Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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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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Friday climb just fine for consumers

After a week of down days, the market climbed back Friday on the news of an upbeat November jobs report and a five-month rise in consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average reached an all-time high Nov. 27, and the primary trend has been bullish. Very few losers could be found on the Dow Friday at noon, with few components not in the shiny-green territory. The Dow hit a recent high of 16,174.50.

It appears that the market is becoming comfortable with the Federal Reserve’s decision to taper its bond-buying, a scenario that parallels a stronger economy. The 203,000 increase in payroll employment means a better economy, and that could bring on the taper sooner when the Federal Reserve meets later this month.

Many investors are still comfortable maintaining 95-99 percent of their equity holdings in stocks because there are still attractive stocks available. When that is no longer true and investors can’t find stocks to diversify, then it is time to reduce the stock exposure and sell some of the recent winners.

Two Town Crier “50” stocks issued quarterly reports recently.

• Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ; $27.30) reported fourth-quarter earnings last week that topped expectations. Sales declined in five of its business units, but the stock rose 8 percent after the report. This is good news for a turnaround company in a tough environment.

HP retook the No. 1 position in the worldwide server market with revenue of $3.4 billion and a 27.6 percent market share, but IBM should regain the honor when December results roll in.

Under CEO Meg Whitman, HP is attempting to shift into cloud computing, kiosk printing and tablet computers instead of other ventures that include computers and printers.

HP’s turnaround is more of a reinvention than a continuous efficiency drive. Whitman’s goal was to cut as many as 34,000 employees, and to date she has laid off 24,000, resulting in $9 billion in free cash flow.

Analysts consider HP stock a neutral, with some believing that the company is underperforming. The median price target is $28, with a high target of $32. HP stock goes for seven times earnings and yields a 2.1 percent dividend.

• Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT; $16.90) posted impressive fourth-quarter earnings at 19 cents, beating numerous analysts’ estimates by a penny, or 5.6 percent. Revenues were also strong, topping forecasts by 16.2 percent. The company reported revenue of $1.99 billion, up 20.8 percent year over year. The gross margin totaled 40 percent.

Applied Materials reports its revenue by segments, with the Silicon Systems Group (SSG), Display, Applied General Services (AGS) and Energy and Environmental Solutions (EES) segments. The largest segment was SSG with 63 percent of revenue, which was down 2.3 percent. AGS was up 8.2 percent with a 27 percent revenue share, and the Display segment rose 1.2 percent with a 75.3 percent year-over-year increase in revenue. The EES segment accounted for 2 percent of total revenue but fell 2.2 percent.

Approximately 70 percent of Applied Materials’ quarterly revenue comes from the Asia/Pacific region.

The PC market remains the problem, and Applied Materials is not the only company affected – Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have experienced segment decreases because of the decline of the desk computer.

Analysts recently upgraded Applied Materials stock to a buy or an outperform. The median target price is $20, with a high of $23. The dividend yield is 2.30 percent.

Clyde Noel is a Los Altos Hills resident and longtime investor in stocks.

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