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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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Westwind riding program proves profitable for LAH: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s May 15 article on Westwind Barn led readers to believe that the Los Altos Hills Parks and Recreation Department’s Year-Round Riding Program is a money loser for the town (“LAH looks to concessionaire model to balance Westwind Barn budget”).

The facts prove just the opposite. This extremely popular horse-riding program, which provides riding lessons for people who don’t own horses, has been a net generator of income for the town. This year alone the income is projected at more than $12,000.

Of the 42 horses currently housed on Westwind property, only three belong to the Year-Round Riding Program – and they are paying full board.

Not mentioned in the article is that the seven other Year-Round Riding Program horses are kept in the nearby open-space pasture of Byrne Preserve, with negligible costs to the town, which provides no food or other services to the horses. Parks and Recreation has granted the riding program the privilege of pasturing two horses at Byrne Preserve for the past 35 years, a benefit also extended to the 4-H Riding for the Handicapped program. The operator of the riding program uses four holding paddocks on the Westwind property when horses are brought out of the pasture for feeding or to prepare for classes, but all costs – feeding, cleaning and maintenance – are borne by the Year-Round Riding Program operator.

Many factors have contributed to the current situation at Westwind and the town’s continued financial losses, particularly salaries. Under a concessionaire model, which the town has now recognized as a better management model (and one that all other area barns operate under), costs could be reduced and revenues increased.

In addition to the main boarding facilities, Westwind is home to three programs that serve the community: 4-H Riding for the Handicapped, the Pacific Ridge Pony Club and the Parks and Recreation’s Horse Camps and Year-Round-Riding Program.

All three, together with several public events, contribute to West- wind being a true “community barn,” allowing those who do not own a horse the opportunity to learn to ride.

The takeaway from the Town Crier’s article is that while Los Altos Hills values all of its programs, the town recognizes that it must get out of the barn management business and allow someone who understands the horse business to run the operation.

The town did a magnificent job in completing the seismic retrofit and renovation of Westwind Barn.

The time has arrived to hand over the running of the barn to a professional, while preserving the programs that have made Westwind Barn such a community asset – both for horse enthusiasts and the general public.

Los Altos Hills resident Nancy Couperus is a member of the Westwind Barn Task Force and a representative of the 4-H Riding for the Handicapped program.

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