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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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Assorted travel apps help lighten the load when on the road

Travel apps make it easier to roam – without accruing those pricey roaming charges.

Travel journalist Jen Leo, who writes the “Web Buzz” column for the Los Angeles Times, shared a variety of practical apps at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center Feb. 17.

The two-day show included booths from tourist boards as far away as Namibia (next on my list!). Speakers included actor and former teenage heartthrob Andrew McCarthy, culinary experts, Patricia Schultze of “1,000 Places” fame and Rick Steves, the European tour-touter. Nobody can make Italy sound like a must-do better than Steves.

Leo’s presentation impressed me – her anecdotes illustrated just how apps can lighten your load.

For example, she related how she used TripDoc, by Delicous Baby’s Debbie Dubrow and her husband, to keep members of her family to an itinerary at a reunion in Hawaii.

First, she made sure that everyone downloaded the $2.99 app. Then, she researched restaurants and sites friends recommended – stuff that often gets filed on stray pieces of paper.

Once Leo typed them into the program, she could conduct research and craft an itinerary, which she sent around to her relatives.

“Once we were in Hawaii, everyone had an itinerary with references and map pins to tell them where to go,” Leo said. “I just said, ‘OK, now it’s time to go to the candy store,’ for example, and they all drove there.”

Another planning guide, WorldMate, serves as an all-around hotel booking app. It will email your itinerary to friends or colleagues and do local searches for places to stay or visit. There’s also an “Under the Radar” section that points out hot deals, according to Leo. The basic app is free, but the upgraded Gold version costs $9.99.

While you will find markdowns on WorldMate, another app, Hotel Tonight, offers deeper discounts.

The only catch is that the company’s pretty serious about the “tonight” part. Leo said she appreciates this app for its “spontaneous factor,” but it takes a special traveler to fly to London without a hotel reservation.  If that appeals to you, you might also like the fact that it has cute hotel categories, like “Hip,” “Solid,” “Luxe” and “Charming.”

Even cheaper is Airbnb, “very, very big for vacation rental,” Leo said. “I’ve done plenty of daydreaming about it.”

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner, vrbo.com) provides another alternative vacation rental option: owners renting out their homes. The advantages are more room and less cost.

Hipmunk is also free, although it’s been around for a while. Its search engine finds flights according to a cool “agony” filter, based on how many stops the flight involves. There’s also a hotel site that rates places to sleep.

If you want to keep cellphones costs down, WhatsApp Messenger is a 99-cent cross-platform app. It’s good for texting relatives and friends in different countries.

Leo mentioned a few airport and city apps that might help if you’re a frequent traveler. For example:

• Airport Chatter, which lists venues and things to do nearby during layovers.

• The BestParking app, which allows one to comparison shop before leaving home.

• GateGuru, which details when and from which gate your flight is leaving.

• Taxi Magic, which allows you to call a taxi anywhere.

Two other practical apps include City Maps 2Go, iPhone and iPad software that doesn’t accrue roaming charges, and MetrO, which lets you download subway maps from around the world.

Eren Göknar is a journalist and lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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