10202017Fri
Last updateWed, 18 Oct 2017 10am

Poor air quality prompts games to be canceled at local schools

Smoky skies prompted the cancellation of several h...

Foothills Congregational hosts justice forum

Foothills Congregational Church has scheduled “A F...

First Street office-park project abruptly halted -- reaction mixed

First Street office-park project abruptly halted -- reaction mixed

Courtesy of LACI
A rendering of the First Stre...
Costume Bank gears up for Halloween with wide selection, extended hours

Costume Bank gears up for Halloween with wide selection, extended hours


Photo Courtesy of Costume Bank
“Game of Thrones”...
Los Altos History Museum tells 'Asian Pacific American Story'

Los Altos History Museum tells 'Asian Pacific American Story'


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum
Japanese-Am...
Bitter pathways debate muddles LAH election of new vice mayor

Bitter pathways debate muddles LAH election of new vice mayor

Courtesy of Bridget Morgan
The proposed pathwa...
LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers


Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven ...

News

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the ...

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Schools

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers


Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven Merced, right, shares his computer science knowledge with classmate Angel Marshal.

Truly mastering a skill means being able to turn around and teach what you’ve been taught. That’s the case for mem...

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Community

Community Briefs

Schola Cantorum celebrates Halloween

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform two Halloween-themed “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls” concerts.

The first is slated 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Ro...

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Sports

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis


Photo by Malcolm Slaney/
Special to the Town Crier Los Altos High’s Owen Mac-Kenzie, above, set a school record at the Clovis Invitational. Fellow Eagle Naomi Donovan ran the second-fastest time in school history there.

The Los Altos High cross-...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

LACI calls halt to First Street Green

It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.

I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los A...

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Special Sections

Passion Fit: Reduce risk of breast cancer via exercise, nutrition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with the disease and what can be done to reduce them.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of women – that’s one in eight – in the U.S....

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Business

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San...

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People

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement


Abbors

 

Steve Abbors, general manager of the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, plans to retire after nearly a decade at the public agency’s helm. He will stay on through the end of the year.

“Steve came aboard du...

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News

Wildfires' impact felt locally

Wildfires' impact felt locally
Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Los Altos residents Aimee Castaneda, left, and Trish Moore load donated household items from Moore’s front yard into a SUV Thursday. Within two days of posting a Nextdoor.com request for goods to help victims of the Northern California fires and first responders, Mo...

Readmore

Business

Despite high salaries, Santa Clara County ranks low nationally in discretionary income

Trove Technologies Inc. recently released a study revealing that California ranks third worst among states in discretionary income, despite boasting the fourth highest salaries.

Santa Clara County, along with five other California cities – San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Los Angeles and...

Readmore

Sports

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

LA's cross-country team comes through in Clovis

Photo by Malcolm Slaney/
Special to the Town Crier Los Altos High’s Owen Mac-Kenzie, above, set a school record at the Clovis Invitational. Fellow Eagle Naomi Donovan ran the second-fastest time in school history there.

The Los Altos High cross-country team has to hope its strong showing at the...

Readmore

Community

Community Briefs

Schola Cantorum celebrates Halloween

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley is scheduled to perform two Halloween-themed “Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls” concerts.

The first is slated 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto, 1985 Louis Road, and the second is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at Lo...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

LACI calls halt to First Street Green

It is with great sadness that I am announcing we are not moving forward with the First Street Green development project.

I love Los Altos. It is a fabulous town. As a native of this area, I appreciate how Los Altos has kept its charm and has focused on the cit...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Spiritual Perspective: Celebrating 200 years of Baha'i faith

Every year each faith community commemorates the anniversary of several special events, including those associated with the lives of its founder and other significant people within that community.

            These occasions are times of collec...

Readmore

People

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Noteworthy: Midpen's Abbors announces retirement

Abbors

 

Steve Abbors, general manager of the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, plans to retire after nearly a decade at the public agency’s helm. He will stay on through the end of the year.

“Steve came aboard during a pivotal time for Midpen and helped us chang...

Readmore

Schools

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

LAHS students empower the next generation of computer engineers

Courtesy of CENG
Monta Loma junior mentor Deven Merced, right, shares his computer science knowledge with classmate Angel Marshal.

Truly mastering a skill means being able to turn around and teach what you’ve been taught. That’s the case for members of Los Altos High School’s Computer Engineers...

Readmore

Special Sections

Passion Fit: Reduce risk of breast cancer via exercise, nutrition

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand the risks associated with the disease and what can be done to reduce them.

According to breastcancer.org, approximately 12 percent of women – that’s one in eight – in the U.S. will develop breast cancer over the course of the...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Upstage Theater's 'William Shakespeare' plays this weekend

Upstage Theater’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” is scheduled Friday through Sunday at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St.

The play stars a group of teens who attempt to cover all of Shakespeare’s 37 plays in less than two hours. The show aims...

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Obituaries

KURT MOTOGAWA

KURT MOTOGAWA

Kurt Motogawa, beloved husband, devoted father and friend to all passed away very unexpectedly on October 7th while vacationing in Florida. He was 56.

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Magazine

'All are welcome' moms group celebrates families helping families

'All are welcome' moms group celebrates families helping families

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Stephanie Braun, from left, Adam Braun and Marty Braun of Mountain View and Michelle Evans, Chloe Knapp and Kevin Knapp of Sunnyvale swing at a recent Las Madres gathering at Marymeade Park in Los Altos.

A parent is born at the same time as her first child, and remad...

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Watch for signs of abuse as students return to school this fall

It’s hard to believe that another summer has come and gone, but it’s that time to prepare the classrooms, stock up on school supplies and add a few new pieces to the back-to-school wardrobe.

There’s something else we should all be aware of as children head back to school – signs that one of them may be living in a home where the dinner conversation isn’t about his or her day at camp, summer job or trip to France.

Some students returning from summer vacation may have had very little in the way of “vacation.” They will have spent their days hiding in their bedroom, or afraid to go home at all, walking on eggshells, speaking in whispers, wondering what mood they would find their parent in that day.

In our affluent area, it’s hard to reach out for support when things go wrong. Sometimes a parent suffers in silence for years – along with the children – before gathering the strength, courage and information he or she needs to break the silence. A child can go for years – decades even – living in pain and silence, waiting until the lights go out and everyone’s gone to bed to let the tears out.

Yet by day, who would ever know? Some children are better actors than others. They do their homework, play the piano, join the soccer team, babysit – all the things others do by day. Who would guess they were leading a double life, living like prisoners in their own homes?

Just because children exhibit problem behavior doesn’t mean they are being abused. And just because they are performing well in school doesn’t mean they are not being abused.

That’s what makes it difficult to help the ones who are living in homes with domestic violence. Like their abused parent, children are used to covering things up, pretending everything is all right, keeping up appearances. They have learned that adults, even the ones closest to them, can’t always be trusted to keep them safe.

Signs of abuse

What can we do when it’s so hard to figure out the truth, and they are so afraid to share it?

• Look for signs of suffering. We can ask children if something is going on at home. Are they worried or scared? Would they like to talk about it? We can let them know we are there to help.

• Is a child having trouble out on the playground? Is it hard to socialize? Does he or she seem to be a frequent target of bullying? Is he or she the bully? Sometimes behavior problems are a result of learning disabilities, emotional problems or peer influences, but sometimes children are imitating behavior they have witnessed at home.

• Does the child have trouble concentrating in class or sitting still? Is he or she quiet but prone to daydreaming or disruptive and acting out in class?

Therapists report that some of the symptoms of trauma can resemble those of Attention Deficit Disorder. For example, some children may have trouble concentrating, appear to “space out,” are irritable and struggle with impulse control, moodiness and school and/or peer problems. Sometimes children have trouble concentrating not because they suffer from ADD, but because they are being distracted by thoughts, memories and flashbacks of trauma and chaos in the home. Children can suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, too, just like war veterans and adult victims of domestic violence.

• Are there signs that a child is engaging in self-destructive behaviors like cutting? Is he or she wearing long-sleeved shirts in hot weather? Are there unexplained bruises? Is he or she accident prone? Sometimes there is a story behind the story.

• Is the child experimenting with drugs or alcohol? Sometimes he or she is just experimenting, falling in with the wrong crowd or dealing with a personal issue or loss. Other times he or she may be self-medicating to soften the impact of life at home.

• Is the child dressing in an unusual way? Sometimes he or she is simply expressing him- or herself or trying out new things, but other times clothing or hairstyle is a way of expressing what he or she cannot or dare not say.

Reporting abuse

Once you suspect abuse in the home, what can the average adult, teacher, school staff member, coach or minister do to help when families fall apart and the very people who should most protect their children don’t – or can’t?

A child expressing symptoms is usually not enough to report suspected abuse. Usually something more concrete is required, like a bruise, mark, statement or clear sexual acting out that appears to be highly indicative of sexual abuse.

• The Community Health Awareness Council in Mountain View and the Bill Wilson Center and YWCA domestic violence program in San Jose provide counseling services for children, teens and families.

• If you see a bruise or clear evidence that the child is directly experiencing abuse, call the police or Child Protective Services – anonymously, if you prefer.

If you are a mandated reporter, you must report your suspicions. Failure to report is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine or greater. There may also be civil liability.

• Talk with the child and let him or her know that you are there and that you care. Validate his or her experience. Sometimes it only takes one person to bear witness and help a child understand that what he or she is experiencing is not normal. Discuss what healthy love looks like. Do some simple breathing or relaxation exercises with the child to teach him or her how to calm down when his or her world seems to be falling apart.

When you ask if something is going on at home, children may not tell you the truth, but somewhere inside, they will know that someone has heard them, seen them and validated them and that they are no longer alone.

And that can make all the difference.

Ruth Patrick is a domestic violence consultant with the Los Altos Community Foundation’s nonprofit Women-of-Means Support Network, Silicon Valley. For more information, call 996-2200 or visit losaltoscf.org/womensv.

Reporting abuse

If you suspect a child is being abused, call:

• Child Protective Services: 493-1186

• Los Altos Police Department: 947-2770

• Childhelp National Abuse Hotline: (800) 442-4453

If the signs are more subtle but you suspect that a child is in emotional distress and may benefit from counseling, free and sliding-scale-cost services are available for children, teens and families:

• Bill Wilson Center: (408) 243-0222

• Community Health Awareness Council: 965-2020

• YWCA: (800) 572-2782

Other resources:

• YWCA’s Domestic Violence Support Network: (800) 572-2782

• Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence: (408) 279-2962

• Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse: (800) 300-1080

• Teen 24-7 Line: (888) 247-7717

• Teen Domestic Violence Hotline: (866) 331-9474

• WomenSV: 996-2200

Reader Comments

The Town Crier presents:
The 129th Rescue Wing Aids in Hurricane Harvey Rescue

Read the full story about the rescue here.
 

Submit a Letter to the Editor

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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