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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Sunday Friends: Earning through learning


courtesy of Sunday Friends
Children from low-income families combine education, self-sufficiency and fun at Sunday Friends.

Ali Barekat, executive director of Sunday Friends, beams with pride when he speaks about the positive impact his organization has made on low-income families in San Jose.

He can tell story after story about children and parents who have not only bettered themselves but helped others by joining Sunday Friends, which is unlike any other charitable organization in the country. There are no handouts here; participants earn tickets redeemable for items at its on-site store – from toys to toiletries – for taking classes and working on community service projects each Sunday.

Barekat recalled a recent encounter with 8-year-old Jose, who was asked what he planned to do with his pile of tickets.

“I have earned enough tickets to buy my own school supplies for this year,” Jose said. “Now I’m trying to earn more tickets to go buy more school supplies to bring to my teacher to give to the kids that don’t have them.”

Barekat pointed out that Jose – who began attending Sunday Friends programs with his family two years ago – has grasped one of the most valuable lessons that his staff and volunteers try to instill in the nearly 100 children they serve every week.

“He’s not just caring for himself – now he’s caring for others and worrying about how he can help someone else,” Barekat said. “It’s a testament to what we do and why it works. It brings a value system to these kids that many of them weren’t exposed to before.”

Their parents can also benefit from these activities and classes, which run noon to 7 p.m. Sundays on a rotating basis at Lowell and Anne Darling elementary schools in San Jose. Offerings promote healthy lifestyles, English proficiency, life skills and computer education – new this year.

“The computer classes started in January, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the reception we’ve received,” Barekat said. “I feel like these families need to see the value of a computer in their lives. They can get jobs, find bargains and interact with their kids’ schoolteachers through a computer. It can help them break the cycle of poverty.”

He is hopeful that another addition to the program contributes to this cause as well.

“At the beginning of the year, we will have a real bank stationed at our program,” said Barekat, who convinced a major credit union with ATMs at Walmart and Costco stores to work with Sunday Friends. “There’s going to be a computer, and families will bring their paychecks and deposit them into the bank right away. This bank is not going to charge them for cashing them; right now they pay 1 percent to those check-cashing places.”

He added that families would have the opportunity to sit down with a bank representative for a free financial consultation and learn such things as how to apply for a student loan or a credit card with a $300 limit instead of a high-interest payday advance.

“It’s a way to help low-income families and remove their fear of the banking system,” Barekat said. “We have taught them about financial literacy through our ticket system, which allows them to earn 2 percent every month on the tickets they’ve saved, and this is a good transition to using a real bank.”

For more information, visit sundayfriends.org.

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