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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St. Nicholas students give back through the Morgan Autism Center

SCH MAC Eric and Christian PangrazioAs a part of St. Nicholas School’s outreach program, seventh- and eighth-grade students visit and interact with students at the Morgan Autism Center throughout the year.

Sent in groups of four, the St. Nicholas students travel to the San Jose facility to work and interact with Morgan Autism Center children.

The Center is a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and adult clients with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability found in children with 24,000 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer and childhood AIDS combined.

In California, the caseload has tripled in the eight years between 2002 and 2010, recording a growth from 17,000 to more than 60,000.

“The students at St. Nicholas gain an appreciation, a tolerance and an understanding of children with developmental disabilities,” said Liz Fraiser, a parent who helps organize the visits. “It can be mysterious to them, but they understand that these kids deserve love and respect. You can talk about it, but when they work side by side they really get it.”

The small group helps create a calm and intimate atmosphere for the students to work with the developmentally delayed and autistic students. While at the center, they work on everything from basic eye contact and social skills to crafts and puzzles.

“The Morgan Autism students are always very excited to see our St. Nicholas students and often tell them how much they love them,” Fraiser said. “The St. Nicholas students are very supportive and encouraging.”

One tradition the students often join in is the “Woo Hoo” dance – a festive celebration after students complete a task.

“There is not a time when I do not leave the Morgan Autism kids without a lump in my throat,” Fraiser said. “It is truly a spiritual experience.”

The St. Nicholas students value their time with the Morgan Autism students as well.

“Interacting and bonding with the autistic teenagers was a moving experience that I have cherished,” said St. Nicholas eighth-grader Annie Gallivan. “Spending time with them and getting to know each individual was a lot of fun, and we mutually never failed to put smiles on each other’s faces.”

And the Center students benefit from the unique experience with mainstream students, said Sally Hird, an assistant teacher at the Morgan Autism Center.

“The most important benefit is being able to interact with a typical peer,” she said. “A lot of our students have no other chance to develop friendships with typical peers. They are basically at school with the same types of students. Just being with peers who can speak and tell them jokes and show them how to do things is very wonderful.”

Outreach and community service is an integral part of the St. Nicholas School education. Students work on community service and giving-back projects throughout their years at St. Nicholas and by seventh and eighth grades, they may work with the students at the Center.

Fraiser said that by junior high the students are prepared to give back in a more interactive fashion.

The Morgan Autism Center and St. Nicholas School have a special relationship, which has reached beyond the classroom visits. Last year when the center was looking for creative fundraising ideas, musically inclined St. Nicholas dads stepped up and volunteered to present a restaurant dinner and band concert as a fundraiser.

“It was a great celebration and many Morgan Autism teachers and administrators came and danced the night away with our St. Nicholas parents,” Fraiser said. “All in celebration of this event to help the kids. There is truly a special relationship between these two schools.”

For more information, visit stnicholaslah.com and morgancenter.org.

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