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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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Meeting expectations: Mountain View High softball team may surpass coach's goals for season

There are three games remaining in the season, and Jake McKenzie has already accomplished what he set out to do in his first year as Mountain View High softball coach.

"They've met my expectations, to tell you the truth. They were 12-12 last year and I wanted to at least match that," said McKenzie, whose Spartans entered this final week of league play with a 12-11 overall record. "Everything from here on in is frosting on the cake."

Of course, that cake will be a little sweeter if Mountain View sneaks into the Central Coast Section playoffs.

I was hoping to get to CCS, but we'll probably need to win the rest of our games," McKenzie said. "It won't be easy, but it's still attainable."

The coach made that comment prior to the two games the Spartans played against Lynbrook at the end of last week. They lost both - 4-0 Friday and 7-1 Saturday - to sink to 3-5 in the SCVAL De Anza Division.

Although Mountain View's playoff hopes have faded, it will probably take more than that to temper McKenzie's enthusiasm for this squad.

"Of all the teams I've coached, including travel ball, this is probably the best one," said McKenzie, whose 15-year coaching career includes stints at Pioneer and Del Mar highs. "Attitude plays a big part in that, and all the girls have great attitudes."

The 13-member team comprises five seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. All of them play regularly.

McKenzie said almost every girl on the team plays travel ball in the offseason, which shows on the field.

"These girls are a heck of a bunch of girls," the coach said. "They do what they're asked, they learn real fast and have great talent."

Four Spartans are batting above .300: outfielder Alicia Olmos, third baseman Marisa Bitler, catcher/outfielder Amy Sherrill and pitcher Kendra Vanek.

Leadoff hitter Olmos, a senior, is hovering around .350, tops on the team. Junior Bitler had a team-best three hits (two doubles) in Mountain View's 19-0 shellacking of Saratoga April 24 and leads the team in RBIs. Senior Sherrill is the team's power hitter and has one of the five homers hit in the league this season.

Vanek not only has a potent bat, but a strong arm as well. The sophomore is the team's ace pitcher. The winning pitcher in all of the Spartans' victories this season, she had an ERA just below 1.30 after a 1-0 loss to Homestead April 26.

"She's awesome," McKenzie said. "She has six pitches, good control, good speed and a good attitude. Everything you want in a player, she has."

When Vanek gets a break, McKenzie uses Olmos or junior Allison Duray on the mound. The coach said Olmos "is a very good pitcher with decent speed and movement and has four pitches," while Duray "is a slower pitcher, with movement on the ball, who is good at throwing off fast-hitting teams."

McKenzie said all his pitchers are helped by the stout defense behind them.

"My defense, I think, is our No. 1 strength," he said. "The girls are awesome; they have errors, but not that many - less than one a game."

McKenzie credits the defense for several of Mountain View's wins, including a 2-0 upset of St. Francis.

What he would like to see now is more hitting, which he listed as the team's biggest weakness.Other than the rout of Saratoga, the Spartans struggled getting hits last week. They totaled just one run in the three games that followed.

Mountain View hosts Monta Vista at 4 p.m. today, then plays at Los Gatos at the same time Friday in another league game.

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