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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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How to find the right architect

Finding the right architect is the single most important decision you make after deciding to build your dream home. The American Institute of Architects represents 58,000 licensed architects and associated professionals, worldwide, and offers the following guidelines for selecting the right architect for you:

1. Build a list of possibilities. Ask around. Find out who designed projects in your community that you like. Get recommendations from friends, relatives and acquaintances who have worked with architects. Check to see if the architect is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Membership in the AIA means that the architect subscribes to a high professional purpose to advance standards of practice and service to society. This includes having a code of ethics and access to a variety of professional and technical resources.

2. Contact your local AIA chapter. Many have lists of member-owned firms that are interested in doing various types of projects.

3. Call each firm on your list. Describe your project and ask if they are available to accomplish it. If so, request literature that outlines the firm's qualifications and experience. If the office is unable to handle your project, ask if they can recommend another firm.

4. Interview each firm. Interviewing a firm gives you a chance to meet the people who will design your project and to learn if the chemistry between you is right. You may be working with your architect for a long time, so look for someone with whom you feel comfortable. Allow at least an hour for the interview, preferably at the architect's office where you can see where the work will be done. Some architects charge for this interview; ask if there is a fee.

5. Ask questions. How busy is the firm? Does it have the capacity to take on your work? Who will handle the job? Insist on meeting the person who will actually design your project. What is the firm's design philosophy? Talk about a project budget and the range of fees that the architect would anticipate for your project. Before you select an architect, ask to be taken to at least one completed project. Also, ask for references from past clients. These are invaluable.

In addition, obtain an Architect's Qualification Statement (B431) from your local AIA chapter. This standardized document may be used to verify an architect's credentials and other information prior to selecting an architect for a project.

6. Making the final cut. Unlike buying a car or a new appliance, you can't see the product and test it out. The architect provides a professional service, not a product. The right architect will be the one who can provide the judgment, technical expertise and creative skills -at a reasonable cost - to help you realize a project that fits your practical needs as well as your dreams.

In general, an architect helps you determine if renovating makes sense; thoroughly analyzes what you want and need; determines if zoning and other restrictions will affect your project; helps you understand how you use space; helps you visualize the design possibilities in a number of ways - using rough sketches or computer programs; helps prepare your construction documents; helps you select a reputable contractor; schedules the work; and visits the job site and administers construction.

The AIA Santa Clara Valley is located at 34 South First St., San Jose 95113. Phone: (408) 298-0611; Fax: (408)298-0619; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Web site: http://www.aiascv.org.

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