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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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Five must-dos during the holiday season: Other Voices

Decorations are up, Christmas music is adding cheer to the local department stores and children are busily writing their annual notes to Santa. The holiday season is in full swing. Regardless of how you celebrate this time of year, giving is always a central theme. This is the time of year that we give thanks for what we have, and give back to those less fortunate.

Every year, I vow to clean out my closet, volunteer with a local organization or cut a check to my favorite charity, but amid the holiday hustle and bustle, it’s easy to lose track of good intentions. So what can you do to make sure this is the year you follow through? Before your in-laws stage a hostile takeover of your sofa bed, before you brave shopping lines to snag the hottest new digital toy (a Microsoft Surface Tablet, perhaps?), take the following steps to make sure that you spread a little joy this December:

• Clean out your house. If you haven’t worn it, used it or watched it over the past two years, donate it. The things taking up space in your home might make a world of difference to someone in need.

• Volunteer. There is no better way to get actively and passionately involved than to give your time. Look for organizations with missions that match your mindset. Choose a volunteer activity that’s actively solving a problem in your community. And while you’re at it, get the family involved. The children are home for the holidays, and what better way to spend quality time together than to improve someone else’s quality of life? See if your company has a volunteer matching program. At Microsoft, employee volunteer time is matched at $17 an hour. Double the impact of your good deed.

• Invest in a nonprofit. Nothing gives nonprofits more flexibility than a cash donation. In 2011, cash donations to nonprofits increased only slightly over 2010 – and have still not come close to matching pre-recession levels. If your company has a matching program, this is another way to double the impact of your generosity. Microsoft matches employee donations up to $12,000 and accounted for $100 million in nationwide contributions last year alone. While it’s great to donate clothing, food and home goods, there’s a real need around the holiday season for money. It keeps our favorite nonprofits afloat.

• Consider holiday gifts in support of nonprofits. Rather than buying your teenage nephew another pair of gym socks, give him a gift card to an organization like DonorsChoose or GlobalGiving. Trust me, he won’t miss the gym socks, and you could create a lifelong giver.

• Promote random acts of kindness. Buy groceries for a pregnant neighbor. Help the senior citizen who lives next door clean out his or her rain gutters. Give a jacket you don’t wear anymore to someone who looks cold. The little things we can do year-round to improve the lives of those in need of a helping hand seem extra special this time of year.

No dollar or deed should go to waste this holiday season. We want to see your good intentions pay off. Think beyond the holidays – will your commitment to an organization be sustainable for years to come?

So, get active. Research your options. Align your holiday giving with the organizations that do the greatest good for our community, and make sure your contribution has the maximum possible impact.

Sid Espinosa is director of corporate citizenship and philanthropy at Microsoft Silicon Valley in Mountain View.

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