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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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Community Botball robotics teams win big at Northern California tourney


Photo By: Courtesy of Botball STaff
Photo Courtesy Of Botball Staff

Lauren Yang and Brandon Huang set up their winning robots for a match at the Northern California Regional Botball Tournament.

Four teams of students from Los Altos competed against 15 Bay Area teams at the Northern California Regional Botball Tournament April 27, racking up a number of victories.

The competition, held at Independence High School in San Jose, finished with three of the Los Altos teams placing first, second and third overall; first, second and third in seeding; first and second in double elimination; and first and second in documentation. One team won the Overall Judges’ Choice Award, and another earned the Outstanding Sub-System Award.

Several teams will advance to the International Botball tournament to defend their 2012 International Championship.

The Botball Educational Robotics Program engages middle- and high-school-aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition. Botball robots are autonomous and rely on computer programming to start, stop and maneuver on the game board. The teams build robots from a predefined set of parts and use a Linux-based robot controller developed by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. Students program their robots using the C language.

After eight weeks of planning and development, teams take their robots to the regional tournament to compete against others in the current season’s game challenge. Each season presents a unique challenge.

The tournament consists of a seeding round, in which each team runs its robots alone on the game board, and a double-elimination round, in which two teams run on the game board at the same time, competing against each other. Teams are judged on their documentation and presentation of the process and lessons learned.

“The Botball tournament days are my favorite days of the year,” said Michael Schuh, competition announcer and local Botball team organizer. “I love seeing how intensely the students compete with their very creative and impressive robot designs. They are clearly having lots of fun and are fully engaged. It is heartening to spend time with such bright and talented youth.”

While most Botball teams are school-based, the Los Altos team is a community effort that includes students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose. Team members’ parents coach the teams.

The Los Altos teams prioritize learning how to build and program capable robots and working together as a team over winning.

According to Schuh, Botball is a great opportunity for students, team leaders, mentors and parents to network and interact with others who share an interest in educational robotics.

NASA is the major sponsor of Botball, giving potential scientists and engineers the opportunity to collaborate on fun and creative projects.

For more information, call Schuh at 965-8037 or visit Botball.org or LosAltosRobotics.org.

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