Wed05252016

News

FAA report

FAA report "a start" in allaying noise onslaught


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Anti-noise advocates exchange informational door hangers to give to neighbors.

A federal report released last week identifies possible solutions to the aircraft noise plaguing South Bay communities.

The Federal Aviation...

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Schools

Almond community packs meals for those in need

Almond community packs meals for those in need


Courtesy of Polly Liu
Almond School families worked together last month to package more than 15,000 meals for the Stop Hunger Now organization. Approximately 85 volunteers, including students in grades K-6, packaged meals of rice, soy, vitamins and...

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Community

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing

Veteran Marie Houghton Mong: Mapping out a long life of doing


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Marie Houghton Mong relaxes with one of her two 16-year-old cats at The Terraces at Los Altos retirement community.

On the average day, Marie Houghton Mong can be found in her attractive and comfortable apartment at T...

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Comment

Blame it on Rio: No Shoes, Please

In 2008, I wrote a column explaining why I thought Beijing was an inappropriate venue for that year’s Summer Olympic Games. I cited health risks: the city’s terrible pollution and the country’s corrupt food supply chain. I also note...

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Special Sections

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals

Upscale modern: Los Altos Hills home honors DNA of originals


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Melissa and Nick French, right with son Grayson, pooled their talents to design their dream home. Melissa designed the living room sofa and table.

Melissa and Nick French took “do it yourself” to a new dimens...

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Business

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership

ATHENA awards recognize local leadership


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Chamber of Commerce Mountain View presented this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award to Maria Marroquin, left, and Leane Reelfs, right. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award went to Diana Bautista, center.

Chamber ...

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People

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

ERNEST TRAUGOTT

Resident of Los Altos 
August 18, 1920 - May 11, 2016 

Ernie died peacefully at his home, just a few months short of his 96th birthday. 

Ernie had an amazing life, born in Germany he and his family fled the Nazi's soon after Kristal...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent

LA Stage Company's 'Arts Razzle-Dazzle' showcases local talent


Courtesy of Eileen Eng
Mountain View High junior Julia Rogers, 2015 South Bay Teen Idol winner, is slated to perform at Tuesday’s “Arts Razzle-Dazzle” at Bus Barn Theater.

Los Altos Stage Company shines a spotlight on the perfo...

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Spiritual Life

Former St. Nicholas pastor shares his story as exorcist

The Rev. Gary Thomas served the Los Altos faith community as pastor of St. Nicholas Catholic Parish for several years before he announced in 2005 that San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath had assigned him to study in Rome, not unusual for U.S. priests...

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Rolling along: Skateworks provides an outlet and place of acceptance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Skateworks’ Kevin Paya guides a student on a skateboarding ramp during a lesson last week at Grant Park.

Jason Strubing has a suggestion for Los Altos youth who have no interest in traditional sports like baseball and football – try picking up a skateboard.

Strubing – who owns and operates Skateworks at 379 State St. in downtown Los Altos – said the sport is an ideal outlet for all ages.

“It’s not a team sport, but rather more of a brotherhood sport,” said the Boulder Creek native, whose family started Skateworks in 1988. “You can pretty much go to any skate park and immediately make friends.”

Strubing believes that skateboarding’s ability to embrace individualism while fostering an atmosphere of acceptance for all walks of life is overlooked.

“There are no rules or anything like organized sports,” Skateworks employee Kevin Paya said. “You can do it by yourself, you can do it anywhere and it’s relatively cheap, too. … I don’t think any other sport taps into a person’s creative side like skateboarding does.”

Strubing said his struggles fitting in as a kid inspired his family to open the first Skateworks shop in Boulder Creek. The father of three distinctly recalls feeling out of place when he and his brothers entered local skateboard shops in Santa Cruz as teens. It was an experience he didn’t want to replicate with his own business.

“We were skate rats, but the environment (at the local skate shop) was so intimidating for a kid. It just wasn’t very accepting,” Strubing said. “Eventually, it basically came down to, ‘We should open our own shop, where you check your attitude at the door. This is an accepting place.’”

Rolling in the right direction

Strubing said the sport continues to gain popularity in Los Altos. Shortly after opening his State Street store in 2011, Strubing recalled seeing a small group of children enter his shop “mesmerized” by the idea of skateboarding. He quickly learned that the kids viewed Skateworks as a place they could call their own in downtown Los Altos.

“They’d come and hang out for two or three hours a day,” he said. “I’d ask them what they did before this and the answer was, ‘We hung out in the Walgreens parking lot.’”

A little more than a year ago the store expanded its efforts to promote skateboarding, offering private lessons and group classes through a partnership with the Los Altos Recreation Department. On any given day in downtown Los Altos, Paya can be found skateboarding with a handful of kids decked out in helmets and pads trailing close behind.

“I’m a huge celebrity – if you’re under the age of 12,” quipped Paya, 26.

The lessons have resulted in early positive reviews.

Los Altos resident Angie Harrison said she enrolled her 9-year-old son, Ryan, in lessons with Paya through the city as an alternative to other sports he enjoys, such as baseball, tennis and skiing. She also encouraged her son to take up skateboarding for a more practical reason – transportation.

“The kids usually walk or ride a bike in my neighborhood,” she said. “I thought maybe skateboarding would be a good way for him to get to school.”

Los Altos resident Setsuko Sato said she enrolled sons Masa, 6, and Tomo, 9, in skateboarding lessons because the sport meant so much to her brother growing up in Los Angeles during the 1970s. She credited Paya’s ability to connect with kids and his emphasis on safety as reasons his lessons are a popular choice among Los Altos parents.

“They just love Kevin – he’s really laid back,” Sato said of her sons. “He really knows how to push them past their comfort level but still keep it safe.”

“I didn’t realize until I started doing this that I was good with kids,” Paya said. “I just talk to them the same way I would with Jason or anyone else. I genuinely feel there hasn’t been a kid who wasn’t totally stoked after his or her first lesson.”

Just like mom and dad

Strubing believes that stereotypes of skateboarders no longer apply, in part because of a new generation of parents who grew up with the sport. He added that skateboarding has gained interest locally and on a national level thanks to televised events such as the X Games.

“I think it is generational,” Strubing said. “I’m 42, so I’m really a part of that first generation of parents who were self-professed skaters.”

Paya agreed, adding that he believes the sport – for competitive reasons and otherwise – will continue its upward climb in popularity with local youth.

“There used to be that preconceived notion that skaters had mohawks and spray-painted graffiti all over the place,” Paya said. “But really, it’s just like any other sport.”

For more information, visit skateworks.com.


Skateboard class at Grant Park - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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