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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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The Merchant of orthopedics: Los Altos doctor continues groundbreaking research


Courtesy of the Merchants
Dr. Alan Merchant credits his wife, Joan, for much of his success in the field of orthopedics. As Joan says, “Al does the orthopedics, and I do all the rest.”

Longtime Los Altos resident Alan Merchant, 82, has experienced a large number of knee problems.

Known by his patients as Dr. Merchant, he has explored and influenced the field of patellofemoral orthopedics for more than half a century. In layman’s terms, that means he knows a great deal about orthopedics, surgery and patellas (kneecaps).

He grew up in Stockton and earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, summa cum laude, from Stanford University in 1951. As an undergraduate, Merchant had already considered becoming a surgeon.

“I knew I wanted to go into the sciences, and I liked working with my hands,” he said.

Merchant specializes in reconstructive surgery, which essentially uses surgery to improve the functionality of a body part.

“In a way, it’s like instant gratification,” he said. “You take something that’s broken and you fix it. Many surgical specialties don’t have that – like cancer, for example.”

Merchant is famous for a technique he developed for conducting X-rays, which revolutionized the way orthopedic doctors view the kneecap. Taken from above the knee, it has become the standard X-ray used throughout patella orthopedics. In his initial paper, he described the method as an “axial roentgenogram.” His colleagues, along with the rest of the medical field, now call it “The Merchant View.”

“They’re very good at slapping people’s names on things,” Merchant said with a smile.

In addition to his research, Merchant practiced at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. He joined the staff in 1962, a year after the hospital was founded, and retired 42 years later.

Although he no longer operates, Merchant continues his research and contributes to the field on a regular basis. He is currently searching for a new way to make cuts when aligning a knee.

Merchant credits his ability to stay active and influential in the medical field to his wife, Joan.

They met as sophomores at Stanford, “across the botany lab table,” according to Joan. In their junior year, Merchant and his Theta Delta Chi fraternity serenaded her and asked her to be his girlfriend.

They married in Stanford Memorial Church three days after graduation and have three children and six grandchildren.

“(Joan) helped put me through med school, raised the children when I was away developing the practice, taking emergency calls, all the while being a loving wife, mother and partner,” Merchant said.

Merchant expressed his continuing devotion and gratitude to his wife.

“She’s still beautiful,” he said. “Whatever I’ve accomplished is due mostly to her encouragement, help and hard work. As she says, ‘Al does the orthopedics, and I do all the rest.’”

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