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News

Council seeks more options for community center

Council seeks more options for community center


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council approved an appropriation to examine options for a new community center to replace the aging Hillview facility.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted narrowly in favor of examining further opti...

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Schools

Local schools participate in  national Hour of Code activities

Local schools participate in national Hour of Code activities


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Himan Shu Raj, a volunteer from Microsoft, advises Los Altos High ninth-graders, from left, Serhat Suzer, Jamie Bennett and Chris Yang as they participate in the school’s Hour of Code Showcase.

Local schools participa...

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Community

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Take a dive into the holiday archive

Town Crier staff made a quick cruise back through the newspaper's archives to find some late-December reading as inspiration for eating, drinking, decorating and more:

Beloved holiday books build the spirit of the season and staff at Los Altos’ Li...

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Sports

Pinewood poised for another title run

Pinewood poised for another title run


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pinewood’s girls basketball team is receiving contributions from several new players, including freshman Stella Kailahi, above.

Complacency shouldn’t be a problem for the defending Division V state champion Pinewood S...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Ticket motorists for U-turns on Main Street

As I was walking downtown on Main Street recently, something came to me out of the blue. The town of Los Altos is missing out on a huge revenue stream. I realized that if all the cars – there were th...

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Special Sections

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead


s in line to be mayor of Mountain View in 2015.

Mountain View anticipates the following changes in 2015:

• Beginning Jan. 1, Mountain View City Councilmembers will receive a raise to $1,000 per month as a result of the passage of Measure A in...

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Business

Your 2015 stock market game plan

It’s been a maddening month because of oil and gas, especially in stocks and bonds. Then, consumer spending pushed stocks higher Thursday, easing investors’ jitters about the global economy and prompting them to consider how to invest in ...

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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

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

SANGEETA SACHDEVA

Sangeeta Sachdeva, 55, wife of Subhash Sachdeva and mother to Natasha and Tanya, died at 8:54pm, Sunday, December 7, 2014 from respiratory failure.

Sangeeta was born on October 18, 1959 in Delhi, India. She was born to Moti Sagar and Raj Kapoor an...

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Travel

South Tahoe renovations enhance off-mountain seasonal fun

As any enthusiast knows well, there is more to the enjoyment of winter sports than skiing or snowboarding.

While many winter resorts make minor upgrades each season, the off-mountain attractions and amenities can be as enticing as the activities on ...

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Stepping Out

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday

Aurora Singers to emit 'Musical Glow' Friday


courtesy of Aurora Singers
The Aurora Singers are scheduled to perform a seasonal concert Friday night in Palo Alto.

The Aurora Singers’ “Winter’s Musical Glow” holiday concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pal...

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Spiritual Life

Enter the superhero: Finding the God who loves you

In my life-coaching practice, I see a lot of pain. Much of it stems from fear and guilt, often expressed as low self-esteem, anxiety, a lack of forgiveness both for oneself and others, anger – and so on.

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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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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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