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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‘The Long Earth’ steps into space travel among different worlds


Reading certain books can be like listening to a piece of beautiful music, with many of the work’s themes remaining in the mind long after you’ve finished.

“The Long Earth” (HarperCollins, 2012) by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter is one such book. It should come as no surprise, given that the British authors are giants in the science fiction and science fantasy genres with more than 100 books in their combined list of credits.

Their collaboration results in a science fiction tale that postulates that Earth is but one of perhaps an infinite number of earths, each of which evolved in a different way – but none seems to be populated.

“The Long Earth” begins in Madison, Wis., in 2015, when people have just discovered that they can visit, or “step,” among these different versions of earth by means of a small, inexpensive mechanical device.

Pratchett and Baxter devote most of the novel to the travels of Joshua Valienté, a teenager noted for his unusual ability to step without an aid, and Lobsang, part-robot, part-man, who builds a massive airship able to travel with ease among the earths.

The real fun of the book chronicles the sights and sites Joshua and Lobsang discover on their voyage of adventure – all kinds of plants, animals and creatures that have evolved on the different versions of the earths. There are worlds frozen in a perpetual ice age, worlds covered with enormous forests, verdant worlds with extraordinary plants and peculiar animals and, most interesting of all, worlds with strange elf- or troll-like creatures and other vaguely humanoid forms.

The premise of “The Long Earth” allows the tale to unfold with creativity and imagination. What if we really could run away from our present circumstances and start over – with other people or not? What kind of new colony would we like to start, and how would we like it to be organized and governed?

The loveliness of the book lies in the low technology and simplicity of these worlds, and the descriptions of the different earths and the new colonies that people begin to form.

I am quite familiar with Pratchett’s work, and “The Long Earth” doesn’t contain much of his sense of humor or wonderful wordplay. It is, however, charming and rather utopian in feel, not to mention thought-provoking and fun to ponder how one would go about organizing one’s own unspoiled earth.

Book clubs that enjoy reading science fiction should explore “The Long Earth.”

Leslie Ashmore is a longtime Mountain View resident who belongs to two book clubs.

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