Wed07302014

Community

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 cream into waffle cones in the staff room of Akraya Inc. in Sunnyvale. It’s not a birthday celebration, but a gathering to honor international friendships.

For one week, the Silicon Valley staffing firm – co-founded in 2002 by Los Altos residents Sonu Ratra and her husband, Amar Panchal – is mentoring two women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan and Rwanda through the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women and its Peace Through Business program.

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Local judge teaches lesson in civil rights at Los Altos Rotary Club


Courtesy of Randy Gard
Len Edwards addresses Los Altos Rotarians July 17.

Retired Superior Court Judge Len Edwards taught a living history lesson to the Rotary Club of Los Altos July 17 as he described his personal experiences as an early participant in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi.

During the summer of 1964, Edwards traveled to the South to fight for blacks’ right to register to vote. He has seen dramatic changes since then.

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'Downton Abbey' replicated for Los Altos fundraiser


Courtesy of Nomi Trapnell
Doris and Kristen Fuller, from left, flank Lord Grantham, who graces the 7-foot-by-30-foot backdrop featuring other “Downton Abbey” characters at the Los Altos History Museum fundraiser.

Fans of the PBS series “Downton Abbey” turned out by the dozens for the July 19 Los Altos History Museum fundraiser held at the home of Nomi and Fritz Trapnell.

“We had about 80 people, almost all in costume,” said Nomi, president of the museum’s board of directors. “They really got into the history and had fun with it.”

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Byrne Brigade clears the way for native plants



Members of the Byrne Brigade have gathered weekly since the end of June to clear non-native plants and excess brush from the Los Altos Hills preserve. Acterra, which has a contract with the town to rid the area of invasive plant species, coordinates the volunteers. Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier

The proliferation of mustard weeds and star thistles in local open spaces may soon be on the decline, thanks in part to the efforts of Acterra and the Byrne Brigade.

Since the end of June, the group of local volunteers has gathered weekly at Los Altos Hills’ Byrne Preserve to clear non-native plants and excess brush.

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Battery recycling program lives on with new volunteers


Grant and Elvin Chen

Two new volunteers have stepped up to recharge the local battery recycling program.

In the June 25 Town Crier, Los Altos brothers Matthew and Peter Farmer issued a plea for a successor to oversee the program. Local residents drop off their used batteries at the Los Altos Library, and volunteers collect and sort them weekly and drop them off at the Sunnyvale Recycling Center monthly.

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Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood staple stretching back five generations – and they’ve broken precedent to do it.

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company partnered to stage the “The Wizard of the Oz” at Bus Barn Theater. Although they’ve shared the same performance space for nearly two decades, this is the first time the companies have collaborated. The show had its opening gala last weekend and runs through Aug. 3.

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