Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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Los Altos student wins Young Heroes award


Courtesy of Sruthi Ramaswami
Los Altos student Sruthi Ramaswami, fourth from right, works with students to lobby legislators in Sacramento.

Former Archbishop Mitty High School student Sruthi Ramaswami of Los Altos recently received the national Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Ramaswami now attends the University of Chicago.

The Barron Prize annually celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young leaders from across America who have made a significant positive difference. The top 10 to 15 winners receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education.

While in high school, Ramaswami founded the Mitty Advocacy Project (MAP) to empower young people to make a difference in their communities via political advocacy. She created a legislative network of more than 1,000 students nationally who represent social-justice issues and interface directly with state and federal legislators.

Teams of students research topics such as poverty, education, immigration and criminal justice and then identify bills designed to address the issues. They lobby state legislators in Sacramento and have traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate at the national level. Five of the six bills they have lobbied for have been signed into law.

Inspiration and empowerment

Ramaswami began her work as a high school freshman, when a teacher inspired her to prepare for and participate in Catholic Lobby Day, an advocacy event designed to mobilize California Catholics to lobby state legislators.

“Mitty students were the only students who took part in the Catholic Lobby Day,” Ramaswami said. “I found that surprising and weird. I just had a fantastic experience and I felt others should have the opportunity so that they know students can be involved in politics.”

Inspired and empowered by that experience, she instituted MAP in her sophomore year to form a community of youth lobbyists to represent the interests of the less fortunate.

As the cornerstone of MAP, Ramaswami founded California Youth Advocacy Day, an annual event to promote civic engagement. For the past three years, more than 600 high school students have participated in the event, attending issue-specific workshops led by MAP students and then lobbying their legislators at the state capitol.

“As a young person, I felt empowered to work with politicians,” she said. “Legislators are pretty open to hearing from students. As intimidating as it might be to advocate, the legislators completely take us seriously. It feels good to have someone in power to listening to you.”

While working with MAP, Ramaswami became involved in promoting improvements to the state’s food-stamp program and helping those opposed to human trafficking. While volunteering for Sunnyvale Community Services, she learned that many who need services like food donations don’t know enough about the food programs, so she supported better dispersal of food-stamp program information.

MAP has grown to include 100 students at Ramaswami’s school and has expanded to more than 50 schools nationwide.

“I’ve learned that mobilizing people to believe in and work toward a common goal is not the purview of adulthood,” she said. “Motivation and self-belief trump age.”

Ramaswami is majoring in economics and continues to be involved in politics at the University of Chicago.

“I would encourage high school students to get involved in their community,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be talking to legislators – it can start small. It all starts with that belief that you can make a difference if you try.”

Author T.A. Barron established The Gloria Barron Prize in 2001 and named the award for his mother. Each year the award honors 25 young leaders as diverse as their service projects. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from many races and backgrounds. Half of the honorees have focused on helping their communities and fellow human beings and half have focused on protecting the environment.

For more information, visit barronprize.org.

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