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News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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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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Resident advocates for Cambodian immigrants: Resident Profile


Apala Egan/Special to the Town Crier
Usha Welaratna of Los Altos authored “Beyond the Killing Fields: Voices of Nine Cambodian Survivors in America.” Now retired, she teaches meditation through the city of Los Altos.

Advocating for Cambodian immigrants and teaching meditation are twin passions of longtime Los Altos resident Usha Welaratna.

Welaratna learned of the plight of Cambodian refugees while teaching anthropology at San Jose State University several years ago. Cambodians celebrate Buddhist festivals similar to those in her native Sri Lanka.

Like other newcomers to the United States, many Cambodians struggle with adapting to the language and culture.

Survivors of the Pol Pot regime’s concentration camps, the immigrants suffered from depression and other mental-health problems. Because their native language is Khmer, and many of the older generation speak French, they have difficulty assimilating.

An immigrant herself, Welaratna was attuned to the obstacles that immigrants face and determined to channel her efforts toward helping Cambodian refugees integrate into their new society. She worked extensively with Cambodian immigrants, encouraging cultural and family activities.

Welaratna chronicled her experiences in a book, “Beyond the Killing Fields: Voices of Nine Cambodian Survivors in America” (Stanford University Press, 1993).

She also helped local Cambodians establish children’s programs.

“She gave us advice, ideas and was very helpful,” said Sophany Bay, a native of Cambodia who now lives in San Jose. “She visited our temple several times.”

Retired from San Jose State University, Welaratna continues to teach, but not anthropology. Los Altos residents can find her at Hillview Community Center teaching meditation, which she has practiced since childhood. She underwent formal training at the Bhavana Society’s Meditation Center in West Virginia.

Many people believe that meditation involves sitting, Welaratna said, but walking meditation, which she teaches as well, is also an option.

“You don’t have to be Buddhist to practice meditation – it is for everyone,” she said. “People may need to focus their minds on a particular object – you can use a picture of a saint or a flower.”

Welaratna is scheduled to teach Mindfulness Meditation courses 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays Feb. 4 through March 25 and 3-5 p.m. Thursdays Feb. 6 through March 27 in Room 2 at Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos.

For more information, visit losaltosrecreation.org.

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