01162017Mon
Last updateTue, 10 Jan 2017 4pm

News

It's official, really -- Eng wins seat on LA council


 

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters confirmed last week that Lynette Lee Eng won the hotly contested third open seat on the Los Altos City Council.

Incumbent councilwomen Jan Pepper and Jeannie Bruins were the top two vote-getters...

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Schools

Rullo brings more cheer to Mtn. View High cheerleading squad

Rullo brings more cheer to Mtn. View High cheerleading squad


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High School junior Anneli Rullo, center, cheers with her fellow squad members at a football game in November.

After cheering for her brother, who was quarterback of the Los Altos High football team at the t...

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Community

Rogue runners invade Los Altos

Rogue runners invade Los Altos


 

The annual New Year’s Day fun run, this year with the theme “Rogue Run,” drew roughly 800-900 participants to downtown Los Altos, above, according to Los Altos Recreation & Community Services organizers. Adopting a theme from the late...

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Sports

LA girls hang on to edge Matadors

LA girls hang on to edge Matadors


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior point guard Alyssa Cortinas drives to the basket in Friday night’s game against Monta Vista. She scored a team-high 12 points in the Eagles’ league-opening win.

After its double-digit lea...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Accusation of atheism ‘mean-spirited’ bullying

May I remind William F. Moniz concerning his truly mean-spirited diatribe in the Dec. 21 Town Crier (“No sympathy for the politically correct”) that it may be that (to quote his ...

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Special Sections

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Lloyd Lettis, 96, of Mountain View plays tennis three days a week at Los Altos High School.

Ninety-six-year-old Mountain View resident Lloyd Lettis seems to have a gene for longevity. And one for farming. And another for t...

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Business

Local 3-story homes have complicated history

Local 3-story homes have complicated history


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
A new three-story home going up on Fairway Drive in Los Altos is subject to county zoning.

Arthur Meyers was out walking before Christmas when he noticed what he thought was a three-story home on Fairway Drive, near Los Altos G...

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People

MARALYNN V. SANT 1923 – 2016

MARALYNN V. SANT 1923 – 2016

Maralynn Maude Viersen Sant passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 31, 2016 of pancreatic cancer.

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News

It's official, really -- Eng wins seat on LA council


 

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters confirmed last week that Lynette Lee Eng won the hotly contested third open seat on the Los Altos City Council.

Incumbent councilwomen Jan Pepper and Jeannie Bruins were the top two vote-getters, respectively, in the Nov. 8 election. The vote c...

Readmore

Business

Local 3-story homes have complicated history

Local 3-story homes have complicated history

Asher Kohn/Town Crier
A new three-story home going up on Fairway Drive in Los Altos is subject to county zoning.

Arthur Meyers was out walking before Christmas when he noticed what he thought was a three-story home on Fairway Drive, near Los Altos Golf & Country Club.

“They don’t h...

Readmore

Sports

LA girls hang on to edge Matadors

LA girls hang on to edge Matadors

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior point guard Alyssa Cortinas drives to the basket in Friday night’s game against Monta Vista. She scored a team-high 12 points in the Eagles’ league-opening win.

After its double-digit lead dwindled to four points late in the fourth quart...

Readmore

Community

Rogue runners invade Los Altos

Rogue runners invade Los Altos

 

The annual New Year’s Day fun run, this year with the theme “Rogue Run,” drew roughly 800-900 participants to downtown Los Altos, above, according to Los Altos Recreation & Community Services organizers. Adopting a theme from the latest Star Wars movie, “Rogue One,” the 5K run and wa...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Accusation of atheism ‘mean-spirited’ bullying

May I remind William F. Moniz concerning his truly mean-spirited diatribe in the Dec. 21 Town Crier (“No sympathy for the politically correct”) that it may be that (to quote his exact words): “This is and always has been a...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Woman founds nonprofit with a vision to end sexual violence: Spiritual Perspective

Nikole Lim has a vision – to end the cycle of sexual violence everywhere.

What motivated a young woman who grew up in the Bay Area and attended film school in Los Angeles to chase such a difficult goal – and to start in Africa?

Readmore

People

MARALYNN V. SANT 1923 – 2016

MARALYNN V. SANT 1923 – 2016

Maralynn Maude Viersen Sant passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 31, 2016 of pancreatic cancer.

Readmore

Schools

Rullo brings more cheer to Mtn. View High cheerleading squad

Rullo brings more cheer to Mtn. View High cheerleading squad

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High School junior Anneli Rullo, center, cheers with her fellow squad members at a football game in November.

After cheering for her brother, who was quarterback of the Los Altos High football team at the time, 6-year-old Anneli Rullo knew she wanted to be...

Readmore

Special Sections

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes

Mountain View nonagenarian enjoys the luck of the genes

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Lloyd Lettis, 96, of Mountain View plays tennis three days a week at Los Altos High School.

Ninety-six-year-old Mountain View resident Lloyd Lettis seems to have a gene for longevity. And one for farming. And another for travel.

He calls himself “lucky” in hi...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks opens its 'Heart'

TheatreWorks opens its 'Heart'

Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Sisters Meg (Sarah Moser, left), Lenny (Therese Plaehn, center) and Babe (Lizzie O’Hara) celebrate a birthday in a scene from TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “Crimes of the Heart.”

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents “Crimes of the Heart,” a play scheduled t...

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Obituaries

MARALYNN V. SANT 1923 – 2016

MARALYNN V. SANT 1923 – 2016

Maralynn Maude Viersen Sant passed away in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 31, 2016 of pancreatic cancer.

Readmore

Magazine

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Holidays in the heat: Commemorate Christmas south of the equator

Courtesy of Camping
Patrons of Camping, a restaurant in Buenos Aires, enjoy the warm weather during last year’s holiday season.

When I relocated from Mountain View to Buenos Aires in July, I knew I’d be stepping into winter. I packed my rain boots and heavy coat, and I set aside my longing for a p...

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Bridging the digital divide, one laptop at a time


Photo By: Photo by Corinne Finegan Machatzke/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Photo By Corinne Finegan Machatzke/Special To The Town Crier Silicon for Society volunteer and Los Altos High student Jordan Stout explains a computer concept with help from Almond parent and volunteer interpreter Bertha Vera to Almond parent Sonia Garcia.

One day several years ago, then-Los Altos High School student Jack Montgomery and his classmates handed in their AP English papers. The students, by and large, typed their papers on home computers and neatly printed them out. One paper, however, was handwritten.

Montgomery was surprised to learn that day that his classmate didn’t have a computer at home. He and his friend, Tyler Stout, couldn’t believe that in the middle of Silicon Valley, access to technology wasn’t a given.

The two determined to do something to help level the playing field for their fellow students, subsequently launching Silicon for Society, a nonprofit organization that donates computers to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them and provides tutoring to teach them how to use them.

An essential part of the curriculum

Flash forward to a recent Saturday afternoon at Almond School in Los Altos. Two Silicon for Society volunteers – Los Altos High juniors Jordan Stout, younger brother of founder Tyler, and Cole Limbach – ran the second of three computer-training sessions for six Almond parents, all English-language learners.

An equal number of Almond parent volunteers joined them working one-on-one, translating that day’s lesson, “How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation,” from English to Spanish. The previous Saturday’s training focused on basic computer skills such as creating and saving documents.

Some attendees had never used a computer.

As Sonia Garcia, parent of Almond students in the first and sixth grades, related via volunteer interpreter Juan Cesares, “It’s very interesting. I have never taken a class like this and I’m learning a lot. Now I will be able to help my children.”

Almond principal Nancy Davis, who invited Silicon for Society to conduct the sessions for the families, said the school initially focused on fifth- and sixth-grade families, as computers become an essential part of the curriculum in those years. But some of the families receiving the lessons and laptops have younger children, too, so they’ll also benefit, she added.

“We are creating a progressive 21st-century education for our students,” Davis said. “In order to equalize opportunity, we need to ensure access to the tools that support academic success for all students.”

After a third session focused on navigating the Internet and the successful completion of a review test – retakes and supplemental training are available as needed – attendees will receive free laptops delivered to their homes.

Silicon for Society volunteers set up the laptops in the optimal location to access the free Wi-Fi that Google Inc. provides for the city of Mountain View. Attendees also receive a manual and the phone number of a Silicon for Society volunteer for ongoing technical support.

Ongoing training and support

“The most amazing thing is the (Los Altos High students) realized that you can’t hand someone a box and say, ‘Good luck,’” said Janine Wulfsohn, volunteer interpreter at the Almond session and co-chairwoman of Almond’s Translation Committee. “They got from the get-go that you need to also provide a whole series of training. They wrote a manual they use for leading sessions and to train other trainers. It’s a codified, organized class with a specific curriculum. They were just sophomores when they started.”

Wulfsohn said her sixth-grader receives all of his assignments through Edmodo, a private site similar to Facebook. Students are able to ask their teacher questions from home via the site.

“If he didn’t have a computer, he would miss all of this,” she said. “To bring the laptops into people’s homes who don’t have one brings them up to speed with everyone else. At our local middle school, Egan, homework assignments are available online. It’s very hard to be a student without a computer. They have to stay at school after hours to try to finish their work.”

Davis said she sees the program as a win all around. In addition to the families and students benefiting from receiving the technology training and laptops, she sees the student-trainers gaining, too.

“For the high school students who are training others, the benefits are two-fold,” she said. “The students gain a great deal, plus they’re training other young entrepreneurs in teaching techniques and how to continue this essential program.”

Los Altos High School volunteers train their fellow students in computer and Internet use over the course of six 45-minute sessions after school.

“Thankfully, our biggest challenge right now is trying to find students,” Jordan Stout said. “Los Altos is doing well right now, but we need more laptops to help other schools. Our goal is to empower underprivileged youth through the use of technology. A lot of students don’t have the same technology advantages as their classmates. Not having access to technology is a huge impediment to being able to apply to college and get better grades in high school.”

Silicon for Society comprises its two founders, now both in college, several Los Altos High School students and a volunteer at Steve Jobs’ alma mater, Homestead High School. It is affiliated with the nonprofit Los Altos Community Foundation, enabling tax-deductible donations.

Silicon for Society volunteers erase the hard drives of donated laptops and load the Linux operating system. Laptop donations have come from individuals and most recently a local hospice. The group has distributed 30 laptops to date and trained 34 individuals in addition to the six Almond families currently undergoing training.

“I’d like to see it expand beyond our core group of volunteers and to other local schools,” Jordan Stout said. “The more volunteers and laptops we have, the more students we can help.”

To donate a laptop or for more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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