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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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The power of Pokémon: Local earns status of trading-card game champ

Photo Mary Beth Hislop/Town Crier

Eight-year-old Emily Cheng of Los Altos scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokmon prize kit and the coveted Pokmon trophy at the Pokmon Trading Card Game Regional Championships April 17.

It’s a game of high stakes – poker for little people – and the luck of the draw involves careful planning, comprehensive strategy and deliberate execution. It’s no place for whiskey and cigars.

And at the Pokémon Trading Card Game Santa Clara Regional Championships April 17, 8-year-old Los Altos resident Emily Cheng scored big, winning second place, a $1,000 scholarship, a Pokémon prize kit and the coveted Pokémon trophy, which is prominently displayed in a china cabinet at home.

“This was my second tournament,” said Emily, a second-grader at Almond School.

Her second-place status in the tournament also netted her an opportunity to compete at the national level in Indianapolis at the end of June.

“We’re not sure if we’ll go,” said her father. “She has an invitation, and that’s terrific.”

It’s especially terrific considering Emily started playing the game in September.

“My old friend Rachel introduced me to the game,” Emily said. “She gave me my first Pokémon card – ‘Solrock.’ That’s how it all started.”

“She came home one day and wanted to play Pokémon,” Steve said.

Easier said than done. Learning the basics Рrules and strategies Рinvolved an Internet search. And then a search for fellow Pok̩mon aficionados.

“I don’t actually play with people at school,” Emily said.

But she did find a Pokémon League in Santa Clara that meets weekly to play the game and learn the strategies involved.

“We just had a great time meeting new people,” Steve said. “She just loved it.”

That first card is just the beginning.

“In Pokémon, you have to collect the cards,” Emily said. “‘Solrock’ is really special to me. Sadly, it was out of play (at the tournament).”

At the regional competition, Emily was paired with others in five games in the 11-year-old-and-younger category – called the Swiss round – securing a place in the finals after scoring four wins and one loss.

In the first of two final games that consisted of three rounds, Emily beat a 10-year-old.

“She actually beat the top-seeded player from the Swiss round,” Steve said.

In her final competition with an 11-year-old champ, Emily lost the first round, won the second and came close in the third.

“It was a real nail-biter,” Steve said. “He was really pushed to the limit.”

For those not in the know, Pokémon originated in Japan as “pocket monsters,” animated creatures encapsulated by their trainers who cared for them and prepared them to compete in sporting events. The Pokémon evolve as they gain experience, becoming stronger and accumulating powers while their trainers earn badges and acclimation as they attain rank in Pokémon competitions.

Pokémon has since captured worldwide attention as an enduring fad that has evolved into Nintendo Game Boy games, a comic book series, movies, a video game and the trading card game. But don’t let its “game” designation fool you.

“It’s very complicated,” Steve said. “As a parent, I can appreciate that the game has some great aspects. It’s fun to play, and it really makes you think with the elements of strategy and planning.”

It’s even more difficult to explain.

But Emily doesn’t allow the game to interfere with academics – she loves science and is currently entranced with studying the behaviors of crayfish.

In the meantime, she has passed her love of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to family, one of whom also participated in the regional tournament.

“My cousin got sixth place,” Emily said.

Her advice to up-and-coming Pokémon players: “I would say they should start with a World Championship deck and take a month to add to it.”

It also helped to have a mentor from the Pokémon League, Brian, who is in the know when it comes to the powers of each Pokémon card. Emily’s secret weapon – “Claydol.”

“It has a special power,” she said. “It is one of the most reliable ways to get cards in and out of your hands.”

Emily’s enthusiasm for the game may convince her parents it’s worth a trip to Indianapolis. And if she scores big there, the 2010 Pokémon World Championships are scheduled in August in Honolulu.

For more information, visit www.pokemon.com.

Contact Mary Beth Hislop at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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