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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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City manager recalls her roots


Town Crier File Photo
Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers, center, enjoys a laugh with guests at an April 2012 welcome reception in her honor.

Marcia Somers assumed duties as Los Altos city manager in April 2012. The following Town Crier “e-terview,” an email interview, offers Somers’ account of how she stepped into a leadership position in a city bursting with activity. This is the second in the two-part series.

TC: Like many Los Altos residents, you have Midwestern roots. Where did you grow up and get your education?

Somers: I grew up in Bloomington, Minn., the original home of that state’s professional sports teams – Vikings, Twins and North Stars. I have fond memories of going to the Met Stadium for many sporting as well as community events. (As I recall, my high school graduation was held there as well.) Part of the larger metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Bloomington had an outstanding public school district, extensive and award-winning city and county park systems, and an overall high quality of life. I followed (in the footsteps of) my two older siblings and attended the University of Minnesota.

TC: Have you ever been to Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the source of the Mississippi, and walked across the river without getting your feet wet?

Somers: Of course I have – hasn’t most every native Minnesotan? Itasca State Park is a national gem that a very small percentage of the American public has had an opportunity to visit and experience, so I consider myself lucky. Later in life I was also able to cross the river on a daily basis without getting my feet wet at all (way above the river on an enclosed walkway that was heated in the winter) when I was at the University of Minnesota.

TC: Did you also work in city governments in Minnesota?

Somers: Working for local government was nowhere in my sights as a young adult. I worked as a waiter in various restaurants in order to earn money to pay for tuition, books and other living expenses while in school. That experience, however, exposed me to all sorts of interesting people who helped me fine-tune my listening and customer service skills, which I’ve put to good use during my 28 years working in the public sector.

TC: What brought you to California?

Somers: After spending a summer working in Glacier National Park, I was encouraged by my co-workers to travel home with them to San Francisco. Other than a vacation with my family to the Seattle World’s Fair and a drive down the coast in 1962, I had not ventured this far west. As fate would have it, this post-Glacier trip resulted in meeting my future husband. But since I had plans to live and study in Europe shortly thereafter, I was off on yet another adventure after my brief visit here. I did ultimately move to California, married in 1976, completed my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and obtained my master’s degree in Public Administration at Cal State Hayward.

TC: Tell us about where you live now and about your family.

Somers: I have lived in Campbell for 30 years. My husband and I have four adult children and four grandchildren – some who live in the Bay Area and others who are in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

TC: Where do you like to vacation?

Somers: My side of the family reconnects with biannual reunions, alternating between Minnesota, Colorado and California. My siblings and our children and grandchildren gather to spend a fun and laughter-filled week together usually in an area that offers lots of outdoor activities.

TC: What are your hobbies?

Somers: Back in the day (way back), when I had more free time, I sewed most of my clothes – business suits included (the fortunate result of having a mother who was an amazing seamstress/tailor). My almost 30-year commitment to public service is much more than a full-time occupation, so personal discretionary time is limited. However, my primary leisure interests include spending time with my family, reading, traveling and staying in touch with my far-flung relatives and friends through old-fashioned handwritten cards and letters.

TC: What do you see as the significance of SFMOMA coming to town with its temporary four-month exhibition?

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