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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High school district partners with MVLA Community Scholars


Barry Groves and Dee Gibson

Barry Groves, superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District, recently called MVLA Community Scholars the “difference maker” for local first-generation-to-college students. The program is one of the Los Altos Community Foundation’s social initiatives that serve the area.

Groves explained his comment in the following interview with MVLA Community Scholars board member Carolyn Pierce.

Groves: As a school district, our primary mission is to get students ready for college and career ... and that’s for all students. Sometimes we are more successful with students who have support at home and live in environments where their parents know the (college) process. That means we have to put additional resources and use different strategies to prepare more of those first-generation students for college. You can’t expect them to make up that achievement gap (without help). That is why we have a Tutorial Center, a library and a College and Career Center that are open extended hours.

Pierce: Many of these first-generation students have multiple obstacles. English may be their second language, some are undocumented and most families have a very low combined income. Some teens are already living on their own, some have experienced abuse or parental addiction. A few have even been major providers for their families. It would be difficult for any low-income family to lose valuable financial resources, and unthinkable that they would be able to pay for a college degree.

Groves: So, at one Saturday morning meeting ... we asked ourselves the question, could we do more for these traditionally underrepresented students? Dee Gibson of MVLA Community Scholars had an answer. Her group would find and train mentors to guide seniors through the college application process. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community. They literally rushed forward to work with these students. This community is amazing. ... It is the most empathetic, caring community in which I have ever been involved.

Since its inception, MVLA Community Scholars has provided four-year scholarships and individual mentoring for low-income, high-potential local students. Over time, as a practical expression of its mission, MVLA Community Scholars extended existing programs to include mentoring high school AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) juniors and seniors for college and financial-aid application preparation, SAT training, summer internship assistance and a financial educational program in partnership with Opportunity Fund (OF). After passing an approved course in finances, students may deposit funds into a savings account for college. Up to $2,000 is double-matched by OF to accumulate a potential total of $6,000 in savings for college expenses.

Groves: It is important for (students) to know that if they get the grades and classes, we are going to find a way to help. That is great motivation for ... some to get into college, but others see that anybody can do it, given the determination to stick with the work and the procedures.

Pierce: Do you think students know about the assistance MVLA Community Scholars provides?

Groves: I think you are doing a great job ... absolutely. When it is time to apply to colleges and for scholarships, there has been an increase in the number and quality of applications submitted. Plus, more students are applying to colleges appropriate to their GPAs, interests and finances. It is very powerful to see. Students are noticing that their peers, who come from circumstances very similar to theirs, are graduating and going on to college. They know the families do not have the financial resources but have been able to put the resources together with help from MVLA Scholars.

Pierce: Why is MVLA Community Scholars, in particular, seen as an exceptional resource for the district? Could we be doing more?

Groves: I think MVLA Community Scholars is the difference-maker for many of our students. Many of our students could not attend college without the additional support – in the mentoring, high school through college, and the financial assistance. MVLA Community Scholars is very unique in that it gives four-year scholarships. This year 22 students earned scholarships. I’ve been a reader for scholarship applications and you could find 100 students each year with the academic credentials and financial need. Without scholarships, well, they would be making other choices.

MVLA Community Scholars raises funds for scholarships annually. The entire amount of each student’s four-year scholarship is put into a trust before another scholarship can be awarded. The organization has no paid staff. For one scholarship, averaging $3,500 per year for four years, MVLA Community Scholars must raise $14,000. Last year 22 scholarships were disbursed, but 78 more students could have been served had funds been available.

For more information, visit mvlacommunityscholars.org.

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