Sun10262014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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