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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 first dance: Couples take to the floor after taking their vows

Photo Top Photo Courtesy Of Michael Kent Photography Above By Eren Gknar, Newlyweds Ann Chasson and Robert Phair celebrate the finale of their successful first dance.

It’s traditional for the bride and groom to dance their first dance together as newlyweds while guests watch, but it’s not necessarily easy.

Accustomed to boogying down to popular music, many contemporary couples find themselves unprepared for old-fashioned ballroom dancing.

As a result, more and more beginners are seeking help from professional instructors, who not only teach the steps, but also help choreograph the dance routines.

“A lot of couples don’t have a song picked out when they come to me,” said Yana Schlenker, a dance instructor with Cheryl Burke Dance Studio, 1400 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View. “The first thing I do is assign them homework: Go home and pick out a dance.”

“Most of them have never danced before,” said Schlenker, a Russian native who has taught dance for 15 years.

She teaches private dance classes to couples mainly during “wedding dance season,” from April to September.

Schlenker recommends that couples take five to 10 lessons before the big day “to get to a pretty comfortable place.” She tries to dissuade clients from the waltz, preferring the two-step, because “it’s a great romantic dance and very pretty.”

The most popular songs for first dances are “At Last” by Etta James, Frank Sinatra selections and “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.

Some duos approach the performance with dread, but others take up the challenge and continue dancing as a hobby even after the wedding. With time and practice, couples who take lessons say they do well.

 

Couples that dance together …

Los Altos residents Robert Phair and Ann Chasson are used to teamwork – they run a company together out of their home – but they weren’t dancers before getting married. Chasson, CEO of Integrative Bioinformatics Inc., and Phair, chief science officer, said they jointly agreed on the necessity for dance classes.

“We were not dancers previously,” said Phair, admitting he was nervous about the prospect of dancing in front of an audience.

Chasson, however, was more optimistic about their talent.

“She was pretty sure we were going to pull it off, but she’s generally more confident about most things,” Phair said.

Deciding on the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” they learned the East Coast Swing, hoping to dance to rock ’n’ roll at their reception. They attended teacher Robin Rebello’s six-week beginning dance series Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Los Altos American Legion Hall at 347 First St.

Rebello, who also gives private lessons, said she tries to “tailor everything to what the couple can do,” making suggestions based on their personalities and/or preferences.

In addition to taking lessons, Chasson said they practiced three to four times weekly.

“We worked hard,” she said. “Robin’s a phenomenal teacher.”

They started lessons three months before their wedding, which they celebrated in 2009 at a bed and breakfast in Chester, Pa.

Both bride and groom have adult children from previous marriages. Their wedding was small, with family only, so they weren’t dancing for show, Chasson said. She relaxed during the dance, and said everyone else was smiling.

 

Seasoned dancers take

lessons, too

Christa Setiawan, a nurse in the hematology and oncology department at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, is no stranger to dance.

A fan of “Dancing with the Stars,” Setiawan also took ballet classes at Sacramento State.

“I’ve always liked to dance,” Setiawan said.

“I’ve always wanted to learn,” quipped her husband-to-be, Blaine Uehara, who works for a Los Altos builder.

The Mountain View residents, who are planning a big wedding in his native Hawaii May 14, signed up for twice-a-week private classes at Cheryl Burke Dance Studio.

Setiawan had watched a “Dancing with the Stars” segment that featured the jive, a fast-paced competition-style dance.

“I liked the dance because it was energetic,” she said.

Schlenker, their instructor, had some reservations about the jive.

“She said, ‘Are you serious?’” Setiawan recalled.

They took a few days to decide on the music, wavering among “Mercy” by Duffy, Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us” and Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” which won the contest.

After just four lessons, Schlenker praised the couple’s progress.

“They are going a little faster than I thought, and I think this is going to be surprising to their families,” she said.

Adult Ed dance classes

Dance instructor Ellen Murray (no relation to Arthur Murray Dance Studios) and her partner Gene Esswein decided to teach a wedding dance class through Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education when students said they couldn’t find one anywhere.

Their next six-week class, scheduled to begin Sept. 13, costs $37 and introduces the standbys: the nightclub two-step, a swing and foxtrot medley and the waltz.

Murray, a Bennington College graduate who majored in English, always loved to danced. She said her classes are low-key.

“I’m not at all like ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Murray said.

Most students are nervous about their first dance, she said, “and it’s only natural, because all eyes are on you.”

Murray promised to help women “dance comfortably in a long gown and heels” and make a “graceful entrance for your big moment in the spotlight.”

Murray, 70, is an aficionado of the tango and recently traveled to Argentina.

Dancing makes her feel “ageless” and “really puts me in the present, the now,” she said.

For more information on Cheryl Burke Dance Studio, visit www.cherylburkedance.com.

For more information on Robin Rebello’s classes, visit www.readybyte.com/fridaynightdance.

For more information on Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education classes, visit www.mvlaae.net.

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