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Last updateTue, 21 Feb 2017 4pm

News

LA city manager is

LA city manager is "speechless" at council priorities


 

The Los Altos City Council had an opportunity to set its 2017 goals at last week’s council meeting, but a lack of consensus led to a moment of exasperation from the city manager.

After the five councilmembers offered their feedback on th...

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Schools

LAHS student raises money for cause  close to her heart

LAHS student raises money for cause close to her heart


Courtesy of Megan Tsern
Los Altos High School junior Megan Tsern shows her contract to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign. Tsern hopes to raise $50,000 in memory of her brother, Matthew, who died ...

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Community

'Pre-History of the iPhone' talk set for March 2 in Mtn. View

The Computer History Museum’s latest presentation, “Computing in Your Pocket: The Pre-History of the iPhone in Silicon Valley,” is scheduled 7 p.m. March 2 at the museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

The panel discussion, moderated by Com...

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Sports

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Emma Bice tries to shoot over Gunn’s Archer Olson.

Plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for most of the game, the Mountain View High girls basketball team had to feel fortunate just to ge...

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Comment

Letters to the Editor

Outcry against ‘fake news’ warranted

This letter is in response to Jacqueline Degner’s Feb. 8 letter “Fighting against ‘alternative facts.’”

Ms. Degner correctly points out that many people pass around fake...

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Special Sections

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home


Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and m...

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Business

Present will not move far in a Main Street

Present will not move far in a Main Street "win-win" swap


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Present is slated to move across Main Street after more than four years in its old spot.

What do you get for the gift store that has everything? A new and larger location, apparently.

Present, the locavore ...

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People

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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News

LA city manager is "speechless" at council priorities

LA city manager is

 

The Los Altos City Council had an opportunity to set its 2017 goals at last week’s council meeting, but a lack of consensus led to a moment of exasperation from the city manager.

After the five councilmembers offered their feedback on the city’s 2017 Strategic Priorities, City Manager C...

Readmore

Business

Present will not move far in a Main Street "win-win" swap

Present will not move far in a Main Street

Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Present is slated to move across Main Street after more than four years in its old spot.

What do you get for the gift store that has everything? A new and larger location, apparently.

Present, the locavore goodie shop entering its fifth year in Los Altos, ...

Readmore

Sports

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Mtn. View falls 50-45 in OT to Gunn

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Emma Bice tries to shoot over Gunn’s Archer Olson.

Plagued by foul trouble and turnovers for most of the game, the Mountain View High girls basketball team had to feel fortunate just to get to overtime last week against Gunn.

But the Spa...

Readmore

Community

'Pre-History of the iPhone' talk set for March 2 in Mtn. View

The Computer History Museum’s latest presentation, “Computing in Your Pocket: The Pre-History of the iPhone in Silicon Valley,” is scheduled 7 p.m. March 2 at the museum, 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View.

The panel discussion, moderated by Computer History Museum historian John Markoff, will ...

Readmore

Comment

Letters to the Editor

Outcry against ‘fake news’ warranted

This letter is in response to Jacqueline Degner’s Feb. 8 letter “Fighting against ‘alternative facts.’”

Ms. Degner correctly points out that many people pass around fake information they find on the internet that fits t...

Readmore

Spiritual Life

Longtime Foothills Congregational Church pastor retires

Longtime Foothills Congregational Church pastor retires

Foothills Congregational Church in Los Altos bid farewell last month to the Rev. Matt Broadbent, who retired after 17 years of service.

Broadbent and his wife, Barbara, are retiring to a condominium in Aptos. Barbara has served as spiritual director for the Northern California Nevada Conference U...

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People

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readmore

Schools

LAHS student raises money for cause close to her heart

LAHS student raises money for cause  close to her heart

Courtesy of Megan Tsern
Los Altos High School junior Megan Tsern shows her contract to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year campaign. Tsern hopes to raise $50,000 in memory of her brother, Matthew, who died of leukemia when she was 7 years old.

Following i...

Readmore

Special Sections

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Outdoor kitchens provide an extension of the home

Courtesy of Lisa Parramore
This outdoor kitchen and gathering space, left, offers a cozy spot to enjoy the smells wafting from the pizza oven.

Part of what makes living in the Bay Area such a delight is its mild, temperate climate. More and more homeowners view their outdoor spaces as an ext...

Readmore

Stepping Out

Behind the 'Show'

Behind the 'Show'

David Allen/Special to the Town Crier
Jessica LaFever, left, and Lauren Meyer play conjoined twins in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of “Side Show.”

While it takes just a few hours of one’s day to attend a play, it can take nearly a year to prepare the production for the stage.

Milissa C...

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Obituaries

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

YVONNE E. STEINDORF

In Loving Memory

6/26/1933- 1/23/2017

Yvonne Steindorf passed away peacefully on 1/23/2017 following a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Readmore

Magazine

Art for superfans: Classical skills find new subjects in the modern art class

Art for superfans: Classical skills find new subjects in the modern art class

From Hermione Granger to "Avatar: The Last Airbender," unconventional subjects are making classical portraits for today’s young painters.

Fan art - drawings inspired by popular characters from books, movies and graphic novels - have long languished in the margins of school notebooks. But student...

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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..

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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