Mon10202014

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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What value, education?: A Piece of My Mind

My niece Jen teaches English in a small pre-K through adult school district in a small town (pop. 8,000) in northern Spain. The town is most notable for its Romanesque church, its castle ruin and its cookie factory – the largest in Europe.

Each morning, Jen begins her day with 5-year-olds in a classroom in the school basement decorated with colorful posters and student artwork. The letters of the alphabet with pictures (A for Apple, B for Book) ring the tops of the bulletin boards. A long, two-sided bookcase divides the classroom. On one side are several small round tables with chairs, on the other a playhouse, a large rug and a SMART Board (combination whiteboard, computer touch screen and video player). Except for the s SMART Board, it looks very much like the kindergarten my children attended.

The students begin to arrive at 9 a.m. They exchange good mornings with Jen, hang up their coats and sit around the rug. The 5-year-olds wear purple gingham smocks with their names embroidered along the front. The Pre-K group of 3- to 4-year-olds wears bright red smocks with yellow piping and a blue screen-printed border, with their names embroidered in yellow.

Jen starts up the SMART Board. A young man with a guitar appears on the screen to lead the children in a good morning song, while Jen helps the younger children settle in place and makes sure they are paying attention. Xavier, one of the Pre-K students, is Class Leader for the day. He directs the class through several phonics-based games using the touch screen.

“The SMART Board is great,” Jen whispers to me. “It’s like having another teacher in the room. Every class in the school has one.”

Next, the students practice the poem they will recite at the school’s Open House in a week. Afterward, they break into groups to color pictures for the presentation. Everything is done and said in English. The 3-year-olds are still making mistakes, the 4- and 5-year-olds are nearly flawless.

During her break, Jen takes me on a tour of the school. In the sixth-grade class, each of the students is working with his or her personal notebook computer. I am feeling a bit envious – this little town’s school seems as well-equipped as those of Silicon Valley, and the 3-year-olds are already learning English. Here is a country that really puts value on education!

However, while walking back to Jen’s house from the school, we meet one of her friends. He is an attractive young man of approximately 30, who speaks excellent English and has a master’s degree in business administration from one of the best universities in Spain. But he still lives with his parents. He has been looking for work since getting his degree. The best he has been able to manage in Spain’s economic meltdown is a part-time job on the night shift at the cookie factory.

What value, education?

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