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 support bolsters Veterans Resource Center


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Foothill College student Charles Viajar, a U.S. Navy veteran, takes advantage of the school’s Veterans Resource Center in pursuit of training as a respiratory therapist.

The Veterans Resource Center at the heart of Foothill College’s Los Altos Hills campus feels like a low-key clubhouse, with noodle soup packets, a worn couch and a steady flow of students coming to and from classes.

On a recent Tuesday, Wayne Barton passed through – he’s in his third quarter, studying enterprise networking and other IT specialties. Barton had cut college short to return to work after leaving the military. But now, between jobs, he’s taking advantage of a Veterans Administration program that offers retraining for vets.

Brian Go stopped by, too – until recently a health inspector in the Army, he’s now studying to be a veterinary technician. He’s left the world of overseeing slaughterhouses to tend to animals.

Charles Viajar, a firefighter in the Navy, hadn’t known what he wanted to do when he left the service in January. As of this week, he was working his way through a chemistry textbook at the center’s corner desk.

Viajar ultimately concluded that after watching his grandfather die of lung cancer, he’d like to do something that helps people breathe.

Viajar learned about chemical and biological warfare over his four deployments, but he returned to the civilian world unused to the freedom – and attendant chaos – of solo adult life. As a veteran, he has access to funding for his training as a respiratory therapist, but navigating the paperwork and bureaucracy that stands between a veteran and his or her benefits requires help.

That’s where the Veterans Resource Center comes in.

“As soon as I came in, Carmela was very helpful,” Viajar said of Carmela Xuereb, the director at the heart of the center. “Carmela helps you get your benefits to work, so you can actually use them.”

Not only does the Veterans Resource Center serve as a comfortable place for vets to find each other and pool their limited resources, it is also an organizing force within the college, collaborating with other departments to help them transition to academic life.

Donations from sources such as the Town Crier Holiday Fund help supply equipment like computers and printer paper, and this year the center has been fundraising to offset the cost of textbooks. This fall, financial concerns became particularly pronounced during the government shutdown.

“We went through a hard time during the furlough – the guys got pretty nervous,” Xuereb said. “They depend on their VA benefits to pay rent, buy books, even buy food.”

She serves as a protective den mother to the 250 veterans studying at Foothill, who often find their way to her via word of mouth. They can print papers in the office, pick up extra Scantrons for an upcoming test or just grab a subsidized snack.

“All those little five cents here, 10 cents there, it adds up for them,” Xuereb said. “It’s the little things.”

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