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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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Airport lounges offer travelers comforts of home – for a price


Photos Courtesy of American Express
The American Express Centurion Lounge at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport features comfortable seating, left, as well as lounge chairs, right, for travelers facing long layovers. American Express cardholders can purchase day passes for the lounge for $50.

As we rushed to make our connecting flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Tampa, lugging our carry-ons, cameras and food, we stopped at the boards.

Our next leg wouldn’t take off for another four hours. Nearly 300 flights ended up canceled or delayed Nov. 24 because of violent storms. We joined the rest of the Florida-bound passengers sprawled in the tiny waiting area on hard chairs at the gate. Thanksgiving vacation was off to a slow start.

My Mac didn’t feel like air to me, and I realized that we had to take shifts stretching our legs by doing laps around the shops. As my eyes started to glaze over under the ugly fluorescent lights, I recalled an email sitting in my inbox promoting the flashy new American Express Centurion Lounge in Terminal D.

Even with all the traveling I do, I have stayed away from airline club lounges, thinking them unnecessary status symbols or only for VIPs. While that may be true, it turns out that cardholders with $50 to spare can buy a day pass. The passes are a real boon for cranky adults or families with tired children, and you can even buy them online as gifts for frequent travelers.

With four extra hours looming ahead of us, and the realization that every hard-plastic chair around us was filling up with bodies, I asked for directions to the Amex lounge.

The club was a bit hidden. Despite having the exact location, even airport employees directed us to the nearby American Airlines Admirals Club. We stopped there. The greeter at the front desk seemed less than friendly, informing us that it would be $100 for a day pass for the two of us and then more for bar drinks and lunch. To be fair, the club featured the usual free Wi-Fi and showers. The menu was barebones – sandwiches and quick eats only.

I was determined to try out the new Centurion Lounge, which supposedly had a celebrity chef. Named after the highest level of Amex card, the invitation-only black Centurion card, the deluxe club costs the same for a day pass but boasts more free features.

When we finally found the lounge, it was an oasis that helped us weather a really tough day. The excellent food was free (well, after the cost of the day pass), and they were giving out 15-minute massages and facials at the lounge’s salon. Needless to say, the signups filled almost immediately, with all the plane groundings. Chairs and comfy couches make the free Wi-Fi that much easier to use, and special children’s stations feature computer games of all sorts.

The daily Amex pass runs $50 per person, with no extra charge for food or drinks.

If you’re an Amex Platinum member, which means you think this kind of comfort is worth $400 a year, admission is free for yourself and your family. The Priority Pass card that comes with it allows you to access more than 600 global lounges, including the American Airlines Admirals Club, the Delta Sky Club and the US Airways Club.

To read detailed reviews of airline clubs, visit skytrax.com. Centurion Clubs seem to generate more positive comments, but take a look for yourself.  If you’re a business traveler, you can probably expense the passes.

This is one status symbol that I would definitely recommend. You can also buy one-day and 30-day passes online as gifts.

Contributing editor Eren Göknar is a lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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