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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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Letters to the Editor

Negotiate UPC student increase

The increase of 20 additional students at the Union Presbyterian Church (UPC) at 858 University Ave. was denied in part due to traffic issues. The school’s approach to traffic mitigation is proper. The congestion at the intersection of University Avenue and El Monte Road during the morning commute hours is a problem. The striping project and installation of speed-limit signs keeps traffic in the proper lane. However, speeding continues to be a safety issue and striping has been ineffective in calming the traffic.

Val Carpenter’s suggestion that Bullis Charter School occupy the UPC site makes no sense. Adding 480 students to the church location would create unacceptable traffic gridlock at the University/El Monte intersection.

As a resident and church neighbor, this would not be tolerated. With periodic verification of the 120-student cap at UPC, a reasonable compromise can be achieved.

Richard Dessling

Los Altos

Charter should consider shift to magnet school

It is a good marketing strategy for Bullis Charter School to emphasize the character-building aspects of their program in full-page ads. However, I think they are missing a much more effective and relevant way to attract students and parents to their program. I suggest BCS become a magnet school for legal studies. They could tap into the expertise of the many lawyers they currently employ and the undoubtedly large number of Bullis Charter parents who are in the legal profession.

The students could study all the past lawsuits that BCS has been involved in. They could take field trips to court to observe ongoing lawsuits. The legal magnet school will be a huge advantage for BCS once the students graduate. BCS could save a lot on legal fees when their former students help prosecute future BCS lawsuits.

I urge the BCS board to look into this proposal at one of their secret meetings. Although come to think of it, maybe they are already working on this.

Daniel J. Burns

Los Altos

MFM likes recognition of music’s values

Thank you for including the article about music, “Music enriches cognitive, physical, emotional health” in the Senior Lifestyles section May 15.

It was with relief, joy and vindication that I read and applauded all its salient points: that music enriches cognitive, physical and emotional health!

Yes, it does, and there are three more points to share: Music amalgamates the whole brain, greatly enhancing math and reading skills, and produces more creative problem solvers. All of these are precisely the reasons Music for Minors was begun.

I remember the many times I would appear before PTAs and school boards to plead the need of music for children’s developing brains, not as a frill, but as a necessity for integrated learning, only to be rebuffed, turned down and told that math, science and reading were much more important and that music was merely an embellishment.

Approximately eight years ago, science came to our rescue! Suddenly, scientific headlines appeared revealing the solid connection between music’s role in the learning and integration of reading, math and science. The study of the brain continues to uncover the amazing, crucial role music plays in our lives.

Music for Minors’ mission is to nurture in children a lifelong love of music by providing quality music education in schools with our trained volunteer and professional educators, which we are currently implementing for more than 17,000 children in 600 classrooms in 60 schools throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. This growth is a direct result of the public’s new awareness, provided by articles such as yours, of the importance of music in our lives.

Grace Johnston

Founder and Board Member of Music for Minors

Kudos to reporter on CERT series

I would like to thank the Town Crier for covering the recent LAHCFD CERT program. Staff writer Ellie Van Houtte did an excellent job in portraying what CERT covers during the five-session class.

As stated many times in her articles, first responders such as police, firefighters and other emergency workers are overwhelmed during the first 12-24 hours following a disaster. Studies indicate that only 17 percent of our citizens are prepared for an earthquake.

We will depend heavily on trained citizens to assist us during that critical time frame. CERT-trained citizens will be used as long as they are needed during a disaster. This can include staffing shelters, handing out food and water and distributing critical items to citizens who badly need supplies.

LAHCFD CERT members continue to train in Urban Search & Rescue, radio communications, first aid, large and small animal evacuations and other critical areas. The program has trained more than 200 CERT members. We are very proud of what they do.

Once again, special thanks go out to Ellie for her great article and hopefully this will inspire others to become more prepared and CERT trained, so that if and when the Big One hits, additional citizens of our community will be prepared to help out.

Michael Sanders

Emergency Services Coordinator, Santa Clara County Fire Department

A gas-guzzling good choice

Congratulations to LAPD on their new patrol vehicle!

How comforting it will be for all of us to see it roll by, instead of something like those Chevy Volts that the NYPD uses, or the Nissan Leafs driven by Portugal’s PSP, or those ridiculous Prius patrol cars the cops in Berlin drive.  I’ll bet all those police forces were just too timid to think that their taxpayers would pop for a 16 mpg SUV that’s in constant use. Good thing the LAPD realized how generous Los Altans really are.

I’m also relieved to learn that LAPD’s finest will be safe from speeders and shoplifters behind bulletproof doors (I hope they ordered that option) in a car that’s crash-test-rated for a 75 mph rear collision. That’s a feature you need in a town full of wild 25 and 35 mph streets ( Foothill and the El Camino are county roads).

And the choice of the beefy, SUV-style Interceptor instead of Ford’s new Police Interceptor Sedan (built on the Taurus platform) will send a message to the miscreant bicyclists and pedestrians that plague the village, not to mention the image it will project to the outside world.

It’s a pity that the Oxford White version wasn’t in stock when LAPD bought their first unit, and that the officers will have to bake inside a black car in sunny Los Altos for so much of the year. Maybe on the next round of purchases they’ll get luckier. For now, I guess they’ll just have to turn the air conditioner up.

Any way, hats off to Chief Younis and our city executives, and of course, our elected council members, all of whom were part of this team effort.  Bravo!  Well done.

Steve Hamel 

Los Altos

Let’s solve schools dispute together

Let’s, together, solve the Bullis Charter School-Los Altos School District dispute.

Let’s acknowledge that LASD shortchanged the original Bullis-Purissima School community by closing it when they ran out of retrofitting funds. Each of the other district schools were retrofitted. The site on Covington Road was converted into a lovely, new school first – before the district retrofitting was completed.

LASD should apologize to the BCS parents. Then, they should invite BCS to come back into the fold. Getting back to the existing Bullis school in LASD would allow the out-of-district students presently attending BCS to continue through their elementary school years in the Los Altos district.

If BCS does not want to rejoin the LASD, then BCS should admit to being a private school and do what is necessary to establish themselves as such.

The schoolchildren of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills are ready to renew friendships. The money being spent on lawsuits could certainly be put to better educational use.

Kate Smith

Los Altos Hills

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