Sun09142014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Hikes in student-loan interest rates concern Foothill College officials

As lawmakers bicker, Foothill College students face the prospect of higher loan rates.

After the July 1 deadline expired, students applying for federally subsidized Stafford Loans face interest rates that have doubled from 3.4 to 6.8 percent for the 2013-2014 year.
    Federal lawmakers are working to lower the interest rates, which many Republicans and Democrats agree are too high, but partisan bickering over how to address the matter leaves no solution in sight.
‘Disappointing outcome’
    That doesn’t sit well with officials in the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, whose low- and middle-income students benefit from such loans.
    “It saddens me that Congress did not maintain the 3.4 percent on student loans at this time,” Foothill College President Judy C. Miner said. “The economy has yet to recover fully enough to benefit the most recent
college graduates, and underrepresented communities show even more of an economic gap.”
    Kevin Harral, Foothill’s director of financial aid, added, “The doubling of the Subsidized Direct Loan interest rate is a disappointing outcome to say the least. At this time, there does not seem to be much momentum to get it back down in the short term, but hopefully our elected officials are hammering out a long-term solution for student-loan interest rates.”
    The good news, however, is that Harral does not expect an immediate impact on students borrowing money to attend Foothill.
    “The unsubsidized interest rate has been 6.8 percent for several years, and the dollars borrowed last year are almost the exact same as dollars borrowed from the subsidized program, despite the significant interest-rate difference,” he said.
    Harral reported 1,400 borrowers of $2.26 million in unsubsidized loans, compared with 700 borrowers of $2.33 million in
subsidized loans.
    “The interest rate is not front and center for most students,” he added. “Even when told the rate, the impact is often a bit abstract until they go into repayment, often years down the road.”
    The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill requiring that interest rates reflect the condition of the economy. The U.S. Senate last week considered a move to restore the 3.4 percent interest rates on the Stafford loans for one year.
    “There is some dissension among the Democrats regarding what to do. Republicans are not the only ones holding it up,” said Howard Myers, president of Conservative Forum of Silicon Valley. “Many Republicans want to tie the student loan rate to an index and some Democrats don’t want to give up the revenue.”
    “I think most people are not averse to the rate being able to adjust up and down in reasonable increments, as it was set up to do just about a decade ago,” Harral said. “But the fact that this rate just doubled, and really much more quietly than it was going to last year, when other lending rates are still very low and the economy is still depressed, just doesn’t seem reasonable.”
Local impact
    Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-18th District), who represents Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, estimated that approximately 8,500 students in her district have taken out low-interest loans.
    “If they’re just starting out, the double rate applies,” Eshoo said. “If the student’s in the middle of loan, it does not need to be renegotiated. Interest rates are fixed for the life of the loan.”
   Eshoo said she found it “befuddling” that the Stafford interest rates were allowed to double. As a result, she added, students could pay nearly $2,000 in interest.
    “Our society and nation cannot secure its own future unless we have an educated population,” the congresswoman said. “Instead of creating a plus and a win, this represents a subtraction sign.”

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