Thinking about being a mentor or tutor to local school kids?Read More
Whether you are new to Mountain View, or you have lived here for years, whether you have your own business, or just want to be more involved in the community, there are certain people around town that you need to know. These are some of my favorite connections in Mountain View.
Ken Rosenberg is currently the Mayor of Mountain View. If you have questions or concerns about the city, he’s the perfect person to talk to. He just started year 3 of a 4 year term on city council. He holds coffee chats when anyone who wants to visit with him can show up at a local cafe. These 'Connect with Ken' gatherings are announced on his Facebook page or you can email him. email@example.com
Dawn Maher is Chief Evangelist and VP of Membership at the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce. It’s her job to connect people and businesses to each other. She’s really good at her job; that’s why she works where she does. She lives, works, eats, and plays in Mountain View. If you want to get more involved in the Chamber and/or the community, she’s someone you should meet. firstname.lastname@example.org When she's not at the Chamber, or in a downtown restaurant, you can find her on the Stevens Creek Trail, where she serves as a volunteer Trail Ambassador. Doesn't that sound like a fun volunteer position in our community? Here's more information about volunteer positions in our city, including the Trail Ambassador program.
Kim Copher is a Realtor in Mountain View and she’s also a re-location specialist. She knows our community inside out and can help you find whatever you might need. She’s the Chair of the Board at the Chamber. I’ve seen her working many Art & Wine Festivals, as an area captain and working in different wine or ticket booths, really wherever she was needed. Some of the places that she volunteers with are Leadership Mountain View, Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association, the city's Downtown Committee, Community Services Agency and the Chamber of Commerce. If you’re looking for a home in Mountain View, I would definitely recommend connecting with Kim.
Bruce Humphrey is the Executive Director of Leadership Mountain View. There is truly no better way to get to know our city than by going through the Leadership Mountain View program. Honestly, I think it should be required for all executives that work within the city limits. Bruce is the kind of person that people just want to be around. Not at all kidding, the women that I work with all hug him when he comes into the office. That’s how much fun he is to be around; we practically get in line to greet him. And, I heard that one of the restaurants downtown has a drink named after him. That says something. He’s a social-powerhouse and you should meet him.
Ask Mountain View is a special feature on the city website. If you have questions about anything related to the city, anything from your garbage collection day, to street sweeping, to how do you reserve tables at the park so you can have a family birthday party, it’s all there. Ask your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and someone will get back to you. I asked about a pothole and it was filled with 36 hours. “Ask Mountain View” is like having a best friend that works at the city and instantly connects you to the person with all the answers.
Your next door neighbors should be at the top of your list of people you need to meet. We’re all safer when we know who lives around us. Life moves rather quickly here in Mountain View, and people constantly come and go, and it’s a good idea to take the time to introduce yourself to the neighbors. It’s also easier to get them to let you into their backyard when one of your chickens flies over the fence. Trust me.
Tom Reavis is the general manager of Title Boxing Club in Mountain View. If you just moved to Mountain View, you certainly must be looking for a new gym to join, right? Title Boxing is the perfect place. You don’t have to be a boxer at all! And you don’t hit other people… just the bag. I had never punched a bag before I joined. I just tried it one day and now I love it. It doesn’t matter what kind of shape you’re in, since everyone goes as hard and as fast as they want. About 60% of the members are women and it’s a very friendly environment. Boxing is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite workout in Mountain View.
Bo Cheli is the Manager of Community Relations at Study.com. He's really important to our community because the company that he works for is giving away scholarships to anyone working or living in Mountain View and you can get a bachelors degree for almost no money. Have you heard about it? It's all over the news and media. NBC Bay Area did a feature story on their Bay Area Proud segment about it. Connect with Bo for all the details, email@example.com. It's life-changing to get your degree. It could lead to a better job, better salary and a better chance at being able to afford Mountain View. Study.com said that Mountain View has been good to them, so they want to give back to our community. The "Working Scholars" program is the first in the country and it's getting a ton of attention.
Alisa Barnhart is the owner of Allure Salon in downtown Mountain View. If you just moved here, you are definitely looking for a salon and I think this is the best one in town. They do everything from the latest trends, to makeup, mens cuts, eyelash extensions and microblading eyebrows. They also have a wonderful manicurist and esthetician. They’ve been in Mountain View for 13 years and are well connected and well respected. And one important point: I can honestly say that it is a drama-free salon.
Jimmy Leonard is the bartender at Eureka Restaurant on Castro street. It’s always a good idea to know a bartender. And this guy just happens to work at one of the coolest places in town. He’s there 5 nights a week. Be sure to stop by on a steal-the-glass night and you’ll get to take home a souvenir. The bar at Eureka is a fabulous place to people watch and soak in the Silicon Valley vibe. Just in case you’re wondering, my favorite drink there is a Holy Smokes. It tastes like a camp fire, all smokey and sweet.
And finally you need to know what the name of your neighborhood association is and follow your area on nextdoor.com. You need to be verified and you do that by signing up on their website. Go here to see the name of your specific neighborhood is. Sometimes the topics that people post about are absolutely ridiculous, and I find them quite entertaining, and other times my neighbors are sharing information that is really helpful to everyone. Either way, it gives you a really good idea about what people are like in the area, how incredibly kind and helpful most of them are, and you gain a true sense of community, even though you may never meet them in person.
A few of my favorite places around town...Read More
Feb 25, 2017 is the 2nd Annual Fire Drill Fun Run. It will have both a 5K and 10K run through beautiful Shoreline Park with views of the Bay and Wetlands. A Kids' Fun Run stays within the grounds of Shoreline Park, Lot E.
Proceeds benefit Mountain View Fire Fighter's Random Acts 501(c)3. Their purpose is to perform random acts of good in the Mountain View area and sometimes in the state. Often, as firefighters respond to calls for help, they observe situations where people need a helping hand or something that will improve their quality of life. They look for opportunities to compassionately meet the needs of people and make a difference through their random acts of kindness. That's what kind of community we live in!
I went to the run last year and loved it. I saw so many people that I know, I loved the sponsors tables, and even though I'm not a runner, I still had a great time walking. It was perfect weather and I went home feeling good about contributing to Mountain View Fire Fighters Random Acts and I got an awesome t-shirt from the event. This years t-shirt has the new logo on it, which includes a little burrowing owl.
It's fun to run along side our Firefighters. I noticed that Firefighters from other areas came out to support the event last year. There will be public information tables set up from both the Mountain View Fire Dept and Mountain View Police Dept. I'm expecting to see a Fire Engine there again, especially since so many kids were at the event.
The warm-up activity was lots of fun last year. Imagine a big group of runners, both kids and adults, and lots of local community leaders, all following along as the leader did lots of silly exercises to get everyone's heart pumping.
There are some great sponsors supporting the event, including Google, Prometheus Real Estate Group, LinkedIn, Summerhill Homes, Monte Carlo Night Club, El Camino Hospital, Recology, PG&E, Kind Bars, LifeAID Beverage Company, Sponsorship donation in Memory of Toshiko and Masayoshi Abe, Gelato Classico and Baskin Robbins. Community events like this aren't possible without the help of sponsors and Mountain View has some of the best around! Thank you to those that help make this event possible.
What really sets this event apart from other runs is where the funds will be going, back into our community, to those that need help the most. Mountain View Fire Fighters Random Acts is about dedicated Firefighters in the Mountain View Fire Department forming a 501c3, a true non-profit, to help those in our community. The men and women of the Mountain View Fire Dept have been performing charitable acts and giving back to the community for over 20 years, but now they've formed a 501c3 and are raising fund so they expand their mission and give back even more.
Put this on your calendar:
DATE: Saturday, February 25th, 2017, 9:00am
LOCATION: Shoreline Park, Lot E, North Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View CA
Lot E is easy to find. It's on the right side, as soon as you enter the park and pass the Ranger Station.
The day will include a timed 5K and 10K run through scenic Shoreline Park, followed by a Kids’ One Mile Fun Run. Medals will be presented to top three finishers in age categories and to all participants in the Kids’ Fun Run. The event will include post-race refreshments and fire related displays.
More information and the registration link can be found on our website. http://www.mvffrandomacts.org/fire-drill-5k-10k-run.html
Dong Lai Shun is a hot pot Chinese restaurant that first opened in Beijing over 100 years ago. They’re well known in China and they just opened in Mountain View. The owner told me that he wanted to open here because “Mountain View is like the United Nations.” Those words are beautiful and perfectly describe the diversity and economic strength of our community.
My office went out to lunch at Dong Lai Shun this week. Each person got their own personal hot pot of whatever flavored broth they wanted. Most of us had Hot & Spicy or Wild Mushroom broth. Our meat selection included Prime Rib, Kobe Beef, Lamb, Scallops and Shrimp. Honestly, I felt like royalty; it was such a feast! They brought us all different kinds of vegetables to cook too. There were several cold salads, some dipping sauces, and hot chili oil to flavor whatever you happen to be cooking in your broth.
Don’t even think about leaving without dessert. We had Glutinous Rice Cake and Glutinous Bean Flour Rolls. They were both sweet, but not too sweet. A perfect ending.
It’s really quite an adventure, if you compare it to going to a regular restaurant. You’re responsible for cooking your own food, although it’s really easy and it’s all figured out for you. Just pick something up from the platters of food in front of you, which includes all of the meat and veggies you would ever want, dip it in your hot pot for 10 seconds, more time if it’s something bigger, like a scallop or piece of shrimp, then dip it in your secret sauce (sesame, sweet garlic or seafood flavor) and enjoy.
It’s really very interactive. Their staff knows that hot pot dining might not be familiar to all of their guests, so they explained everything to us and recommended certain things. This restaurant has been open for a few months, but they were kind of in stealth mode to be sure that they got all the details right, since this is their first US location. They got it right.
The interior is glamorous with lots of hand carved Rosewood, silk curtains, Chinese artwork, and beautiful lighting. The front doors are amazing and after you see the place, you’ll understand why it took quite a while for them to finally open.
I particularly like the fact that hot pot dining is so healthy and it keeps you busy during the meal, since you’re contemplating what goes in the pot next and how long it will take to cook. A few times we all laughed when one of us found a random scallop that got away and sank to the bottom of the broth. It was really nice to go with the entire office.
The restaurant has several private rooms which are perfect for parties. The main part of the dining area is absolutely gorgeous and can be rented for weddings or other events. Mountain View seems to have a shortage of venues for events and I get asked all the time about places that can be rented for corporate events or wedding. This is definitely a place to check out.
So try something new, if you haven’t had hot pot before, or get a big group of friends together and go out for a fun, adventurous meal. You will love it! They also serve outstanding food that is not hot pot. Dong Lai Shun is located in the San Antonio Shopping Center, between Paul Martins and Pacific Catch.
I went on a tour of Montrose Apartments on the corner of El Camino and Mariposa. I remember waiting and waiting for something wonderful to happen on that corner and it’s finally here. If you just got a job in Mountain View, or you are thinking of moving here, you should definitely check out this gorgeous complex.
As I write this, it is 56% leased and filling quickly. The model apartment that I looked at faced the El Camino. The giant windows and extra high ceiling (10 feet) made the rooms seem bright and spacious. It has covered parking, which saves on how often you wash your car. The pool, hot tub, outdoor showers, a fire pit and outdoor kitchen area are in the center of the complex. The Fitness Center is right off the pool area and all of the new equipment and machines are squeaky clean and have the latests whistles and bells.
I played around with the interactive map in the Leasing Office and checked out the floor plans on the apartments that are available. What stuck me about Montrose Apartments is that the “neighbors” (that’s what they call the residents and it sounds so much friendlier than “tenants”) get to enjoy an entire community. The clubhouse lounge and theater is a space where you hang out and work from your laptop, chat with others, socialize and enjoy the view. And the rooftop terrace has an beautiful view, lots of shaded seating, and it just puts you in a friendly mood. How can you not talk about how incredibly beautiful the view is with the people around you? You would meet so many new people! That might be something very beneficial if you just arrived in Silicon Valley.
Montrose is in a part of Mountain View where you could walk to lots of different restaurants, 2 different drug stores, Cost Plus World Market, and many other businesses that you would regularly frequent. It’s also halfway between 280 and 101, and a VTA stop is on the corner.
Look at their website for lots more details. They also have electric car charging stations and a car sharing program. You could actually live there and not own a car and it would be okay. This is the new Mountain View. Out with that old Tropicana Lodge and the steak house restaurant that no one ever went to, and in with a well designed, beautiful living space for more brilliant people who are being recruited to our city from all over the world. I love Mountain View.
Looking for a nice breakfast spot? Here are a few places to explore, depending on what you're looking for. Please let me know what you think and if I missed anyone who should be included.
1. Breakfast destinations will come and go, but Hobee’s will always be here. The Mountain View Hobee’s is the original location and it opened in 1974. This place has been a favorite breakfast spot for our community for decades. You can’t possibly walk out the door without eating a piece of their famous coffeecake. I love that Hobee’s is so involved in the community and they treat their employees like family. I always order the “BDBIT” (best darn breakfast in town) and 4 or 5 cups of coffee.
2. Scratch has a very nice brunch menu on the weekends and if you go in warm weather, you should sit out on the patio. I recommend the Almond Encrusted French Toast, it comes with real Vermont maple syrup. And brunch would not be complete without a couple of Mimosas. The staff at Scratch is always wonderful. I really need to go here more often.
3. Eureka serves brunch on the weekends. Last time I had the French Toast and a Mint Julep. They don’t have the brunch menu on their website, but you can call and ask about it if you have any dietary restrictions. I love the atmosphere at Eureka and the fact that they’ve been packed every day since the first day they opened. Keep in mind that they don’t take reservations. Those photos below are of Eureka brunch items.
4. Crepevine serves breakfast. We sat outside this morning, under the heaters and were comfortable. I had New Orleans Eggs Benedict (with crab cakes).
5. Omelette House is inside Ava’s Downtown Market and they serve breakfast all day. My office orders their breakfast burritos all the time. We send one person on a burrito-run and everyone anxiously awaits their return. Yes, you could eat at the tables that are inside Ava’s or out on the sidewalk, but we usually end up bringing it back to the office. Sometimes, there’s important Chamber of Commerce work to be done.
6. I love going to Dinah’s Poolside Cafe in Palo Alto. You would never know it was there if you’re just driving down the El Camino. I feel like I’m stepping back in time when I get there. They take reservations and I’ve seen lots of brunch birthday parties there. One time some ducks landed in the swimming pool and we got to watch a tourist, who had been enjoying his morning swim, try to chase the ducks away. The ducks were more determined than the tourist, and they won. It's a great place for people watching. Or duck watching.
7. If you haven’t been to Bucks of Woodside, you must go! It’s just up 280 about 20 minutes and it is so very interesting. The food is wonderful, and the decor is the biggest collection of the most unusual junk that I have ever seen. I can’t begin to accurately describe it; you need to see it for yourself.
I know, I gave you two places that aren’t in Mountain View. You’ll thank me for both of those, I promise.
I went on a “Welcome Walk” with the Loma Prieta chapter of Sierra Club. The Welcome Walks are monthly and they meet at Michael’s at Shoreline. The trail is flat and the group moves along at a leisurely pace, so it should be easy for almost anyone to keep up with the group. They have a leader in the front of the group, as well as in the back, so no one gets left behind. Everyone stops at various point along the way, so we all re-grouped several times.
Before the group left from the front of Michael’s Restaurant, to start the walk, we all introduced ourselves and the leader, Ney, encouraged us to move around as we wandered along the trail so that we would get the chance to meet everyone. That was a good plan, so you don’t end up walking alongside the same person the entire time. And it worked! People slowed down, or moved faster, in order to walk beside someone new. I loved that part!
There were 20 of us on the walk. One thing that surprised me was that we didn’t talk at all about “Sierra Club” things. I know that sounds funny, but I completely expected to hear about climate change, fracking, how global warming effects the Bay Area tides, or plastic floating in the ocean, but there was no talk about any environmental issues at all. It was 100% about meeting the nice people that were on the walk, and socializing with everyone.
Everyone was really friendly and talked about how long they’ve been involved in Sierra Club activities. They weren’t all members, probably only half were and the other half just showed up, either from the Sierra Club calendar, or they had learned about it from Meetup. It was a great group of interesting Silicon Valley professionals, some had just moved here and simply wanted to find people to socialize with, others were super-friendly regulars, and one quiet guy said he just wanted some exercise.
What a great way to meet people if you just moved to Silicon Valley! Definitely join Sierra Club. I can imagine that you would not only meet tons of new people, but you will learn about the area, hear about lots of local issues that effect the Bay Area and get in better shape, depending on how many activities you attend.
After the walk, almost everyone had lunch at Michael’s Restaurant. I couldn’t stay, but I definitely will plan on it next time. Hope to see you on a Welcome Walk in the near future and thank you to Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter for making me feel so welcome at my first outing with your group. I love Mountain View.
Made in Mountain View! Holiday gift ideas that support our community.Read More
Palm-lined streets and perfectly manicured lush lawns are becoming a look that is no longer en vogue as many California communities move towards planting environmentally appropriate, drought tolerant native plants. It seemed like a good idea in the 1920s to plant palm trees all over our state, but now they look out of place.
Non-native plants use much more water, don’t provide natural habitat for animals and birds, many require fertilizers, are more susceptible to pests than natives, and aren’t sustainable.
Mountain View has something similar happening along Shoreline Boulevard. It’s some 200 redwood and cedar trees that are at the center of a controversy, as Google plans on expanding their campus. The grove of redwoods was planted in the 80s, when that land was being transformed from marshland, into usable space for city growth. Many of the non-native trees are dying or dead, more of them will be most likely be unhealthy in the future, considering the fact that California’s climate is changing. They use much more water than native trees and they don’t provide natural habitat for birds and local marshland critters.
Yes, it’s beautiful to stroll through a little redwood forrest, but they seem out-of-place, much like those tall, skinny palm trees that are sprinkled throughout our city, they don’t belong here. I recently went on a tour of the delta by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and I was shocked and horrified by the amount of invasive water hyacinth in our Bay Area water supply. They told us that there was no know method of eradicating the highly invasive plant. The redwoods along Shoreline are not anything like the disastrous floating water hyacinth, but neither plant belongs in those respective areas. The Sierra Club and the Audubon Society agree that the trees should be replaced with native species.
Our community is booming and we need more real estate devoted to bike and pedestrian trails. I think that right now is the right time to rethink the decision that was made back in the 80s to plant non-native trees. Google’s plan to replace the trees with native species has been approved by the city and will be moving forward. The local Audubon Society told me that Google has already added native trees in another area of Mountain View and that the birds have returned. Google has plans of offering bird-watching tours to the public in the near future. I’ll definitely find out the details and share with the community (add a story to this website).
This is a hot topic in our community and now is a good time to take a look for yourself. These are some photos that I took of the area last weekend. You can see that the area looks like an enchanted forrest at first, but then you start to notice how many of the redwoods are brown and dying.
Are you a gardener? Here are some places that sell native plants in our area:
Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay. My favorite plant in my yard is a manzanita bush that I bought from them a few years ago and it is thriving and looks wonderful.
Los Altos Nursery is amazing, but they’re closed for the winter, so you have to wait until March to visit them.
Summer Winds has a small selection of native plants too, as does any local Lowes or Home Depot.
Here are some definitions (from the EPA) that we should be using as we discuss this issue in our community:
Non native species: This term, along with the terms introduced species and nonindigenous species, is one of the most commonly used terms to describe a plant or animal species that is not originally from the area in which it occurs.
Native species: Indigenous species, one that occurs naturally in an area, and has not been introduced by humans either intentionally or unintentionally. In North America, a species established before the year 500.
And please remember that it’s not enough to plant native California plants, we need to plant the ones that belong in our hardiness zone. Here’s a link to the USDA website and you can find out what your zone is, but I think that Sunset magazine does a better job at describing Bay Area hardiness zones and offering gardening advice than the USDA website does. If you look around at those two websites, you’ll see that those redwood trees actually belong in the Santa Cruz mountains, but not so much along the bay in our little city. I love Mountain View.
Please tell me what you think about the plan to replace the dying redwoods.
Mountain View is very dog friendly. These restaurants all have outdoor seating and dogs are welcome. I asked them, all of them, just to be sure. So load your furry friends into the car and go get dinner!
Tied House Cafe and Brewery Bodacious brews. Exciting Eats.
Stein's Beer Garden A modern America biergarten.
Scratch American Comfort Food
Casa Lupe Traditional Mexican food
Bierhaus Brats, burgers and beer.
Gelato Classico Italian ice cream and sorbet.
Tea Era Flavored boba tea
Cafe Baklava Mediterranean food
Rumble Fish Japanese food
Clarke's Burgers Charcoal grilled burgers.
Paul Martin's Classic American Bar and Restaurant
Pacific Catch West coast style seafood and bar.
Sakoon Indian food.
Olympus Caffe & Bakery Mediterranean cuisine
Hobee's Casual, homey breakfast and lunch.
Ephesus Mediterranean cuisine
Stephens Green Irish sports bar and restaurant.
Ristorante Don Giovanni Authentic Italian cuisine.
Tapioca Express Exotic coffees and teas.
Dana Street Roasting Company Outstanding coffee and teas.
Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria East coast Italian cuisine.
New Mongolian BBQ Barbeque
Veggie Grill Vegetarian, casual.
Red Rock Coffee Caffeine, culture, community.
Pokéworks Hawaiian seafood.
Poké Bar Hawaiian seafood.
Omelette House Classic American food.
The Counter Custom built burgers.
And, of course, you can bring your dog to all the usual chains with outdoor seating, like: Chipotle, Panera, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, and In and Out Burger. We have plenty of places
Endicia figured out how to give us back hours that would have been spent standing in line at the post office.
The holidays are here and most of us are getting ready to ship packages to family and friends, and send out cute Christmas cards. Endicia will make your life so much easier; no standing in line at the post office! They’ve partnered with the USPS to create mailing and shipping solutions you can track packages, get signature confirmation, send domestic and international packages, print postage, and run postage reports from your home or office.
Endicia's shipping solutions are used by individuals, sellers on Etsy, Ebay and Amazon, and businesses of all sizes. They have solutions in place for individual sellers, all the way up to Fortune 500 companies, major retailers in multiple locations. Some of their larger customers ship more than 10 thousand items each day. Ujena Swimwear in Mountain View uses them to ship hand made bathing suits all over the world.
If you frequently ship packages to Brazil and Mexico, Endicia Global Service can serve as a good option for your online business. With Endicia Global Service, packages clear customs in hours instead of days, typically arriving in the customer’s hands in eight to 10 days.
Endicia is on Castro Street, but you won’t ever need to go there. It’s just fun to know that they’re in the same space that used to be Meyer Appliance. It feels good to do business with a company that’s based right here in Mountain View, and of course they’re supporting our local downtown restaurants.
And stamps, can we talk about those cute custom stamps? Amine Khechfé, founder of Endicia, showed me around and the best part of the tour was the massive printer that makes the custom stamps (PictureItPostage). He told me that pictures of dogs are one of the most popular custom items for the holidays. So what did I do? Went home and uploaded a photo of my dog in her camo hoodie and she looks adorable on a stamp! I flipped through a big stack of custom stamps that were about to be sent out to Endicia customers and most of them were company logos, family photos and a few monograms for wedding invitations.
Now that I know that I can use Endicia, and not ever have to stand in line or deal with trying to park at the post office downtown, I’m inspired to sell a few things on eBay. In the past, I’ve done it, but I would always say "no international buyers" on my listings because I didn't want to stand in line at the post office. Problem solved!
Endicia has been is business for over 25 years and they keep evolving and developing new technology in order to keep up with demand. Their solutions have helped thousands of large and small businesses print more than $14 billion in postage and they're right here in downtown Mountain View. When I learn about companies in Mountain View solving problems for people all over the world, I feel proud of my community and of the technology that makes it happen. I love Mountain View.
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society has birding walks along the bay and they’re a nice way to get to know what kinds of birds live in Mountain View and get to know some nice people along the way. I went on one of these bird-watching tours. It started at Charleston Slough, which is right at the border of Palo Alto and Mountain View, at the end of San Antonio Road.
There were 6 people in my group when the walk started, and a few more people joined the group along the way. Everyone brought their own pair of binoculars. Apparently, the people who do this kind of thing regularly have scopes (which are more powerful) on tripods, but it was going to rain and binoculars are better for rainy days.
The walk moves along very slowly. Everyone stops to look at every bird along the way. The leader of the walk that I was on was Allen Royer. He tells the group where to look and what they’re looking at. I’ve walked this same route probably a hundred times before, but never noticed how many birds were around me as I did when I had someone pointing them out to me.
They’re everywhere you look and they’re used to all the people and bikes in the area, so they aren’t shy. I was under the impression that we would all have to whisper to each other if we were “birding” but that’s not true at all. A few times someone in the group would even shout “LOOK! LOOK!” and point at something as we all turned to see the excitement.
Some of the people on the walk were experienced, and others weren’t. It would be a nice morning activity for anyone, for a date, or for the entire family. It’s friendly and leisurely and would be a great way to meet people.
Several ravens flew by and Allen talked about the difference between a crow and a raven. There were plenty of Crowned Sparrows, some Snowy and Great Egrets, a giant line of Avocets, a big group of Pelicans on a sand bar, and some Black-crown Night Herons, just to name a few. Believe me, there were way too many different kinds for me to write down.
I really enjoyed Allen talking about the plants and fish as well. He told us that a Leopard Shark was recently found in Palo Alto part of the bay. He said not to worry about it biting people; it just came so it could eat the local mussels.
He also pointed out a spectacular Snowy Egret posed close to us and told me that one type of bird was the reason that the Audubon Society was formed. In 1898, two Massachusetts women set out to protect the birds from being killed. The feathers were used to adorn women’s hats and at one point in history the white feathers of a Snowy Egret were worth more than gold. Unbelievable.
The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society is nestled in McClellan Ranch in Cupertino. It’s so close to the craziness of Silicon Valley, yet I felt like I was stepping back in time when I visited the 18 acre nature preserve ranch to find out about local bird walks. The ranch has a community garden, nature trails, a playground and farm animals. Here's a link to the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society event calendar. There is a nice little nature store at the ranch that is run by Audubon Society and they have bird houses, bird feeders, books, and local tour information. They're located at 22221 McClellan Road, Cupertino.
It's nice to enjoy mother nature and step away from the laptop sometimes.
First of all, I can’t believe how much stronger I am as a result of boxing. I can lift heavy items much easier and I have much more endurance. I can fly up the stairs when I park on the top level of a parking lot downtown Mountain View. Everything is easier when you're stronger and I feel like I just discovered the Fountain of Youth.Read More
It’s almost too good to be true. A partnership between an online University, a Mountain View start-up and the local Chamber of Commerce allows anyone who lives or works in Mountain View to earn a bachelor’s degree for about 90% off the normal price.
I had the honor of visiting Study.com in downtown Mountain View this week and heard all the details. It’s happening right now and once word gets around, this offer is going to be life-changing for some residents.
Here’s a link to the super simple application, just 5 questions—unheard of compared to other college applications, right? As long as you live or work in our community, you’ll get in. Your ‘Success Coach’ will help you come up with a degree plan. Then you take up to 75% of the courses online, through Study.com. Many students use simply their smartphone. Download the app and earn a degree. That’s what our world has come to! Earn a degree while you’re commuting.
There are proctored exams along the way and you’ll need a laptop (with a camera that faces you) to take the tests. You could even go to the Mountain View Public Library and use one of theirs, if necessary.
You don’t have to worry about purchasing text books, parking permits, fees per unit, required health fees, and all the other fees associated with college. It’s all included when you take courses through study.com and with this special Mountain View Working Scholars program, it’s almost free.
Once you’ve completed 75% of the course work through the study.com website, your credits can be transferred to Thomas Edison State University (TESU), a fully accredited East coast university, known for providing flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults since 1972. Complete the remaining classes online and your degree will be from TESU
The degree being offered in this pilot program from Mountain View Working Scholars is a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, but other options will be coming. A business degree is something that would make a huge difference in the life of a Silicon Valley resident.
This partnership, (Study.com, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, and TESU) is a model for the alternative credit movement. Imagine finishing college without being in debt and how much of an impact this will have on hundreds of thousands of students. This is turning the educational system upside down and freeing people from getting stuck in the student debt crisis.
People can actually focus on paying rent, saving for a down payment on a home, or starting a business, instead of leaving college with a ton a debt. It’s almost too good to be true, especially in a community where everything (housing, gas, water, parking, restaurants) costs more than what the rest of the country is paying. But it’s not “too good to be true.” It’s really happening.
Education is a critical factor in a person’s ability to greater contribute to, benefit from, and survive in Silicon Valley. Having a bachelor’s degree could increase your earning potential anywhere from 42-67%. That’s a monumental change for yourself and future generations.
I looked at the online classes for a few hours this week and found them enjoyable and rather entertaining with fun animation and pleasant voiceovers. The lessons are videos that are 5 to 8 minutes long. Study.com is used by over 25 million students and teachers every month. Some of their most popular courses are Psychology, Chemistry and US History.
If you know anyone who lives or works in Mountain View, whose life could be improved with a bachelor’s degree, please show them this article. They can start their online classes at any time that is convenient for them, unlike attending regular college. Register at study.com/mv to get started.
Want to help? The Mountain View Working Scholars program has a goal of raising enough scholarship funding to totally eliminate all out-of-pocket costs for participants, but we need help from corporate sponsors. If you support this mission to educate Mountain View and are interested in donating to the scholarship fund, please contact Mannie@Chambermv.org.
Did you know about the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center? I was honored to get to go on a tour of the plant this Summer and if you are able to do so, I highly recommend it. It’s the future of our water, it’s a drought proof supply, it’s controlled locally and it’s more cost effective than buying water from other area, which is what we currently do sometimes.
In the future much more of our local water supply will be purified so now is a great time to learn about it and help educate your friends and neighbors. The water that goes through the purification process is treated waste water.
It goes through 3 different steps; micro filtration, reverse osmosis, and ultra violet light disinfection. Currently the water is being used for irrigation and industrial uses, but the District has future plans to add one more step, advanced oxidation, and then mix that highly purified water back into our local groundwater supply.
Eventually, the plant, and other local purification centers, will produce up to 14 billion gallons of clean water for groundwater replenishment.
Right now, 55% of Silicon Valley’s water supply is imported from the Sierra Nevada mountains in an average year. The cost of the water goes up every year. It makes perfect sense to figure out a way to buy less or even none of it and create/make clean water for ourselves. I love this idea and I'm interested in this topic and have been my entire life. Anyone who grew up in California can tell you that dealing with droughts is just part of the price you pay for living here. I find it reassuring to know that there is some kind of amazing technology that can create safe, clean water for our future. Let's do it!
The benefits of having locally purified water are that it enhances our recycled water quality, it creates a locally controlled, high quality water supply, it increases water reliability, even during droughts, it helps reduce our dependency on water from the Delta, it protects the environment by reusing a precious resource, and it reduces waste water discharge to the San Francisco Bay and the preserves and tidal habitat.
I got to drink some of the water and it tasted great. It was crystal clear and sparking clean. Here’s a link to Santa Clara Valley Water District for more information about Drought Watch. For more information or to take a tour of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, contact Marta Lugo at 408-630-3533 or go to purewaterSV.org.
The Mountain View Fire Fighters Pancake Breakfast is Saturday, October 1st. This is the 12th year this event has happened and it gets more popular every year. It benefits the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Here's more about that organization. The Breakfast will be hosted by Mountain View Fire Fighters Random Acts.
Their mission statement is "Creating a positive difference in the lives of individuals through random acts of kindness."
For well over 25 years, Mountain View Fire Fighters have been supporters of the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. They've donated money and time to the organization. One of the many volunteer opportunities with the AARBF is Champ Camp. Other events include the Ski Trip to Bear Valley, the overnight at Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Outdoor Trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
From the AARBF website, "Champ Camp is a week-long, residential summer camp experience for child burn survivors ages 5-17, who have been treated at California hospitals or are current residents of California. Each year, approximately 130 children attend this week long summer camp at Wonder Valley in Sanger, California.
Champ Camp is free to all burn survivors and it is fully staffed by medical doctors, nurses, program staff, volunteers and counselors – many of whom are also burn unit nurses, burn doctors, adult burn survivors and firefighters. Activities at the camp include fishing, horseback riding, crafts, canoeing, archery, water slides, camp fire, a dance, and team building activities. The main focus of camp is for burn survivors to have fun and just be kids away from medical procedures and financial hardships. Camp provides a safe environment where burn survivors can play, learn, grow, gain self-esteem, and make new friends."
Jenna Graham, a Mountain View Fire Fighter, and other MVFD Firefighters (both present and retired) have volunteered at Champ Camp as Counselors for many years. All of the Champ Camp volunteers say that these were some of the most rewarding volunteer experiences they have ever had. It was during Jenna's camp counselor years, that the idea of having a Pancake Breakfast fundraiser for the AARBF was born. Jenna, along with MVFD personnel, Vern Chestnut & Scott Williams, organized the very first Mountain View Fire Fighters Pancake Breakfast. That first year, they were thrilled with the "huge turnout" of 500 citizens. They rented the griddles, figured out how to make a bunch of pancakes and sausage, and had a great time. The Pancake Breakfast has always been a good opportunity for our fire department to teach fire safety and share some of what they do with the people of the Mountain View community.
As the years have passed, the Pancake Breakfast has grown. They now serve approximately 2500 breakfasts each year. They've been very fortunate to have partnered with the Chef Team from FaceBook almost 10 years ago. Let's face it, how many pancakes can a bunch of firefighters make without the help of some pros. This partnership was a great idea. Now they can use their time to connect with the community, teach about fire and burn injury prevention as well as CPR training, rope rescue, fire extinguisher training and auto extrication demonstrations.
This year they will also have their Hazardous Material apparatus at the Breakfast along with personnel from Environmental Protection helping people learn how to keep our environment safe. I heard a rumor that we might be expecting a special appearance of Firefighter Paramedic Tim Howling with Tater and George who are our search dogs as well as Charlie, the new search dog in training. Mountain View Police Department will be there to answer questions.
There will also be a silent auction. Let's help the Fire Department make this event bigger and better than it's ever been! Bring the whole family and I'll see you at the 12th Annual Fire Fighters Pancake Breakfast. It's from 8:00-11:00 at Fire Station #4 at 229 N. Whisman Road. Adults are $8.00 and kids are $5.00. See you at the Pancake Breakfast! I love Mountain View.
I did the 23andMe DNA test. The results came back in about 3 weeks, much quicker than I expected. You spit in a little plastic container, register your test kit so they know who the spit belongs to, and send it to them in their prepaid package. So easy. All of the results they give you are online. They’ll send you an email and a link to see your results.
The results are absolutely fascinating, even for me, at 99.7% European. You get 3 different kinds of information back from them: health information, where your ancestors came from, and some traits about yourself.
The European portion of my DNA breaks down into an interesting mix of British, Irish, French, German, Scandinavian and a little Iberian. I had to Google that last one.
The health information that 23andMe gives you is whether or not you are a carrier of 39 different variants that may not affect your health, but could affect the health of your family. This could be incredibly helpful if you were planning on having children.
23andMe researchers say that most people have a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA in them and my results showed that I have 253 variants of the 2872 Neanderthal variants that they test for, which means I have less than 80% of their customers. They told me that I have a specific variation that has “less back hair” than other Neanderthals. I consider myself lucky.
My results also tell me that I’m likely to consume more caffeine that the average person, I’m a light sleeper, I am probably tolerant of lactose, I have freckles, straight hair, a longer ring fingers than index fingers and some details about my earwax. It's all true and now that my DNA has confirmed my love for coffee, I think I'm drinking even more of it.
You can connect to your family members on 23andMe website and view their test results. The 23andMe website is outstanding and has an unbelievable amount of information on it. I've already spent hours on it and they keep sending me more information now that I've agreed to be part of their genetic research. The more questions you answer about yourself, the more points you can accumulate towards more "insights' or information about yourself.
23andMe is in downtown Mountain View and they love it here. They’re very close to the train station and encourage their employees to take the train or bike to work. They have indoor bike parking. They recently joined the Chamber of Commerce and one of their executives will go through the next Leadership Mountain View class, which starts in September.
When I tell people that I’m from Mountain View, I always say it with a great deal of pride. And one of the reasons that I have such pride in my community is because it’s the center of technological excellence. 23andMe is a good example of why I’m honored to say I’m from Mountain View. You can sometimes find the 23andMe test kits at Target and CVS, but you can always find them here.
I love Mountain View.
The Mountain View Art & Wine Festival is September 10th and 11th, 2016. It’s a seriously gigantic festival, in the middle of Mountain View, and over a hundred thousand people attend every year. It’s two unforgettable days of live music; rhythm and blues, classic rock ‘n roll, cool jazz, Motown soul, world-beat, Celtic folk and danceable party music. Fourteen of the Bay Area’s best bands play a non-stop, wide-ranging musical mix on the Linked-In Concert Stage in Civic Center Plaza and several street locations throughout downtown.
This year, they’re extending festival hours into the evening on Saturday until 7:00pm.
Tied House always makes a commemorative brew that they serve at the festival. This year’s special beer is their world-class Kolsch, along with their Cascade Amber.
The collectible wine and beer glasses are exceptionally cute this year. The beer glass is a glass version of the red plastic ‘Solo’ cup. It’s definitely going to sell out. There will be 7 different varietals of wine, 3 reds, 3 whites, and Sangria, garnished with fresh fruit. There will also be mimosas, which are perfect for those that feel guilty about drinking beer and wine before noon. There will also be Honeycrisp Apple Mules at the intersection of Mercy and Castro.
I was lucky enough to be on the panel that judged the wine for the festival. We selected Columbia Crest Grand Estates Chardonnay, 14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon, Two Vines Red Blend, Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau St. Michelle Riesling and Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir. Be sure to help support Leadership Mountain View by purchasing Honest Tea or Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water at the festival.
There will be about 500 artists at the festival. It is an unbelievable selection of art, clothing, jewelry, pottery, furniture, garden art, footwear, hats, handbags, candles, so many other creative items, all handmade by artists from all over the United States. It’s always so nice to see some of the artists come back year after year. If you’re looking for someone specific, or a particular item, stop by the information booth at the California and Castro intersection to get their exact location.
The food vendors will be at most of the intersections as you walk down the street. These vendors are experienced and only the best are invited back over and over again.
Wear comfy shoes and sunscreen. The Chamber of Commerce loves dogs, but the festival isn’t a good place for them. Please leave dogs at home. If possible, ride your bike, walk or take public transportation to the festival. There will be a bike parking lot.
Parking in some of the lots around town will be $5.00. Those parking lots are managed by CHAC (Community Health Awareness Council). They’re a non-profit that does wonderful things in our community, including helping local children, so it feels good to pay the five bucks and know that it's going to a great cause.
If you like people-watching, you’ll have a great time at the festival. I’ll just leave it at that… I’ll be working all weekend at the festival and every year I find it so exciting to see the new art that has been created especially for us, listen to the music, visit with friends and neighbors that I haven’t seen in a while, and watch the colorful crowds dancing in the street.
Thank you to the 500 volunteers that help at the festival by working in the beer and wine booths. It wouldn’t be possible to put on an event of this magnitude without the help of so many generous people. I love Mountain View. See you at the festival.
INTENTIO is a gym in downtown Mountain View that has a different approach to fitness. Their clients are goal driven and motivated by the Intentio staff, a team of professionals who are trained to help them meet their specific, measured, objectives. It is very effective and they told me about some clients that have had wonderful results. I saw the numbers and it’s remarkable that these people have not only, lost a significant amount of body fat, but have gained muscle.
One of the first things they do at Intentio is find out what the client’s life would look like if they were able to do everything that they used to do, like tennis, hiking, and travel, whatever they used to do that they loved, but are unable to do now that they’ve gained weight and aren’t in good shape.
The program that INTENTIO will put them on will help them lose fat and gain muscle and increase metabolism. They’ll get one-on-one personal training, small group training, and nutrition coaching, as opposed to being given a list of foods that they aren’t supposed to eat. They actually learn how to think on-the-fly and change their mindset.
Two things that I thought were amazing are an anti-gravity treadmill that you get zipped into. It’s very helpful if you are over coming an injury. And they have a beautiful wooden rooftop patio where they offer yoga classes early or late in the day, since it’s in full sunlight. Besides, it’s quieter in Mountain View early in the morning or late in the evening. The massage room is peaceful and the private locker rooms are spacious, sleek and clean.
They have clients from lots of local tech companies including LinkedIn and Samsung, the kind of people who are incredibly busy and don’t have time to figure out how to get in shape and lose the weight on their own. The kind of people who work 50 hours a week and want a team of professionals to teach them what to do to get results. Many companies allow gym fees to be paid for with flexible spending accounts or reimbursements for health-focused spending.
Their clients don’t have to pick a coach; they get access to all of the coaches and knowledge. It’s interesting that they have an app that reminds their clients to do things like exercise, get enough rest, drink water, and be accountable for their results.
INTENTIO is celebrating their one year anniversary with a Fitness Fair on Sept 15, 2016. It’s a great chance to take a look at the gym and meet the coaches and founders. You can get a free 20 minute workout, have some samples, enter a drawing that includes a Grand Prize of a Garmin Vivofit, a 3 month membership, plus many other offerings from their 10 partners. If you pre-register for the event, you get a free t-shirt. Intentio was also just named Best of Mountain View for Nutrition and Weight Loss Counseling, and also for Personal Training. Congratulations INTENTIO and thanks for the tour.