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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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A walk in the clouds: Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


Photo By: Courtesy of Mansi Bhatia
Photo Courtesy Of Mansi Bhatia

Los Altos resident Mansi Bhatia and her husband, Brijesh Tripathi, hiked Peru’s 28-mile Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, arriving at the ruins at sunrise.

Machu Picchu, located in the Andes Mountains in Peru, is a dream destination for many people. It had been on my bucket list for five years before I finally decided to take the plunge.

Four days, three nights; my first camping experience ever; many mosquito bites; a mildly swollen knee; and memories of a lifetime. The Inca Trail is not for the mild-hearted, not only because the 28-mile hike is a challenge even for the fittest, but also because the views, the history, the triumph of the human mind and the strength of the human body are overwhelming.

There were so many emotions brimming in my heart during the course of the hike, but one was dominant: respect for the towering mountains and the strength of the human spirit.

Landing in Cusco, my husband, Brijesh Tripathi, and I allowed ourselves two days to acclimatize to the rarefied air before heading to the “Camino Inka Km 82” sign at an elevation of 8,923 feet to commence our hike.

Ominous clouds threatened rain as we began the approximately 7-mile hike to our first campsite in Ayapata (elevation 10,829 feet). Fifteen other people joined us as we walked a steady, slow pace parallel to the Urubamba River, hiking poles in hand. The first day wasn’t that bad. It was Day 2 everyone feared. On Day 2, we were going to climb 3,000 feet, then descend 2,000, then back up 1,400 feet before finally camping at an elevation of 11,800 feet.

At 13,780 feet, Warmiwanuscca, or Dead Woman’s Pass, was an imposing challenge. But we survived it. And it was well worth the effort when we camped at Chaquicocha, our highest campsite during the hike, in the shadow of two stunning glaciers, with llamas frequenting our tents.

Day 3 was a breeze. After an initial moderately steep hike, we arrived at Puyupatamarca, which offered stunning panoramic views of the valley below. We had entered the Amazon cloud forest: different-colored moss kissing the mountainside, bamboo trees peeking onto the trail, orchids blooming in crevices. We rested after lunch.

Three days in, all our limbs felt numb, but our hearts were brimming with emotion and pride.

Day 4, we awoke at 3:30 a.m., adrenaline rushing through our veins. This was it. Four hours later, we would experience Machu Picchu firsthand. Sitting there, with the first rays of the sun shining down on the 500-year-old site, I felt like a time traveler. I couldn’t imagine how those “little people” could build such a magnificent structure nestled within these imposing mountains. It seemed unfathomable. But one only had to look closely at the architecture to know not only were they a hardworking people, but they were also extremely intelligent.

When you watch TV and hear stories about 1,000 people living in this once-thriving city growing potatoes, maize, sugarcane, beans, peppers and tomatoes, it’s not easy to understand the scale of the operation. We looked like little ants amid those terraces. With more than 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries, Machu Picchu (meaning “Old Mountain” in the Quechua language) was akin to any big city in modern times. Think San Francisco, New York, Boston – sans the ubiquitous traffic.

We learned a great deal about the construction and theories behind the techniques used, and we marveled at the Incas’ knowledge of the equinoxes.

Those four days on the Inca Trail that led us to the ruins of Machu Picchu changed me. Aside from the peace and quiet, I learned to appreciate the human spirit during this trip. With only 500 people permitted to travel the trail every day, this had, indeed, been a privilege.

Mansi Bhatia is a Los Altos resident.

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