driving responsibly – no distracted driving, drugs or alcohol involved. The investigation into the crash, on British Columbia’s Highway 99 (also known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway) is ongoing.

I was struck by the incredible outpouring of love toward this young woman with whom I barely got acquainted at the Town Crier. But every description of her seemed to resonate.

Valentine was beautiful in every sense of the word. She had a million-dollar smile, and it always seemed to be there. She appeared calm and easygoing, but that demeanor belied great passion and ambition, a quest for adventure and an open-mindedness to try new things. She loved outdoor sports and was on her way to Whistler to ski when the collision occurred.

Valentine was smart, spoke fluent French and had a passion for writing. But what really stood out was her emotional intelligence. When Valentine walked into a room, she radiated warmth, understanding and an incredibly positive vibe.

As I pored over tributes on Facebook, the description that struck me most was the word “genuine.” In an age of know-it-alls, outright phonies and pretentious, self-conscious people, Valentine was an oasis.

Valentine touched so many lives that her parents held two memorials, one at UBC and one last Saturday in Campbell, to accommodate all of the friends and family who wanted to share their thoughts.

My wife and I attended Saturday’s memorial. We were very moved by the tributes from some of the 200-plus people in attendance. And we were also inspired by hearing about this energetic dynamo who seemed to motivate and bring joy to everyone around her.

The best way to honor Valentine is to keep her in our fond memories. I will always remember that smile and her willingness to laugh – especially at the bad French I tried out on her.

Yes, her being taken at such a young age is horribly tragic and unfair. But for 19 years, she made the world a better place. Perhaps we can all be inspired by the great qualities that made Valentine who she was, and smile right back.

Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

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