Mon09222014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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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

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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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High school district partners with MVLA Community Scholars


Barry Groves and Dee Gibson

Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, recently called MVLA Community Scholars the “difference maker” for local first-generation-to-college students. The program is one of the Los Altos Community Foundation’s social initiatives that serve the area.

Groves explained his comment in the following interview with MVLA Community Scholars board member Carolyn Pierce.

Groves: As a school district, our primary mission is to get students ready for college and career ... and that’s for all students. Sometimes we are more successful with students who have support at home and live in environments where their parents know the (college) process. That means we have to put additional resources and use different strategies to prepare more of those first-generation students for college. You can’t expect them to make up that achievement gap (without help). That is why we have a Tutorial Center, a library and a College and Career Center that are open extended hours.

Pierce: Many of these first-generation students have multiple obstacles. English may be their second language, some are undocumented and most families have a very low combined income. Some teens are already living on their own, some have experienced abuse or parental addiction. A few have even been major providers for their families. It would be difficult for any low-income family to lose valuable financial resources, and unthinkable that they would be able to pay for a college degree.

Groves: So, at one Saturday morning meeting ... we asked ourselves the question, could we do more for these traditionally underrepresented students? Dee Gibson of MVLA Community Scholars had an answer. Her group would find and train mentors to guide seniors through the college application process. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community. They literally rushed forward to work with these students. This community is amazing. ... It is the most empathetic, caring community in which I have ever been involved.

Since its inception, MVLA Community Scholars has provided four-year scholarships and individual mentoring for low-income, high-potential local students. Over time, as a practical expression of its mission, MVLA Community Scholars extended existing programs to include mentoring high school AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) juniors and seniors for college and financial-aid application preparation, SAT training, summer internship assistance and a financial educational program in partnership with Opportunity Fund (OF). After passing an approved course in finances, students may deposit funds into a savings account for college. Up to $2,000 is double-matched by OF to accumulate a potential total of $6,000 in savings for college expenses.

Groves: It is important for (students) to know that if they get the grades and classes, we are going to find a way to help. That is great motivation for ... some to get into college, but others see that anybody can do it, given the determination to stick with the work and the procedures.

Pierce: Do you think students know about the assistance MVLA Community Scholars provides?

Groves: I think you are doing a great job ... absolutely. When it is time to apply to colleges and for scholarships, there has been an increase in the number and quality of applications submitted. Plus, more students are applying to colleges appropriate to their GPAs, interests and finances. It is very powerful to see. Students are noticing that their peers, who come from circumstances very similar to theirs, are graduating and going on to college. They know the families do not have the financial resources but have been able to put the resources together with help from MVLA Scholars.

Pierce: Why is MVLA Community Scholars, in particular, seen as an exceptional resource for the district? Could we be doing more?

Groves: I think MVLA Community Scholars is the difference-maker for many of our students. Many of our students could not attend college without the additional support – in the mentoring, high school through college, and the financial assistance. MVLA Community Scholars is very unique in that it gives four-year scholarships. This year 22 students earned scholarships. I’ve been a reader for scholarship applications and you could find 100 students each year with the academic credentials and financial need. Without scholarships, well, they would be making other choices.

MVLA Community Scholars raises funds for scholarships annually. The entire amount of each student’s four-year scholarship is put into a trust before another scholarship can be awarded. The organization has no paid staff. For one scholarship, averaging $3,500 per year for four years, MVLA Community Scholars must raise $14,000. Last year 22 scholarships were disbursed, but 78 more students could have been served had funds been available.

For more information, visit mvlacommunityscholars.org.

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