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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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Los Altos student wins Young Heroes award


Courtesy of Sruthi Ramaswami
Los Altos student Sruthi Ramaswami, fourth from right, works with students to lobby legislators in Sacramento.

Former Archbishop Mitty High School student Sruthi Ramaswami of Los Altos recently received the national Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Ramaswami now attends the University of Chicago.

The Barron Prize annually celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young leaders from across America who have made a significant positive difference. The top 10 to 15 winners receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education.

While in high school, Ramaswami founded the Mitty Advocacy Project (MAP) to empower young people to make a difference in their communities via political advocacy. She created a legislative network of more than 1,000 students nationally who represent social-justice issues and interface directly with state and federal legislators.

Teams of students research topics such as poverty, education, immigration and criminal justice and then identify bills designed to address the issues. They lobby state legislators in Sacramento and have traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate at the national level. Five of the six bills they have lobbied for have been signed into law.

Inspiration and empowerment

Ramaswami began her work as a high school freshman, when a teacher inspired her to prepare for and participate in Catholic Lobby Day, an advocacy event designed to mobilize California Catholics to lobby state legislators.

“Mitty students were the only students who took part in the Catholic Lobby Day,” Ramaswami said. “I found that surprising and weird. I just had a fantastic experience and I felt others should have the opportunity so that they know students can be involved in politics.”

Inspired and empowered by that experience, she instituted MAP in her sophomore year to form a community of youth lobbyists to represent the interests of the less fortunate.

As the cornerstone of MAP, Ramaswami founded California Youth Advocacy Day, an annual event to promote civic engagement. For the past three years, more than 600 high school students have participated in the event, attending issue-specific workshops led by MAP students and then lobbying their legislators at the state capitol.

“As a young person, I felt empowered to work with politicians,” she said. “Legislators are pretty open to hearing from students. As intimidating as it might be to advocate, the legislators completely take us seriously. It feels good to have someone in power to listening to you.”

While working with MAP, Ramaswami became involved in promoting improvements to the state’s food-stamp program and helping those opposed to human trafficking. While volunteering for Sunnyvale Community Services, she learned that many who need services like food donations don’t know enough about the food programs, so she supported better dispersal of food-stamp program information.

MAP has grown to include 100 students at Ramaswami’s school and has expanded to more than 50 schools nationwide.

“I’ve learned that mobilizing people to believe in and work toward a common goal is not the purview of adulthood,” she said. “Motivation and self-belief trump age.”

Ramaswami is majoring in economics and continues to be involved in politics at the University of Chicago.

“I would encourage high school students to get involved in their community,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be talking to legislators – it can start small. It all starts with that belief that you can make a difference if you try.”

Author T.A. Barron established The Gloria Barron Prize in 2001 and named the award for his mother. Each year the award honors 25 young leaders as diverse as their service projects. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from many races and backgrounds. Half of the honorees have focused on helping their communities and fellow human beings and half have focused on protecting the environment.

For more information, visit barronprize.org.

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