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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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Council seeks changes to Third Street development


Photo By: Rendering Courtesy of City of Los Altos
Photo Rendering Courtesy Of City Of Los Altos

The proposal for a mixed-use development at 86 Third St. in Los Altos is headed back to the Planning and Transportation Commission for additional revisions.

Developer David Luedtke’s proposal for a three-story condominium and office space development at 86 Third St. is headed back to a familiar place – the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC).

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimously to return the nearly 36-foot-tall project – which entails constructing 20 condominiums and 5,500 square feet of first-floor office space – to the PTC for further refinement. A few councilmembers cited concerns with the building’s parking management plan and its below-market-rate (BMR) unit offerings, among other items.

In rendering its 5-0 vote, the council opted to give the PTC final approval on the project, provided that some specific outlined changes were incorporated.

The council’s decision comes after the PTC originally approved the project by a 4-2 vote in early April.

The cited items most in need of change include parking management, which currently calls for a gated underground 52-space parking garage and seven additional street-level spaces adjacent to Parking Plaza 8. Some councilmembers, including Megan Satterlee, sought a more defined plan to accommodate residential, employee and customer parking onsite only.

“This particular building – its location lends itself to (have parking) spill over to the plaza, and that’s not advantageous to the city since it’s supposed to be a self-parked building,” Satterlee said.

Councilmembers offered suggestions such as the use of a key-code system for the underground parking area or simply leaving the garage open for access during daytime hours for customers and employees.

Below-market-rate units

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw was among those who sought the inclusion of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom BMR unit and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom BMR unit.

Luedtke and his group of project investors initially offered the inclusion of one two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit and the aforementioned two-and-one unit.

Fishpaw noted that offering a three-bedroom condo would provide a better option for lower-income families seeking a home.

“(Even) if it is a small three-bedroom unit, I think that still provides more possibilities for different-size families to occupy that unit,” he said.

Luedtke, however, countered that the council’s insistence on the larger offering would require some redesign of the project pending approval from its 30-plus investors first.

Luedtke said the change could result in a “$1-million swing” in terms of lost profit and would discourage future development of smaller mixed-use housing projects in the city.

“If you enforce the two- and three-bedroom (BMR units), you’re probably not going to get any condo projects in town anymore until they’re up to 32, 34 units (in overall size),” he said.

The council sought several changes to the mixed-use project in addition to the parking and BMR condo issues. The council denied Luedtke’s request to waive its 12-foot-high commercial-space ceiling requirement to allow for potential Class A office space. Instead, Luedtke offered an 11-foot ceiling height design.

“I think we need to have the ceiling heights there at 12 feet,” Councilwoman Jan Pepper said, “so that we preserve flexibility for the use of that space in the future.”

The council altered a condition of approval for the project to retain a 70-foot Canary Island Pine tree nestled between the city parking plaza and Luedtke’s property line.

Other changes recommended for the final project include the addition of pre-wiring to accommodate the installation of an electric-vehicle charging station in the future. The council also sought a re-examination by the PTC of some proposed exterior building materials.

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