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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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Foothill fondly remembers supporter Smithwick


Photo By: Bill Frankeberger/ Special to the Town Crier
Photo Bill Frankeberger/ Special To The Town Crier

Richard Henning, former Foothill dean, praises the late Dr. Robert Smithwick at Friday’s service.

Friends, family and longtime educators painted an inspiring portrait of Dr. Robert Smithwick during his memorial service Friday at the Foothill College theater named in his honor. Dr. Smithwick, who played a major role in the creation of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, died March 22 in his sleep. He was 92.

The Los Altos Hills resident, a strong advocate for higher education since the 1950s, opened the door to thousands of students who otherwise might not have attended college.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Dr. Smithwick is the father of the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District,” said FHDA Chancellor Linda M. Thor. “He participated in the first conversations among area school district trustees and superintendents that led to the creation of an independent community college for our local communities.”

Dr. Smithwick nurtured the community college district to its nationally recognized success. The district is currently one of the largest in the U.S., providing credit classes for approximately 43,000 students each quarter.

By trade a dentist, Dr. Smithwick dedicated himself to ensuring greater access to higher education, said Richard Henning, former longtime Foothill dean and professor. His push for college opportunities for all came during a time when approximately 10 percent of high school graduates went on to college, Henning added.

Dr. Smithwick in July 1957 became chairman of the first elected board of trustees of what was then named the Foothill Junior College District. He continued his service on the board with distinction for more than three decades.

Beyond his accomplishments, Dr. Smithwick was known as a man who cared deeply about students and faculty members. Among those recalling his passion was Martha J. Kanter, former Foothill-De Anza chancellor and current U.S. Undersecretary of Education.

“Maybe it was his vision that everyone had the potential to succeed,” Kanter said. “Maybe it was his insistence that we could always do better. Maybe it was the gentle, soft-spoken way he asked those questions. And just maybe it was the transmission of the love of students and the love of learning – science, math, vocational programs and the arts – that inspired all of us to be the best we could be, to get our students to earn their certificates and degrees, to bring pride to their families and our Foothill-De Anza family. He went far beyond all of us here.”

Quiet by nature, Dr. Smithwick communicated often via the written word – especially when it came to doling out compliments.

“He wrote a lot of thank-you notes,” Henning said at the service. “If you did anything halfway decent or was recognized in the newspaper, you would get a complimentary note from him and often a clipping from the newspaper.”

Added Henning: “We can continue Bob’s presence on this earth into perpetuity by modeling ourselves after those virtures of commitment to the arts, to education and to ethical values. Day in day out, he lived these ideals.”

Dr. Smithwick was married for 60 years to his wife, Aileen, who died in 2002. He is survived by his children, Cathye and Michael Smithwick.

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