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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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State Street florist calls it quits: Alabasta closing its doors after 12-year run in Los Altos


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

An Alabasta employee, center, chats with customers last week after co-owners David Wales and John Zanders announced the May 31 closure of their State Street store.

A State Street florist is preparing to bid Los Altos a fond goodbye after a 12-year run downtown.

David Wales, co-owner of Alabasta, The Flower Shop, said he’s closing his doors permanently May 31. Wales noted that he’s shuttering his retail space at 366 State St. after encountering some “legal issues regarding a tax matter we couldn’t overcome.” He politely declined to elaborate further on the problems behind the shop’s closure.

“We’re really upset about it,” said Wales, who co-owns the business with John Zanders. “We tried to do everything we could to stay open.”

Wales, 51, said the decision to close Alabasta wasn’t easy, given that he’s spent nearly half of his life working as a florist – including the past dozen in downtown Los Altos. He added that he’s “still settling into the idea” that his business will be a thing of the past come June 1.

Wales counts numerous repeat customers among his many friends in town and said he’ll miss the atmosphere and the people of Los Altos the most.

“In many ways, we’re fortunate,” said Wales, who discounted his merchandise and fixtures 35 percent through his close at the end of the month. “In this business, you get to know people during their darkest times and their happiest times. You get close to them. … The community has been very, very kind to us.”

Los Altos Chamber of Commerce President Julie Rose said Alabasta’s departure is a loss that will be felt throughout the community. She noted that the shop often donated to several local events and charities without hesitation.

“They donated to everything,” she said. “They’re very present.”

Among other things, Rose added that the business, a chamber member, donates table centerpieces annually for the “State of the Cities” luncheon.

“They’re really going to be missed,” she said. “They’re so unique. They are one of those businesses that make our town unique. They’re a draw – people come to Los Altos because of them. It’s sad to see this happen.”

As for the future, Wales said he hasn’t had much time to ponder life without Alabasta. He added that while he hasn’t given up on the idea of one day returning to Los Altos as a retailer, he is currently focused on closing as smoothly as possible.

“It’s a lot of work dissolving 12 years,” he noted, adding that he anticipates taking time off this summer to “relax a little bit and reflect on life.”

For now, Wales said he’s trying to move forward into an uncertain future while mustering a positive outlook.

“I try to think that every time a door closes, a window opens,” he said. “Who knows? Maybe something better will happen.”

For more information, visit www.alabastatheflowershop.com.

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