Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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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

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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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

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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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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Is the bull still in charge?

The stock market’s pundits, gurus and second-guessers are sounding a warning bell for a rocky autumn, but then you pull up Barron’s Financial Weekly and the headline reads: “The Bull’s in Charge.” What’s an investor to do?

The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 4.5 percent from its August peak, and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 5.5 percent. Emerging markets took a pounding. Those are facts.

September, the U.S. stock market’s worst month historically, poses some major risks this year. By the end of the month, investors should have at least partial answers to some questions of importance.

Many of the events are political, including the Syrian crisis, which could ignite a powder keg in the Middle East; and the looming budget, debt-ceiling and immigration-reform debates. To top it off, the Federal Reserve could retreat from its easy-money policy and reduce its $85 billion monthly bond purchases. The next Fed policy meeting, scheduled Sept. 18-19, will include a discussion on tapering.

Investors appear to be bracing for a letdown, but with recent reports suggesting that U.S. manufacturing is rebounding and employment and consumer confidence are holding up, stocks could enjoy a rally if we get through September without too many major disappointments.

Barron’s noted that despite stock-market declines and the possibility of an autumn correction, Wall Street’s top strategists see the market headed higher over the long term, with stocks rising 20 percent or more in 18 months.

Two stocks - including a Town Crier “50” - generated headlines last week.

• Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO; $23.97) shares have fallen 10 percent since the company declared its July-quarter earnings. In the quarter, Cisco earned 52 cents per share, excluding special items that were up 11 percent – beating the consensus by a penny. Revenue advanced 6 percent to $12.42 billion on balanced growth. Cisco has a market cap of $125.9 billion, with an average daily trading volume of 35.1 million shares.

The San Jose-based company recently announced plans to cut 4,000 jobs, approximately 5 percent of its workforce. Cost trends are mixed, with production expenses rising and operating expenses falling. Layoffs and resource reallocation should help address the cost issues.

Cisco could remain under pressure in the near term, but the stock is still a buy both short and long term, according to several analyst ratings. Most analysts have upgraded the stock either to a hold or market perform. The mean target price is $28, with a high of $32. The dividend returns a yield of 2.91 percent.

• Varian Medical Systems Inc. (VAR; $72.44) of Palo Alto may not be a Town Crier 50 stock, but it is the world’s leading manufacturing of devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions. The company is also the premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific and industrial applications.

Three years ago, Varian undertook a companywide review of sustainability performance, identifying challenges and opportunities. The company issued its 2013 Sustainability Report last week, outlining its commitment to achieving its goals in a “socially and environmentally responsible manner,” according to CEO Dow Wilson.

Varian has maintained decent operating momentum despite currency problems in Asia and stiff headwinds in North America. The company has grown cash from operations at least 18 percent in five of the past six quarters. Sales are up 6 percent over the past year and have risen in 59 straight quarters.

Varian stock has rallied 22 percent in the past year, ahead of the S&P 500’s 17 percent gain. The stock remains reasonably valued, and most analysts rate it a buy or hold, with a market-perform rating. The mean target price for the stock is $78, with a high of $85.

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