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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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Day Worker Center helps clients beyond job placement


Photo By:
Dayworker Demetrio Renteria brushes up on his English during a class last week at the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.

Members of Leadership Mountain View have been busy getting the word out about the many – and little-known – benefits of the city’s dayworker center.

Maria Marroquín, executive director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View (DWC), said the average worker gets two four-hour jobs per week – not nearly enough to subsist. Of the 80-plus workers who show up on any given day, approximately 30 find employment.

Still, Marroquín said, “We’re doing pretty well.”

That’s because the center serves as more than a clearinghouse for people seeking immediate work. With its various job-training classes, the center’s big-picture approach prepares clients to compete in today’s tough job market.

“We prepare people to fly with their own wings,” Marroquín said.

Empowering workers

According to Brian Fong, an El Camino Hospital executive and Leadership Mountain View member involved in dayworker outreach, the center “empowers workers to improve their socioeconomic condition through fair employment and education.”

In addition to job-skills training, Fong said the center offers language classes, computer training, art classes, legal guidance, health-care assistance and community service opportunities.

“The DWC gives back to the community through service projects, which include blood drives, landscaping projects for seniors, volunteering at local schools and knitting blankets for premature babies at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital,” he said.

Leadership Mountain View, a program run through the Chamber of Commerce, grooms residents interested in community leadership roles by exposing them to the work of local nonprofit groups. Members choose community projects in which six members at minimum volunteer eight hours a month serving a nonprofit center.

Six members of Leadership Mountain View have been involved in ongoing outreach efforts for the center, which include increasing a Web and social media presence and visiting various community organizations to publicize center benefits.

The group efforts stem from a “Health and Human Services” program day, held in December, during which several Leadership Mountain View students visited the worker center.

“The class was quite impressed with the variety of services/training opportunities that the DWC provides its employees,” Fong said. “The overall impression was that the DWC has the best interests of its employees at heart and is doing its absolute best to empower them with valuable skills that will allow them to succeed. Furthermore, we were very impressed that the DWC engages in several community service projects – a win-win situation for all in the community.”

Providing additional jobs

Leadership Mountain View member Bill Lambert, a trustee in the Mountain View-Whisman School District, got involved at the dayworker center after meeting with Marroquin. The former chemist, now a patent attorney, had been a math and science teacher-volunteer at a local school with a Hispanic population of approximately 70 percent.

“Some of the (students) are unconsciously brilliant,” said Lambert, who has since joined the center’s board. “They just weren’t getting the support or attention of the community.”

Likewise, Lambert was moved by learning that many of the dayworkers had made “great sacrifice” to travel here to help their families. Lambert said many were undocumented workers who lived under constant fear of deportation.

Through his and his team’s outreach efforts, the number of available jobs at the center has risen from approximately 500 to 800 a month. In addition, their outreach to the Mountain View Kiwanis Club resulted in workers helping out at the club’s tree lots and raising $10,000 for the center.

Spreading the word

For group member Armando Espitia, a 14-year officer with the Mountain View Police Department, getting the word out about the worker center also helped reduce some community “fear” of the unknown regarding the dayworkers.

“These people are very motivated, very willing to help,” said Espitia, who himself grew up in a Hispanic family in East San Jose. “Having had minority and immigrant parents myself, this is something I’d like to give back to.”

The Day Worker Center of Mountain View has operated out of its own facility at 113 Escuela Ave. since November 2010, as a result of the efforts of the city, local churches and Mountain View and Los Altos residents sympathetic to the dayworker cause. The center opened after years of controversy surrounding laborers who hung out on street corners at or near the intersection of San Antonio Road and El Camino Real.

The center, supporters contend, offers perspective employers and workers a structure and accountability for work performed at a starting pay of $12 an hour. Most of the workers are Hispanic, although Marroquin said she has observed more workers of different ethnicities in recent years.

For more information on the Day Worker Center, visit www.dayworkercentermv.org.

For more information on Leadership Mountain View, visit www.chambermv.org/leadership.

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