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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Ascending the ranks


Erica Caldwell/Charlotte Knights
Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Erik Johnson has gone from Double-A Birmingham to Triple-A Charlotte this season.

Pitcher Erik Johnson continues to climb the organizational ladder of the Chicago White Sox, rising from Single-A to Triple-A in a year. But the Los Altos High graduate takes his success one step – and one start – at a time.

“Like any year, I’ve been learning a lot,” said Johnson, promoted to the Charlotte Knights in June after going 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 14 starts for the Double-A Birmingham Barons. “I try to take away something new with every start I make. … For me, it really comes down to what I’m doing down there (on the field). It’s always just me and the (catcher’s) glove. It’s a tough game and a long season, so really the simpler I can keep it, the better.”

The focused Johnson was a standout starter at UC Berkeley prior to being chosen by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

In 2012, his first full year of minor-league ball, the right-hander jumped from low Single-A Kannapolis to high Single-A Winston-Salem by midseason.

Johnson finished the campaign with a 6-5 record and a 2.53 ERA in 17 starts, while posting a nearly 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for the season.

Others took notice of Johnson’s solid season. Baseball America, for one, ranked the Mountain View native as the No. 4 prospect in the White Sox organization, as well as its top pitching prospect.

Johnson, however, said he’s unaffected by glowing scouting reports or rankings. His focus remains on the one thing he can control – his performance on the field.

“I don’t read anything into that; it’s singular focus for me and keeping it on the field,” said Johnson, who is 2-0 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts for Charlotte. “It really comes down to each start – you can’t think past your next start. It’s just taking it day-by-day, working hard, staying focused and staying healthy.”

Prior to starting the season with Birmingham, Johnson earned an opportunity to participate in his first spring training with the big-league club in Arizona. The non-roster invitee said he cherished the chance to spend time in the same clubhouse and on the same field as Chicago’s major-leaguers.

“That’s the biggest part I wanted to take in as a goal – learn as much as I can while I was there,” said Johnson, who arrived at camp in late January. “I was always listening and watching some of the older guys throw their bullpens. … Just being out there and facing big-league hitters (in exhibition games) was the opportunity I wanted.”

Johnson’s steadfast focus hasn’t prevented him from realizing how important off-the-field supporters have been to his career. He noted that family and friends back home have provided unwavering support during his career – from as far back as high school. Johnson’s parents have traveled to see him play at Birmingham and Charlotte this season and watch his starts online as well. Sandy Wihtol, his coach at Los Altos High, calls every few weeks to check in on his former baseball pupil.

“It’s nice to have them there to support me as much as they can,” said Johnson, who added that he chats by phone with his parents after every start. “For me, it’s really a family and community support structure.”

Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players in September, but Johnson said he hasn’t let the thought of being among those called up to creep into his head. As usual, Johnson’s focus remains on the diamond – and away from any speculation.

“I don’t think I’ve surprised myself, because baseball is one of those things I’ve always excelled at,” he said. “It’s about me just climbing and trying to reach that goal of mine. … It always comes down to just me and that glove again.”

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