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News

Obama visits Los Altos area

Obama visits Los Altos area

President Obama made a fundraising stop today at a private residence in Los Altos Hills, an appearance that spurred traffic disruptions, helicopters scouting overhead and protesters. In the wake of his visit, unknown persons, apparently no fans of ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand into L...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building ...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Judge rules against local businessman in Ponzi-like case

After a year of back-and-forth, a judge concluded this week that Los Altos resident Mark Feathers and his company, Small Business Capital Corp., violated federal securities and exchange laws.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila accepted Securities and Exchange Commission evidence that because of fraud and mismanagement, SB Capital’s 400 investors have lost approximately 25 percent of the $42 million they invested.

In an order filed Friday, Davila granted the SEC’s request for a summary judgment and denied Feathers’ competing request for the same. He ordered the “disgorgement of ill-gotten gains” and set a hearing date Oct. 22 to consider “what remedies are to be granted and in what amounts.”

A court renders a summary judgment when a judge finds no genuine dispute as to any material fact – in other words, when evidence appears so conclusive as to not require a full trial. Representing himself and his company, Feathers had to show what Davila called a “genuine issue for trial.” In his order, Davila laid out why Feathers’ submissions to the court did not meet that standard and discussed to what extent the court had to cut Feathers some slack – to “liberally construe” his submissions – because he represented himself without a lawyer. Evidence submitted to the court must include affidavits or “other evidentiary material,” and Davila described Feathers’ submissions as falling short of that standard.

“I have been outnumbered by a large margin in the manpower necessary to present facts, never mind putting them into the right legal framework,” Feathers told the Town Crier in an email.

He wrote to investors that he would appeal the judgment.

Investors, many of them Los Altos residents, bought into two mortgage investment funds Feathers managed from an office on San Antonio Road. The SEC contended that Feathers transferred money from the funds to pay expenses and make cash distributions to investors that masqueraded as “returns on investment,” maintaining an illusion of profitability.

SEC attorney John Bulgozdy described the process of using investor money to pay returns as “Ponzi-like.” Feathers maintained that because he disclosed the loans and transfers to investors, his actions were aboveboard and not in fact evidence of fraud and misrepresentation.

Feathers submitted hundreds of documents including SB Capital paperwork and emails to the court, but Davila wrote that Feathers didn’t indicate with sufficient specificity what he believed they proved – “It is not the task of the court to comb through the record in search of genuine issue of triable fact.”

In his order, Davila referenced testimony from an auditor and a consultant suggesting that Feathers loaned himself money from the funds, then documented it in a way that made the business appear to still be generating profit.

Davila had to weigh whether a “reasonable investor” might have made a different decision with his or her money if he or she had known about the loans and money transfers at SB Capital. He concluded, based in part on declarations two investors made to the SEC, that investors might have withdrawn their investments if they had known what the company was doing.

Davila declared that Feathers’ accounting demonstrated an intent to deceive or, at a minimum, “extreme recklessness in his management of the (f)unds.”

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