Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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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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