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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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MV-LA board approves return of Alta Vista to Shoreline site

Alta Vista High School, an alternative school for students with mostly attendance problems, will relocate to its original site and undergo a shift in focus, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District board members decided at their March 24 meeting.

The board approved a conceptual plan that would change Alta Vista into a continuation school and move facilities back behind the district office, the old Shoreline High School site next to Mountain View High School on Truman Avenue.

The move results from a dissolved partnership the district had over the past three years with Foothill College. Superintendent Don Phillips said Alta Vista operated out of Foothill's Middlefield campus, the old Cubberley High School site on Middlefield Road in Palo Alto. The idea was that Alta Vista students would take advantage of Foothill services or apply to the college after high school.

"Neither materialized to the degree Foothill was hoping for," said Brigitte Sarraf, associate superintendent in charge of educational services.

"They needed us to move so we had to find a new home," Phillips said.

With the lack of available commercial property, district officials turned to the Shoreline site, which has been renovated to accommodate the spillover of Mountain View High students in the midst of the district's $58 million renovation of the main high schools.

In changing the focus from an "alternative" to a "continuation" school, district officials plan on limiting Alta Vista to students 16 years and older. Students with attendance problems and/or failing grades would be admitted. The district also envisions a 25-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio and an enrollment topping at 150 students.

As a continuation school, Alta Vista students would have to meet minimum weekly attendance requirements stipulated in laws that govern continuation education.

Phillips said the district also plans stronger curriculum for basic skills such as English and math.

Sarraf added Mountain View High services, such as foreign language classes, would be available to students who are up for the challenge.

The change saves the district $166,000 in "double staffing" between the regular high schools and Alta Vista, and by reducing duplication of programs, Phillips said.

"Some of the changes, we think will enhance (the program)," Phillips said. "We want to ensure these kids are challenged. Most of these students have basic literacy deficits, so we want a very strong skill development focus in the program - and a strong career-to-work path."

"We're trying to take this as an opportunity (for improving) quality, enhancements, facilities - and save dollars at the same time," he said.

Sarraf said administrative staff would return to the board with requests for more specific changes to the Alta Vista program within two months.

"We're still excited with all the changes that have occurred over the past couple of years as we continue to improve and refine the program," she said.

Bill Pierce, who had been an interim principal at Alta Vista, was named Alta Vista principal at the last board meeting.

DISTRICT OFFICE FIXES: Phillips said he'll be proposing a host of fixes for the district offices at 1299 Bryant Ave., in Mountain View, before the board at its next meeting, this coming Monday.

The proposed renovations, running about $500,000, include installing handicapped accessible ramps to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, improving parking, renovating bathrooms, replacing the roof and removing asbestos from the ceilings.

Work on the 30-year-old building would begin in the summer of 1998, pending board approvals.

Monday's proposal calls for the board to give the go-ahead for design and planning work, Phillips said.

The board also is in the process of developing annual goals, which include higher academic standards, improvements to the building program and improving technology.

District officials will be seeking public input at the next meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. in the district board room, 1299 Bryant Ave.

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