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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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Getting the low down on the bottom line: Net-price knowledge essential to choosing college

Photo Town Crier File Photo

Long before local high school seniors graduate, they’ll be busy researching colleges and universities for matriculation. StudentAid.com can help with that decision.

Planning for college is fraught with uncertainty about everything from which college and major to choose to how much it will cost. With nearly 70 percent of high school students enrolling in higher-education programs after graduation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, millions of students and their families are overwhelmed and looking for guidance on their options.

Students weigh many factors when choosing a college, but one that often makes the decision difficult is price. When it comes to planning, most students and their families are on their own. The typical high school student receives only 38 minutes of college-planning preparation at school each year, according to a 2005 study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

“Millions of students and their families experience great anxiety around college planning because nobody has insight into what their true out-of-pocket college costs will be,” said David Childress, general manager of Student-Aid.com. “A college’s sticker price is not the price you’ll pay. You can comparison shop for everything from mobile phones to houses, but not for one of life’s biggest investments – your children’s education.”

Many families begin planning for college by creating a 529 tax-free account, which helps offset the college-cost burden. However, the recession’s weakened stock prices have reduced the value of many of these accounts.

High school students often start receiving college brochures as early as sophomore year to help them determine which colleges offer programs they’re interested in. During junior and senior years, many students will visit their top college choices, meet with professors, talk to other students and research some of the 800 Web sites and guide books about colleges to figure out which of the country’s 6,800 colleges are the best fit.

But finances need to be determined early – well before a student starts investigating the programs different colleges offer. Until recently, college net prices remained a mystery. Net price is the cost of tuition, room and board, books and supplies and additional living expenses minus grants. But beginning in October 2011, all colleges receiving federal funding must provide a net-price calculator on their Web sites to help prospective students gauge affordability. To date, only a handful of colleges have installed calculators. Some college-planning Web sites offer basic calculators that are not personalized and exclude the $10 billion available from state grants or scholarships.

StudentAid.com has developed the College Cost & Planning Report to make the process easy and personalized to a student’s academic and financial circumstances. Students and parents can view a side-by-side college net-price comparison and student aid eligibility for as many as 10 colleges. Each report includes a personalized timeline, detailed college profiles and specific grants and tax benefits a student is qualified to receive.

“By determining their aid eligibility and net price, we’re giving college-bound consumers a new power,” Childress said. “Knowing net price lets a family evaluate colleges based on which ones offer the best deal, so they can plan ahead with a realistic idea of how much out of pocket parents and the student will pay.”

Shelene Worland of Mountain View is the mother of twin daughters researching college.

“Obviously, everything you do from preschool on up is preparing them for college,” she said. “I found out about StudentAid.com through word-of-mouth through a friend. It really puts a lot more information at your fingertips about the cost of college. It gives you a better idea of what you’re looking at for expenses and what your eligibility is for financial aid.”

One of Worland’s daughters is interested in a state college, while the other likes the smaller campuses of private colleges. Having a side-by-side comparison of net price allows Worland to ensure that her daughters look at colleges that fit their bank account and career ambitions. The Web site helped narrow college choices, she said.

“I would suggest that parents start looking at this during their kids’ junior year, and look at it a couple times,” she said. “There could be a lot of time wasted on schools you can’t really consider, and this helps them focus on what is possible.”

With support from USA Funds, the nation’s largest student loan guarantor, StudentAid.com offers its college planning service free to all students with a household income of less than $40,000. The service costs other students $49 to $99.

For more information, visit www.StudentAid.com.

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