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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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Forum speaker dispels myths of urban sprawl


Hess

The architecture critic for the San Jose Mercury News discussed “Historic Sprawl: A History of California Suburbia” at a Morning Forum of Los Altos appearance Dec. 3.

Architect and historian Alan Hess was a fellow at Columbia University’s School of Journalism and earned a master’s degree in architecture from UCLA.

“We think we know the 20th century, but we don’t,” Hess said. “There is so much more. It takes original research to understand who we are and to prepare for the future. Suburbia is one of the topics that have not been given full attention.”

According to Hess, myths remain about suburbia, including that it is entirely car dependent, features no fine architecture and is an unplanned, random sprawl.

Cities had become crowded, without parks, dirty and polluted, Hess said. But a love of nature and a desire for backyard patios, gardens and a place for children to play safely drove suburban development. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright originated suburban architecture with his designs of more horizontal and decentralized architecture that reflected how families were actually living.

Julia Morgan and the Green brothers were among the first architects to move away from traditional designs and begin using natural building materials, Hess noted. Individual, custom-designed houses are part of modern suburban architecture, he added, with materials from wood to steel, including pre-stressed concrete, reflecting the wide range used for building. Ranch houses with outdoor courtyards reflected the original Spanish adobe houses.

A housing crisis followed World War II and the ranch house was the savior, Hess said.

David Bohannon developed the technique of building mass-produced houses that were affordable. He built entire communities in the Bay Area, including the infrastructure, such as San Lorenzo Village. He also built the Stonestown Shopping Center. Irvine is a 90,000-acre community in Southern California that grew over a period of 50 years employing progressive planning.

Hess noted that Joseph Eichler, the mid-century builder of modern homes, had lived in a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Eichler hired architects to design houses using the modern architectural concept of indoor-outdoor design with sliding glass doors, which could be mass-produced.

Hess’ presentation touched on several such buildings in the Bay Area, including Stanford Hospital.

“We forget what we were, and every time we tear down or alter these good designs we lose,” he said. “Instead of tearing down Stanford Hospital, adaptive uses should be considered. We have this heritage of good design and should not throw it away.”

The Morning Forum of Los Altos is a members-only lecture series that meets at Los Altos United Methodist Church. For membership details and more information, visit morningforum.org.

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