Wed09172014

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

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

'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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Unwrapped gifts make the best presents: The Rockey Road

The radio presets in my car are KDFC, KFOG and KQED. When my children are in the car, they like to scan for their favorite stations. Yesterday, they landed on a station playing holiday music. I quickly saved the station with my No. 4 preset and realized that I had never done that before. I wondered if that was a sign that this holiday season is more meaningful to me than past seasons.

I love giving gifts to show my appreciation, and, admittedly, I love receiving gifts. But the best gifts I’ve received are not wrapped in paper or purchased, they’re not even handmade. They are the gifts that have developed over time, from friends and family; basically, what I’ve learned from their character and compassion. Let me explain.

Today I spent an hour at my friend Vivi’s house. Vivi’s house is not a typical house. It’s a modern design with minimalistic decor. The most striking feature of her home is its openness, physically and lovingly. There are no hallways and very few doors, all of which are hidden pocket doors. With no window coverings, sunlight fills the home. With clean lines and colors eschewing the clutter of material possessions, the eye is allowed to focus on the beauty of the outdoors through the expansive windows and glass doors. From the garden, we collected fruit and dried bean pods for planting in my family’s garden. Vivi’s focus in life is family and sharing, and the mindful architecture of her home reflects that philosophy. It was designed to create an open space conducive to spending family time together rather than apart in divided rooms, and she’ll happily share the most intimate parts of her home for inspiration. Even the garden was thoughtfully designed to yield an abundant crop to nourish and be shared with anyone within reach.

Caring for others and believing that everyone deserves a fair chance are what make my friend Rhonda special. People aren’t perfect, and while it’s hard for most to bite their tongues in awkward situations, Rhonda naturally offers a smile. Without taking sides, she has a way of looking deeper to explain disparity and seeks solutions toward mending. She finds reasons to forgive rather than perpetuate animosity and will bend over backward to bring peace into someone’s life. She is love’s biggest fan and the epitome of forgiveness and understanding.

A few years ago, I went through a rough patch and felt that I wasn’t making the best decisions. Sharing a love of music and a stand in an orchestra gave my friend Corrie and me ample opportunity to spend time together. Hanging out in her garden, picking bean pods and tomatoes while getting much-needed rabbit therapy, allowed me to smooth out my days. I’m endlessly impressed by her compassion for people, animals and plants. Without hesitation, Corrie will throw money in a tip jar or hand a few dollars to someone in the cold on the street. All of her rabbits are rescues, and she nurses them with love through to their last breath. She’s not afraid to speak up for someone if they’ve been unfairly treated. But while I admire this in Corrie, perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from her is perspective. She has taught me that while having compassion for others, you also must do what’s right for yourself rather than what someone else wants from you.

These little gifts I have received from my friends along the way make the holiday season special for me. The festive lights, music and glittery garlands create the ambience, but the people in my life and what makes each one special create the reason for celebration. No, this season isn’t any more meaningful to me, I’m just glad to have good friends. From my family to yours, Happy Holidays.

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