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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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Sustainable routine starts early for Los Altos commuter : Green Habits

When I got my first job interview at Genentech, it was a no-brainer. My first question: What is the train schedule to South San Francisco?

Today I am a full-time cycling, Caltrain-riding green commuter. It is a fabulous way to get to work – no stress, no gas, no car maintenance costs. And I have some free time before and after my day in the lab to catch up on reading or sleep. I arrive at the lab refreshed and invigorated from my bike ride, ready for the day.

My green commute habits started early. I grew up in Los Altos, attended Oak Avenue, Blach Intermediate and Mountain View High schools. My parents did not drive me to Oak; instead, we walked nearly every day with our dog Princess. We met others in the neighborhood and Princess became famous along the route to school. On Bike to School Day, I said to my mother, “Bike to School Day is every day for us!” As it should be for more children.

As I got older and moved on to Blach, my friend and neighbor Tina Hsu would come over and Mom would make cinnamon toast before Tina and I headed out on our own. These days, children don’t get enough exercise and are stressed out, and that could be helped by walking or wheeling to school. I hope my story inspires more parents and children to walk or bike to school.

Establish good habits early

My friend Tina is living proof that learning good habits early can integrate into your life as an adult. She pursued green transportation as a career. Tina lives car-free and works in Oakland at TransForm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating world-class public transportation and sustainable communities in the Bay Area and beyond.

Here’s what she has to say about how her experiences walking to school have influenced her career choice:

“Confession: I didn’t always like walking to school, especially on cold winter mornings. I preferred getting to school in a quick car ride. Had it not been for Alexx and her parents stopping by my house every morning, I would never have walked. In junior high, I biked or rode my stylish Razor scooter to school with Alexx, but then in high school, I gave up the bike for a car because that was the ‘cool’ thing to do.

“During my senior year of high school, I watched ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and started reading news articles about how global warming was threatening the future of our environment. It made me realize how fragile our environment is and how humans are shifting its natural ways for the worse. That discovery shook me out of my car-dependency and got me back on my bike.

“I hold a degree in environmental studies and am working at a nonprofit that is changing policy to support public transportation and sustainable communities. State and federal funding disproportionately goes toward automobile infrastructure. We’re working on finding ways to ensure that public transit and walkable neighborhoods are priorities when allocating funding and designing communities.

“I know that not everyone lives in a community like Los Altos, where it’s safe to walk and bike places. Looking back now, I feel blessed that walking to school was even an option, and I regret not taking advantage of it more often. In the future, I want to see more people walking in neighborhoods than driving, and firmly believe that if kids are raised seeing walking and biking as a fun and easy way to travel around, they will grow up loving it. Green transportation has always been a part of my life, and it’s definitely going to be a part of my future.”

Alexx Smith is a research associate at Genentech.

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