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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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What value, education?: A Piece of My Mind

My niece Jen teaches English in a small pre-K through adult school district in a small town (pop. 8,000) in northern Spain. The town is most notable for its Romanesque church, its castle ruin and its cookie factory – the largest in Europe.

Each morning, Jen begins her day with 5-year-olds in a classroom in the school basement decorated with colorful posters and student artwork. The letters of the alphabet with pictures (A for Apple, B for Book) ring the tops of the bulletin boards. A long, two-sided bookcase divides the classroom. On one side are several small round tables with chairs, on the other a playhouse, a large rug and a SMART Board (combination whiteboard, computer touch screen and video player). Except for the s SMART Board, it looks very much like the kindergarten my children attended.

The students begin to arrive at 9 a.m. They exchange good mornings with Jen, hang up their coats and sit around the rug. The 5-year-olds wear purple gingham smocks with their names embroidered along the front. The Pre-K group of 3- to 4-year-olds wears bright red smocks with yellow piping and a blue screen-printed border, with their names embroidered in yellow.

Jen starts up the SMART Board. A young man with a guitar appears on the screen to lead the children in a good morning song, while Jen helps the younger children settle in place and makes sure they are paying attention. Xavier, one of the Pre-K students, is Class Leader for the day. He directs the class through several phonics-based games using the touch screen.

“The SMART Board is great,” Jen whispers to me. “It’s like having another teacher in the room. Every class in the school has one.”

Next, the students practice the poem they will recite at the school’s Open House in a week. Afterward, they break into groups to color pictures for the presentation. Everything is done and said in English. The 3-year-olds are still making mistakes, the 4- and 5-year-olds are nearly flawless.

During her break, Jen takes me on a tour of the school. In the sixth-grade class, each of the students is working with his or her personal notebook computer. I am feeling a bit envious – this little town’s school seems as well-equipped as those of Silicon Valley, and the 3-year-olds are already learning English. Here is a country that really puts value on education!

However, while walking back to Jen’s house from the school, we meet one of her friends. He is an attractive young man of approximately 30, who speaks excellent English and has a master’s degree in business administration from one of the best universities in Spain. But he still lives with his parents. He has been looking for work since getting his degree. The best he has been able to manage in Spain’s economic meltdown is a part-time job on the night shift at the cookie factory.

What value, education?

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