Wed09172014

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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Father of vet killed in Afghanistan shares story with LA Rotary Club


Chuck Lindauer/ Rotary Club of Los Altos
Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos Nov. 14.

Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian praised the dedication and sacrifice of U.S. veterans in his appearance at the Rotary Club of Los Altos Veterans Day Luncheon Nov. 14.

The Santa Clara County Superior Court judge dedicated his presentation to his son, Matthew Patrick Manoukian, 29, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan Aug. 10, 2012. Matt’s mother, Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian of the California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, also attended the event.

Matt’s story

Matt Manoukian grew up in Los Altos Hills. His father traced the story of his son’s life, thanking by name the numerous teachers and friends who contributed to his development. Matt attended St. Nicholas Catholic School, St. Francis High, the University of Arizona, Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., and then infantry school.

According to his father, Matt strongly believed in “Pax Americana” (Latin for “American Peace”), a concept he learned at Foothill College that asserts that world peace is only possible if one superpower dominates or a benevolent democracy is established. Matt’s goal was to build a more peaceful world through service in the Marines, a dream he had since he was 7 years old.

Manoukian outlined some family history that emphasized the international aspect of his son’s dedication to serving his country: Matt’s grandfather had survived two Armenian genocide attacks in Turkey, then immigrated to the U.S. as a physician.

Matt was twice deployed to Western Iraq. His reports to his parents were always optimistic, his father said: “Everything’s great!”

Next, he was assigned to Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where he served as team commander, training Afghan police in advance of transitioning security to full Afghan control. In this role, Matt learned Arabic – a feat, said his father, because he had struggled to learn Spanish in school – and used it to converse with the local population. He befriended many Afghan children, and they in turn helped him by pointing out “strangers” in their village.

While learning the Pashto language, Matt adopted the custom of growing a beard to show respect for the local villagers. When times were tough, he told his men, “If they don’t eat, we don’t eat.” As Matt gained respect from the village leaders, they began calling him “The Lion” and he assumed a leadership role among them.

The captain continued giving positive reports to his parents, though he was injured twice by an improvised explosive device (IED). Manoukian said his son generally underreported his dangerous encounters and credited others whenever possible. Matt received many awards for his service, including two Purple Hearts and Navy and Marine Corps medals.

A loyal friend, when several of his friends were severely wounded in combat, Matt asked his parents to take care of them upon their return home. Matt himself never made it home – he was killed while on duty in Afghanistan. The Ceremonial Hall at Moffett Field is now named after him.

Manoukian praised the courage and sacrifice of several of Matt’s friends, who lost limbs and some their lives in military service. They, too, believed in bringing democracy to Afghanistan.

Foothill College veterans

Guests at the luncheon included Foothill College’s Veterans Resource Center manager Carmela Xuereb and several military veterans who benefit from the center.

Judy C. Miner, president of Foothill College, reported that 21,000 veterans are enrolled in post-secondary programs in California, including 16,000 in community colleges. To meet the needs of the 400 veterans enrolled at Foothill, the Veterans Resource Center provides academic counseling and a social outlet for vets to develop camaraderie and share their military experiences and goals. GI Bill Magazine for three years has designated Foothill College a “Veterans Friendly Campus.”

Miner praised Rotary Club member Ron Labetich, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, for founding the club’s Veterans Support Committee, which has generated a $28,500 scholarship fund in Matt’s memory. Labetich also led a fundraising campaign to purchase smartpens, braided graduation cords, a scanner, a laptop and a printer for the Veterans Resource Center. The committee’s activities have grown to include mentoring, legal guidance on benefits and community awareness of challenges facing veterans.

Several members of the Sereno Group who attended the luncheon pledged to donate 1 percent of their agent fees during fall and winter to the Manoukian scholarship fund.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Los Altos, visit losaltosrotary.org.

For more information on resources for local veterans, visit friendsofamericanveterans.com and foothill.edu/vet.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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