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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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Post office wants another penny for their thoughts

A Side of Clyde

We keep hearing how the U. S. Postal Service has become such a tightly run ship that the big deficits of the past have become big surpluses. The Postal Service has turned into a real free enterprise powerhouse that now is marketing a line of clothing. That must be the reason why the price of mailing a first-class letter will go from 33 cents to 34 cents Jan. 7.

That penny represents a 3 percent increase, but if you include other types of mail, the overall postage increase is more than 6 percent. Magazine and newspaper publishers face the cruelest increase, nearly 15 percent. The postal carriers don't like that type of business.

Here is a rundown of first-class postage rates over the years: July 1, 1885, 2 cents; Nov. 3, 1917, 3 cents; July 1, 1919, 2 cents; July 6, 1932, 3 cents; Aug. 1, 1958, 4 cents; Jan 7, 1963, 5 cents; Jan. 7, 1968, 6 cents; May 16, 1971, 8 cents; March 2, 1974, 10 cents; Dec., 31, 1975, 13 cents; May 29, 1978, 15 cents; March 22, 1981, 18 cents; Nov. 1, 1981, 20 cents; Feb. 17, 1985, 22 cents; April 3, 1988, 25 cents; Feb. 3, 1991, 29 cents; Jan 1995, 32 cents; Jan. 10, 1999, 33 cents, and now, Jan. 7, 2001, 34 cents.

Looking at it as a long-time customer, in the first 78 years of the Postal Service's existence, rates increased about 100 percent. In the last 36 years the rates increased 700 percent. Talk about causes of inflation.

We're not begrudging a casual increase, but what is irksome is the way the Postal Rate Commission grants the increases with penny implements.

Rather than upping the rate by even amounts and longer terms, the agency nips away a penny at a time. Instead of raising the current stamp price to a nice round 35 cents( eliminating the need for that penny in change) and having it stick for a couple of years, the increase is a mere one cent. Then another penny in another 12 months. As the letter said to the stamp - stick with me and we'll go places.

It's a way to make money for the post office, because what does a person do with a drawer full of letter stamps? Quick now, how much was the D stamp worth? In the past, changeover stamps carried letter designations, A through H and each had a different value.

You could go to a stamp dealer and get your answer, but the post office has put private stamp collectors out of business. Most towns had a business for kid stamp collectors, but they all went broke or into baseball cards. Los Altos had two stamp collector businesses at one time.

So what are we getting for the penny increase? A bunch of new stamps. That's all.

To show appreciation for our extra penny, the Postal Service will issue a Love stamp and a Lovebirds stamped envelope in January. The lunar new Year comes next, marking the Year of the Snake in a 12-year Oriental series.

Also in January, the post office will mark the centennial year of the birth of civil rights leader Roy Wilkins and physicist Ernico Fermi. Stamps for baseball parks, Thanksgiving and Amish quilts show up during the year.

More than 300 new stamps will be available for your letters in 2001. No wonder people are using e-mail more each day.

"U.S. Postage stamps are a reflection of the American experience," said Postmaster General William Henderson.

The same can be said for postal rate increases. They need a commemorate stamp that would honor postal rate hikes and it might feature a Cape Canaveral rocket headed for the stars.

Old Postmaster Generals never die - they just lose their ZIP.

Clyde Noel is a longtime contributor to the Town Crier.

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