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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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Repair my car or buy a new one?

Q: I have not been very good about keeping up with the maintenance services on my car, and now I’m told it needs a lot of work just based on time and mileage. In particular, I need a timing belt and shocks and struts, which are expensive. Should I just buy a new car?

A: That depends. If you’re tired of your current car and can afford to buy a new one, maybe that would be best. But if you are thinking about buying a new car because of the cost of repairing your current one, following are some points to consider.

• Buying a new car will increase the real costs of vehicle ownership significantly.

• Your new vehicle will depreciate in value the minute you drive it off the lot, most dramatically within the first three to five years.

• Both your vehicle insurance and registration costs will be much higher.

• If you need to take out a loan to purchase your new vehicle, take into account the interest you will pay in addition to the principal payment.

These are all major, real, out-of-pocket expenses.

It is much more cost effective to correctly maintain the car you have. The key is “correctly maintain.” This means keeping up with oil and other fluid changes when due and being aware that “cheap” or “quick” oil changes may not be your best bet.

Note that today’s engines and drivetrains require lubricants with specific standards. It is not like the old days when any lubricant would do the job. Correct lubricants today cost more money and are not usually used as part of a low-cost oil change. Using the wrong lubricants may not have an immediate impact, but over time it will cause engine components to fail prematurely.

Timing belts must be changed at certain mileage or time intervals. Many vehicles will suffer internal engine damage if the timing belt fails, which is much more expensive than replacing the timing belt when recommended.

Replace shock absorbers and shock struts at approximately 80,000 miles, before they become unsafe and cause uneven tire wear.

The bottom line: If you have neglected maintaining your vehicle, there may be what seem like high costs to pay. But if the required services are performed the right way, using correct and high-quality parts, your car will give you many more miles of reliable service at a much lower cost than the purchase of a new vehicle.

Warren McCord is an ASE Certified Master Technician and owner of Dean’s Automotive Inc., 2037 Old Middlefield Way, Mountain View. For more information, call 961-0302 or email McCord at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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