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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St. Francis High doesnt lack for defensive specialists


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier St. Francis High’s Stephanie Kellogg extends to hit the ball Thursday against Menlo. The Lancers won in five games.

What St. Francis High coach Leahi Hall Leon described as a “real blessing” for her girls volleyball team could prove to be a curse for those facing the Lancers this season.

Teeming with talent in the back row, St. Francis doesn’t figure to surrender kills easily. Expect the Lancers to record more digs than a seasoned archaeologist.

“We have so many players with back-row and defensive ability,” said Hall Leon, whose squad improved to 6-1 with Thursday’s five-game win over visiting Menlo. “All four of our (defensive specialists) are libero-caliber players. We’re lucky to have four tremendously capable defensive players.”

The foursome includes returnees Catherine Wes and Kelly Wimmer, both seniors, and Tatiana San Juan and Hannah Aguirre, juniors new to varsity. The Columbia University-bound Wes “is our most steady passer, and also plays outside hitter and libero,” Hall Leon said.

The Lancers’ fourth-year coach knows a thing or two about defense – she was a defensive specialist/libero for Stanford University from 2001 to 2004.

St. Francis doesn’t just have top-notch players in the back row – the Lancers have weapons up front as well. Outside hitters Chloe Lott and Alexandra Espinosa and middle blockers Stephanie Kellogg and Emily Rose played major roles on last year’s team, which won the Central Coast Section Division II title and reached the Northern California final. All of them are seniors except for Espinosa (junior).

The 5-foot-10 Lott, who started at right-side hitter last season, seems to be making a smooth move to outside hitter. She led the Lancers in kills in both of their matches last week, notching 14 in a sweep of Albany and 23 against Menlo.

“Chloe has been the kill leader for the majority of our matches.” Hall Leon said. “She’s been a big part of the offense, and Stephanie’s not far behind.”

Kellogg, a 6-1 middle blocker, ranks among the team’s top scorers. The Egan Junior High graduate recently committed to Brown University, according to Hall Leon.

With Kellogg playing alongside the 6-2 Rose, the Lancers have been mighty in the middle.

“We’ve received a lot of production from our middles,” the coach said. “Stephanie is scoring points and Emily is a tremendous blocker.”

The 5-10 Espinosa stepped in for ailing all-leaguer Christine Alftin (who has since transferred to Woodside) during the playoffs last year and became a key cog in the offense. This season Espinosa is seeing action at outside hitter and right-side hitter.

“She’s a great attacker,” Hall Leon said. “We’re able to use her at two positions with great success.”

The Lancers lost super setter Taylor Formico to graduation – along with three other all-leaguers – and two players are trying to replace her. Haley Roe and Maclaine Westendorf are “splitting time” at the position, Hall Leon said, because “they each earned the opportunity to compete.” Roe is a 5-10 senior who backed up Formico last year; Westendorf, who goes by “Macky” is a 5-8 junior up from JV.

“Haley has high goals for herself and the team, and has a great presence on the court,” the coach said. “Macky does a great job of getting our faster-tempo offense to the pins.”

Although it will be a challenge to match last year’s success and record (33-8), Hall Leon doesn’t seem too concerned about that. Instead of obsessing over accomplishments, she stresses performance.

“We talk about what we can control and not wins,” the coach said. “The girls are doing a great job focusing on producing their best effort and not on the results. The score will take care of itself if we remain focused on that task.”

St. Francis’ lone loss this year is to Mitty at the season-opening Spikefest tournament. Hall Leon expects the Monarchs to be one of many formidable foes in the West Catholic Athletic League this season.

“It will be an interesting year in the WCAL,” she said. “Mitty returns a lot of great talent and placed first at Spikefest. Presentation graduated a number of starting seniors and has a lot of younger players on the court, but they play hard and fast. And never count out Sacred Heart Cathedral, which has always played with tremendous tenacity.”

It’s too soon to tell if the Lancers have what it takes to win the league, but Hall Leon said team chemistry is one thing that won’t derail their chances.

“It’s a really sweet group – they’re really nice girls,” she said. “They understand that the unit is stronger than the individual, and they’re huge supporters of each other.”

St. Francis is scheduled to host Homestead 6 p.m. Thursday.

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