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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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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