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OMVNA Newsletter

January 2005
Volume 17, Number 1


From the Chair: Where Do We Go From Here

Family Focus: Rain, Rain Go Away

CERT Update: Great CERT Drill

CERT News: Trailer Break-In

OMVNA Winter General Meeting

Neighborhood Voices: Growing into the Wine Era

From the Chair: Where Do We Go From Here
By Velva Rowell

Itís the beginning of the year, which makes it a good time to re-evaluate the goals that OMVNA has set for itself. We are in an interesting position as a neighborhood organization because most of the long-term projects that we have been working on are resolved to varying degrees of satisfaction. The Downtown Precise Plan is completed and approved, and the Downtown Committee is no longer meeting. There is now an historic preservation ordinance in Mountain View. The Limelight is under new ownership which has promised to have a better relationship with the neighborhood.

Where does that leave us? I think it leaves us in an ideal position to evaluate ourselves as an organization and decide what we want to focus on for the next couple of years. That is why, at our General Meeting on February 5th (see the ad on the front page of this newsletter), we are going to sit down and talk about what we want to accomplish.

We last did this at the winter General Meeting in January 2002, so itís high time we have this conversation again. But we need your input. What concerns you about the neighborhood? How can OMVNA help you and your neighbors make Old Mountain View a better place to live?

One of the things we discussed at our December Steering Committee meeting was the fact that OMVNA is not a homeowners association, but a neighborhood resource for everyone who lives in Old Mountain View. How can we be more inclusive? What sorts of programs would you like to see at our General Meetings?

Think about it, and bring your ideas to the General Meeting. Weíll provide the snacks, beverages and a program geared toward parents presented by Karen Bricker, Head of Youth Services at the Mountain View Public Library. Also there will be storytelling and art projects for children. The business meeting will consist of our discussion of OMVNAís goals and an introduction of the new officers and will be followed by the program.

We hope to see all of you at the General Meeting on February 5th!

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Family Focus: Rain, Rain Go Away
By Erin Sanders

Sigh... Itís a sound heard throughout Old Mountain View homes when the sky clouds over and the rain splish splashes. Whatís a parent to do with children who are climbing up the walls by 9 a.m.?

Outside the house

Here are some of the lesser-known places to go within a short drive of Old Mountain View:

  • Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, San Jose. Learn about Egyptian culture and their view of the afterlife.
  • Woodside Store, Woodside. This museum is set up like an 1880s general store.
  • Intel Museum, Santa Clara. Find out about the history of the microprocessor, how transistors and microprocessors work, and how computer chips are made. The museum is suited for older children. Main lobby of Intel, Robert Noyce Bldg.
  • Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, Palo Alto. Indoor exhibits allow the kids to jump, climb, and conduct simple science experiments. There is a small outdoor zoo to visit if the weather clears up.
  • Libraries are wonderful places to visit on rainy days.
  • The Jungle, San Jose. Indoor family entertainment center.
  • Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos. For anyone interested in planes or even just wheels.

At home

Remember, not all adventures require leaving the house:

  • Host an indoor picnic or tea party. Invite the dolls, the stuffed animals, and the neighbor kids.
  • Bring out a box of "new toys." These are toys that have been put away because the kids were bored with them. On rainy days, these boring toys become fun and new again.
  • Build a fort. Drape a large blanket over the kitchen table and chairs. Crawl under with the kids, bring in a zoo of stuffed animals, sing songs, eat a snack, etc.
  • Put on a puppet show. For older kids, help enliven the show by calling out plot twists .
  • Itís showtime. Pull out the camcorder and have the kids put on a show. For younger children, film them dancing or even just playing. Children love to watch their own feature film.
  • Scavenger hunt. Make a list of items your children can find around the house. Send them on a scavenger hunt. For older children, put a time limit on the hunt to increase the intensity.
  • An alphabet scavenger hunt is also fun. Each item should start with a letter of the alphabet. Then, have the children line up the items in alphabetical order.
  • Trace a kid. Have your children lie down on enough newspaper or butcher paper to fit their bodies. Trace around them and then have them decorate their outlines. Pull out different craft supplies (feathers, glitter, fabric scraps, etc.) to jazz up their person.
  • Play freeze. Dance and jump like crazy until someone shouts "freeze." This can also be done to music. The music stops, everybody freezes.

Are the kids are still bouncing off the walls? Head outside anyway. Bundle everyone up, bring out the umbrellas and see what nature is up to. Leaf races down the gutters are great fun. See who can spot the first worm working its way out. And thereís nothing like a good puddle stomping to get out the energy. Enjoy!

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CERT Update: Great CERT Drill
By Aaron Grossman

CERT is our Community Emergency Response Team. Our first combined Annual Meeting and Training Drill took place at Landels School on Saturday, January 8. Two dozen of our own volunteers plus guests from the Monta Loma and Cuesta Park CERT attended. They formed teams that rotated through three training stations covering medical triage, damage assessment, and incident command.

Classes were led by Tracey Scott and Vernon Chestnut of Emergency Management Solutions and Lynn Brown from the MV Fire Department. Several local youth volunteers gave a strong sense of reality to the medical station by simulating real accident victims for the CERT members to respond to. A community grant from the City of Mountain View provided funding for the event. Everyone appeared to have a good experience, and we hope to do a sequel later this spring.

Please remember that in an emergency, CERT members will probably NOT give you food, water, or shelter. They WILL help you prepare in advance, and during an emergency they WILL help their neighbors organize and respond effectively.

For more information on CERT please go to

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CERT News: Trailer Break-In
By Aaron Grossman

After the January 8 drill we discovered that someone had broken into the CERT trailer through a plastic skylight on the the roof. The OMVNA black portable PA system, the wireless microphone, and a folding pliers multi-tool labeled CNN were taken and a fire extinguisher was used up. The PA is a CSI model PAW-150H and cost $230. The fire extinguisher and the pliers tool were about $15 each.

One of three professional-grade medical trauma kits was opened and a blood pressure cuff left outside, but not apparently damaged. Several boxes of bulk general supplies were also opened, but not significantly damaged. The trailer was fine in early December at the monthly check.

Sunday morning a report was filed with the MV Police. They investigated and concluded that it was probably students because the roof opening was slightly less than 13" square, too small for most adults. A pile of Tootsie-Roll wrappers was another clue.

No hazardous or dangerous materials are kept in the trailer because it's located on school property. The portable radio gear and generator stay at the nearby home of our radio coordinator. The main items in the trailer, besides some boxes of medical gloves and bandages, are four backboards, two pop-up awnings, two long pry-bars, a table, and chairs.

The plastic skylight panels are now wired shut. Stronger replacements may help, but could be pricey. The trailer is reasonably secure otherwise. The side and rear doors have large brass combination locks, the trailer support jacks and wheels are all chained together, and the hitch has a heavy duty locked cover. Anyone interested in improving trailer security, replacing our PA, or with information about the theft, please contact Aaron Grossman at or cell #408 202-2802. Thanks!

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OMVNA Winter General Meeting
Saturday, February 5, 2005, Landels School MUR

Speaker: Karen Bricker, Head of Youth Services, Mountain View Public Library

Topics: Karenís program will discuss Library offerings for children as well as how parents can help ensure their childrenís success in school. Additionally, we will be having a business meeting to set goals for OMVNA for the coming year (and beyond).

Time: 1:00-3:00, Business meeting 1:00, Karen Brickerís Program 2:00

Extras: We will provide craft projects for children so please bring them too.

We are planning to provide craft projects for children at the February 5th General Meeting to give them with something to do while their parents attend the Meeting, but we need help. If you are interested in helping children with a craft project or telling stories to them, please contact Velva Rowell at or (650) 938-0389.

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Neighborhood Voices: Growing into the Wine Era
By Jack Perkins

OMVN is enduring a population explosion. Kids are everywhere. Most seem to be in the 18 month age category and it seems there is a second wave close behind. The big storm of November 2002, the one when a lot of the power lines were down for a few days, seems to be the point of conception for the first baby boom. The neighborhoods growing pains are beginning now that this new wave of kids is starting to exercise its mobility.

The houses around here are so small, itís hard to imagine the original owners raised two or more kids in them, but they did. Todayís parents, or maybe itís the kids, or their stuff, just donít seem to fit. The closets are tiny, bathrooms are smallÖ more kids means more bedrooms so thereís a steady pace of remodeling in OMVN. Itís a conundrum, should we move? should we remodel? Moving may mean out of state or at least out of the Bay Area. But the job prospects are best around here. What if I spend all this money on a remodel and I lose my job? A conundrum. Maybe people were actually more tolerant when they were raising the first round of kid in this neighborhood. That was the martini era, maybe that was the secret to survival.

Even with smaller families, todayís families seem a bit over crowded. There is clear need to break free of the suddenly small houses. Lucky families have parents nearby, who can give them a break. Unfortunately, most people around here arenít actually from around here; no relatives nearby, so they donít get these breaks. It is for them Old Mountain View really shines. Not only are there some great parks that come in handy; Mercy/Bush, Eagle, Landels, Fairmont; but these parks, and the streets that lead to them, are rarely lacking a parent or neighbor or two who appreciate getting outside to talk with other adults while hovering over the kids. Though of course, all of the talk about is the kids.

From the talk on the street, it is clear there will soon be herds of two year olds. Twos are tough; they move pretty fast and can escape easily. Beware Landels: it isnít long before this mob becomes the teacherís problem.

Judging from what I see in the overflowing recycling bins left out on trash days, wine has replaced martinis. I suppose either one works when it comes to alleviating the hardships of parenthood. From my perspective, the martini era was simpler.

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Last updated: 1/28/05