Faces of Menlo

Post image for Linda Fornaciari and Di Gow: The forces behind the Ladera Crier

Both attorneys by profession — although no longer practicing — Ladera residents Linda Fornaciari (on left) and Di Gow sort of fell into taking over editing and publishing their neighborhood newsletter, the Ladera Crier, five years ago.

They’d both moved to Ladera in the 90s. And both were very involved volunteers at Menlo-Atherton High School where their children attended. So, it was not like they were looking for something new to fill their time.

“We’d gotten to know each other through various school volunteer projects and sports — our kids played water polo at M-A,” said Linda. “My daughter suggested this might be a good project for me, and the first person I thought about involving was Di, as she was someone else who knew tons of people here.”

“I give Linda all the credit,” added Di. “She’s the driving force. We couldn’t publish without her.”

The neighborhood, which some sources say is in Menlo Park and others Portola Valley, rises up off Alpine Drive, near the shopping center of the same name. It has only 500 houses and a pathway of “secret” trails. To those that live there, it is “ideal.”

The Ladera Crier, which is distributed only to current and former Ladera residents, is not a new publication. It’s been around since the 50s when the area was first developed. They have a collection of back issues, which they describe as “sometime hilarious.”

The current newsletter boasts 16 pages and is published monthly. Its tag line is “all the news that’s fun to print,” and it’s filled with profiles of long-time and new residents, coverage of the various milestones of life — births, deaths, marriages — school news, and the goings on of the Ladera Community Association and the Ladera Recreation District.

“Our readers enjoy stories about some of our older residents who’ve made Ladera their home here for decades,” said Linda. “Then there’s coverage of our block parties, summer barbecues and the four-day 4th of July festivities.”

Key to the newsletter is its mission to foster new connections and keep old connections. “We want neighbors to know each other,” said Linda.

“Ladera is such a great neighborhood, distinct from other neighborhoods in the area,” said Di. “To me, it’s like living in a candy store. It’s that great!”

Photo by Gina Hart

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Thumbnail image for Thanks to Ceci Wong – the woman and the store – there’s still a jewelry store in downtown Menlo Park

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