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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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The art of communication: Haugh About That?

Staring at the lump of flesh passed out on the couch, pressure within the magma chamber of my brain began to boil. Within seconds, my anger couldn’t be contained and an explosive stream of words erupted over my sleeping child.

“Tim, I didn’t travel halfway around the world to watch you sleep!”

Slowly rotating his 6-foot-tall frame, he pulled the blanket over his face and grunted a phrase I hadn’t heard in a long time: “Mom, relax! We have all day.”

Immediately, my quest for a fabulous vacation billowed in front of my eyes like a puff of smoke from a bad cigar.

For the past 20 months, Tim, the 25-year-old heir apparent to the Haugh dynasty, has been living the life of a bohemian. Based in Barcelona, he tutors English by day and explores Europe on the weekends. Positive he missed me, I made the 15-hour trip to visit.

“Things start late around here,” the hairy creature grumbled, sporting a full beard and long, disheveled Shirley Temple curls that cascaded down his back.

Wondering which I was more upset with, this new caveman-on-steroids look or his lax attitude about wanting to please his mother, I hissed, “This was no cheap excursion, you know.”

Leaving our apartment, it quickly became apparent that traveling with a son was going to be quite different from traveling with a daughter. There would be no stopping to browse cute shops along the boulevard. Lunch was just a pit stop, and resting at a cafe for a glass of wine late in the afternoon to discuss feelings was wishful thinking on my part. No, the plans I had for this trip went spinning in a swirling vortex down a Spanish toilet.

But remembering the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” I thought perhaps an attitude adjustment was in order. While I wasn’t in Italy, I was on my son’s turf – and who better than Tim to decide how the day should flow?

It wasn’t long before eating dinner at 10 p.m. and sleeping until noon became as natural as eating strawberries on shortcake. Shopping could wait until I got back to the U.S., but I was still having problems with our communication. While I spoke in flowery, melodic narratives that dragged on forever, Tim conversed in staccato beats of black and white, leaving much to the imagination. And then, without warning, it happened.

Tipping his hand one evening, he briefly displayed his cards revealing all he valued as private before drawing them back to his chest. My job, should I want to continue to stay in the game, was to listen quietly and ask no questions. Thankfully, I did.

Leaving Barcelona eight days later, I did what I always do when saying goodbye to one of my kids. I blubbered. But these were sobs of a different kind.

By allowing my child to converse in his special dialect, without my annoying constant interruptions, he opened up his heart and let me into his world. I became a witness to the incredible person he’s become while still maintaining the sweetness he possessed as a child. Tim is no longer a little boy – he’s an independent, deep-thinking and kind young man. His values are solid, and he remains true to himself, following his path, always authentic.

I traveled to Spain for an adventure but got more than I bargained for. By crossing the threshold that had blocked us in his youth, communication was allowed to flow easily. I arrived as his mother, but I left as his friend.

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