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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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EPAK continues to have positive impact on Ravenswood teachers


Courtesy of tami espinosa
Ravenswood School District students benefit from special experiences, such as field trips, thanks to regular grants from the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation.

This year marks 20 years for the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK). Its continued success isn’t owed to radical change – its hallmark is stability.

The mission remains the same: Provide a consistent source of funding for teachers in the Ravenswood School District so that they can pursue their own class activities such as field trips. EPAK funds projects otherwise unfulfilled within the financial constraints of a school district located in an economically disadvantaged area.

“I absolutely could not do without it!” said Allison Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at Brentwood Academy. “I supplement nonfiction with passages and articles printed from the Internet, but I believe having real nonfiction books in the class is really important for our students. … I know that if we can’t find funding in any other way, EPAK is our only option for helping to pay for buses for our science camp field trip in the spring. EPAK is amazing. They help provide critical supplies and funding for programs that students at my school depend on.”

“We’re still an all-volunteer board, we’re still serving all the teachers,” said Tami Espinosa, EPAK board president and principal at Ravenswood’s Brentwood Academy. “Still core to our beliefs is asking teachers what they want. We still believe teachers know what’s best for their classes. We want to empower them.”

One notable change to EPAK is the board’s decision to fund specialist teachers along with classroom instructors. EPAK currently funds 240 teachers serving 5,000 students annually, providing two $600 grants for each teacher.

The nonprofit organization has rebounded from an economically bumpy 2010-2011, when funding decreased as class sizes increased.

“Corporate giving has increased – the (individual) donor base has shrunk a little,” Espinosa said. “We’re working on increasing the donor base.”

She also wants to see an increase in board member participation. Having an expert in accounting on the board, for example, could be a big help come budget time.

Espinosa got involved in EPAK after being a recipient teacher eight years ago. Thanks to an EPAK grant, she was able to take her fourth-grade class on a field trip to Sacramento and Sutter’s Fort.

Teachers use some grants for tech tools such as projectors and e-readers. One teacher purchased iPod touches as a teaching tool for students with special needs.

“It’s fascinating,” Espinosa said of teachers’ creativity. “One of the good things about being on the board is hearing about all the ideas (for projects) from the teachers.”

Espinosa said the annual Town Crier Holiday Fund check makes a big difference.

“Getting thousands of dollars from (the fund) that has been loyal to us is pretty amazing,” she said. “It’s been that base that has given us a sense of security so that we can support teachers every year. … We don’t ever want to drop a grant cycle. Teachers depend on us.

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