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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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Sights, songs for holidays

Downtown celebrations filled with lights, harmonies, people

Yes, Santa, there is a Los Altos. The largest crowd in the 19-year history of the Festival of Lights Parade came out to see you. More than 30,000 kids and grown-ups lined Main and State streets trying to catch a quick glimpse of Santa Claus in his 50-foot high sleigh.

On the beautiful crisp and clear evening, people started to claim their spots on the sidewalk by spreading their blankets before 4:30 p.m. For the next two and a half hours before the parade began at 7 p.m., people walked around sipping hot refreshments or standing on street corners chatting with neighbors.

Older children on inline skates cruised up and down the traffic-free streets, while younger children tossed light plastic rainbow ropes into the air. Dec. 1 was a fun night for everybody.

Denise and Richard Dauler and their two children, Kolby and Christine, have missed only two Festival of Lights Parades in the last 17 years. They live in Palo Alto, but come here so the kids can see Santa. Denise said the parade is "so much bigger this year than in prior years. It's a sight to see."

The parade comprises more than 80 units - bands, floats, marching groups. High School bands from Los Altos, St. Francis, Mountain View, Fremont and Homestead helped launch the holiday season by playing and singing Christmas songs while they marched. Also in the parade supplying Christmas songs, was a community band, "the Spirit of Sunnyvale."

"More than 100 volunteers help make this parade a success," said Conrad Heintzelman, Festival of Lights president. "One of the highlights are the many costumes volunteers wear with larger-than-life animal heads. You'll never guess who's in this big bear suit."

Joanna Medin, a south Los Altos resident, said that "When we moved here several years ago, the first thing we saw before we bought a house was the Festival of Lights Parade. When I noticed all the local organizations marching in the parade, I told my husband, 'this is for us, this is where I want to live.'"

The holiday season in the village started the previous Friday at 6 p.m. in the Community Plaza with the annual lighting of the Rotary Tree. Opening Night in the Village featured the introduction of the Town Choir. Directed by Harriet Howell, the mass chorus of more than 100 singers from local churches and the community sang Christmas songs for more than an hour, climaxed with the Hallelujah Chorus when the lights came on.

After the concert, the Town Choir kept the streets alive with the sound of music by breaking up into groups to sing Christmas songs at several intersections throughout town. A bell choir performed on the Town Crier balcony.

Joan Cattermole lives in San Carlos with her family and her friends told her how wonderful the Festival of Lights Parade is each year. So she and a group of friends meet here each year at the same spot and look forward to the evening because it's a social event for their entire group.

Crystal Kennedy and Taryn Moody are Los Altos High School cheerleaders who march in the parade. "It's neat for all the families to come out and watch the parade," Kennedy said. "But when you're marching, it's fun watching all the little kids looking at you and having fun."

The Festival of Lights Parade started in 1977 as the brainchild of Marion Jackston and Hope Higbee. They convinced the Los Altos Village Association to stage the parade after Thanksgiving to get the people in the holiday spirit. Starting with a few costumed characters out of fairy tale books, tiny lights and a jolly Santa Claus, the parade turned into one of the most popular downtown events of the year. Santa Claus remain in town for the annual "Breakfast with Santa" events Dec. 14 and 21 at the Los Altos Bar and Grill to entertain the kids.

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