Fri02122016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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To do or not do, to like or not like

Reflections

Like Tevya In "Fiddler On the Roof," I have a constant dilemma: making up my mind. Tevya sets up one side of a question, makes up his mind, then says,"On the other hand ..." I understand him completely. A mind that balances both sides of an issue finds it difficult to make a decision.

In my days of grading student essays, I'd anguish over choosing a high grade for creativity and logic vs. a lower one for frequent errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. It wasn't only a professional judgment on my part, but also the ever-present compassion. This student was someone's child, with feelings of pain and loss of self-respect if dealt the lower grade.

The pain became mine, however, because of the need to reread each paper several times before my professional judgment won out. At least I decided to use green or purple ink rather than the blood-red marks all over the paper. I knew also that students counted the "goods" and "well-dones" in the margin that helped to soften the "needs more work" or "How about a specific example?" scribbled in other places. I could not, in good conscience, ignore the errors, hearing in my head parents' shocked comments or the weary complaints of college English teachers who felt that we forced them to do remedial work.

Other judgment calls put me on the fence as well. As a drama critic, I must evaluate the success of local theater groups in presenting the opening of a new play. To be supremely objective, one must divorce oneself from audience reaction, personal favorites or the opinions of fellow critics.

Recently, I praised the musical "Raisin" for its sincere adaptation of "Raisin in the Sun," which I had taught many times. Should I carp at some of the singing that sounded a bit strained or at the contrast between the raucous music and the emotional story? The worst scenario occurred when a fellow critic blasted the production as "dated" and some friends agreed. Wait a minute. The audience can recognize a play's themes even if time has changed the way history views the passions of the black American characters in Lorraine Hansberry's drama. Can one say that "Saving Private Ryan" is dated because of the language of some of the GIs?

As a former film reviewer, I find it hard to view a film dispassionately. We went to see "There's Something About Mary," fully expecting to laugh and relax as Siskel and Ebert promised we would. We left the theater disgruntled and annoyed with the inanity of the plot and the antics of the characters, not one of whom we could find sympathetic. For once I had no problems making up my mind. Boo, hiss!

Unhappily, I find that I have joined the majority in judging Bill Clinton. I went from a very naive belief in our president's denial of wrongdoing to painful cynicism when the tawdry details came out. Being on the fence in this case proved terribly destructive to my belief in Clinton's public statements. Wanting something to be true does not prove to be an intelligent way to evaluate an important problem. How can one trust a liar, a public liar at that? It didn't help to be aware of President Kennedy's amoral behavior or of President Roosevelt's dancing around the horrors of the Holocaust. Most of those revelations came out long after their time in office.

I suspect my Tevya-like balancing act will always be part of my need to evaluate our times. Uncomfortable as it may be to stand alone, I realize I find it hard to divorce my judgments from my instincts to see the world in a positive way.

I value the words of Thoreau:

If a man does not keep

pace with his companions,

perhaps it is because

he hears a different drummer.

Let him step to the music

he hears,

however measured or far away.

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