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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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Assorted travel apps help lighten the load when on the road

Travel apps make it easier to roam – without accruing those pricey roaming charges.

Travel journalist Jen Leo, who writes the “Web Buzz” column for the Los Angeles Times, shared a variety of practical apps at the Bay Area Travel and Adventure Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center Feb. 17.

The two-day show included booths from tourist boards as far away as Namibia (next on my list!). Speakers included actor and former teenage heartthrob Andrew McCarthy, culinary experts, Patricia Schultze of “1,000 Places” fame and Rick Steves, the European tour-touter. Nobody can make Italy sound like a must-do better than Steves.

Leo’s presentation impressed me – her anecdotes illustrated just how apps can lighten your load.

For example, she related how she used TripDoc, by Delicous Baby’s Debbie Dubrow and her husband, to keep members of her family to an itinerary at a reunion in Hawaii.

First, she made sure that everyone downloaded the $2.99 app. Then, she researched restaurants and sites friends recommended – stuff that often gets filed on stray pieces of paper.

Once Leo typed them into the program, she could conduct research and craft an itinerary, which she sent around to her relatives.

“Once we were in Hawaii, everyone had an itinerary with references and map pins to tell them where to go,” Leo said. “I just said, ‘OK, now it’s time to go to the candy store,’ for example, and they all drove there.”

Another planning guide, WorldMate, serves as an all-around hotel booking app. It will email your itinerary to friends or colleagues and do local searches for places to stay or visit. There’s also an “Under the Radar” section that points out hot deals, according to Leo. The basic app is free, but the upgraded Gold version costs $9.99.

While you will find markdowns on WorldMate, another app, Hotel Tonight, offers deeper discounts.

The only catch is that the company’s pretty serious about the “tonight” part. Leo said she appreciates this app for its “spontaneous factor,” but it takes a special traveler to fly to London without a hotel reservation.  If that appeals to you, you might also like the fact that it has cute hotel categories, like “Hip,” “Solid,” “Luxe” and “Charming.”

Even cheaper is Airbnb, “very, very big for vacation rental,” Leo said. “I’ve done plenty of daydreaming about it.”

VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner, vrbo.com) provides another alternative vacation rental option: owners renting out their homes. The advantages are more room and less cost.

Hipmunk is also free, although it’s been around for a while. Its search engine finds flights according to a cool “agony” filter, based on how many stops the flight involves. There’s also a hotel site that rates places to sleep.

If you want to keep cellphones costs down, WhatsApp Messenger is a 99-cent cross-platform app. It’s good for texting relatives and friends in different countries.

Leo mentioned a few airport and city apps that might help if you’re a frequent traveler. For example:

• Airport Chatter, which lists venues and things to do nearby during layovers.

• The BestParking app, which allows one to comparison shop before leaving home.

• GateGuru, which details when and from which gate your flight is leaving.

• Taxi Magic, which allows you to call a taxi anywhere.

Two other practical apps include City Maps 2Go, iPhone and iPad software that doesn’t accrue roaming charges, and MetrO, which lets you download subway maps from around the world.

Eren Göknar is a journalist and lifelong traveler. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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