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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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Neighborhood returns to normal after feral cat problem


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Suzy Heisele, a volunteer at Palo Alto Animal Services, visits with kittens she rescued from a Los Altos neighborhood. A cat hoarder contributed to the felines’ out-of-control population growth.

Residents looking to recoup their costs for damages incurred after feral cats overtook their neighborhood may have no one to go after.

According to a Palo Alto Animal Services official, the alleged cat hoarder, whose unfixed pets unintentionally created a cat population swelling to more than a hundred, recently died.

The Town Crier reported last week on the efforts of Animal Services volunteer Suzy Heisele, who trapped and rescued two-thirds of the cats over a two-month period, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1. However, the article erroneously reported the suspect to be alive and noted that she recently moved out of the overrun neighborhood, located just north of Los Altos High School.

Connie Urbanski, superintendent of Palo Alto Animal Services, said she is documenting the neighborhood’s months-long cat problem, a report she plans to present to Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis. Younis said he’ll consider what action to take after viewing the report.

Palo Alto Animal Services, responsible for animal control in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, has been under contract with the two communities the past 18 years.

The house where the alleged hoarder lived has since been purchased and renovated by a developer for resale. The Town Crier is withholding the woman’s name out of respect for the family and at the request of neighbors.

Urbanski said a number of factors led to the overpopulation problem. Construction crews for the developer of the alleged hoarder’s house shooed the cats outside instead of immediately calling animal control. Neighbors failed to contact animal control services until the problem became obvious.

“If you see a bunch of animals you haven’t seen before, you need to call us,” Urbanski said.

Another problem is that the cats attracted additional unwanted animals to the area – coyotes have now been spotted in the neighborhood. Two weeks ago, a family reported that a coyote killed their 12-year-old cat.

Rescue operations

The neighborhood is returning to normal, thanks mainly to volunteer Heisele’s efforts. She spent approximately 80 hours setting out food and traps, and waiting in the dark for the cats to come out. Heisele rescued 67 cats and is arranging their adoptions. She also facilitated better communication among neighbors.

“We haven’t had the staff to go out and trap,” Urbanski said. “(Heisele) is incredible.”

Meanwhile, Palo Alto Animal Services continues to operate under the threat of further budget cuts.

The city of Mountain View’s decision last year to drop the agency and go with another provider cut its budget by a third. The city of Palo Alto is pushing for the agency to cut its budget by another third – $500,000 – this fiscal year.

As a result, staffing has been reduced from 13 to six, and those remaining are performing multiple jobs, from cleaning kennels to answering the phone.

“It’s been very difficult,” Urbanski said.

“We are very satisfied with the services they provide,” Younis said last week. “We have not seen an impact on their services.”

Most of the cats from the neighborhood have been adopted or are ready for new homes, and neighbors are relieved that the stench left by cat byproducts has since dissipated.

“We all learned a lot from this,” Urbanski said.

Palo Alto Animal Services’ contract with Los Altos and Los Altos Hills is up for renewal in June 2014. The nonprofit accepts donations and has scheduled a fundraising event Nov. 16.

For more information on the agency, call 496-5971 or visit facebook.com/animalservices.

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