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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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The power of Pokémon: Local earns status of trading-card game champ

Photo Mary Beth Hislop/Town Crier

Eight-year-old Emily Cheng of Los Altos scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokmon prize kit and the coveted Pokmon trophy at the Pokmon Trading Card Game Regional Championships April 17.

It’s a game of high stakes – poker for little people – and the luck of the draw involves careful planning, comprehensive strategy and deliberate execution. It’s no place for whiskey and cigars.

And at the Pokémon Trading Card Game Santa Clara Regional Championships April 17, 8-year-old Los Altos resident Emily Cheng scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokémon prize kit and the coveted Pokémon trophy, which is prominently displayed in a china cabinet at home.

“This was my second tournament,” said Emily, a second-grader at Almond School.

Her second-place status in the tournament also netted her an opportunity to compete at the national level in Indianapolis at the end of June.

“We’re not sure if we’ll go,” said her father. “She has an invitation, and that’s terrific.”

It’s especially terrific considering Emily started playing the game in September.

“My old friend Rachel introduced me to the game,” Emily said. “She gave me my first Pokémon card – ‘Solrock.’ That’s how it all started.”

“She came home one day and wanted to play Pokémon,” Steve said.

Easier said than done. Learning the basics Рrules and strategies Рinvolved an Internet search. And then a search for fellow Pok̩mon aficionados.

“I don’t actually play with people at school,” Emily said.

But she did find a Pokémon League in Santa Clara that meets weekly to play the game and learn the strategies involved.

“We just had a great time meeting new people,” Steve said. “She just loved it.”

That first card is just the beginning.

“In Pokémon, you have to collect the cards,” Emily said. “‘Solrock’ is really special to me. Sadly, it was out of play (at the tournament).”

At the regional competition, Emily was paired with others in five games in the 11-year-old-and-younger category – called the Swiss round – securing a place in the finals after scoring four wins and one loss.

In the first of two final games that consisted of three rounds, Emily beat a 10-year-old.

“She actually beat the top-seeded player from the Swiss round,” Steve said.

In her final competition with an 11-year-old champ, Emily lost the first round, won the second and came close in the third.

“It was a real nail-biter,” Steve said. “He was really pushed to the limit.”

For those not in the know, Pokémon originated in Japan as “pocket monsters,” animated creatures encapsulated by their trainers who cared for them and prepared them to compete in sporting events. The Pokémon evolve as they gain experience, becoming stronger and accumulating powers while their trainers earn badges and acclimation as they attain rank in Pokémon competitions.

Pokémon has since captured worldwide attention as an enduring fad that has evolved into Nintendo Game Boy games, a comic book series, movies, a video game and the trading card game. But don’t let its “game” designation fool you.

“It’s very complicated,” Steve said. “As a parent, I can appreciate that the game has some great aspects. It’s fun to play, and it really makes you think with the elements of strategy and planning.”

It’s even more difficult to explain.

But Emily doesn’t allow the game to interfere with academics – she loves science and is currently entranced with studying the behaviors of crayfish.

In the meantime, she has passed her love of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to family, one of whom also participated in the regional tournament.

“My cousin got sixth place,” Emily said.

Her advice to up-and-coming Pokémon players: “I would say they should start with a World Championship deck and take a month to add to it.”

It also helped to have a mentor from the Pokémon League, Brian, who is in the know when it comes to the powers of each Pokémon card. Emily’s secret weapon – “Claydol.”

“It has a special power,” she said. “It is one of the most reliable ways to get cards in and out of your hands.”

Emily’s enthusiasm for the game may convince her parents it’s worth a trip to Indianapolis. And if she scores big there, the 2010 Pokémon World Championships are scheduled in August in Honolulu.

For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.

Contact Mary Beth Hislop at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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