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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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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

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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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

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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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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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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