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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Stock market suffers June swoon

The stock market continues to struggle in June, with investors fearing that the Federal Reserve could begin scaling back its aggressive stimulus program. Compounding the anxiety, consumer sentiment is on the wane.

Many investors ignore three key variables when evaluating the health of a bull market: earnings, interest rates and valuations. All three are beginning to look negative.

The bearish view carries some weight. The sudden jump in 10-year Treasury bond yields to 2.2 percent – up from 1.6 percent in early May – has surprised investors and put pressure on defensive stocks with bondlike returns in light of the economy’s strength. In addition, a surprise hike in mortgage rates (4.15 percent last week) threatens to slow a refinancing boom that delivered strong profits for banks over the past few years.

The market’s continued upward climb is likely to become narrower and choppier in the second half of 2013, but stocks still look better than cash or bonds. While it could be harder to make money in U.S. stocks in the second half of the year, many analysts think it is still too early to sell.

It is worth noting that many analysts consider the full-year targets for the Dow and the S&P comparably bearish, and predict a 15 percent decline from current levels to 12,969 and 1348, respectively.

Two Town Crier “50” stocks made the news last week.

• Safeway Inc. (SWY; $24.24) announced last week that it plans to sell its Canadian Safeway operations to food retailer Sobeys for $5.8 billion. The deal includes 213 Safeway markets, 52 fuel stations, 10 liquor stores and four distribution centers.

Safeway plans to use the money to repay $2 billion of its debt. The company will use the bulk of the remainder to purchase shares.

Zacks Equity Research reports that Safeway will be left with $0.8 billion of authorization to buy back shares, and shareholders should anticipate attractive returns in the near future.

The Pleasanton-based company operates stores under its own name as well as the Vons chain in Southern California and Tom Thumb in Texas. Locally, a new super Safeway recently opened at The Village at San Antonio Center in Mountain View, and a new podium-style store in Los Altos is scheduled for construction this summer.

Safeway’s upgrade and downgrade history has not been ideal for investors, with most analysts calling the stock “underweight” and recommending a hold. The mean target price is $24.07, with a high of $30.

• Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ; $25.13) reported an increase in share price last week, even as the Dow declined.

In a CNBC segment June 12, CEO Meg Whitman reported that the company’s turnaround is proceeding ahead of schedule. While admitting that HP has a long way to go before digging itself entirely out of the hole, Whitman said revenue growth is possible this year. Since December, the company’s growth has added more than $20 billion in value to shareholders.

HP faces the challenge of identifying growth opportunities when consumers appear less inclined to purchase its computers and printers. Sales of all product lines declined last quarter, but the company is building up non-PC divisions such as cloud computing and servers.

Among Forbes Magazine analysts, one deems HP stock a buy, with five others recommending that investors sell their shares. Other analysts suggest holding the stock.

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