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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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Argo protagonist shares story at One from the Heart breakfast


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Jonna and Tony Mendez, subject of the Oscar-winning “Argo,” address a full house at Pathways’ One from the Heart awards breakfast last week.

Retired CIA operative Tony Mendez, whose exploits the Oscar-winning “Argo” documents, shared his story before 600 guests Thursday at the One from the Heart awards breakfast in Palo Alto.

Mendez appeared at the annual event, a benefit for Pathways Home Health, Hospice & Private Duty, with his wife, Jonna. Expressing their personal appreciation for the compassionate care provided by organizations like Pathways, the Mendezes recalled how important hospice care was for their loved ones during their final days – Mendez’s first wife died of lung cancer and Jonna’s mother of brain cancer.

But the backstory of how Mendez conceived and successfully executed the CIA operation to extricate six U.S. diplomats who escaped capture during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis took center stage at the event.

Supplemented by film clips, the couple offered details on the rescue mission, dubbed the “Canadian Caper,” and the making of “Argo,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2012.

Before gaining worldwide attention, the operation was shrouded in secrecy for more than 12 years. With security tight in the wake of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Iranian students, Mendez said the CIA’s options for rescuing the diplomats, who took refuge in the home of a Canadian diplomat, were limited.

“There were only bad options, and this one was the best one we had,” said Mendez of the ultimate plan to send CIA operatives posing undercover as a movie crew to gain access to the diplomats.

Working with makeup artist John Chambers, Mendez recounted how he set up a fake production company and worked with a Hollywood producer to develop a phony science-fiction film, providing a realistic front for the film crew and lending credibility to their plan. The ploy was so convincing, he said, that top directors of the day, including George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, submitted scripts to the fake film company.

Despite reservations from the U.S. Department of State about how such an absurd plan could work, the operation succeeded.

The art of disguise is a powerful medium for deception, as proven by the complex phony movie scheme, but Mendez revealed that “Argo” took some creative liberties in interpreting the actual operation.

Among the fictionalized elements in the film is the truck chase at the airport. Although it’s one of Mendez’s favorite scenes, in reality, he said, his team waited an hour and a half in Iranian airspace with F-4 fighters nearby before takeoff.

The evening prior to the breakfast, the Mendezes put in an appearance at the home of Pathways supporters Gunilla and Tom Follett of Los Altos.

For more information, visit pathwayshealth.org.

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