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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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Scouts vote to include gay youths

scoutsWhen the Boy Scouts of America voted en masse Thursday on whether to drop a ban on gay Scouts, a Los Altos Hills resident was among those holding a ballot.

Reached while still at the convention in Dallas last week, he gave the Town Crier local insight into the national event.

Scout leaders voted to reverse the ban on gay youth but declined to address the continuing ban on gay adult leaders.

Garth Pickett, president of the Boy Scouts’ Pacific Skyline Council, had spent months interviewing families, sponsoring organizations and alumni to solicit input on whether change was needed. The Scouts had had no formal policy on sexual orientation until recent years, when a court case spurred the organization’s leadership to clarify an exclusion policy that hadn’t been voted on by members. Some local groups, including a Cub Scout troop in Los Altos Hills, independently rejected the policy and voiced their demand for inclusion.

The data gathered by local leaders like Pickett directly led to the ballot last week, he reported. The Northeast region of the U.S. strongly supported welcoming gay members in Scouting, while the South strongly opposed the move. The Midwest and West were close to evenly split.

One question on the survey drew a powerful spike in support, Pickett said – the one addressing the narrow question of whether a young Scout questioning his orientation should be able to remain in Boy Scouts and receive support from the adults in his life.

“Is that the right thing for Scouting to do – train them they have to keep their mouth shut when they’re struggling with this, in an organization that gives them mentors they can trust when they’re developing as young men?” Pickett summarized. “That question struck a real strong chord across the United States. The vast majority said, ‘You’re right, Scouting is for every boy and young man.’ … That’s why (the BSA) came up with the proposal that they did.”

A tense vote

Pickett said Scouts from around the country delivered gut-wrenching speeches for and against the proposal, describing the support they had lost due to exclusion. He said the tone of the event was emotional but courteous, with speakers from both points of view showing remarkable thoughtfulness in deeply personal comments.

The BSA hired an external organization to run a tightly secured voting procedure, and after a day of impassioned pleas, representatives from around the country cast their ballots.

As thousands gathered in the huge assembly hall to hear the results, Pickett said a national leader predicted that the ballots might come back with a margin of only a dozen votes out of 1,400 cast by regional representatives. The BSA leadership had drafted the inclusive change and voiced their support for it but had said that if the organization as a whole voted no, the majority opinion would prevail.

“Wayne Perry, the national president, blinks, reads the results, and then he just got emotional – 61.44 percent in favor of change, 38.56 against change,” Pickett said. “No clapping, there were no hurrahs, just silence. Shaking hands, hugging and walking out of the room.”

Pickett said the vote would require a process of healing and outreach for some regions.

“I’m going to have to write letters to my friends in our area who’ve said that this is the end of Scouting,” he said. “I’m going to write them ... and see what we can do to get them to understand the reality of what’s going on and what the resolution says. Scouting will go on the same.”

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