Mon10202014

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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Actors stand out in Bus Barn's production of 'Farndale Avenue'

Theater review

I dare you to take a deep breath and say the title of Bus Barn's new production all in one effort.

The title, "The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of 'A Christmas Carol,'" also tells you, beyond its length, that you are in for a zany theatrical experience.

Have a cup of mulled cider, and you will be in the proper mood for watching the plot about a small group of hopeful thespians staging the annual holiday show, "A Christmas Carol."

They must do so with a cast of just six since all others fail to show up. Against an attractive backdrop of painted holiday scenes, the courageous and often ridiculous actors trade male and female roles, knock down set furniture, goof up their lines and revert to their non-acting selves with disconcerting regularity.

It is immediately obvious that the story of Dickens' Scrooge and his mind-changing alteration from a miserable old skinflint to an affable and generous man is not the purpose the playwrights have in mind.

We must accept the play as a wild romp and suspend disbelief. Absurdities abound as the plot allows interaction between the characters and audience members in the front row.

The dignified Mrs. Reece (Colleen O'Kane Block) complete with snooty high-pitched voice, acts as greeter, narrator, Tiny Tim and a ghostly spirit.

She tells us at the end of Act I, "Don't worry, the second act is short." As Tiny Tim, she crouches low and stumbles along the stage saying, "I'm a poor crippled boy who's temporarily forgotten his crutch."

Her basic prop is a shiny red purse which always clues us to her identity, even when it swings out from her black shroud as one of the spirits that takes Scrooge on his journey.

Block stands out in all her roles and helps us to laugh heartily while wondering what on earth is happening.

Another outstanding performance is by Melody Cole who as Thelma is the strong leader of the manic acting group. She plays Scrooge and, though she fumbles and bumbles through the various stage props, does give the play within a play a fragile continuity.

Some of Cole's funniest moments come when she reacts with irritation to the mistakes of others and reverts to being Thelma venting her annoyance.

It's fun to be taken backstage along with the struggling cast as they shift roles, double up, or as their stage manager (Michael Afendakis) does, act with inappropriate silliness.

Act II continues the journey of Scrooge but uses a party situation to involve the cast and audience in charades. We simply shake our heads and accept the singing and dancing of the entire ensemble.

Director Kathy Gutto persuades us that we are participating in wild and crazy events.

The other cast members, Angela Bunting, Lynda Marcum and Buffy Afendakis, do a good job as the blundering members of a goofy amateur drama group.

The play runs through Dec. 30 at the Bus Barn Theatre, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos.

For reservations and more information, call 941-0551.

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