Thu10022014

News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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Safai heads to MIT to run cross-country, track

Photo Town Crier File Photo

Eric Safai slides in an effort to get the ball. He participated in three sports for the Eagles.

Eric Safai can forget about resting this summer.

After a school year in which he played three sports – cross-country, soccer and track and field – Los Altos High’s Senior Male Athlete of the Year has been told to ramp up his running for college.

“The MIT coach wants me to get up to 65 miles a week,” Safai said of a request by Halston Taylor, who runs the cross-country and track and field teams at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It’s not going to be easy – the most I’ve done is 30 miles in a week – but I do enjoy challenges.”

When it comes to his studies and sports, Safai has a knack for conquering challenges. He leaves Los Altos High with grade-A grades (4.6 GPA) and multiple MVP awards for athletics.

The secret to Safai’s all-around success? Time management.

“I would go to practice, go home and do work – I wouldn’t fiddle around or anything,” he said. “It was pretty easy for me. Schoolwork would always come first, and I actually enjoyed doing some of it – especially math and science.”

Safai approaches sports with the same vigor.

“I put a lot of work into sports,” he said. “When I first joined my club soccer team, I wasn’t good and I trained over the summer and got better. I like to prove that I can play a sport well.”

Safai proved that early and often at Los Altos. He was good enough to make varsity as a freshman in all of his sports. As a senior, he was voted MVP of his cross-country, soccer and track teams.

“Eric is an extraordinary athlete,” Los Altos athletic director Kim Cave said. “He demonstrates poise, confidence and determination every time he competes.”

Safai acknowledged he’s had some help along the way, much of it from his high school coaches – PattiSue Plumer in track and cross-country and Vava Marques in soccer.

“They’re both good coaches, and I feel lucky I had them,” the Los Altos resident said. “PattiSue is great – she instilled good ethics and a work-hard mentality. She’s done a lot for me. Vava yelled at me a lot my freshman year and definitely helped me improve. He taught me to play a different style of soccer than I was used to playing.”

Making varsity soccer as a fresh-faced ninth-grader “was a little freaky,” Safai said, “but by the end of the season, I was playing a lot and was fine with it.”

After playing sweeper his first three seasons, he saw action as a defensive midfielder as a senior.

“I enjoyed playing in the midfield,” said Safai, named to the SCVAL De Anza Division First Team this year. “It’s a lot faster-paced than being last man.”

Safai said the highlight of the season was beating Palo Alto in the third division game.

“We beat them 4-0, and they were league champions and undefeated in league the year before,” he said. “That was exciting.”

The Eagles didn’t make the playoffs – as they did Safai’s first three seasons – but he still considers it one of his best years.

“We did better than everyone expected,” Safai said. “We were fourth in league and were expected to finish last.”

The most memorable moment of Safai’s soccer career happened his sophomore year. While he can’t recall which team Los Altos was facing in the Homestead Christmas Cup game, Safai clearly remembers the unfortunate outcome of a play he was involved in.

“I accidentally broke a kid’s leg,” he said. “It was a slide tackle, but it was clean. I won’t forget it.”

The risks that come with playing soccer have convinced Safai to give up the sport – at least competitively. He intends to play soccer recreationally at MIT, but his focus will be on running cross-country and track.

“I still love to play soccer – it’s something I’ve always enjoyed,” said Safai, who’s played the game since age 4. “But if I want to run in college, soccer is too injury-prone to play.”

Safai hopes to run the 800 meters and mile at MIT under Taylor, who he hears is a demanding coach (see the 65-miles-per-week request, above).

Safai didn’t take up running until he got to Los Altos High. Safia said he went out for cross-country to get in better shape for soccer “and I did well and kept going.”

He made it to the Central Coast Section meet all four years, twice won the Central Park Invitational in Santa Clara and set a record for juniors in winning last year’s Lynbrook Invitational.

“The races are sort of painful – they’re not a light endeavor,” said Safai, interested in studying biology or bioengineering at MIT. “But when you get in a rhythm, it feels good.”

In track, Safai ran the 1,600 and 800 races for Los Altos and was part of the Eagles’ 4x400 relay team. He qualified for the CCS semifinals in both individual events this season and the finals of the 1,600 last year. Safai’s personal-best times are 4:24 in the 1,600 and 1:57 in the 800, and he is most proud of the former.

“My first two years I hated the 800, but it’s grown on me,” Safai said. “But I still like the (1,600) a little better.”

Safai, who set personal records in winning two events last year in a meet at Los Gatos, likes to save his best for last.

“I have a decent kick and catch people in the last 100 (meters),” he said. “It’s one of the thrills I get from racing in track.”

Safai hopes the thrills keep on coming at MIT. If not, Halston just might want him to run more miles next summer.

Contact Pete Borello at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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