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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Editorials

Considerations over going solar

Los Altos Hills officials have bent over backwards to push solar energy on residents. They have an extensive solar system installed at the new Town Hall. They offer incentives for residents who go solar.

So it’s curious that the town faced legal action recently over - of all things - restricting solar equipment installations.

Facing such action from Akeena Solar, a solar installation company, city councilmembers agreed to waive a costly variance fee until the town could find middle ground with regulations that restrict such equipment within property setbacks. Solar applicants had to pay a stiff variance fee if their equipment was outside setback limits.

We understand the town's perspective that setback restrictions are in place so that one resident's solar installation doesn't create an eyesore for his neighbors.

"We want to make sure someone doesn't put a 27-foot something right next to their neighbor's fence," said Mayor Jean Mordo. "It's to avoid the look of a dense community."

Town attorney Steven Mattes pointed out than more than 100 solar installations over the past two years have taken place without incident, and indicated the town's setback restrictions – side and backyard 30-foot setbacks and 40 feet in the front yard – are reasonable. Akeena Solar representatives argued to the contrary, and noted a state solar law could trump town setback restrictions.

Residents shouldn't go through needless red tape to install a system, and if the town sees a pattern of people canceling solar installations, then there's something wrong. But what about applicants opting for less obtrusive panels that are effective for the energy-saving residents and easy on the eyes for their view-loving neighbors? For instance, there already are photovoltaic panel designs that look like regular roof tiles, but have the functionality of a solar panel.

Perhaps the town can consider changes to current regulations. But this seems to us a problem that better – and evolving – solar technology can solve.

Congrats on a great town picnic

Amid dealing with solar setbacks and balancing budgets, Los Altos Hills leaders deserve a terrific salute for the successful Town Picnic served up last Sunday to local residents. The crowd estimated at 1,900 enjoyed a perfect summer afternoon of music, free food and beverages, a 52 rare cars display and best of all, very short speeches.  Sponsored by the town's Community Relations Committee chaired by Roy Woolsley, the event at the new Purissima Park came off without a hitch. Congrats.

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