Wed10222014

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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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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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Safari, so good: Traveling to Africa for a cause


Photo by Rich Carpenter/Special to the Town Crier
On her recent trip to South Africa, Rotary Club of Los Altos member Val Carpenter watched students at the Siloe School for the Blind perform and observed elephants at the Kings Camp watering hole.

My husband and I recently returned from a spectacular safari that also contributed to a good cause: raising money to support the service projects of the Rotary Club of Polokwane, South Africa. For more than a decade, Charles Hardy has organized weeklong safaris in May and August for eight guests at a time as his club’s primary fundraising activity.

We arrived in Johannesburg and spent the first night at a guesthouse in Pretoria, getting to know our safari companions over dinner. The following morning we were driven three hours to Polokwane and the homes of our hosts for the next two nights. At a formal dinner in our honor, we met a surprisingly diverse group of Rotarians and their spouses.

Our first game drive was in the Polokwane Game Reserve, followed by lunch at the Polokwane Country Club. We also visited the Siloe School for the Blind, where we toured the new music rooms built with the Rotary Club’s contributions and enjoyed a performance by their students.

The next morning we took a beautiful drive through the mountains to Kruger National Park. We spent three nights at Lataba Camp in the Fish Eagle Guest House in large individual bedroom suites with private baths and a great room with a full kitchen. Rotarian Celia Lister served delicious home-cooked meals featuring traditional South African fare between game drives.

For our final three nights, we stayed at the enchanting Kings Camp private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in a luxurious suite overlooking the watering hole beyond the swimming pool.

We visited in late August, at the end of the winter dry season in these mostly flat grasslands. Because the trees and shrubs had not fully leafed out, we had good views of the animals, though for such large creatures they blend in remarkably well. Cold mornings were followed by warm, sunny days. The night sky was clear and full of stars; seeing the Southern Cross constellation was a thrill for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers.

We saw an astonishing variety of animals, some from just a few feet away – zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus, crocodile, rhinoceros, leopard, lion, cape buffalo, honey badger, scrub hare, hyena, jackal, wild cat, baboon, monkey, antelope, wildebeest, warthog, mongoose, snake and many beautiful birds.

In one memorable morning game drive, we saw the Big Five – cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros. Viewing highlights included family groups with their young, a leopard with two cubs and a kill in a tree, several dozen hyenas devouring a dead cape buffalo and three male lions attacking a herd of cape buffalo.

Our week in South Africa ran like clockwork, with a full schedule and limited downtime. Accompanied by locals, we never felt unsafe. As they sing in Disney’s “The Lion King,” “hakuna matata” – Swahili for “no worries.”

Non-Rotarians are welcome on these trips. We highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. For more information, email Charles Hardy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Val Carpenter is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos and serves on the Los Altos City Council.

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