GreenTown Los Altos launches 'Skip the Straw' campaign

Renee Wang/Town Crier
GreenTown Los Altos member Margaret Suozzo hands out fliers at a straw-focused booth on opening day of the Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

Although there is a dispute over exactly how many straws are used daily in the United States – the commonly stated number of 500 million per day has been called into question – the impact they have on the environment is anything but dubious.

Local students write prize-winning essays

Gary Hedden/Special to the Town Crier
Pictured are winners in this year’s Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest. They are: (back row) MacKenzie Fobes and Jamie Burton; (middle) Andrew Wall, Violet Negrette, Michelle Walker and Bryce Lim; (front) Aya Agrawal, Lukiana Cherkashina and Kavya Wazhi. Not pictured are Logan Crawford, Mariana Leaver, Alara Martin, Kathleen Xie, Jakob Kleiman and Sophia Cheng.

More than 230 students in grades 3-6 entered the 34th annual Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest.

This year’s theme – “Spread Your Wings and Fly” – highlighted the History Museum exhibition “Instinct Extinct: The Great Pacific Flyway.” The essay prompt encouraged students to: “Take a journey in your mind and imagine that you have wings and you can fly like a bird. Spread your wings and soar over your community and describe what you see. Now imagine what additions or changes you would like to see within your community (school, park, neighborhood or downtown) to make life better or more enjoyable for your family or friends. Take another flight and write about those changes.”

Santa Clara Valley Lives: Olson and Packard: Friendship bloomed in apricot orchard

Robin Chapman/Special to the Town Crier
Third-generation valley orchardist Charles Olson, 84, stands at the entrance to Sunnyvale’s Orchard Heritage Park, surrounded by the apricot trees he planted in 1977.

Charles Olson is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, played football at the University of Denver and still has biceps the size of tree trunks. He lifts weights every morning, though his life no longer requires any heavy lifting. His family holdings, including a shopping center, have left him prosperous. But, at age 84, this businessman still loves cultivating his apricot trees on 13 acres in Sunnyvale.

The trees stand on the remains of a 30-acre parcel once owned by several other local entrepreneurs, including Steve Vidovich and Peter Pavlina of Los Altos. The present orchard, once Olson’s own, is now Sunnyvale’s Orchard Heritage Park.

LA resident uses dyslexia to advantage – debut novel set for release this summer


Ellison Cooper took an unusual path to become a crime and thriller author. Diagnosed with dyslexia as a child, the Los Altos resident earned her doctorate in anthropology and taught college courses before working in the video game industry.

“When I was younger, it was a hard road,” she said of growing up with a learning disability. “I struggled in school and might have become a writer much earlier if it weren’t for the clear messaging I got from teachers that I could never do such a thing.”

Los Altos resident named Tribute to Women honoree


The YWCA Silicon Valley recently recognized Afsaneh Behdad for not only her work in the field of physical verification, but also for her impact in the community – and beyond.

Behdad’s dedication to mentoring others and her work as group director at Synopsys Inc. prompted the Y to name her a 2018 Tribute to Women honoree, according to YWCA Silicon Valley CEO Tanis Crosby.

Moffett Field society, museum host Medal of Honor ceremony

Sherry Oppenheim/Special to the Town Crier
Four generations of the Moffett family attend the April 22 Medal of Honor ceremony at Moffett Field commemorating the sacrifice of the late Rear Adm. William A. Moffett.

The Moffett Field Historical Society and Museum hosted a ceremony April 22 marking the addition of two key items to its exhibition honoring the late Rear Adm. William A. Moffett, also known as the “Father of Naval Aviation,” after whom Moffett Field is named.

After a multiyear effort, the U.S. Department of the Navy delivered a duplicate of Moffett’s Medal of Honor for display at the museum.

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