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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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Plan for three-story building on Main heads to city council


Photo By: Rendering Courtesy of Ted Sorensen
Photo Rendering Courtesy Of Ted Sorensen

Plans for the Sorensen project at 40 Main St., marked by the arrow, were slated for review at the Los Altos City Council meeting Tuesday, past press deadline.

Developers Ted and Jerry Sorensen – and their project at 40 Main St. – will have their day before the Los Altos City Council.

A revised version of their three-story mixed-use project was scheduled for review by the city council at Tuesday’s meeting, held after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

According to Ted Sorensen, the revised project features a multiple-story building totaling approximately 15,400 square feet. It includes a paseo (a storefront promenade) and a 4,000-square-foot mezzanine between the ground floor and the upper level.

The upper level, designated as Class A office space, is set back and features a balcony overlooking Main Street. The previous plan proposed a building totaling 17,500 square feet.

Sorensen said he believes the updated plans are in compliance with changes the Los Altos Planning Commission recommended in its January approval.

“Jerry and I have worked hard on this project for over five years,” Sorensen wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “We have listened to the staff, the planning commissioners and the councilmembers at every opportunity. We believe that this building meets or exceeds the expectations of all who have reviewed it.”

In addition to reducing the bulk and floor space of the building, Sorensen said they are offering an additional $300,000 to rebuild parking Plaza 10 in whatever way the city deems fit. Among the recommendations from the Planning Commission was finding a way to reduce the bulk of the building, thereby decreasing the project’s parking requirements.

If approved, Sorensen said a reworking of Plaza 10 potentially could include upgraded landscaping, restriped parking spaces and the undergrounding of utilities, as well new lighting, new bicycle racks and an enhanced circulation plan. He estimated that a reconfiguration of the plaza could yield up to 20 additional parking spaces.

“Whether an improved circulation plan is adopted, which could add 16-20 stalls or not, this reconstruction of Plaza 10 will be a model for an improved plaza parking experience,” Sorensen said.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce planned to submit a letter in support of the project, calling it “an enhancement to downtown Los Altos, both economically and visually.”

The project, however, is not without its detractors.

Von Packard, who with his brother, Councilman Ron Packard, owns the 4 Main St. property next to the proposed project, has submitted a letter to the city urging the council to reject it.

Von Packard stated in his letter that the new project, at approximately seven times the size of the current 2,100-square-foot building at 40 Main, would make finding a parking spot even more difficult in Plaza 10. Packard noted that a parking study conducted by Pang Engineers Inc. in 2008 concluded that Plaza 10 already has a higher occupancy rate than the downtown’s other nine plazas.

In addition, Packard noted in his letter that the 40 Main building exceeds the city’s 30-foot height limit by approximately 5 feet and would create “a precedent for additional similar-height buildings in the Main corridor.”

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