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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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Realtor panel discusses local challenges

A panel of members of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors discussed their lead-generation strategies and the challenges they face in their business at a recent meeting in Mountain View.

The panel included Diyar Essaid from Coldwell Banker, Michael Galli from Alain Pinel Realtors, Beth Tomkins from Sereno Group and David Kim from Intero Real Estate Service.

According to panelists, due to the shortage of inventory, the housing market has become highly competitive for agents and homebuyers. With mortgage interest rates inching upward, many buyers see the window of opportunity for homeownership but face a short supply of homes for sale and competition from all-cash buyers and investors.

The panelists practice lead generation in many ways, from open houses to door knocking, direct mailing and print and Internet advertising.

They advised other agents to find a niche in which they are comfortable.

Galli said he spends a great deal on print advertising, which generates referrals indirectly. This type of marketing takes time, effort and money to administer, but it works for him, he added.

The greatest challenge for Tomkins is balancing business with family. Although many enter the real estate field because they want more flexibility time-wise, a highly competitive market can be a big challenge for agents with young children. Her advice to those with growing families is to make sure that they are organized and maintain a schedule.

Kim said the emotional drama of real estate could be a challenge for agents. He noted that due to the limited inventory, buyers get very stressed and frustrated when other buyers, particularly those presenting all-cash offers, win out every time they place a bid on a house.

A major challenge facing agents is managing buyer expectations, Essaid said. She noted that some buyers don’t take rejection well and will either bow out of the market or make the wrong move.

Essaid added that she first educates her clients about the market, preparing buyers by showing them homes for approximately six to eight weeks. They discuss the houses – what they like and don’t like, and review the disclosures. During this time, they will see which homes sell and for what price, learning more about the market and preparing for when they decide to jump in. It also increases the trust level between her and the clients, Essaid said.

“Trust is paramount,” she emphasized.

Galli said agents should be honest with their clients and “tell them like it is.” He also indicated that it’s important for agents to “get up to speed” with technology, because high-tech tools enable efficiency. The file-hosting system Dropbox, for example, facilitates business when synced to a smartphone or a computer.

Tomkins advised agents to get to know one another, because they will one day be sitting across from each other at the negotiating table.

“There is strength in knowing each other,” she said.

Galli summarized the panel’s definition of success as “having happy clients and a balanced life.” Kim added that it’s important to “be happy and do the best you can.”

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article. For more information, email Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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