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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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Local family's book promotes group play


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Breier family of Los Altos Hills enjoys the benefits of group play, and they’re spreading the word about the value of games in a new book.

The Breier family of Los Altos Hills believes that games are a force for good, so they’re spinning their ideas into a book that encourages other families to discover the benefits of group play.

“More interaction is better … so any game that gets people interacting instead of listening to music or diddling on their own little screen is a force for good,” said 21-year-old Corey Breier, the eldest of the family’s three sons. “You’re not going to be at the end of your life and say, ‘I wish I’d played more Angry Birds.’”

Creating and publishing a book of games comes naturally to a family that has experience blogging and authoring books. From sock wrestling to pool basketball and word contests, games are an integral activity in the Breier household. In fact, it was while playing a game in their car during a recent road trip that the family first pondered the idea for the book.

“We know a lot of games, and some families don’t,” Breier said.

Unlike the stereotypical camp games that come to mind when many people think of games, the Breiers aim to present creative content that is fun, extensively tested through personal experience and meaningful enough to foster engagement in complex social situations. Although most of the games in their book are simple and require only a bit of imagination, the Breiers also highlight some board games and multiplayer video games.

Even though a book of games may go against the grain of popular culture – the family considered building an app as well – Breier said a well-illustrated coffee-table book seemed to be the most appropriate format to lure children and adults away from mobile phones and other technology to socialize face to face.

“If you have a game in which everyone is engaged and they’re actually enjoying the game because they like it, you don’t have to think about your phone,” he said.

Kickstarting a fundraising campaign

After giving their book a title – “Life Is a Game: 101 Group Games for Family and Work” – the family launched a Kickstarter campaign in early July to fund the project and measure interest. They need $5,000 to pay for illustrations, hire a layout designer and finance the first run of the self-published book. If they meet their goal by the Aug. 7 campaign deadline, the book could be ready for distribution as early as October. The family has already received more than $2,600 from 47 contributors as of this week, a head start toward their fundraising goal.

Unique to the project is the extent to which the entire family is involved – dad Mark oversees marketing, mom Ronda serves as copy editor and the three boys – Riley, 11; Travis, 19; and Corey – are contributing chapters on their favorite games.

Breier is so confident that the endeavor is a winner that he turned down a summer internship to shepherd the book to fruition as project manager. He said the project gives him something to wake up to every day, and it’s fostering his growing passion for connecting people through games.

“At first – as any kid would – well, I didn’t want to do it,” said Breier of his childhood resistance to his father’s prodding to play games.

In time, Breier inherited his dad’s role as a game catalyst. He said games find their way into his daily routine – whether at parties on his college campus or during downtime while studying abroad.

“If we’re talking and we don’t have a game, the onus is on each of us,” said Breier of the awkwardness that can characterize a gathering of unfamiliar faces. “With a game, it makes its own little rules.”

For more information on the Breier family’s book project, visit 101groupgames.com.

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