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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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Westwind program founder Kawasaki rides off into sunset


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier Westwind Community Barn’s Jane Kawasaki, right, teaches Lauren Rock, left. After directing the barn’s Year Round Riding Program for more than a decade, Kawasaki is departing for a new adventure.

Some teachers impart words and numbers, others proverbs and wisdom. Longtime Westwind Community Barn riding instructor Jane Kawasaki leaves a legacy of compassion and care as she embarks on a new endeavor in equine-facilitated coaching in Washington at the end of the month.

Kawasaki, a Los Altos Hills resident, said she fantasized about forgoing college to purchase a horse but instead pursued an international career and raised three daughters. Whether by luck or fate, she eventually realized her dream as director of Westwind’s Year Round Riding Program in 2002.

“It just happened,” Kawasaki said of the town’s decision to hire her to develop and manage riding programs at Westwind – the 15-acre facility owned by the town – after she volunteered as part-time barn director.

With a vision of fostering a “continuum of learning,” Kawasaki and Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Committee co-chairwoman Rebecca Hickman launched the Year Round Riding Program. At the time, 4-H Riding for the Handicapped was the only public program available for riders, and Kawasaki remembers borrowing horses for lessons. With support from the town, they added horses and on-site infrastructure.

“Kids who didn’t have a horse could lease a horse,” Hickman said of the service that few other barns provide.

From occasional summer camps 10 years ago to a bustling year-round program that engages more than 100 students annually, supporters said Kawasaki’s vision and passion gave root to the community asset that Westwind remains today.

“She drove the program herself and devoted countless hours to making this a joyful and meaningful activity that is a cornerstone of the town’s recreational program.” said former Los Altos Hills Mayor Mike O’Malley.

Horses first

A young girl hovered around Kawasaki as she orchestrated the post-ride routine of horse washing and grooming during a recent summer camp at the barn. When several students sneaked away to eat their lunches before leading their horses back out to pasture, Kawasaki called them back to complete the job.

“For me, the emphasis is not just riding well, but the whole picture of good horsemanship,” she said of the values she instills in her students.

Over the years, Kawasaki estimated that she’s instructed between 500 and 600 riders at Westwind. Although some of her students advance into competitive horsemanship, she measures her success by the care her riders show to their horses.

“If you stand next to a horse and you’re breathing alongside it,it's a very calming experience,” said Simon Patmore-Zarcone, 14, a rider who began taking private lessons from Kawasaki after she introduced him to horses at one of her summer camps.

Although Patmore-Zarcone once feared horses, Kawasaki always paired him with horses that accommodated and challenged his skills while simultaneously keeping him safe. There have been no major accidents during her tenure at the barn – an accomplishment she attributes in part to how much respect the horses receive.

When asked the secret to her teaching success, Kawasaki passed the reins to her equine companions.

“The horse is the main teacher, and I just happen to be there to call everybody in,” she said.

To stay in touch with Kawasaki and for more information, visit windhorses.net.

For more photos of Kawasaki teaching riders at summer camp, click here.

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