Throwback world creation: Summer campers find high drama in rolls of the dice

Eliza Ridgeway/town Crier
Foothill College student Ryan Crowley, center, serves as Dungeon Master in a game co-led by Gaming Together founder Anna Doherty, right. They use spreadsheets, whiteboarding and a host of physical objects to guide the game.

Huddled in the sub-level conference room of a research lab building, a young cadre of summer campers bent over maps, paperwork and dice last summer - old-school three-ring binders were even in evidence - the youngest experimenters in the building, but also the most old-fashioned.

The cooperative players of Gaming Together use tabletop games, medieval-tinged fantasies that owe so much to J.R.R. Tolkien and his literary descendants. Collaborative game universes like Dungeons & Dragons add peer interaction to the world of imagination. Anna Doherty, who founded Gaming Together as an after-school program and expanded it into a series of camps during school holidays, said math and social and leadership skills spring naturally from playing extended campaigns in a small group.

The gift of warmth: Local residents knit and crochet for those in need

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Sandy Goldstein and her extensive crew of One Warm Scarf volunteers turn donated yarn into knitted and crocheted items. Her garage provides storage.

Los Altos resident Sandy Goldstein has long put her talents and energy to use to help those in need. Over the years, she has organized drives for books for a Louisiana library post-Hurricane Katrina and stuffed animals for children in Asia and South America, and trained dogs for Canine Companions for Independence (her own dog "flunked out" of the program, she said). But for the past seven years, she has devoted herself to a singular cause: keeping homeless people warm.

Operation: Care and Comfort: Volunteers package cheer for service members

Courtesy of Operation: Care and Comfort
Service members show off some of the items received in their care packages in 2014. Operation: Care and Comfort and Operation Gratitude are volunteer-run organizations that have shipped millions of boxes to deployed troops.

In the Foothills Congregational Church Parish Hall, volunteers meet to stuff plastic bags with food and hygiene items in makeshift assembly lines. The care packages, topped off with handwritten notes, will go to deployed U.S. military service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflict regions.

"I hope (when they receive our packages) they’ll think people back home are thinking of them, and I hope it’ll make their days just a little more cheerful," said Kathryn Spitzer Kim, a volunteer at Foothills Congregational Church’s recent Operation: Care and Comfort (OCC) care package event.

Behind the scenes: Ham radio operators assist at Los Altos Festival of Lights Parade

Courtesy of LAARES
Local ham radio operators work to ensure that all goes well at Los Altos’ annual Festival of Lights Parade.

For more than a decade, the Festival of Lights Parade has relied on a crew of ham radio operators working in the background to help the Los Altos Police Department and event organizers keep things running smoothly.

Los Altos Amateur Radio Emergency Service (LAARES) intends to continue that tradition at this year’s event, scheduled 6 p.m. Dec. 1 in downtown Los Altos.

Up with the roosters: Pre-dawn Masses celebrate Advent

Mary Larsen/Town Crier
Early arrivals at Mountain View’s St. Joseph Parish await the start of a pre-dawn Mass last Dec. 24.

It’s 5:30 a.m. Most people are home asleep or brewing coffee or perhaps starting their commute. Others are in church.

Seasonal splendor: Cauliflower crowns a holiday meal

Courtesy of Blanche Shaheen
Cauliflower “steaks” make a colorful and healthful seasonal dish.

As the low-carb lifestyle continues to grow in popularity, cauliflower has become the superstar vegetable of the culinary movement, morphing into cauliflower rice, pureed as a replacement for mashed potatoes and even incorporated in pizza crusts.

SpecialtyMagazines advertise


The Town Crier publishes six different glossy magazines throughout the year that are inserted into the newspaper.

You can view the latest magazine as a PDF here 
or explore our archive of past issues.  


Our magazines include:

  • Camps (1/29)
  • Family Spotlight (2/26)
  • Living in Los Altos (3/25 & 9/30)
  • Home & Garden (4/29 & 8/26)
  • Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival Magazine (7/8)
  • Home for the Holidays (11/18)

To advertise, contact our sales department by calling (650) 948-9000 or email [email protected].

To offer submissions to editorial, contact editor Bruce Barton at [email protected].

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