Tue04152014

Community

Historian reflects on lessons people can learn from past presidents


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Famed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin signs copies of her latest book last week in Los Altos.

Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin shared stories of politics and baseball at the Celebrity Forum Speakers Series last week, her third appearance in the past 18 years.

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Ventana students spearhead native grassland revival at Redwood Grove


OF SARA BOADWEE Ventana School teacher Harfijah Oliver and her students discuss ways to identify different grasses at Redwood Grove. Pictured are, clockwise from bottom: Jack Merrifield, Payton Eike, Oliver, Weston Little, Tessa Calado, Ben Lamm, Ryan Merrifield and Julie Towner.

In a corner of Redwood Grove Nature Preserve, clumps of Purple Needlegrass grow for the first time in years, due to the efforts of third- and fourth-graders from Ventana School in Los Altos.

The project launched in September when their teacher, Harfijah Oliver, challenged students to consider the questions “Who am I?” and “Who are we?” Teachers at Ventana build curriculum around big, open-ended ideas that students explore throughout the year, and that often inspire in-depth projects.

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Westwind program seeks volunteers

Westwind 4-H Horse Riding for the Disabled has scheduled a volunteer orientation and training session noon Saturday at Westwind Community Barn, 27210 Altamont Road, Los Altos Hills.

Volunteers care for the horses and assist in leading or side-walking horses during lessons. No previous experience is necessary. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old.

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Animal Assisted Happiness measures success by the smile


Photos courtesy of Animal Assisted Happiness
Animal Assisted Happiness co-founder Vicki Amon Higa, in green, escorts a young rider on a miniature horse. The nonprofit organization provides opportunities for children to interact with animals.

If the mere thought of a sheep, goat, pig or miniature horse makes you smile, imagine the impact on a curious child, a lonely senior citizen or an injured veteran when he or she comes into direct contact with animals.

The Los Altos-based nonprofit Animal Assisted Happiness (AAH) facilitates that contact. The group’s mission statement is in the name itself: to bring joy and, at times, a much-needed therapeutic lift with the aid of some four-legged friends. Contact with animals is a huge benefit for the special-needs community, whose members often feel marginalized because of their disabilities.

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Los Altos Golf & Country Club primps, expands with new $14 million facelift


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The new Sequoia Room at Los Altos Golf & Country Club accommodates up to 120 people.

Proving the adage that some things improve with age, Los Altos Golf & Country Club recently completed a $14.1 million addition and renovation on the heels of its 90th birthday.

Although the 155-acre facility has undergone numerous remodels since its establishment off Loyola Drive in the unincorporated area near Los Altos in 1923, the latest additions expand facilities and upgrade amenities for the club’s 425 proprietary members, social members and special-event guests.

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'FBI's Indiana Jones' tells tales of art heists


Wittman

Robert Wittman, billed as the “FBI’s Indiana Jones,” addressed the Morning Forum of Los Altos March 18, telling true tales about tracking down art thieves.

His presentation, “USA vs. Art Thieves: True Tales from the FBI’s Real Indiana Jones,” highlighted his 20-year career with the FBI, during which he recovered more than $300 million worth of stolen art and cultural property.

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