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[whitespace] News From Silicon Valley's Neighborhoods

El Gato Gains
The owner of the Penthouse Apartments in Los Gatos has raised rents by 40 percent, saying he improved the property. Residents say all he did was hang bad art and mirrors.

Car Alarm Blaze
Monte Sereno--Someone ought to let Land Rover's engineers in on the secret: It's internal combustion, not spontaneous combustion. Then again, it could be other factors that caused a Range Rover to burst into flames after Monte Sereno resident Averill Mix parked it in his garage and turned off the ignition on the morning of Nov. 3 and went inside to bake a cake. It wasn't until a construction worker came banging on the front door that Mix even knew anything was amiss, and by then the blaze was well on its way to consuming the garage.

Big Science
San Jose--Believe it or not, Stephen W. Hawking, the world-renowned cosmologist and author of A Brief History of Time, has further expanded his already capacious perspective. He delivers a lecture entitled "Theories of Everything" at San Jose State's Center for Performing Arts on Sunday, Nov. 15. Hawking's high-tech wheelchair is equipped with a PC mounted on the back and a voice synthesizer that allows him to speak despite his disability.

Splitting Hairs
Cupertino--Since September, kids at Cupertino Junior High School have been looking forward to The Mortenson Mohawk. At the beginning of the school year, Andy Mortensen, the school's principal, challenged his students to raise $100,000 for school activities by selling magazines. If they could do it, he said, they could cut his hair. "I thought it was pretty safe," Mortensen said. "Last year they raised $85,000." But that was then, and this is now, and Mortensen was forced, by agreement, to pay a visit to a barber last week. As if having a principal wearing the Last of the Mohicans look wasn't enough, some kids pushed for a full G.I. Jane shave, shouting, "Bald, bald, bald!" at the school assembly where the clipping was conducted. "Next year," Mortensen said, "I'm going to be a lot more expensive."

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