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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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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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