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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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Retailers forecast a merry holiday shopping season

NEWS DowntownBusinesse fmt
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Jim Daley, right, co-owner of Present, said this year’s Holiday Stroll proved the shop’s single busiest sales day of 2013.

If you ask downtown retailers how business has been, most will respond that sales are on the upswing.

“So far things are steady,” said Belinda Chung of BK Collections, a specialty gift and jewelry shop in business in Los Altos for 35 years. “People are picking things up and buying them.”

Chung’s regular customers are already visiting the store to purchase hand-blown glass ornaments for their children and grandchildren, but she said it’s a little too early to predict overall sales for the holiday season.

Consumer spending in Los Altos has remained relatively steady year-to-year at just below $2,000 per capita, according to the city of Los Altos’ sales tax data for the second quarter of 2013 (April through June).

Restaurants and consumer-goods sectors saw the highest increase over 2012 numbers at 23 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

Family apparel, women’s apparel, sporting goods and restaurants serving no alcohol all experienced increases in sales of more than 20 percent – a number that exceeds county and state increases by more than double digits.

The city has yet to release its third-quarter results.

Proof in the pudding

The city’s revenue data rings true for many retailers, including Jim Daley, co-owner of Present, an artisanal food, beauty and spa business that has been in Los Altos for just more than a year.

“We tripled what we did last year,” said Daley of sales during the Holiday Stroll in comparison to last year.

The Nov. 8 Holiday Stroll was the shop’s busiest day of the year, and Daley is struggling to get products out of boxes and onto shelves fast enough. Even though he ordered three times more inventory this year than last, he’s already had to reorder more product for the holiday season.

High-end businesses, including jewelry retailer Smythe & Cross, are also experiencing indications of a positive holiday sales season. President Khatchig Jingirian Jr. reports a steady increase in shoppers and sales. More customers are making early seasonal purchases, a trend that is unusual for his business. Khatchig expects a fair share of men rushing into the store to purchase last-minute gifts in the two to three weeks before Christmas.

“I want to be in the position to have to camp out back because business is so good,” he said.

Restaurants are also seeing more green this season. With two rooms to fill, First & Main Sports Lounge is booking more parties this year, according to owner Jeff Weinberg.

“It’s the time of year when people need to escape the office or out-of-town guests,” he said.

With so many sports on the schedule and holiday-themed beverages on the menu, Weinberg expects to keep busy this season.

Although overall reaction to the economic data and retailer interviews conducted by the Town Crier were positive, some retailers lament the lost sales opportunities attributable to ongoing construction projects along First and State streets and the shortage of downtown parking at peak times of day.

Chung said most of her loyal shoppers overlook the obstacles because they take pride in patronizing local businesses.

“The best part of running a small business is making connections with people,” Chung said of the second-generation customers who return to the store to purchase holiday gifts. “For the community to survive, they need to support us.”


Small businesses open their doors for holiday shoppers - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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