Sat01242015

News

UPDATED: Missing Los Altos High School student found

UPDATED at 10:20 p.m. Jan. 21: Mountain View Police report that Avendano is safe after being located in Los Angeles County.

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The Mountain View Police Department is looking for 17 year-old Mountain View resident Lizbeth Avendano. Accordin...

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Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Woman on a mission: Littlejohn wages campaign against gendercide

Reggie Littlejohn is a woman on a mission. Her life is an amazing journey from atheist to believer, from litigator to international-rights advocate, from a person with boundless energy to a bedridden patient for five years – then back again to world traveler, leader, screenwriter and public speaker.

She views her path as part of God’s plan to give her the passion and skills to shed light on abuses done to women and girls worldwide, especially in China.

From atheist to believer

Although Littlejohn grew up in a Christian home, at age 16 she announced to her parents that she was an atheist and refused to go to church. She moved from an atheist to an agnostic after she read the Bible for the first time in an ancient literature course in college.

“As I read the Gospel of John, I realized just who this person Jesus was and what he did,” she said. “I told myself, ‘This is not what I rejected.’”

Littlejohn married her college sweetheart. Following graduation, she enrolled at Yale Law School and her husband attended Yale Divinity School. She took a year off from her studies to travel around the world. On two separate trips, Littlejohn had the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa and volunteer with the nun’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta.

After law school, Littlejohn and her husband headed to San Francisco, where she took a position in a major law firm and practiced litigation for eight years. During her time as a litigator, she performed pro bono work helping Chinese refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

“My first refugee was someone who was persecuted as a Christian and forcibly sterilized,” Littlejohn said. “That opened two whole worlds up to me. First, I didn’t know that Christians were persecuted in China. Second, I knew that China had a one-child policy, but I never stopped to think how it was enforced. I did not realize until I represented this first woman that it is enforced through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide. I was utterly appalled.”

A new mission

Littlejohn had two pregnancies end in miscarriage. She believes the pain of the miscarriages sensitized her to the suffering of women losing babies against their will. In 2003, Littlejohn developed multiple breast lumps. She underwent bilateral mastectomies with implant reconstruction. During the surgery, she contracted a staph infection that often proves deadly. She left her practice on medical leave and was disabled for five years. Her time as a patient, however, became a spiritual awakening.

“My mission went from making lots of money as an attorney to helping women and babies devastated by forced abortion and female gendercide in China,” she said.

Littlejohn recounted the unintended consequences of China’s one-child policy – forced abortion, forced sterilization, death from botched procedures. As a result of the policy, there are 37 million more men than women living in China, which in turn has prompted human trafficking, sexual slavery and a high rate of female suicide.

Littlejohn came to realize that a film would be the most powerful way to communicate the devastation caused by China’s one-child-policy, and to move hearts and minds to end it. She wrote “Pearls of China,” a feature-length drama. The script has won numerous awards. She has taken the project through development and is currently raising production funds for the film.

With renewed energy, she founded the nonprofit Women’s Rights without Frontiers in 2008. The organization has been called a leading voice in exposing and opposing forced abortion, gendercide and sexual slavery in China. In addition, the organization is directly saving the lives of girls at risk of sex-selective abortion through its Save a Girl Campaign.

“I see it all as part of God’s plan for me,” Littlejohn said. “Mother Teresa, my illness, the opportunity to represent Chinese refugees as a lawyer, and even my miscarriages. If I had not lost my own babies in miscarriage, I might not have developed the passion to help women who were victims of forced abortion.”

Littlejohn is scheduled to speak at the Silicon Valley Prayer Breakfast March 28. For registration and more information, visit svpb.net/annual_events.

Skip Vaccarello is a longtime Los Altos resident. For more information, visit findinggodinsiliconvalley.com. Vaccarello plans to publish interviews from the site in an upcoming book.

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