Music for Minors harmonizes with schools for nearly four decades

Over the years, Music for Minors has been led by founder Grace Johnston, from left, Cathy Combs, Gunilla Follett and Chris Burke. Town Crier File photo

When the state cut music programs from local schools in the 1970s, Los Altos mom Grace Johnston set out to bridge the gap by founding Music for Minors. Nearly four decades after its 1976 founding, the nonprofit organization is stronger than ever while filling a greater need than ever before.

“The biggest thing (with a long-lived nonprofit) is staying relevant to the community’s needs,” said Sonja Palmer, beginning her fifth year as the organization’s executive director.


Rotary speaker emphasizes community support as crucial to keeping U.S. military forces strong

Chuck Lindauer/Rotary Club of Los Altos
Lt. Col. John Lynch of the U.S. Marine Corps Special Forces, left, served as keynote speaker at the Rotary Club of Los Altos’ Veterans Day luncheon Nov. 13. Pictured with Lynch are Los Altos Rotarians Kendra Gjerseth and Jerry Moison.

Lt. Col. John Lynch of the U.S. Marine Corps Special Forces sees community support as critical to encouraging re-enlistment.

“What separates Americans from the rest of the world is our community spirit, and there is no community more connected to their military than the Californians,” said Lynch, keynote speaker at the Rotary Club of Los Altos’ Veterans Day luncheon Nov. 13.


Affordable ways seniors can winterize homes

Whether your aging loved one lives in an area with four distinct seasons of the year or in milder temperatures year-round, autumn is the ideal time to winterize the home to protect it against the elements and the dipping thermometer.

Preparing for the chilly months may range from a professional furnace check to simply adding weather-stripping around the front door. Although some people on limited incomes think that they can’t afford to winterize, even small steps toward guarding against the elements can prove a cost savings in heating bills and exterior wear and tear to the home.


Abilities United's Authors Luncheon sets new record of $340K

Photos Courtesy of Wendy Kuehnl/Abilities United
Paula Rini of Los Altos, left, and Rachel Segars of Palo Alto served as co-chairwomen of the Authors Luncheon 2014.

Abilities United’s annual Authors Luncheon raised a record $340,000 at the 23rd annual event, held Nov. 1 at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto.


Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One of those things has already arrived.

The center, which assists on-campus veterans in accessing GI benefits, relocated to Building 5400 one week before the start of the fall quarter in mid-September. The new 880-square-foot location is more than double the size of the original office. As a result, the center, which features a lounge, a computer lab and onsite school counselors, has started to gain popularity with on-campus veterans as a social hub where they can do homework, meet fellow veterans or stop by to grab a quick snack.


Downtown College Prep creates nurturing environment for students

Downtown College Prep’s El Camino Middle School students create set-design concepts for an upcoming theater production. Traci Newell/ Town Crier

Downtown College Prep aims to create a safe learning environment for students, beginning in sixth grade and continuing as they work toward graduating from high school.

This year, Downtown College Prep opened its first middle-school program in the San Jose Unified School District at El Camino Middle School.


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