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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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Start your engines: Red Racer Hobby Shop parks on State Street


Ellie Van houtte/
Town Crier A young shopper watches cars zip by on a Red Racer Hobby Shop raceway.

Measuring 18 feet long with more than 72 feet of racing laps, the custom-made slot-car track nestled in the corner of Red Racer Hobby Shop looks like a speedster’s dream. Christened the Adobe Creek Raceway, the trackway sports gray lanes, faux grassy hills and technology to measure the slot car’s speed.

Children go crazy when they see it, according to manager Martin Chavez.

That is, if they haven’t already been pulled to the opposite end of the store to the LEGO construction zone or the far corner stocked with Eitech toys.

The concept store, which opened in July at 170 State St. in Los Altos, is another establishment from the H&H Co., which also owns The Makery next door and several other downtown businesses.

“Red Racer is a hobby shop with an interactive twist to it,” Chavez said. “We have the traditional hobby stuff, but everything is engaging and interactive so that kids learn to use the toys.”

Unlike other hobby shops, Red Racer is not heavily stocked with ready-made items; instead, rockets, quadcopters, R/Cs and circuit kits line the shelves.

Some of the highlighted items are the Eitech toys, motorized German-made metal building sets. The cool thing about the Eitech sets, Chavez explained, is that children can create the original design provided by the manual and, if they choose, dismantle and re-create an entirely new object. They mimic the purpose of many of the toys Red Racer has stocked – customization in pursuit of creativity.

“We have all these toys, but they can also be more engaging and a great resource that doesn’t have to go in a landfill,” he said. “It’s not just a plastic toy that’s going to sit there.”

Other features of the hobby shop include two interactive centers – the slot-car racing track and the LEGO construction zone with a wall that stores blocks organized by color and size. Racers can try their hand at the slot-car track, though they’re cautioned to approach it as they would a real car – decelerating into the curves and zipping on the straightaways. For $5, customers can purchase a “pit pass” for 15 minutes in either zone.

Red Racer Hobby Shop is still in its infancy, but Chavez has big plans for the future. Eventually, he hopes to add basic to advanced robotics classes for children and a competition for the LEGO creations. The shop might potentially hold birthday parties, but he said there are still kinks to iron out as the business grows.

Chavez said Red Racer is concentrating on fulfilling its philosophy to provide toys and activities that go beyond the “temporary gratification” of action figures or plastic diversions by encouraging innovation. The limitation to the creation is how much time the players want to invest, he said.

“Anything that I was passionate about as a kid was stuff like this – interactive and engaging toys,” he said. “We want the kids to build relationships with the toys by putting them together and seeing the results of what they’re doing.”

Red Racer Hobby Shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 383-5078 or visit redracerlosaltos.com.

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