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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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Foothill student loan rate drops under U.S. Senate act


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Foothill College students can breathe a sigh of relief after the U.S. Senate voted to lower interest rates on federal student loans.

Foothill College students with federal loans can breathe a bit easier after the U.S. Senate passed legislation to lower interest rates July 24.

The action affects borrowers who have taken out or will take out a new federal student loan after July 1, according to a Senate statement. The bill goes to the House of Representatives for a vote in August.

Students with Stafford loans, usually from lower- and middle-class families, had faced a doubling of interest rates from the previous 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, effective July 1, when the U.S. House of Representatives failed to take action.

The Senate bill, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, garnered support from Republicans and Democrats.

“This bipartisan compromise puts in place a sustainable, market-based solution that ensures access and affordability for students seeking to improve their lives through higher education,” said Richard Burr (R-NC), who introduced the bill with senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“The act essentially ties interest rates to fluctuations in the market, allowing students to take advantage of historically low rates while ensuring that taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for arbitrary rates set by Congress,” Coburn said.

The new legislation lowers interest rates for undergraduate students – accounting for two-thirds of all loans – to 3.86 percent. It includes a cap, with undergrads paying up to but no more than 8.25 percent, no matter how the market performs. The loans are set to the U.S. Treasury’s 10-year borrowing rate.

Local reaction

“My initial read is that is it good for current community college students, who will likely be moving on prior to the readjustment in 2015,” said Kevin Harral, director of financial aid at Foothill College. “The big deal about it is the speed of readjusting that could happen after 2015. As a student advocate, it is hard to say it’s a good deal if it rapidly increases up to the cap within a year or two after 2015, unless the cap is appropriately set. However, these federal programs must be funded and, yes, it is partially off the interest collected from students.”

Still, Harral agreed that the act is a better solution than the previous stop-gap measures – or no action at all.

“Loans are a necessary part of paying for education for many of Foothill College’s upper-, middle- and low-income families,” he said, “and I would much rather there be a reasonable increase (or annual fluctuation) in rates, in step with our overall economy … than the loan program be eliminated or dismantled.”

Harral added that something needs to be done to stabilize the program and prevent eleventh-hour scrambling.

“Even if this deal sunsets in some future year, the topic seems to be rarely discussed until it is about to impact students and a larger solution needs to be compromised on,” he said. “I would love to see a more thorough discussion on the rates, but this deal is something – and better than what happened on July 1.”

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