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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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LAH resident gives his time to the forests

Photo Courtesy Of Dave Lautzenheiser

Dave Lautzenheiser works with an all-volunteer organization that protects state wildlands.

This is the third in a series of monthly articles that highlight local volunteers.

Los Altos Hills resident Dave Lautzenheiser is a volunteer with Ventana Wilderness Alliance, an all-volunteer organization that protects the wildlands of the northern Santa Lucia Mountains and the Big Sur Coast.

Q: How did you hear about your organization and for how long have you volunteered?

A: After having a very miserable hiking trip in the Big Sur wilderness, I went online to seek information about difficult trail situations. I found reports of conditions on the Ventana Wilderness Alliance Web site written by folks who had actually been hiking there. I have worked with them for five years.

Q: What tasks do you perform?

A: Our focus is on trail restoration in the greater Big Sur wilderness area. This involves two main tasks. The first is removing the brush that has grown into the trail or has fallen on the trail from above and is generally done with heavy-duty pruning tools. Some larger items require sawing with pruning saws. In the case of fallen trees, a number of volunteers have large, two-person manual crosscut saws that we use. The second general task is restoring the trail tread, the part that you walk on, using a variety of digging and raking tools. We remove debris from the trail and dig out and level any areas that have fallen rocks, dirt or brush roots in the trail tread.

Q: What is your favorite part of volunteering?

A: The best part of this particular "job" is the huge transformation in the usability of a trail. We take areas that are virtually impassable and convert them into a "wilderness freeway" in a short period of time. Often while we are out working on the trails, hikers come through and their thanks only adds to the satisfaction.

Q: What skills are needed to do this job?

A: The leaders of the work trips provide the small amount of instruction needed to accomplish most of the tasks. For those who have the inclination to take their hand at the two-person crosscut saws, there are classes to become certified in accordance with Forest Service regulations. Every trip begins with a mandatory safety briefing. The crew leader for each trip works closely with new volunteers to be certain that they are using tools properly, are adhering to appropriate safety practices and are, most importantly, enjoying the time in the wilderness!

Q: What is the time commitment?

A: Work trips are generally two-day events on weekends and we camp out at night. There are some opportunities for one-day trips that are a great way to get started. There are also a few longer trips, generally three or four days, particularly if we are working a trail remote enough to require a long hike into the wilderness. Trips are planned for at least one weekend per month from October to June. I personally try to do four or five trips per season; others are out every month and some folks come out only once a year.

Q: What do you get out of volunteering?

A: This activity is all about making a difference for hikers to enjoy this wonderful area of the state. Our goal is to improve the trails so that a larger number of users can enjoy them and, if we can increase the use of the area, perhaps the Forest Service will get additional funding to restore other facilities that are beyond the scope of our activities.

Q: What type of people might enjoy this volunteer job?

A: Anyone who enjoys outdoors and hiking is a good candidate. Also, a desire to camp out overnight in a remote area is a definite plus but many of the two-day trips can be done without the luxury of sleeping out under the stars in one of the most beautiful wild areas in the state!

Q: How may others contact your organization to volunteer?

A: The Web site is www.ventanawild.org. Click on the "Trail Crew" button on the left side of the page for more information.

Carol Crites is a Los Altos resident and longtime volunteer. Suggestions for this column can be sent to Editor Bruce Barton by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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