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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Chain reaction: Hotel giant focuses on the small things

The last thing I expected from the Tampa Airport Marriott was hospitality, to tell the truth.

The ancient Greeks had high standards of hospitality, making sure a guest was comfortable and well fed, but this was modern-day Florida in July, after all. Also, we expect anonymity and practicality from chains.

If I were a hotel type, I would not be a Marriott room. I would be a seafront bungalow with charming wallpaper and a view of the waves. My patio would be included, enabling guests to dine al fresco in the ocean air. There would be no dust anywhere so that guests would know that they were far from home.

Hotels in the Marriott chain tend to have pools and fitness centers. I’ve stayed in my fair share of them over the years, with and without my family.

But the one in Tampa stands out because we were in a rush and had just gotten married. After visiting family, we had received gifts and had to buy an extra suitcase – and we still didn’t know how we were going to carry it all on the plane.

And yet, the Tampa Airport Marriott staff acted, well, hospitable.

We turned in our rental car and pulled up with our rolling suitcases and piles of totes and a couple of boxes knocking the ground.

Immediately, a bellhop met us with a trolley. I noticed upscale stores lining the aisle up to the hotel. It was late, however, and they were closed.

The lobby was brand new and polished, with glass walls showcasing the indoor pool. The bellhop, Alet, somehow got it out of us that our flight left mid-morning and that we had married three weeks ago.

He checked us in, escorted us up a few floors and helped us untangle our boxes, suitcases and totes. He asked about our wedding and congratulated us.

Within an hour, the head of catering knocked on our door and delivered flowers, berries with whipped cream and a magnum of very good champagne. We were pleasantly surprised and thanked him profusely.

Even the bed and breakfast where we had been staying had neglected to do as much.

As we munched on berries, my husband and I decided that we’d better send our extra stuff home to California ahead of us. He had seen the UPS store downstairs by the reception desk and went down with some items. I was skeptical.

But the day we returned home, we received a phone call from the UPS store reporting that our package would be delayed because they had to go to Macy’s to replace one of the wine glasses they had broken. We couldn’t believe it. Someone had given us a box of wine glasses in a Macy’s box and UPS had actually checked to see if they had broken one?

The general manager of the Courtyard Marriott in Old Town Pasadena wrote me an extensive email after our recent stay wondering if they had done everything possible to make us happy. We’ve come to expect little touches from boutique hotels, but if chains like Marriott want to keep my business, this kind of customer service is definitely the way to go.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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