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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Community Botball Robotics teams return from international competition


Courtesy of Lauren Yang
Los Altos Community Botball Team members collaborate on their robotics challenge.

Three Los Altos Community Botball Teams attended the Global Conference on Educational Robotics, an international robotics competition, July 6-10 in Norman, Okla. More than 50 teams worldwide competed in the International Botball Competition.

Botball is a program that teaches students in middle and high school about robotics, engineering, math and programming though a team environment. Teams begin with a set of parts and two Linux robot controllers, then construct and use the C programming language to program one or two autonomous robots to perform.

The Mars Space Rover was the theme for this season’s Botball challenge. To score points, the robots had to place rocket boosters on vertical launch poles. The tubelike objects represented the rocket resources needed to launch the Rover. Organic and inorganic samples that Rover would collect were represented by pom-poms that the robots gathered for points. To add points, teams could sort the pom-poms by color.

One Los Altos team attempted to place 10 boosters on the tallest launch pole, requiring them to construct and program a robot to lift an arm approximately twice its size. Another team attempted to sort the pom-pom objects by color with a camera sensor. All three local teams designed robots to place rocket boosters on the launch poles, the most challenging task.

One of the Los Altos teams placed sixth overall, another came in 20th. The third team was handicapped by the closure of San Francisco International Airport, which delayed the arrival of its robots.

Multiple reference resources were available to the students as they worked on the robots. The conference included educational lectures and workshops, with topics ranging from best practices in programming to microcontrollers. The conference experience encourages teams to meet and socialize with other teams and share techniques that make their robots function.

Although the majority of Botball teams are school-based, the Los Altos Community Botball Teams comprise students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose. Before the season begins, experienced team members conduct an eight-week training program focused on programming skills so that new members learn the basics of C programming.

Because the Botball program contains development phases of brainstorming, design, implementation, testing, debugging, documentation and meeting a deadline, the tournament provides team members a realistic preview of the demands of careers in technology, science and math.

For more information or to sign up for next year, call 965-8037 or visit Botball.org or LosAltosRobotics.org.

Lauren Yang has been a member of the Los Altos Community Botball Team for two years. She recently graduated from Blach Intermediate School and will be a freshman at Menlo School in the fall.

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