Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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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

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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