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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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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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