Mon09152014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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