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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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Small details, big picture

“My A is flat,” I whispered. “It’s OK, no one can hear you,” my friend whispered back to me. We play violin in a local orchestra. We were in rehearsal and it was bothering me that my A string was flat, but I couldn’t tune it because we were in the middle of the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Da, da, da, DAAA!

Waking up this morning in a groggy fog after a late night, all I could think about was going over the passages I had missed because I was so intently focused on my out-of-tune string. Over a cup of tea, I could hear the words my friend said to me. Once the caffeine kicked in, I realized that she was right. I wasn’t the soloist, and I wasn’t carrying the melody. Obsessing over being slightly out of tune distracted me from the goals of rehearsal – to learn from mistakes early and to make decisions as we go.

In my “Aha!” moment, I couldn’t help but apply that same principle to the sometimes heated discussions I have been hearing in coffeehouses and reading in emails and newspapers.

There has been much debate lately about math in the school district. Some parents want a more rigorous math curriculum because they believe it will enhance the quality of their children’s education. Other parents argue that the curriculum is fine the way it is and that it affords children a quality of life without added academic stress at an earlier age. There is evidence to support both sides.

There is also debate over stay-at-home working moms vs. career working moms. Some people argue that having a parent at home provides a life for the family that cannot be matched with two parents working outside the home. Others believe that career working moms are good role models for their children and offer more opportunities for independence. There is evidence to support both sides.

Obviously, one size does not fit all, and there are two sides to every coin. But obsessing over the details of the choices we make, if we have the luxury of choice, can sometimes prevent the big picture from coming into view.

It’s easy to get caught up in the details of the here and now and lose sight of what we want for our children in the end – to be happy and comfortable. But at the end of the day, when the dust has settled and everyone is just fine, are we going to look back and say, “I’m glad I spent countless hours arguing over when my child took geometry and defending my status with respect to being a mom”? Or are we going to wish we had spent those hours knowing that those details weren’t going to make or break the quality of our children’s lives as adults because we were focused on what was working for our families?

Preoccupied by the flat notes coming from under my left ear, I missed out on aspects of the rehearsal that could shape my performance in the concert. The quality of an orchestra is only as good as its musicians, the director and the repertoire. It was up to me to make adjustments, to the best of my ability, for my particular situation.

As far as I know, life is not a rehearsal. But I know that with or without my violin, I will do my best, learn from myself and from others, make adjustments and be happy with my decisions, even if no one can hear me.

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