Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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Stock market bulls still look happy

The Dow Jones industrial average has moved primarily sideways since peaking April 11 at 14,865.14. Periods like this provide a good opportunity to take a step back and examine what the market is telling us.

Economic growth regained speed in the first three months but slowed once companies reported their latest quarter results. The primary trend is still in the bullish camp, with few references to a bear market in the expanded economy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in the March quarter. The growth represents impressive acceleration from the December quarter’s meager 0.4 percent. The private sector more than offset any weakness in government spending.

A bull would recognize personal-consumption spending rising 2.2 percent as the largest quarter gain since December 2010. There is nothing more important to the economy than a strong consumer market, and in the March quarter, consumers were spending. In addition, inflation remains under control – the price index indicated inflation of 0.9 percent in the March quarter, down 1.6 percent in each of the last two quarters.

Bulls like performance, and to simplify, stock prices can rise for two reasons: (1) investors become more optimistic about the outlook for earnings and dividends and (2) investors become more willing to pay up for those earnings and dividends because of diminished risk or diminished competition from alternative investments like bank accounts and bonds.

Another item the bulls like is the dividend hikes many companies have announced since Jan. 1. A number of blue-chip stocks, including Apple Inc., as reported below, have raised their payouts.

One Town Crier “50” stock and another local company made news last week.

• Apple Inc. (AAPL; $432.34) gave investors what they were looking for in their deployment of cash. Apple is opening the bank vault and will distribute $100 billion in cash to shareholders over two years. It will also buy back $60 billion in shares and raise its dividend by 15 percent to $3.05 per share. Investors have been pushing Apple to distribute its cash hoard of $145 billion.

The Cupertino-based company announced financial results for the fiscal second quarter that ended March 30. Apple posted quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and quarterly profit of $9.5 billion. However, the company’s gross profit margin plunged nearly 10 percent, reflecting a shift in product mix. Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones, up 7 percent from a year ago, and 19.5 million iPads, up 65 percent.

Apple provided future guidance for its fiscal 2013 third quarter: revenue between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion and gross margins between 35 and 37 percent.

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off June 10 in San Francisco.

While analysts maintain different opinions on Apple stock, with the price in the low $400s now, many consider it a strong buy, with a median target price at $590.

• Varian Medical Systems Inc. (VAR; $64.79), regarded one of the top health-care equipment companies, last week announced that profits rose 9 percent to $1.02 in the March quarter. In line with consensus reporting, the Palo Alto-based company reported revenues increasing 13 percent to $842 million on 14 percent growth from X-ray products. The backlog rose 4 percent to $2.75 billion.

Varian entered the third quarter with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $795.9 million, up 22.8 percent on a year-over-year basis. Long-term debt stood at $6.3 million.

Numerous analysts like Varian stock and have upgraded its status. Considered a long-term buy, Varian is expected to outperform the industry, with a high target of $88 and a mean target of $79.

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