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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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Real estate swindles surface in county

The Santa Clara County Association of Realtors issued a warning to local realtors and the public regarding a scam that is affecting the real estate community at the local and national levels.

In recent months, a number of real estate professionals in Silicon Valley and throughout the country have reported that their for-sale listings are being turned into for-rent ads by an unauthorized third party. The for-rent ads are posted on craigslist.org, forrentbyowner.com, Trulia and apartments.com.

When potential renters respond to the for-rent advertisement, the perpetrator explains that the home is unavailable to show or can’t be shown at the time, then offers an unbelievably low price to lure people in. Enticed, many fill out the counterfeit rental application including private, confidential information such as Social Security numbers and birthdates. Sometimes, potential renters are even convinced to place a deposit on the house or apartment.

The unsuspecting consumers who thought they had a new place to call home suddenly find themselves duped. They’re out of the money and their identity has been compromised. It’s not until later that they learn the home they negotiated and planned to move into was never available for rent.

“A lot of realtors have been affected by this,” said Carl San Miguel, president of the county association. “We want the real estate community and the general public to know that it’s a hoax. By creating awareness, we can hopefully reduce the number of people affected by the scam in the future.”

Lisa Blaylock of Coldwell Banker in San Jose said she has experienced the scheme on four properties she represented in the past few months. She put a message on her voicemail informing callers that if they are inquiring about a property for rent, it is a scam.

According to realtors, consumers should be skeptical if they are:

• Quoted a price that is too good to be true.

• Asked for a substantial deposit before the property has even been shown or the keys are handed over.

• Asked to wire money.

• Receiving communications via email only and the alleged realtor is located elsewhere, out of town or even out of the country.

Consumers can protect themselves by:

• Having the person they’re communicating with show them the property first. They have a right to view the real estate in person.

• Driving by the property to check for a For Sale sign. Often the sign will disappear from the yard soon after an ad goes on the Internet advertising the property as a rental.

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