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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Water district readies flood basin plans as residents continue protest


Retention basins for the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project received the go-ahead from local agencies and, barring unforeseen circumstances, appear destined for construction beginning next summer.

But that’s not stopping a small, relentless and determined group of residents from continuing to question the district’s efforts to build the basins.

Basins at Mountain View’s McKelvey Park and Rancho San Antonio County Park are the two sites remaining from a plan that initially called for four. The district scuttled plans for basins at Cuesta Park Annex and Blach Intermediate School. The water district dropped Blach after the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees rejected the plan.

Water officials recalculated and determined that the Cuesta and Blach basins were not needed to protect more than 2,700 Los Altos and Mountain View properties in the event of a 100-year flood – a flood that has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year. But they contend that the basins at McKelvey and Rancho San Antonio are still necessary.

The proposed basins need only environmental, utility and street permit approvals for construction to begin, said Afshin Rouhani, head of the district’s Permanente Creek project.

Objections to the plan

Opponents again voiced their opinions about the Rancho San Antonio basin at a July 18 informational water district meeting.

Engineers Richard Moll and Michael Hayden of Los Altos, among others, are convinced that a retention basin at Rancho San Antonio wouldn’t receive a meaningful amount of water, even during a 100-year flood.

“It therefore will barely reduce any associated amount of flooding,” Moll wrote to the district. “More importantly, it probably will not take any homes out of the flood zone, which is why the basin was proposed.”

Moll said that based on his research, which includes U.S. Geological Survey data, “the basin is oversized, unwarranted, will probably never take any homes out of the flood plain, will cause environmental damage and is an unjustified waste of money.”

Rouhani countered that the Geological Survey data are irrelevant and that the district uses its own updated hydrology model.

District 5 County Supervisor Joe Simitian expressed concerns over the water district’s data, because the district originally proposed four basins.

Los Altos resident Nancy Ellickson questioned the basins’ environmental impact.

“They’re going to impact a wonderful preserve and a quaint, little park,” said Ellickson, who added that her past experiences with the water district have left her skeptical about its intentions.

She said the McKelvey Park basin would “destroy the neighborhood” and would take away parking spaces, making an already crowded lot worse.

The water district appeased youth baseball leagues at Mc- Kelvey by promising renovated fields, bleachers, a concession stand and other improvements.

The proposed basin at Rancho San Antonio, 15 feet deep and 200,000 cubic yards, would remove approximately 100 trees, force a trail realignment and eliminate parking spaces.

The Permanente project will cost more than $40 million when finished, with money coming from Measure B, approved in 2000. Voters passed an extension of Measure B funding in the November 2012 election.

Despite the resistance, many residents are in favor of the water district’s plans and believe that the added flood protection could save them thousands of dollars in Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance.

But the opposition simply doesn’t trust the district and vowed to continue the fight – even if the odds are against them.

“Until the bulldozers pull up, it’s open game,” Ellickson said.

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