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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Calling all veggies : Town Crier writers pick holiday greens


Photos courtesy of Joy, Eve Hill-Agnus, and Town Crier File Photo
Vegetable side dishes adapt easily to each feast’s flavor profile, and each cook’s tolerance for time and timing in the kitchen.

This year, latkes and Hanukkah chocolates are sharing space on the table with turkeys and stuffing. With so many dishes defined by tradition, the vegetable on the side offers a place to flex your creativity.

I called up Town Crier food columnists to get their top picks for green-inspired innovation, and claimed my own favorite candidate for November feasting. Whether you like your veggies raw or topped with marshmallows, we’ve got an approach for every palate

Brussels sprouts

Several of us tussled over who got to write an ode to brussels sprouts, which reward even a hectic cook combating a crowded kitchen. I toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and then temporarily forget them in the oven, which is nearly always shared with some other, more demanding dish. Sprouts are hardy enough to survive the abuse, emerging moist and soft on the inside and crisply browned on the outside, textured like a riff on roast potatoes. Break the rules a bit with your little buds and do something unexpected – halve them and candy them with brown sugar and bacon, or caramelize them with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Or eat them cold, shaved into a slaw with bacon, apple or almonds (or all three) and tossed with a vinaigrette. Prefer hazelnuts or pecans? Add them to any of the preparations described above.

Kale

Eve Hill-Agnus, author of the Town Crier’s “The Roots of Everyday Life” column: “Go kale! It is somewhat outrageous. Curly and brushy, the Brillo Pad of greens, it looks like nothing else in the produce aisle. It’s not like buttery, mild-mannered spinach or even arugula. You have to build a relationship – commit to coaxing and taming and domesticating that vegetal goodness. I learned this from a raw-food maven who taught me to make kale salad. Her version is a culinary meditation. To make raw kale pliant not pointy, supple not scratchy, she massages it with her hands – just her hands and a bit of olive oil. It’s grounding and meditative to stand at your counter and feel those feisty, curlicue leaves soften. Give them a rough chop, douse them in lemon juice and add a pinch of salt: an instant salad, vibrant and sturdy. You’ve worked a little magic.

“With kale season in full swing, I’ve been making my own variation of the kale salad. It’s a little more elaborate and a little less raw. and frankly less ruminative, but delicious. I sauté finely chopped kale briefly in olive oil, just until it starts to soften. Then I toss the still-warm kale in a bowl with a great quantity of chopped parsley. The result is a green confetti that’s bold in flavor and deep in color. Sometimes I add shredded zucchini. Always lemon juice, for the acidity (and sometimes pomegranate molasses, for the same reason). Dried cranberries for color. And pumpkin, sunflower or hemp seeds for crunch.”

Squash

“Squash holds the culinary key to fall and winter,” asserted Sarah Manning, who writes the “Nourished” column.

”I’ll admit I jump the gun every year, with my first batch of pumpkin quick bread appearing in September. But with so many varieties of winter squash to choose from – butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha and endless pumpkin varietals – I’ve never known winter baking boredom. Here’s why: With squash, you can easily make a delicious soup, casserole, sauté or puree. You can bake it into any quick-bread recipe. You can dice and stir into fragrant risotto. Squash can swing toward sweet or savory.

“It tastes just as comforting broiled with brown sugar as it does roasted and topped with shiitake mushrooms, goat cheese and balsamic reduction. Plus, squash is friendly to other squash. Stir a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree into your next butternut squash soup for a simple change that delights the senses.”

Sweet potatoes

“Around here, it’s not Thanksgiving without a wide, shallow dish (for maximum marshmallow coverage) of candied sweet potatoes,” emailed Town Crier contributor Megan Kempston (formerly Rowe).

“While there are plenty of people who take issue with this holiday staple (for reasons I can’t quite wrap my head around – it’s a vegetable ... with marshmallows. What’s not to love?), there are also dozens of other ways to eat sweet potatoes.

“I particularly like sweet potatoes with spicy sausage, chopped together in a similar concept to corn or fruit salsa. Whether in soup (with sausage, beans, and kale) or a salad (with sausage, farro and kale), little cubes of roasted or boiled sweet potatoes are a perfect creamy, smooth note next to the spice of the sausage. I’ve also put sweet potato on pizza (sliced thin, under mozzarella along with some kale), where they almost turn into a sauce. And then, of course, there are mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, sweet potato chips, sweet potato biscuits, sweet potato pie ...

“Essentially, if you could use either pumpkin or regular potatoes in any dish, you can probably substitute sweet potatoes. They’re also healthier than regular potatoes and easier than dealing with whole pumpkins. I use them where recipes call for butternut squash when I don’t have the time to take apart a giant squash – with sweet potatoes, you just peel them and chop them.”

Mediterranean medley

Blanche Shaheen, author of the “Feast in the Middle East” column, couldn’t limit herself to just one vegetable, so she tossed out four Mediterranean-inspired options:

“I love eggplant, broiled and topped with tomato sauce and toasted pine nuts. It’s usually made in a casserole, over lamb or chicken sautéed with garlic and onions, but that can be excluded. I also love roasted cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan cheese. Or zucchini “carpaccio” salad, served raw with carrots and Parmesan. Or artichokes roasted in lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh oregano, basil or thyme.”

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