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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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Police recover blind man’s stolen bicycle


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Brian Higgins, who is 98 percent blind, enlisted the police’s help after discovering the bike stolen from his carport storage unit listed for sale on eBay.

The story of a blind Los Altos man whose only mode of transportation – a $3,000 bicycle – was stolen is shaping up for a happy conclusion.

Los Altos police recovered Brian Higgins’ Litespeed titanium bike after the 61-year-old U.S. Navy veteran-turned-inventor discovered it for sale on eBay. The discovery and subsequent recovery occurred just one week after Higgins reported that someone stole the bike Aug. 8 from his locked carport storage unit.

“The nagging question now is, what do I do with it now?” said Higgins, who is 98 percent blind. “Where do I keep it now? At least it’s a good problem I get to worry about.”

Higgins, the founder of Intellisight Inc., has spent 16 years developing an ultrasonic sensor that allows the blind to autonomously use bikes and some other modes of transportation.

“It detects large objects and finds a clear path for you,” Higgins said of his sensor system, which notifies a user of oncoming objects through vibration and audible warning beeps. “Ever since I lost my driver’s license in 1998 – which was devastating to me – I’ve been searching for some solutions.”

He noted that he uses the bike and sensor system daily to travel along Foothill Expressway to the Palo Alto VA hospital, where he catches a shuttle to his day job as a technology instructor at the VA Medical Center in Menlo Park. The theft was the subject of a recent NBC 11 report.

Prior to the recovery of his bike, Higgins told the Town Crier he believed that the theft was targeted. He said thieves cut through the storage unit’s attached locking mechanism to get to the bike, and also stole $1,000 worth of tools. Higgins discovered his bike missing from the storage unit in the early morning hours of Aug. 8 as he was preparing to bike to work.

Reached by the Town Crier, Det. Abe Velasco said Los Altos Police executed a search warrant to recover the bike Thursday after Higgins contacted them about the eBay listing. Velasco noted that Higgins was able to confirm that the bike was his by pointing out some of its specific characteristics, seen in pictures on the listing. The following day, he added, police arrested a 36-year-old San Jose man on unrelated narcotics charges, who they believe may also be linked to the bike theft.

Velasco declined to provide additional details about the case because the investigation is ongoing.

“What’s unique about this case is that the victim was able to assist to the point where he was able to identify specific (things) from the eBay ad,” said Velasco, who added that the bike is currently in police custody as evidence but eventually will be returned to Higgins.

Higgins said that while he was pleased police recovered his bike, the theft left him cautious about where to store it in the future.

“This was a life-changing event for me,” said Higgins, who moved to Los Altos from Maine approximately 10 years ago. “Maybe it shouldn’t be, but for me it was.”

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