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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Author Zuckerberg helps parents balance child rearing and technology


Courtesy of FACEBOOK
Randi Zuckerberg’s Facebook page features this shot of the author with her “Dot” books, which explore the benefits of balancing the role technology plays in family life.

With coding courses increasingly part of the curriculum from elementary school through college and mobile phones a staple in the backpacks of most students, technology has become second nature to children, as common as their first language.

“Silicon Valley is more tech savvy, but we worry about how tech is affecting our children and our careers,” reflected Los Altos author and entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg in an interview with the Town Crier.

She noted the quandary many parents face when deciding the role digital tools should play in their families’ lives.

“Everyone seems to be grappling with this problem,” Zuckerberg said. “Even if you don’t know anything about (technology), our children are digital natives.”

While working alongside her brother, Mark, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, Zuckerberg witnessed social media’s coming of age. Even though much of her professional work centers on using digital tools to market products and people, her most recent endeavors pay homage to the value of time spent away from technology.

What started as a “Dear Abby”-style blog with resources for helping parents and grandparents navigate the evolving role of technology in children’s lives morphed into two books that hit bookstores last month.

Zuckerberg’s children’s picture book, “Dot.” (HarperCollins, 2013), illustrates the fusion between technology and play. “Dot.” complements her book for adults, “Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives” (HarperCollins, 2013), which explores the role of technology in her career and family life.

Zuckerberg embraces digital tools as much as any fast-paced mother and business owner, but her books share insight into how she breaks away from the screen to immerse herself in real life.

One might expect a pioneering tech entrepreneur to publish her books exclusively as online downloads for digital reading on the Kindle and iPad (both books are available in these media), but Zuckerberg intentionally chose to publish printed books that are available at bookstores across the country and internationally. Her publishing choice stays true to her theme of unplugging from technology.

“I definitely think that the print book is not going anywhere,” said Zuckerberg of her appreciation of the traditional publishing medium of ink on paper. “There is so much content online that it doesn’t feel that special.”

Giving devices a curfew

Finding the perfect balance between too much and too little technology is a challenge for parents who want the best for their children.

“Children today need digital literacy,” Zuckerberg said. “But you want to make sure that you’re not getting them in front of tech so much that they don’t have real- world skills.”

Zuckerberg sets clear boundaries for her toddler son when it comes to using technology and emphasizes the need for social engagement and play.

“My general rule is that if he’s going to be using my phone or tablet, he has to be doing something that is enriching his mind,” she said of her son. “It’s for special occasions, not a habit.”

As a mom, she also watches her own behavior to ensure that she’s not setting a bad example for her son. That’s one reason Zuckerberg gives her phone a curfew as much as possible when with her family. She’s also devised creative ways to encourage others to join her digital diet.

She plays a game – Phone Stacking – when hosting guests for dinner. After collecting cellphones in a central spot, she challenges guests to forget about their devices – something that’s easier said than done, particularly considering that the average person checks his or her phone 150 times a day, according to a 2013 report by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The guest who reaches for a phone first must wash the dishes.

“I would encourage everyone to take as much unplugged time during the holidays as possible,” Zuckerberg said. “Research shows that we come back a lot more focused when we unplug.”

Offline in Los Altos

Although Zuckerberg’s jet-setting schedule leads her all over the world for work commitments and book tours, when she’s at home in Los Altos, she finds it easy to give technology a break.

“Because everyone knows each other, it definitely encourages someone to unplug some more,” said Zuckerberg, who tries to leave her phone at home when she’s downtown.

In addition to visits to Linden Tree Books, where her books are sold, Zuckerberg likes to take long family walks around town to her family’s favorite stops: Shoup Park and Bumble.

Zuckerberg said she prefers the engaged nature of Los Altos residents compared with other Bay Area cities she’s called home.

“If we bump into each other,” she said, “we hope you’ll look up from your phone and say hi.”

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