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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Uncle Art grapples with Social Security

Sound Advice

Nobody was getting in the car. Each member of the family had one last thing to do. Meanwhile we were going to be late to the holiday Nutcracker performance. As the phone rang, I was the only one available to answer.

Me: Hi Uncle Art. I am going to have to call you back. We are on our way out the door.

Uncle Art: This can't wait Buddy-Boy. It is a matter of Social Security.

Me: You mean National Security, don't you?

Uncle Art: Well in the big picture it's National Security. But we are talking about the state of Social Security reform.

Me: That's a big topic. Can I call you back later?

Uncle Art: Sure Buddy-Boy. Call me from your car when you get rolling.

Me: I was thinking about tomorrow!

Uncle Art: I think this should be today. Did I tell you that Aunt Beatrice is circling the house in a Ford Bronco with a gun to her head because of this?

Me: Uncle Art, if you're pulling my leg on this you're getting no Christmas present from me this year.

Uncle Art: What were you going to give me? Oh never mind. I was just kidding. But call me from the car.

Me: OK, Uncle Art, we are on the road. What is the big brouhaha about?

Uncle Art: Your cousin Roger is on a tear about future social security benefits. He got up on a chair last Sunday at the family dinner and proclaimed that he wanted his social security payments to go into Internet stocks or Russian bonds, something with potential.

He was shouting that if something wasn't done soon the whole program will be bankrupt before the middle of the next century.

Me: Wow! Did Roger have too much of the holiday spirits?

Uncle Art: Heck no, Roger doesn't partake. He doesn't need it. I don't think he could get much looser. But anyway, when he said Russian bonds and social security in the same breath, Aunt Beatrice fainted.

Me: When did she get in the Bronco?

Uncle Art: OK, I said I was kidding about that. When Beatrice woke up, she said she didn't want her social security in the risky stock market either because it might go down.

Me: Was Beatrice up in time for dessert?

Uncle Art: Don't get cute. The discussion was getting serious. Uncle Buford said what could be more risky than going broke? Buford said for long term investing treasury bonds are inferior investments. He said that government officials have bungled the job and that we should take over our own investing.

Me: What happened next?

Uncle Art: Beatrice gasped that she didn't know enough about investing to have a chance at doing it right. Then I popped up and asked Buford if someone did everything wrong and had no money would they just be out of luck. When Roger yelled "survival of the fittest," Beatrice passed out again.

Me: I hope you have a video tape you can send me. This sounds better than the X-Files.

Uncle Art: OK Mr. Yuppie! The only way I could break it up was to invoke your name. I said I would call you for the inside word. Then everybody calmed down. So what should I tell them?

Me: Social Security is like a number of programs that came out of Washington a half century ago that are in sore need of revising.

You recall that Congress and the President got together on a welfare reform bill in the last few years that radically updated that system. Social Security affects practically everyone and has a much higher profile than many programs.

Uncle Art: Roger says he will be working until the day he dies, if something isn't done.

Me: I didn't know Roger was working now.

Uncle Art: Well, he is in sort of semi-retirement now, at age 47.

Me: Actually Roger is at the age when it is thought the social security system will crash and burn. But anyway, there are about three proposals floating around to fix the problem. One would divert a portion, about 10 percent, of the current payroll tax to an individual retirement account. This account would be directed by you, or Beatrice in her case. This would give you the opportunity to invest in longer-term assets with higher returns, like stocks, mutual funds, and corporate bonds.

Uncle Art: Sounds good to me and Buford would be thrilled.

Me: One problem is that the reduced revenue may impact the current system. You see, most of the current benefits are paid by today's workers. Also, returns could vary widely.

Uncle Art: Wait, you mean my payroll tax is not in some type of savings plan for the future? It just goes out in payments to retirees?

Me: That's mostly right. Another proposal is to have government trustees invest in assets other than treasury bonds for higher returns.

A third plan would raise the tax rate. But this is seen as hurting lower wage and younger workers.

Uncle Art: Your cousin Buford asked why should we give government bureaucrats more money when they can't handle what they have?

Me: It's a good question. But to be fair, the Congress dictates most of the operation of the fund. The last proposal is to raise the age a person can retire and receive benefits.

Rick Glaze is owner of Glaze Capital Management in Los Altos. You may contact him at 947-9690. Messages can be left for Uncle Art.

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