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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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Neighborhood bands together to banish burglars

NEWS SheriffTownMeeting-7Burglars on the prowl for cash and valuables might want to think twice before hitting residences in Los Altos Hills.

After a string of three burglaries in the West Loyola neighborhood of Los Altos Hills in June and July, residents mobilized to collaborate with law enforcement and promote crime-prevention measures.

Although the West Loyola Neighborhood Group’s email list is typically used to share community news and refer service providers and babysitters, the 150-member network is a conduit for collecting and transmitting tips and data to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

After news of recent burglaries was broadcast via the group’s email list, a neighbor living a mile from the incident provided authorities with information on a suspicious vehicle seen driving away from the scene around the time of the robbery.

Residents also relayed reports of solicitors who might be scouting for their next targets to the Sheriff’s Office for investigation.

“Every suspicious sighting that neighbors have been calling in is being followed up,” wrote West Loyola Neighborhood Group organizer Marj Green in an email to group members. “They’re particularly happy when the reports include a license plate number and/or description of the vehicle and people.”

At a July 31 neighborhood meeting Green organized on less than 24 hours’ notice, more than 50 residents gathered at Los Altos Hills Town Hall for a law enforcement update on impending investigations and to share advice on protecting their neighborhoods from crime.

Despite the recent spate of burglaries, Green noted that the area boasts a low crime rate. In the 20 years she has lived in the neighborhood, she recalled only one other time when burglaries were a problem.

Safe community, easy targets

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that property crimes are not that common in Los Altos Hills or the unincorporated areas of the county. The office recorded no robberies and declining incidences of burglary over the past three years. According to figures the Sheriff’s Office reported to the FBI, there were 33 burglaries in 2011, 27 in 2012 and 14 year-to-date in Los Altos Hills and unincorporated areas.

An active neighborhood group and proactive patrolling by the Sheriff’s Office appear to be effective in keeping criminal activity to a minimum. In addition to regular neighborhood patrols, Capt. Kenneth Binder of the Sheriff’s Office said his team responds to all residential alarm reports – an extra level of responsiveness that could catch criminals by surprise. He added that the office apprehended two suspects in the act of burglarizing homes in Los Altos Hills and unincorporated areas in July and 11 in 2012.

As burglars search for “the path of least resistance,” Binder noted that criminals target homes that present easy opportunities for break-ins. More than 75 percent of the homes burglarized in 2013 had open windows or unlocked doors. In approximately half of the Los Altos Hills incidents, the Sheriff’s Office reported that alarm systems were turned off. In the three recent Loyola area burglaries, windows or doors were unlocked and alarms disabled, allowing the burglars convenient access to the homes.

“It’s easy to get complacent,” Binder said. “You have things to protect you, so use them.”

Although Green and members of the neighborhood group don’t know if those burglarized will get their valuables back, they continue to raise community awareness of suspicious activity in an effort to prevent crime.

To report suspicious activity in Los Altos Hills to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, call (408) 299-2311.

Best practices to beat burglary

• Close and lock all windows and doors.

• Install home alarms and surveillance cameras – and use them.

• Never open your door to a stranger.

• Report suspicious solicitors.

• Know your neighbors and be a good neighbor.

• Suspend your mail while on vacation and ask a trusted neighbor to watch your house.

• Coordinate a daytime patrol of your Los Altos Hills home while away by calling (408) 868-6600.

• Store photographs and serial numbers of valuables in a secure location.

• Install a “Find Me” app on your phone to help police track stolen electronics.

– Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office

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