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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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Butterflies and beaches: Pacific Grove offers world-class gems


Photo By: Eren Gknar/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Eren Gknar/Special To The Town Crier

Pacific Grove, a 90-minute drive from Los Altos, boasts an array of shops in its charming downtown, left.

Nestled between the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the 17-Mile Drive gate, Pacific Grove offers some hidden, world-class gems, including the Monarch butterflies for which the town is known.

You could easily spend a weekend in “Butterfly Town, USA,” choosing to stay in any of the Victorian bed and breakfasts that line the streets. The town started out as a Methodist summer resort in 1875, with tents gradually morphing into cottages and grand houses.

Even on a recent frosty day, the coastal village offered plenty to do and had us wondering why we hadn’t stopped there before. It’s only approximately a 90-minute drive from Los Altos.

Start at the Visitor’s Center, 584 Central Ave., for brochures and maps to main attractions. Chamber of Commerce destination expert Erik Adamson, like many shopkeepers, noted that many out-of-town visitors had swarmed into Pacific Grove.

He recommended that we visit Monarch Grove and Lover’s Point, then come back downtown to wander through the quaint shops.

“It’s a nice, charming little scene here, no chaos and madness,” he said, probably referring to the post-Christmas sales going on elsewhere.

Butterfly migration

It’s a good time to check out this picturesque town, because scores of Monarch butterflies nest in Pacific Grove from November through February. The Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, 263 Grove Acre Ave., a small, marked trail through a group of eucalyptus, pine and cypress trees, offers an up-close look. It’s open daily from sunrise to sundown and admission is free.

Docents are onsite from noon to 3 p.m. to help visitors find the butterflies, which snuggle together in clusters on the trees, resembling dead leaves. Carloads of people disembarked at the sanctuary while we were there just before sunset, but we didn’t see any butterflies.

If you miss the butterflies, you can catch the extensive exhibit run by the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, 165 Forest Ave. The Los Altos-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation has donated funds to maintain the display of geological, lepidopterology (the study of butterflies) and oology (the study of birds’ eggs).

The museum also boasts exhibits on local mammals, native plants and Native American populations of Monterey County, as well as interactive displays for young children. Admission is free.

Point Pinos Lighthouse

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Point Pinos Lighthouse, 90 Asilomar Blvd., sits on the very tip of the Monterey Peninsula with magnificent Pacific Ocean views.

It’s the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. The beacon, a Fresnel lens, is original and was installed in 1855. The city of Pacific Grove and the Heritage Society are restoring the lighthouse, which was owned by the Coast Guard until 2005.

Hours are 1-4 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. We arrived just as it was closing, but luckily, the Coast Guard homeowner next door spotted us and let us in to take pictures.

Pacific Grove Golf Links is nearby at 77 Asilomar Blvd. for those who want to try the public fairway.

From kitsch to couture

Quaint downtown shops range from the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store at 214 Forest Ave. and Second Chance Thrift Store at 105 Central Ave. to funkier designer stuff. Here’s a sampling:

• It was hard to leave the Clothing Store, 606 Lighthouse Ave., which offers cute knit hats and lovely Ribikoff statement dresses. This store is worth more than a peek.

• Carried Away Boutique, 612 Lighthouse Ave., is aptly named for its Vera Bradley and Hobo International line of purses, wallets and spa products.

• The Works, 667 Lighthouse Ave., a combination teahouse, coffeehouse and bookstore, is open seven days a week.

Where to eat

You won’t go hungry in Pacific Grove.

Passionfish, 701 Lighthouse Ave., a seafood restaurant with entrées under $24, earns rave reviews.

Locals tend to dine at Fishwife at Asilomar Beach, 1996 1/2 Sunset Drive, which has a similar price range.

The newest kid on the block is Italian restaurant Il Vecchio, 110 Central Ave. You can find entrées under $12. Il Vecchio offers L’avventura in Cucina 5-9 p.m. every Monday for $20 per person, with the menu varying weekly. The meal includes “provincial cooking” not usually on the menu, consisting of antipasti, soup, pasta, salad, meat or fish and veggies. Children under 11 are $12. For reservations, call 324-4282.

For casual American fare, try Aliotti’s Victorian Corner, 541 Lighthouse Ave. We had a substantial Cobb salad for $10.95 and a chicken sandwich with fries and a green salad for $11.95 in the converted Victorian house.

Where to stay

There are several hotels and inns in Pacific Grove, including the Lovers Point Inn and the Lighthouse Lodge & Cottages. Accommodations range from charming bed and breakfasts to more luxurious hotels and vacation rentals.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of one of the best-kept secrets for a romantic getaway within a two-hour drive of the Bay Area.

For more information and a full listing of accommodations, visit the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.pacificgrove.org.

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