Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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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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Despite tech advances, need for religion remains, Morning Forum speaker says


Carroll

A globally recognized expert in the philosophy of religion and the role of religion in public life explained to a Morning Forum of Los Altos audience Jan. 21 the enduring role of religion in world affairs.

Jill Carroll, Ph.D., founding director of the Amazing Faiths Project, discussed “The Challenges of Religious Tolerance,” emphasizing that contrary to the predictions of the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries, modernity has not diminished man’s need for religion.

Intellectuals like Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud and most academics who followed them embraced the “secularization thesis,” Carroll said, which assumed that science and economic development would render religion obsolete. They believed that man would no longer need religion, as scientific progress would explain the mysteries of life that had led man to create religion.

In stressing how wrong the believers in the ultimate dominance of secularization were, Carroll borrowed Mark Twain’s famous phrase: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

To demonstrate that the anticipated demise of religion isn’t close to happening, Carroll pointed to a number of religious-based developments, including the rise of global fundamentalism, the return of religion in post-communist countries and the spread of evangelical Christianity throughout Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Unfortunately, Carroll said, most Western policy makers in international affairs were until recently heavily influenced by the assumptions of the secularization thesis. Thus, they were unprepared for the developments of the past 45 years. The Iranian Revolution in 1979, she added, took most Westerners by surprise, as they were astounded that such a developed country with a highly educated population could become an Islamist theocracy.

Carroll quoted from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s book “The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on God, America and World Affairs (Harper, 2006),” in which Albright acknowledges how she and her academic colleagues thought in secular terms about the dynamics of world politics and overlooked the role religion would play in the “clash of civilizations” that followed the end of the Cold War.

Albright now recognizes the challenge “to harness the unifying powers of religion while containing its power to divide.”

While conceding the logic of what she referred to as “religion bashers” like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, Carroll said they miss the point: “Religion is the most successful, meaning-making apparatus humans have ever developed.”

Carroll also explained how the principle of separation of church and state in the United States is rooted in a respect for the importance of religious freedom. In contrast, separation in France, and until recently Turkey, stems from the belief that government needs to protect its citizens from the ravages of religious conflict. This hostility toward religion and the belief that it should remain private – thus the banning of headscarves – is the result of the religious wars between Protestants and Catholics that devastated Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

According to Carroll, the conversation about religion and politics requires an understanding of the relationship between the secular and the sacred, the public and the private. She contended that “if they are properly separated, they can have a positive influence on each other.”

Carroll concluded her talk with the statement that “as long as religion is part of people’s lives, it will be relevant in global affairs.” We can only save ourselves from the devastation wrought by religious conflict by promoting religious tolerance everywhere, she said.

The Morning Forum of Los Altos is a members-only lecture series that meets at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit morningforum.org.

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