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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County assessor sees rise in local property taxes

Several thousand homeowners throughout Santa Clara County – including 1,100 in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills – should expect an increase in their property taxes, according to the Office of the County Assessor.

County Assessor Larry Stone reported that approximately 47,000 properties would see their assessed values fully restored this year following the real estate market downturn. Another 81,000 properties in the county, including nearly 750 in Los Altos, will experience a partial restoration of the assessed values, which Stone noted was a reflection of the surging residential property market.

“Unemployment has dropped to 7 percent, faster than the nation or the state. The NASDAQ is soaring. Apartment rents have reached record levels with single-family homes close behind. It was inevitable that property taxes would follow,” Stone said in a statement released June 6.

Stone said that while increases in property taxes are never welcome, this is “ good news” for the local economy – and homeowners.

“It means the value of most families’ single most valuable asset, their home, is once again regaining solid equity lost in the collapse of the residential housing market,” he said.

The news comes after 136,000 residential properties were assessed below their purchase price last year. Stone’s report noted that when the market value of a property declines below the previously established assessed value measured as of Jan. 1 each year (lien date), the assessor is required proactively to reduce the assessed value to reflect the lower market value. However, as the real estate market rebounds, the assessor must restore the assessed values.

Proposition 8, passed by California voters in 1978, mandates that property owners are entitled to the lower of the fair market value of their property (as of Jan. 1), or the base-year value as determined at the time of purchase or construction, and increased in accordance with Proposition 13 by no more than 2 percent annually.

“If a property assessment was reduced during the recession, the restoration of its assessed value is not limited to 2 percent, until the market value reaches a property’s purchase price plus the annual inflation increase of no more than 2 percent,” Stone said. “The market solely determines whether the assessed value of a property is reduced or restored.”

The assessor mailed more than 478,000 assessment notices June 28 to property owners in Santa Clara County. In addition to outlining assessed property value, the notice also details the process for requesting an informal review of the assessment. According to the report, the Assessor’s Office will complete as many informal reviews as possible prior to Aug. 1, the deadline for making changes reflected on the property-tax bill mailed in October. Additionally, the letter includes language outlining the process for filing a formal assessment appeal by the Sept. 16 deadline.

For more information, visit www.sccassessor.org.

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