Mon10202014

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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Report: School crime down, but thefts, vandalism still a problem

Although overall crime went down last year in Los Altos area schools, a new statewide report released last month showed property crimes, such as thefts and vandalism, remained among the highest in Santa Clara County in the Los Altos and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High school districts.

According to the third annual California Safe Schools Assessment report, which includes crimes against people, property crimes, drugs and alcohol offenses and weapon possessions, the Los Altos School District reported a loss from property crimes of approximately $15,125, or $4.20 per student, for the 1997-98 school year. The high school district reported a loss of approximately $37,340, or $12.48 per student for the 1997-98 school year. The average dollar loss from property crimes in the county was reported at approximately $1.80 per student.

Those numbers are an improvement from last year's report, in which combined losses from both districts accounted for a quarter of the county theft in Santa Clara County. The Los Altos School District reported a loss of $15,785 and the high school district reported a loss of $128,700, according to last year's report.

Marge Gratiot, superintendent of the Los Altos School District, said computer theft is still a problem in the district. She said the district has added more computers to its classrooms over recent months, which could make the schools more desirable targets.

"We have implemented some new security systems and will improve them more when we improve the schools," Gratiot said.

Gratiot said the way the district reported its losses could also account for its higher-than-average property losses, since there's a variability from district to district in reporting accuracy.

School officials in the Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District say this year has been virtually crime free compared to last year.

"It's been incredibly quiet," said Hugh Riddell, vice principal of discipline at Mountain View High School. . "I'm as happy as a clam. I've been here for 18 years, and this is probably the best year we've had in terms of the quiet nature of the campus."

According to the report, battery offenses went down from 5.01 incidence per 1,000 students to 2.76; there were no reports of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery or sex offenses; and possession of weapons went down to .69 incidence per 1,000 students.

Alcohol and drug offenses went down from 11.03 incidence per 1,000 students in 1995 to 6.55 incidence last year, according to the report.

Countywide, however, alcohol and drug offenses have risen 14.2 percent over the past two years, exceeding the statewide average by 12 percent.

Riddell said there have been no reports of school property stolen this year; only one incident of graffiti; and personal theft has been limited to weekend locker break-ins.

Riddell said he believes the school's construction project has helped to keep campus crime down. He said workers are at the campus on weekends and off hours, possibly discouraging vandals and thieves.

At Los Altos High, police say their presence is working. Los Altos Police say they have responded to about 130 calls this year - mostly for traffic incidence, alarm responses and minor theft.

Brent Butler, schools resource officer with the Los Altos Police Department, said there has been no reported gang activity, smoking has not been a problem and there's been virtually no alcohol problems.

Butler said the quiet atmosphere is a positive indication that the police department's crack down on smoking and drinking is working.

"Kids come up to me and say 'I'm actually have fun at a dance without being drunk,'" Butler said.

In the Fremont Union High School District, crimes declined in six of the seven reportable categories compared to the previous year. School officials say the improved ratings are a result of their tough "zero tolerance" toward school crime.

The school crime reporting program is an attempt by the state's Department of Education to gauge school safety..

Under the program, which began in 1995, all public schools, districts and county offices are required by law to collect and report incidents of school crime as defined by the program.

A complete report of the state's 1997-98 Safe Schools data is available for viewing at: www.cde.ca.gov.

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