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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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Council approves PAMF building: Project receives thumbs-up despite size, impact


Photo By: Courtesy of PAMF
Photo Courtesy Of PAMF The Los Altos City Council approved plans for a Palo Alto Medical Foundation building on Altos Oaks Drive, despite objections from neighborhood residents.
By Diego Abeloos

The Los Altos City Council Dec. 11 unanimously approved the proposal to build a two-story Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) building on Altos Oaks Drive, despite some public reservations about its size.

The project at 715 Altos Oaks Drive calls for the construction of a 25-foot-tall, two-story structure totaling 8,785 square feet. The building would replace two existing single-story medical buildings. According to PAMF officials, the new building will serve as a plastic and cosmetic surgery center.

The project calls for setbacks ranging from 20 to 55 feet, 8-foot-tall standards with directional lighting in the building’s parking area and 37 parking spaces – eight more than required by city code.

A handful of nearby residents expressed concerns about the project, specifically that the proposed building was out of scale with the surrounding residential area. One resident told the council PAMF’s efforts to create a buffer for nearby neighborhood homes with its 20- to 55-foot setbacks was “like moving an elephant in a bathtub.”

“This building does not look anything like any of the other buildings in that area,” nearby resident Teresa Morris said. “It doesn’t look like any of the other buildings on Altos Oaks, it doesn’t look like any of the residential buildings that are behind it, and it doesn’t look like the houses on Golden (Way).”

Others had privacy concerns and pointed to the expected increase in traffic the building’s occupants and patients would have on city streets.

Linda Slattery, a Brentwood Place resident, told the council she feared the project would set a precedent for other property owners in the neighborhood to build bigger structures in the future.

“As buildings age in that area, there’s going to be the likelihood that (property owners) are going to want to have megabuildings like this built into that area,” she said.

Prior to casting her vote, Councilwoman Val Carpenter said that while she recognized the residents’ concerns, she found no reason to vote against the project, noting that it met the city’s Office-Administrative (OA-1) district zoning code requirements.

City staff noted during the council discussion that the building was subject to the same floor-area ratio – 35 percent – as residential structures in the OA-1 district.

“There’s no question this is a much larger building in terms of its mass than what existed there before,” Carpenter said. “This does set a new trend. It’s much larger and much taller than any of the other buildings currently in that area, although it is (designed) to code.”

Councilwoman Jan Pepper later added that she was “a little bothered by the scale (of the building), too.”

“If it meets our zoning requirements, how can we deny it, other than to say, ‘Well, it’s too big,’” Pepper said. “But that’s what we allow.”

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins, however, said she was inclined to support the proposal, noting that reactions to the project reminded her of public concerns over the new Packard Foundation building at 343 Second St.

“There was a similar type of reaction to some of it, and I think we all agree that it’s a beautiful building that’s out there,” Bruins said of the Packard headquarters. “I have a similar inclination that this will be that as well.”

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