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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A year of change for Career Closet offers new possibilities and hope


Diego Abeloos/ Town Crier
Andrea Silva, left, participates in the work experience program at Career Closet, the nonprofit agency led by Jean Cecil, right. The organization provides interview-ready attire and accessories as well as training for job-seekers.

Change can be a good thing. If you ask Career Closet Executive Director Jean Cecil, it was also a necessity in 2013.

When she discovered earlier this year that a $75,000 annual contract with Santa Clara County would not be renewed, Cecil sprang into action to keep the organization – which has provided a week’s worth of free professional attire to women in need for more than 20 years – above water. The funds, she noted, covered a considerable chunk of Career Closet’s monthly operating costs of $35,000.

The result is an organization that now offers a two-tier service system to the 120-plus partner organizations – and referred individuals – they serve collectively.

The first tier is a free basic level of service that offers each individual one outfit – including shoes – to wear on job interviews and in the workplace.

The second tier – known as the Interview-Plus Level – offers recipients a package that includes a suit, slacks or skirt and three tops, in addition to shoes, makeup and other accessories, at a cost of $50 per person to partner organizations.

“We had to turn around and say, ‘Oh, by the way, starting Aug. 1, you’re going to have to start paying us $50 per person,’” said Cecil, who also reduced the organization’s hours in San Jose to four days per week. “It was a very hard thing to do.”

The organization closed its Foster City location in June after seeing more than a 50 percent dip in the number of underprivileged individuals it served – something Cecil partially attributed to poor public transportation access in the area.

Still, things are beginning to look up for the organization, which dressed 1,200 women in 2012. Cecil noted that Career Closet’s Work Experience Program remained intact and assisted 50 individuals last year. Participants can learn hands-on skills and workplace etiquette in the organization’s clothing boutique – which is open to the public and generates a significant portion of the organization’s revenue. As has always been the case, Cecil noted, each person is treated with respect and dignity – and without judgment.

“We approach individuals without judgment and try to create an environment where it’s safe for failure to take place,” said Cecil, who used the 2012 Town Crier Holiday Fund contribution to set up a computer lab available to Career Closet clients as they complete their GEDs or seek other educational advancement through Khan Academy.

The organization also extended its service to men in need and is now accepting donated workplace attire such as suits, slacks, dress shirts and ties. The program currently serves three to five men weekly. Overall, she added, the program is averaging between 135-145 men and women served per month this year.

For more information, visit careercloset.org.

BOX

Location: 43 East Gish Road, Suite 100, San Jose

Founded: 1992

Annual budget: $465,000

Staff: 2 full-time, 3 part-time employees; more than 100 volunteers

Mission statement: To provide individuals with business attire and work experience in a safe environment, helping them gain self-confidence and find their life goals.

Information: (408) 451-1200; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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