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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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Music for Minors showcases song as science and craft


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
First-graders rattle and tap in a Music for Minors class last week in Cupertino.

First-grade teacher Kenzie Brand shepherded her troupe of 20 students into a Cupertino elementary school’s portable music room last week to the bopping rhythms of samba music. Music for Minors’ docent Daphna Rahmil hefted a guitar to lead them through the familiar words of “their” hello song – “I’m in the mood for singing, hey! How about you?”

Singing included much more than following her lead – students practiced vocalizing not piano, and not forte, but at just the right volume, and worked on learning the lyrics without Rahmil’s help. To “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” they practiced clapping the la-la-las, striking hands to anticipate the eight-fold percussives.

The nonprofit organization, founded in Los Altos, brings song and sound to schools across the Bay Area that lack music programming. Sometimes, parent groups muster together to find and train volunteers for the program. In other areas, school communities need even more assistance, and Music for Minors, with help from donors, sends in a professional music teacher to bring music to a school for the first time.

Supporters such as the Town Crier Holiday Fund help provide materials and a 50-hour training class for the primarily volunteer-led teaching project, which reaches approximately 18,000 students in the community each week.

A Music for Minors class loops the whole body into the process as young people learn to handle and silence instruments, and bob heads and swing hips to illustrate songs.

Brand’s class didn’t just learn a new song about thankfulness last week, they also picked up the sign language to narrate along with the tune. One student stayed after class as his peers careened off to recess, to ask Rahmil whether she knows music from everywhere. He was wondering whether they could sing the Indian national song sometime.

“The emotional, the social – the connection – should never be undervalued,” said Rahmil, a seven-year volunteer with Music for Minors. Her students learn standards-based musical skills such as singing on pitch, how to read rhythm notation and how to follow a tune. But they also take turns leading demonstrations and doing solo work, working together to make their sounds.

Brand described some of her students’ irresistible desire to move their bodies throughout the school day, and stressed how hard it can be to fit that kind of energy into a traditional classroom space.

“Here, I don’t have to limit that as much,” she said, noting how even though the class allows for physical expression, it also showcases students’ ability to channel their enthusiasm into following thoughtful directions.

Unless Brand plans a specific craft for her classroom, this one hour of music is their only arts class during the week.

“When you’re young, these things get ingrained in you,” Rahmil said of early musical exposure.

She described Music for Minors as opening a door for local young people to become creators of music, not just consumers.

For more information, visit mfm.org.

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