Thu10022014

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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LAH Council Briefs

The Los Altos Hills City Council took the following actions at its May 20 meeting.

Council schedules meeting on Complete Streets

The council invited residents to weigh in on the meaning of the phrase “rural character” as it relates to proposed circulation and scenic roadways amendments to Los Altos Hills’ general plan at a meeting scheduled 6 p.m. June 13 at town hall, 26379 W. Fremont Road. Residents will receive a postcard invitation by mail prior to the meeting.

In January the council approved a Complete Streets Policy to comply with the state-mandated California Complete Streets Act of 2008, which requires cities and counties to “plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways.”

To achieve the goals of the new policy, the town plans to update the circulation and scenic roadways elements of its general plan. The town’s current general plan circulation element aims to “reinforce and maintain the rural and residential nature of the circulation system.”

Under the Complete Streets Act, cities and counties are charged with implementing goals, policies and programs that fulfill the definition of a “Complete Street” – one that allows people to traverse safely on foot or by bicycle or public transportation. The policy’s primary objective is to facilitate reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020.

New tools available for private-road residents

Help is on the way for property owners who struggle to convince neighbors to contribute their fair share of private-road improvement expenses. Two new town documents address managing the maintenance and finances of private streets.

The town’s attorney is finalizing templates for a voluntary private-road reimbursement agreement and a private-road maintenance agreement, soon to be available on the town’s website (www.losaltoshills.ca.gov).

Created to help private-road owners facilitate cost sharing and improve streets to public standards, the agreements require the voluntary consent of individuals involved. Although the town retains the right to help residents meet terms of private-road agreements, it is not obligated to enforce them.

Because Los Altos Hills has 128 private roads, upgrading them is not a financially viable option for the town – it could cost as much as $21.7 million to bring the roads up to town standards. In addition, some road owners wish to keep their roads private.

The council hosted a meeting to discuss private roads with residents in March and is preparing a policy for accepting roads into the town’s street system. To move a private road to public ownership, it must be upgraded to public standards for safety and structural integrity, offered for public acceptance and approved for incorporation by the city council.

Residents add input on hazard mitigation plan

To regain qualification for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency should a local disaster occur, Los Altos Hills must update its Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. According to town staff, Los Altos Hills last modified its hazard mitigation plan in 2006 and is ineligible for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs until it submits an update.

The town is conducting a survey of residents to record their most pressing hazard concerns and determine strategies for preparing for potential disasters and communicating with residents. Los Altos Hills residents can complete the 22-question survey online at surveymonkey.com/s/LAHLHMP through June 21.

After the Planning Commission reviews the draft Local Hazard Mitigation Plan and solicits public comment, the document advances to the city council for approval. After council approval, the plan heads to FEMA for approval before incorporation into the Association of Bay Area Government’s regional mitigation plan. The cities of Los Altos and Mountain have already adopted Local Hazard Mitigation Plans.

– Ellie Van Houtte

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