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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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Neutra House camp builds foundation for design careers


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Ellie Dupin sketches a vision for Los Altos during Neutra House’s Design Camp.

While the city of Los Altos pulled out jackhammers to improve downtown aesthetics, a number of aspiring young designers took to the streets of Los Altos last week, armed with sketchbooks and clipboards to create ideas of their own.

If these local youth had it their way, they would transform the Civic Center site into a 6-acre lake or renovate Los Altos’ Community Plaza with trees, tables, a fountain and additional landscaping.

Even if only on paper, 12 incoming eighth- and ninth-graders flexed their creative muscles in a series of architecture, urban planning and landscape design exercises last week at Los Altos Neutra House’s inaugural Design Camp. During the career-immersion camp, a volunteer faculty of professionals from around the Bay Area challenged students to redefine how they see the world around them.

“We told the students they were the MVPs of the class,” said King Lear, Neutra House director. “They put in a full 40-hour workweek, and they didn’t flinch.”

After mastering the basic tools of the trade – map reading, developing a design concept, perspective drawing, collaboration and consensus building – students tackled a variety of real-world design problems. In addition to field trips to architectural landmarks in Los Altos, they explored downtown and studied how landscape design, urban planning and architecture shape the environment.

“I go there with my friends and hang out … but it was fun to take a place you see every day and try to change it,” said Sana Khader, an incoming Los Altos High School freshman, of the experience of redesigning the town plaza during the camp.

Studio time at the end of each day offered students the opportunity to develop their design skills alongside professionals.

Pairing traditional skills with Google SketchUp to create computer-generated 3-D models, students designed and developed their dream homes and site plans – roads, landscaping and planning elements included. Instructors mentored students in the improvised studio space at Neutra House, providing constructive criticism and insight into careers in the design field.

“It was so amazing to get feedback from people who do it for a living,” said Design Camp participant Ellie Dupin, who said she has wanted to be an architect since she was in sixth grade. “You don’t need to be perfect, don’t need an eraser … that was really interesting to me.”

Volunteer instructor Jonathan Pearlman, design principal at Elevation Architects, said he found the maturity and focus of the Design Camp students impressive. Although accustomed to teaching at the university level, Pearlman added that he was pleased to discover that the students didn’t need much persuasion to express themselves or push creative boundaries.

“I think the thing that surprised me the most was their level of sophistication,” he said. “They had an incredible facility for tools.”

Design Camp was an eye-opener for students as well, according to Pearlman. Even the campers who expect to pursue other careers gained invaluable insight, he said, with the opportunity fueling interest in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning.

“The notion that this little house can bring an education about architecture to a community is exciting,” Pearlman said of Neutra House, designed by famed architect Richard Neutra in 1935 and preserved by the Los Altos Community Foundation.

Lear and Pearlman said they plan to offer the camp again next summer.

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