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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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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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