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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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Resident raises funds for veterans’ educations


Courtesy of Chris White/ Foothill College
Ron Labetich, right, and fellow Los Altos Rotarian Jack Kelly, left, flank four Foothill College veterans prior to an on-campus Fourth of July celebration. Labetich helped secure 16 scholarships at $1,500 each for veterans returning to school.

The struggle to balance the costs of living while attending school may become a little easier for some local veterans enrolled at Foothill College.

The Friends of American Veterans, a local fundraising entity established by Los Altos resident Ron Labetich, recently surpassed its goal of providing 10 scholarships of $1,500 each for military veterans continuing their education at Foothill. To date, Labetich has secured 16 scholarships for the 2013-2014 year simply by asking for – and receiving – sponsorships from several friends and acquaintances, including a number of Los Altos residents.

“We needed 10, but people still wanted to contribute, so it’s been fantastic,” Labetich said. “For me to get the whole thing kind of started, it’s really quite rewarding. The main thing is that it benefits the veterans – that’s the ultimate goal here.”

A Los Altos Rotarian who serves on the organization’s Veterans Support Committee, Labetich said he found inspiration for his work in the son of a family friend – U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matt Manoukian. A Los Altos Hills resident who attended St. Francis High School, Manoukian was one of three Marines ambushed and killed during an August 2012 security meeting in southern Afghanistan.

The Foothill-De Anza Community College District recently established an endowment in honor of Manoukian to provide scholarships to future generations of student veterans. Labetich said he wanted to “span the gap” between the endowment’s creation and the wait for its funds to grow to enable doling out scholarships to veterans in need.

“With an endowment, you have to raise several thousand dollars, and you take the interest return on that for your scholarships,” noted Labetich, who added that the Rotary Club of Los Altos funded one of the $1,500 scholarships. “There are a lot of veterans here at Foothill who need help now. That’s the reason for moving ahead with (the Friends of American Veterans).”

Gratitude

Labetich’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by those at Foothill College who know the student veterans best.

Veterans Resource Specialist Carmela Xuereb, who manages the Veterans Resource Center, said the scholarships would go a long way toward helping some students achieve their educational goals.

Xuereb estimated that the school currently has more than 600 veterans enrolled in classes. Like other students, she said, they often struggle with the costs of buying textbooks while balancing basic living needs.

“Here in the Bay Area, rents keep going up, and it’s expensive for them to live here. … The cost of living can be a burden on them,” said Xuereb, noting that her center is just one of 12 established in the California junior college system to help veterans transition back to civilian life. “That $1,500 can assist them with books or other things. It’s going to help sustain them and allow them to continue their education.”

Foothill College publicity and publications coordinator Lori Thomas said that while the Montgomery G.I. Bill covers many costs for veterans returning to school, some expenses fall solely on the student.

“If you’re studying something that requires you to purchase computer-aided drafting software, that money doesn’t fall out of the sky,” she said.

Thomas said Labetich’s approaching the donors has removed some obstacles for at least 16 scholarship recipients.

“The scholarships will help streamline the experience so that student veterans can stay in the academic programs that they want to instead of having to make that hard (financial) decision,” she said.

Xuereb agreed, adding that the school’s involvement with local Rotarians like Labetich has made a positive impact on the students they collectively seek to help.

“Since I’ve been involved with the (Los Altos) Rotarians, they’ve been like a godsend to us,” she said. “They are the most generous people and friends that I’ve met. Our community, the people here, have been extremely open and generous.”

Labetich continues his efforts to add more scholarships before the 2013-2014 school year begins. He also aims to make a similar impact through his work as a Rotarian, such as helping veterans secure local jobs while they attend school.

Above all, Labetich seeks to spread awareness of the issues affecting veterans who return home from active duty.

“Once you have awareness, that makes other things possible,” he said. “We’re just trying to get more people involved.”

To donate to the Friends of American Veterans or for more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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