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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Furry Friends: Los Altos hosts mixer for priests and pups


Crockett communes with Simba the shih tzu, visiting Maryknoll with the nonprofit Furry Friends.

Visit the Maryknoll community on Cristo Rey Drive in Los Altos on the right day of the month, and you’ll witness a spectacle of playing dogs and reminiscing priests.

The sanctuarylike acreage just across from Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve houses two dozen retired brothers and priests from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society. First established in 1911, it drew men who wanted to serve their faith by building social welfare programs in developing economies in Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The assembled pets and their human chaperones visit from Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services. The Bay Area group sends volunteer teams to visit people living in nursing homes, health facilities and shelters – the folks who aren’t able to keep pets themselves.

Los Altos resident Judy Brigham, who heads up the team that visits Maryknoll each month, explained that they practice pet therapy – the application, quite literally, of pets to the people who need some time with a loving animal. Take one snuggle from a shih tzu, and then return to your regular health regimen. Any animal that enjoys human companionship is welcome to join the group, but the Maryknoll posse was strictly canine, including a German shepherd, a greyhound and two shih tzus.

Priests hold their visitors (or get a full-body lean, from the larger dogs) and, with little prompting, share their stories of animal encounters past. From rabid dogs in the Philippines to mongoose-hunting island dogs in Hawaii, the fathers and brothers have seen their share of canines while serving around the world.

Brother Duane Crockett found himself enfolded in the lengthy curve of Liberty, a retired racing greyhound who melted against his legs. Crockett has lived at Mary- knoll for more than a decade, after serving around the world and, more recently, at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System.

“Our group has been in 32 countries in the world. We bring the word of God through assisting in projects to better their lives,” he said of the communities they’ve served in.

On a typical day now, the retired men see rabbits, wild turkeys, perhaps coyotes during the right season – but they lack the steady presence of loved pets.

Finding a canine calling in volunteer visits

On a visit this summer, everyone gathered in the shade underneath cedar trees in Maryknoll’s garden to scritch ruffs and watch the pups perform. Liberty demonstrated her speed on command, a streak of gray racing across the lawn at up to 40 mph.

When she isn’t at Maryknoll working the crowd, Liberty visits a school in Santa Clara where students practice their literacy by reading to her.

Bella, one of Brigham’s shih tzus, began life as show dog before retiring and finding her new, adoptive, home.

“She misses the ring,” Brigham said of Bella’s glory days. “Show dogs and greyhounds from the track get used to being handled from birth.”

Bella’s counterpart, Simba, “tolerates everything,” Brigham said, recounting a time when he stayed calm in the arms of a Parkinson’s patient whose grip became involuntarily rigid, pinning the dog in place.

Dogs interested in joining Furry Friends only need basic obedience training and undergo a screening process with their owners. A volunteer role-plays the use of a wheelchair and canes. Trainers watch for the pup’s reaction – for instance, when an exuberant young golden retriever jumped on a wheelchair’s (simulated) occupant, they decided the dog should head toward juvenile hall, where young people yearn for that kind of lively energy.

The group, a nonprofit, is always open to new members.

For more information, visit furryfriends.org.

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