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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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Consumer sentiment at nine-month low

One reason for optimism regarding corporate growth is the recent strength of economically sensitive stocks like Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) and Facebook Inc. (FB), both local corporate entities reaching all-time highs.

On a national level, there is overall concern because of a lack of excitement from the Dow Industrials, which have yet to close above their Sept. 18 all-time high of 15,676.94. A move above that level would confirm a bullish trend for investors.

The latest disappointing September jobs report and falling consumer sentiment for the future may help explain this hesitancy. The University of Michigan’s October consumer confidence rating fell 2 percent to 73.2, the lowest reading since December 2012.

One of the main reasons for the decline was the first federal government shutdown in 17 years, which undermined Americans’ outlook on the economy.

Sliding consumer confidence could affect holiday spending and the stock market, as the recent Congressional deal is only a temporary fix. Our federal government could provide us with renewed fiscal debates by the year’s end and into 2014.

Town Crier stocks of interest:

• Microsoft Corp. ($35.53; MSFT) surprised the market last Thursday with its quarterly profit and revenue forecasts. Revenue rose 16 percent to $18.5 billion while analysts had expected $17.8 billion.

First quarter sales posted a 17 percent increase in profit to $5.2 billion or 62 cents per share, up from $4.5 billion or 53 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Many analysts trimmed profit margins after Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced his retirement and the company acquired Nokia’s handset business while the core computer business was decreasing.

Microsoft broke out sales of its Surface tablets for the first time, which doubled from the previous quarter. Surface tablet sales increased to $400 million due to rising interest in the smaller, discounted Surface RT model.

Chief financial officer Amy Hood said, “We look forward to our second quarter where our enterprise business will be strong and we are set for a fantastic holiday season with Surface, Xbox One and a host of devices from our partners.”

Recent upgrade and downgrade history has Microsoft in a downgrade phase from a buy to a hold. Mean target price is $35 and high target is $42.

• Cisco Systems Inc. ($22.51; CSCO) shares have dropped 14 percent since the company posted July quarter results in August and this recent drop disappointed cautious investors. Its share price remains nearly 75 per cent below its all-time high.

Price/earnings ratio, at about 15, is lower than the S&P 500 rating at 18 and this concerns investors. Cisco sells great routers, but is running into competition from cheap routers.

Last week Cisco announced its next “vision for collaboration,” which focuses on a modern workspace that enables workers to work smarter and allows teams to instantly connect and communicate.

Cisco suffers from weak trends in profit estimates and share-price action and has recently been downgraded by numerous analysts. For example, MKM Partners LLC downgraded the stock from a buy to neutral Oct. 16. Other analysts consider Cisco a buy and a long-term buy. High target price is $32.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and a longtime stock investor.

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