Sun10192014

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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Sustainable routine starts early for Los Altos commuter : Green Habits

When I got my first job interview at Genentech, it was a no-brainer. My first question: What is the train schedule to South San Francisco?

Today I am a full-time cycling, Caltrain-riding green commuter. It is a fabulous way to get to work – no stress, no gas, no car maintenance costs. And I have some free time before and after my day in the lab to catch up on reading or sleep. I arrive at the lab refreshed and invigorated from my bike ride, ready for the day.

My green commute habits started early. I grew up in Los Altos, attended Oak Avenue, Blach Intermediate and Mountain View High schools. My parents did not drive me to Oak; instead, we walked nearly every day with our dog Princess. We met others in the neighborhood and Princess became famous along the route to school. On Bike to School Day, I said to my mother, “Bike to School Day is every day for us!” As it should be for more children.

As I got older and moved on to Blach, my friend and neighbor Tina Hsu would come over and Mom would make cinnamon toast before Tina and I headed out on our own. These days, children don’t get enough exercise and are stressed out, and that could be helped by walking or wheeling to school. I hope my story inspires more parents and children to walk or bike to school.

Establish good habits early

My friend Tina is living proof that learning good habits early can integrate into your life as an adult. She pursued green transportation as a career. Tina lives car-free and works in Oakland at TransForm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating world-class public transportation and sustainable communities in the Bay Area and beyond.

Here’s what she has to say about how her experiences walking to school have influenced her career choice:

“Confession: I didn’t always like walking to school, especially on cold winter mornings. I preferred getting to school in a quick car ride. Had it not been for Alexx and her parents stopping by my house every morning, I would never have walked. In junior high, I biked or rode my stylish Razor scooter to school with Alexx, but then in high school, I gave up the bike for a car because that was the ‘cool’ thing to do.

“During my senior year of high school, I watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and started reading news articles about how global warming was threatening the future of our environment. It made me realize how fragile our environment is and how humans are shifting its natural ways for the worse. That discovery shook me out of my car-dependency and got me back on my bike.

“I hold a degree in environmental studies and am working at a nonprofit that is changing policy to support public transportation and sustainable communities. State and federal funding disproportionately goes toward automobile infrastructure. We’re working on finding ways to ensure that public transit and walkable neighborhoods are priorities when allocating funding and designing communities.

“I know that not everyone lives in a community like Los Altos, where it’s safe to walk and bike places. Looking back now, I feel blessed that walking to school was even an option, and I regret not taking advantage of it more often. In the future, I want to see more people walking in neighborhoods than driving, and firmly believe that if kids are raised seeing walking and biking as a fun and easy way to travel around, they will grow up loving it. Green transportation has always been a part of my life, and it’s definitely going to be a part of my future.”

Alexx Smith is a research associate at Genentech.

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