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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The fondest farewell follows a tentative welcome

People around me know my devotion to my dog, Parker. And by devotion, they would mean being a responsible pet owner by spoiling Parker rotten and everything in between. All of it is true. And while I made some mistakes – I never should have allowed Parker to assume that he’s entitled to sample everything we eat – I must point out that I had not wanted a dog much to begin with and that Parker was my first (mammalian) pet. Therefore, it was a fairly steep learning curve for me to figure out how to handle him once he arrived in our home.

I did read books on dog care ahead of time, of course. Amusingly, this is exactly how I had tried to prepare for the birth of my first child under similar ignorant circumstances: zero exposure to infants once I was past age 10, and absolutely no babysitting experience at any age. No surprise that the research I did in both instances yielded similar results. Books never hurt, but nothing really prepares you for the hands-on, maddeningly unpredictable reality of a living, breathing, sentient and idiosyncratic creature entering your world.

I have spent the past 15 years trying to understand life from Parker’s point of view so that I could better manage his behavior, his physical well-being, his emotional life and his relationship with other people and animals. That’s a long way of saying that I spent a lot of time focused on health and balance in a dog’s life.

I wasn’t productive on all fronts: Parker was the least happy-go-lucky Labrador Retriever I’ve ever met, and he hated cats with a passion. To his credit, however, he was just smart enough to recognize that he needed humans for survival, so he was obedient and submissive. He understood that his sworn feline enemies were quicker, smarter and more deadly than he. He knew better than to actually mess with one.

But at the end of the day, literally and figuratively, Parker was a deeply comforting presence in my life. I don’t have the space here to disentangle and describe his particular threads in the fabric of these past 15 years, but he’s woven solidly in there. However, I will say that he brought out the best in me – communication through the heart rather than through vocal chords, observation from a truly different set of eyes and, above all, laughter and joy while experiencing all the small, inconsequential things.

When he died last month, Parker’s vet, who assisted him, told me with sincerity that Parker was a patient he would remember the rest of his life. In part because given his fragile health, Parker lived well past anyone’s expectations. But I’d like to think that it was also because of Parker’s personal charm – a weird mix of suspicious, tentative optimism and naive incredulity. He never operated on pure faith, but he was always surprised when things didn’t quite work out to his particular liking. I loved that about him. It made him seem so human.

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