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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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St. Nicholas students give back through the Morgan Autism Center

SCH MAC Eric and Christian PangrazioAs a part of St. Nicholas School’s outreach program, seventh- and eighth-grade students visit and interact with students at the Morgan Autism Center throughout the year.

Sent in groups of four, the St. Nicholas students travel to the San Jose facility to work and interact with Morgan Autism Center children.

The Center is a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and adult clients with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability found in children with 24,000 new cases diagnosed each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer and childhood AIDS combined.

In California, the caseload has tripled in the eight years between 2002 and 2010, recording a growth from 17,000 to more than 60,000.

“The students at St. Nicholas gain an appreciation, a tolerance and an understanding of children with developmental disabilities,” said Liz Fraiser, a parent who helps organize the visits. “It can be mysterious to them, but they understand that these kids deserve love and respect. You can talk about it, but when they work side by side they really get it.”

The small group helps create a calm and intimate atmosphere for the students to work with the developmentally delayed and autistic students. While at the center, they work on everything from basic eye contact and social skills to crafts and puzzles.

“The Morgan Autism students are always very excited to see our St. Nicholas students and often tell them how much they love them,” Fraiser said. “The St. Nicholas students are very supportive and encouraging.”

One tradition the students often join in is the “Woo Hoo” dance – a festive celebration after students complete a task.

“There is not a time when I do not leave the Morgan Autism kids without a lump in my throat,” Fraiser said. “It is truly a spiritual experience.”

The St. Nicholas students value their time with the Morgan Autism students as well.

“Interacting and bonding with the autistic teenagers was a moving experience that I have cherished,” said St. Nicholas eighth-grader Annie Gallivan. “Spending time with them and getting to know each individual was a lot of fun, and we mutually never failed to put smiles on each other’s faces.”

And the Center students benefit from the unique experience with mainstream students, said Sally Hird, an assistant teacher at the Morgan Autism Center.

“The most important benefit is being able to interact with a typical peer,” she said. “A lot of our students have no other chance to develop friendships with typical peers. They are basically at school with the same types of students. Just being with peers who can speak and tell them jokes and show them how to do things is very wonderful.”

Outreach and community service is an integral part of the St. Nicholas School education. Students work on community service and giving-back projects throughout their years at St. Nicholas and by seventh and eighth grades, they may work with the students at the Center.

Fraiser said that by junior high the students are prepared to give back in a more interactive fashion.

The Morgan Autism Center and St. Nicholas School have a special relationship, which has reached beyond the classroom visits. Last year when the center was looking for creative fundraising ideas, musically inclined St. Nicholas dads stepped up and volunteered to present a restaurant dinner and band concert as a fundraiser.

“It was a great celebration and many Morgan Autism teachers and administrators came and danced the night away with our St. Nicholas parents,” Fraiser said. “All in celebration of this event to help the kids. There is truly a special relationship between these two schools.”

For more information, visit stnicholaslah.com and morgancenter.org.

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