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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Who will protect the children from their parents?: Confronting Domestic Violence

What a series of unfortunate events for children in our county – and in our country – recently.

Veronica Gonzalez spanked her 12-year-old daughter hard enough with a wooden spoon to cause bruising. The beating was severe enough to prompt social workers to report her to the State Department of Justice’s child abuse database with a “substantiated” abuse determination. And a trial court judge upheld that determination.

Then the Sixth District Court of Appeal in San Jose reversed the child abuse determination made by the Santa Clara County Department of Social Services.

Why? One reason was because parents do have a right to impose physical discipline on their children (disturbingly referred to as a “privilege”), and the underlying hearings never addressed the existence of this right. The finding against the mother was, therefore, determined to have been made and upheld in proceedings that were fundamentally unfair.

However, the appeals court justified its ruling by other means: namely, that other forms of punishment like grounding and confiscating the daughter’s cellphone had failed, her behavior was worsening and the mother’s intent was to discipline, not harm, the child.

I am reminded of abusers who tell their wives as they beat them: I didn’t hit you that hard, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I wouldn’t

have to do this if you hadn’t said that/done that/stepped out of line, etc. The difference with adults is that they are told in court that there is no excuse for abuse – period.

What recourse does a child have with regard to violence perpetrated by his or her parents? And if the wooden spoon doesn’t work, what’s the next step? A strap? A whip? A fist?

Once you begin to incorporate violence into a relationship with someone you supposedly love, you have contaminated it and started to teach that violence and love go together. No matter how pure our motive, where did we ever get the notion that it was OK to beat our children with a wooden spoon?

What are we teaching our loved ones about healthy relationships and healthy ways to discipline when we hit? Are we not teaching them to equate love with violence?

That’s what Nick Ladany, dean of education and psychological counseling at Santa Clara University, said. Ladany claims that spanking is the “last resort of the incompetent. If we’re not competent as parents, then we do resort to violence.”

We learn what love is not just by words, but also by behaviors. How do we show love? A kiss, a hug, an embrace. How do we show its opposite? A blow, a beating, violence. That can’t also be love.

You can’t jam two mutually exclusive concepts together – love and violence – in a single word and call it “discipline.” Even toddlers are taught the rule: “No hitting. Use your words.”

We expect that parental figures will protect their children. When guardians fail, when courts rule unwisely, when parents lobby for the right to hit/hurt/bruise/do violence in the name of discipline, who will protect the children from their parents?

Ruth Patrick, M.A., is a domestic violence consultant with the Los Altos Community Foundation’s nonprofit WomenSV program, which received the 2013 award for Outstanding Community Service from the Santa Clara County Psychological Association. For more information, visit losaltoscf.org/womensv.

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