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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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Veteran TV broadcaster Belva Davis shares uphill climb with Rotarians


Photo By: Steve Pomeroy/Special to the Town Crier
Photo Steve Pomeroy/Special To The Town Crier

Belva Davis addresses a crowd at a Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting May 30.

Award-winning journalist Belva Davis addressed members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos May 30, sharing how she overcame tremendous odds growing up in Louisiana to become the first female African-American TV reporter on the West Coast.

Davis’ memoir, “Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalism” (Berrett-Koehler, 2012), describes in detail her tumultuous youth as the child of a 15-year-old mother in the segregated South, shuffled among seven families who could offer only temporary space.

One of her uncles sued Armour Meat Packing Co. after an industrial accident ended his ability to work, an unheard-of challenge at that time for an African-American. Her family moved West when she was 8 years old to an overcrowded project in Oakland, with 11 people sharing a two-bedroom apartment.

Despite the difficulties, the family’s move to California was “the best thing that ever happened to me,” Davis said, because she attended Berkeley High School and became the first in her family to graduate.

Davis learned at an early age to stand up for herself, particularly when racism and sexism reared their heads. As early as third grade, when her new teacher “corrected” her given name of Belvagene to Belva Jean, Davis insisted on using her proper name. Such challenges encouraged her to advocate for herself. She learned how to “get along” through such experiences, she said, not through any anger-management courses.

After working her way up to become a disc jockey at KSAN radio, Davis realized she wanted to be a journalist at the 1964 Republican Convention at the Cow Palace, when she and another African-American journalist were jeered out of the venue with racial slurs and thrown garbage. It was scary, she said, but when she witnessed other news people reporting their outrage, she decided she wanted to be like them.

She began writing for Jet magazine, and then the Bay Area Independent newspaper in Oakland. During the turbulent political demonstrations of the 1960s, Davis found ways to advance the causes of equality and black pride, including producing the Miss Bronze Northern California Beauty Pageant.

As the first female African-American journalist to cover many landmark stories, she interviewed Linus Pauling and reported on such high-profile events as the birth of the Black Panthers, the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk and the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

Over the next two decades, Davis made a name for herself as she worked through the ranks as news anchor at KPIX-TV, KQED Public Television 9 and KRON-TV and as host of KQED’s “This Week in Northern California.” After a career that spanned nearly 50 years, she retired last November.

Davis said that during a speech she gave for Korean journalists, she encouraged them, “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.” One of the Koreans responded, “Me and my friends, we don’t dream anymore.”

Her goal in writing “Never in My Wildest Dreams,” Davis said, was to shine a light on the everyday injustices that many African-Americans rose above and to inspire all people to strive to achieve their dreams.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos. For more information, visit www.losaltosrotary.org.

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