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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Community Services Agency sees need rise, help decline


Ellie Van houtte/ Town Crier
The Community Services Agency’s Food Nutrition Center provides residents in need with nutritious foods they could otherwise not afford.

Community Services Agency (CSA) Associate Director Maureen Wadiak has not only seen an increase in need locally – she’s seen the face of need become more diverse in 2013 as well.

While the agency has traditionally assisted working-poor individuals and families in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, a rise in the cost of housing (and other economic factors) has led to a recent increase in educated workers seeking help too, she noted.

“We’re seeing a lot of families being forced to relocate out of the area, and at the same time, we’re still serving more people than we did prior to the economic downturn,” she said.

The agency’s diverse population of need includes the likes of Jim, a 41-year-old unemployed semiconductor marketing and sales professional. Jim – whose name has been changed to protect his identity – said the allotment of food he receives from CSA’s Food Nutrition Center allows him to spend his limited funds on other living expenses.

“Food is very expensive, so the healthful food that they provide is something I appreciate a lot,” said Jim, who visits the organization’s Food Nutrition Center once or twice per week. “It’s definitely sufficient for me. I’m single, so I usually don’t take the allotment I’m allowed because if I take more than I need, it’s just going to go to waste. It’s not going to benefit someone else.”

“It’s an economic cushion,” Wadiak added. “Granted, we can’t be a grocery store, but we can certainly be that buffer that gives them a little bit of a cushion to absorb the increases in other things like rent.”

Referred to CSA through another Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – RotaCare – Jim added that the organization’s food center stands out because of its focus on health.

“It’s really helpful – vegetables, rice, beans, things like that,” he said. “It’s the vegetables I value most.”

The agency’s 2012-2013 fiscal year saw a 4 percent year-over-year increase in clients at its Food Nutrition Center, which offers fresh and packaged food items donated by local stores and nonprofit organizations. Food donations, on the other hand, have remained largely stagnant – from approximately 545,000 items in 2010-2011 to a four-year low of 532,221 in 2012-2013.

Wadiak noted that the agency has experienced an increase in other areas of service, including a 30.4 percent bump in its rent and utility assistance program in the past fiscal year.

The high cost of living in Silicon Valley, she added, has also had a noticeable impact on older residents living on fixed incomes.

“We’ve always had – in the past few years – anywhere from three to five seniors relocating out of the area because of the high cost of housing on an annual basis,” said Wadiak, noting that the agency’s senior lunch and nutrition program saw a 25 percent increase in 2012-2013.

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