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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Valuable lessons Ive learned at Canyon Creek Ranch

I have learned invaluable lessons in my 40-year association with the family that operates the Canyon Creek Ranch in Northern California.

This suburban kid can buck a bale, pluck a chicken and chop a pile of wood. I would have never learned the true meaning of hamburger without the experience of hanging around ranchers through the cycle of their year.

Yet the most essential teachings have come from the core values of everyday life on The Ranch, which can be heard again and again, especially as elders teach their children. Consider two of the most important.

‘Put things back where you found them’

The Ten Commandments conclude with “Thou Shalt Not Covet.” It assumes the human trait that sees what another has with envy, if not lust.

On a ranch, it is essential that one share what one possesses when appropriate. This is how tools are tested and improved. How young ones learn to use them. Neighbors share essential supplies if a neighbor runs out and essential equipment when cost-effective.

One of the key rules of such an exchange is the agreement to return the property exactly where it belongs. If you can’t find the shovel when a fire breaks out, the bucket for the table scraps to feed the chickens or your cellphone when the baby is about to be born ... well, on a ranch, and it is true of any place, things often have a place related to their function.

Respecting another’s property, its place and function and returning it to its owner is the opposite of coveting. Because when you put things back where you found them, you honor the person and relationship and your own integrity in the process.

Isn’t that true for relationships as well as things?

‘Clean up your mess’

It is difficult to learn anything on a ranch without making a mess, especially the first time you try it. That’s true of baking a pie, chopping wood, stacking hay or putting a horse away after a day’s riding. It is very appropriate to make a mess as one learns one’s way. My experience of ranchers is that there is a huge code of patience and grace allowing one to do so.

What isn’t tolerated is any sense that you could walk away from your mess and expect someone else to clean it up. Taking responsibility for your actions is an essential part of learning. It is also an essential measure of human maturity.

How many relationships could be saved, how many academic careers could be advanced, how many sleepless nights could be avoided if we simply found the conviction to clean up our own messes?

What did Jesus say?

“Look at the log in your own eye before you point out the splinter in the eye of someone else.” – Matthew 7:5

The only harm in making a mess is running away from it.

The Rev. Mark S. Bollwinkel is senior pastor of Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave. For more information, visit laumc.org.

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