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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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Foothill student loan rate drops under U.S. Senate act


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Foothill College students can breathe a sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate voted to lower interest rates on federal student loans.

Foothill College students with federal loans can breathe a bit easier after the U.S. Senate passed legislation to lower interest rates July 24.

The action affects borrowers who have taken out or will take out a new federal student loan after July 1, according to a Senate statement. The bill goes to the House of Representatives for a vote in August.

Students with Stafford loans, usually from lower- and middle-class families, had faced a doubling of interest rates from the previous 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, effective July 1, when the U.S. House of Representatives failed to take action.

The Senate bill, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, garnered support from Republicans and Democrats.

“This bipartisan compromise puts in place a sustainable, market-based solution that ensures access and affordability for students seeking to improve their lives through higher education,” said Richard Burr (R-NC), who introduced the bill with senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“The act essentially ties interest rates to fluctuations in the market, allowing students to take advantage of historically low rates while ensuring that taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for arbitrary rates set by Congress,” Coburn said.

The new legislation lowers interest rates for undergraduate students – accounting for two-thirds of all loans – to 3.86 percent. It includes a cap, with undergrads paying up to but no more than 8.25 percent, no matter how the market performs. The loans are set to the U.S. Treasury’s 10-year borrowing rate.

Local reaction

“My initial read is that is it good for current community college students, who will likely be moving on prior to the readjustment in 2015,” said Kevin Harral, director of financial aid at Foothill College. “The big deal about it is the speed of readjusting that could happen after 2015. As a student advocate, it is hard to say it’s a good deal if it rapidly increases up to the cap within a year or two after 2015, unless the cap is appropriately set. However, these federal programs must be funded and, yes, it is partially off the interest collected from students.”

Still, Harral agreed that the act is a better solution than the previous stop-gap measures – or no action at all.

“Loans are a necessary part of paying for education for many of Foothill College’s upper-, middle- and low-income families,” he said, “and I would much rather there be a reasonable increase (or annual fluctuation) in rates, in step with our overall economy … than the loan program be eliminated or dismantled.”

Harral added that something needs to be done to stabilize the program and prevent eleventh-hour scrambling.

“Even if this deal sunsets in some future year, the topic seems to be rarely discussed until it is about to impact students and a larger solution needs to be compromised on,” he said. “I would love to see a more thorough discussion on the rates, but this deal is something – and better than what happened on July 1.”

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