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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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No mistakes: Haugh About That?

After 30 years of retirement, I found myself once again working as a D.S.S. (Derriere Sanitation Specialist). In other words, I was back to changing diapers, only this time it wasn’t some sweet little baby – it was my 95-year-old father.

When my dad moved in with me in 2011, I knew there would be challenges for both of us. For him, it would be his complete loss of independence and the agonizing feeling that he was a burden. For me, it was the constant fear of making a mistake. Our time was limited, and I wanted his remaining days perfect.

All went without a hitch the day he arrived – until the caregiver left at 4 p.m. Then, I was in charge. Not only did my father need to be spoon-fed, medications administered and helped with his tooth brushing, but there was also that stack of Depends sitting next to his bed.

Standing over his crippled body, a powerful, cascading avalanche of fear crashed down. When I flunked with my first child, Michelle, my mom swooped in to the rescue. Now I was all alone.

Knowing his daughter was about to see him in his entirety, my poor father’s body stiffened and his face shriveled up like an apple doll drying too long in the hot sun. Hoping to make light of the situation, I giggled, “OK, Dad. Close your eyes and just think of me as some cute nurse. This will be over in no time.”

After detaching the plastic strips, I guided him onto his side and yanked off the old underwear with no problem. I struggled to get the clean one positioned just right. After several frustrating minutes that felt more like a lifetime, I was sure I had it.

Rolling him over, I easily fastened the left side, but when it came to the right, there was a gaping hole between the two ends and a huge expanse of white skin exposed.

“Now what do I do?” I cried inside.

Sweat dripped down my body like some form of Chinese water torture. The thought of redoing the entire thing became overwhelming. Not knowing what else to do, I quickly ran for the bolt of electrical tape and secured him back together.

“Dad, I’m so sorry,” my lip quivered, tears dribbling down my cheeks. “This will hold you together for now. I’ll get it right tomorrow.”

Smiling sweetly, he said, “Honey, you did just fine.”

His words hugged my heart as I left the room. I’d wanted each day to go smoothly from start to finish. Being my idiotic human self where blunders abound was not part of the plan. But I remembered his gentle words when I was too hard on myself.

“Your life is all part of a beautiful universal plan where God makes no mistakes,” he said. “The error comes in not seizing the opportunity to learn from your mishaps so that you can reach your highest potential.”

I know I’ll always cringe when I think I’ve done something stupid. Old habits die hard. But with each new faux pas (and there will be many), I hope to grab the opportunity to learn something new and spectacular.

The best classroom we ever attend is the one we wake up to each day – our life. Diapers, electrical tape and all.

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