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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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The Grant family: Money, power and pyromania: A Piece of My Mind

If you have visited the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, you have driven through Joseph D. Grant County Park. It is a beautiful drive in spring. The road meanders upward between hills coated with the electric green of new grass, highlighted by swathes of Day-Glo yellow mustard as if God had taken a Magic Marker to the landscape. Higher up, the roadside sparkles with glowing orange California poppies set off by patches of purple lupine and yellow sheep tail.

The park brochure tells you that Joseph Grant was the son and heir of Adam Grant, for whom Grant Avenue in San Francisco is named. The senior Grant co-founded Murphy, Grant & Co., a dry-goods store that rivaled Levi Strauss in selling overalls to miners. The San Francisco store burned in a spectacular fire in 1875, but most of the inventory was spared and the demand for Nonpareil Overalls remained.

Joseph was a mover and a shaker. He managed the family business, started the Columbia Steam Co. and served as president of California-Oakland Power and as life trustee of Stanford University. After Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932, Hoover stayed at Grant’s ranch for three weeks to lick his wounds.

The brochure doesn’t say much about Joseph’s wife, Edith, or their three children. But if you are lucky, you might find a park ranger to guide you around the ranch house and explain how daughters Edith and Josephine did not get along and would engage in rolling-around-on-the-floor fistfights at the mansion, sometimes during social events. And how as teenagers they would invite some of the ranch hands to join them on rides into San Jose for supplies, throwing empty liquor bottles out the limousine in both directions to mark their trail.

He might tell you about the nightly drunken parties Josephine would host in one of the older side-buildings, and about how Joseph burned the building down to stop the parties.

He might tell you about how daughter Edith used to shoot at people who trespassed on family property – including the mailman. It was said that she also shot her own horses if they came in range of the front porch.

He might tell you about how son Douglas, a business disappointment but adept at golf and drinking, died in a house fire lit by one of his neglected cigarettes. Or about how Josephine, when she took over the ranch, burned all the family letters and documents.

There is a novel to be written here, don’t you agree?

And no, there is no connection between the incendiary Grant family and our Grant Road in Los Altos. Our street was named for the two homesteaders who first claimed property along Permanente Creek, brothers Theodore Frank and George H. Grant. Their bunkhouse can still be seen at Deer Hollow Farm. I wonder what their story was? Maybe not so inflammatory – unless they, too, burned the records.

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