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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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Student offers help to homeless with lactose intolerance

8.31.2013 LactaseProject-3023small
Ellie Van  Houtte/Town Crier
After being diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance, Kenlyn Mirbach started the
Lactase Project to help others without the means to afford lactase pills.

Kenlyn Mirbach, 17, can relate to being sick with an upset stomach.

The lactose-intolerant Los Altos Hills teen has often suffered such uncomfortable symptoms as a result of her condition, which causes difficulty digesting the sugar in dairy products like milk and cheese. She takes lactase pills, which contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of dairy products.

Now she wants to help others affected by the condition who can’t afford the medication by providing lactase pills to the homeless.

“If I didn’t have the means to go to the doctor, get the pills and eat less lactose, I would still be getting sick every time,” said Mirbach of how something as simple as a 20-cent pill relieves her discomfort and reduces stress in her life.

With help from her parents and her rabbi at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Mirbach laid the groundwork for the Lactase Project, an effort to educate and provide resources on lactose intolerance to those living in local shelters. Armed with money from her bat mitzvah fund and a $200 loan from her parents, she underwrote the initial costs of the project.

“At first a lot of the programs would say this isn’t a problem,” said Mirbach of one of her earliest hurdles – general apathy from shelters and nonprofit agencies. “It’s very obvious that at least one person served during a three-month stay will be lactose intolerant.”

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, as many as 40 million Americans experience lactose intolerance. The clearinghouse also estimates that up to 90 percent of Asian Americans and 75 percent of African Americans, Jews, Mexicans and Native Americans are resistant to dairy products.

Mirbach bolstered her knowledge of lactose intolerance and organized her program to appeal to nonprofit organizations with limited staff and financial resources.

Her outreach efforts paid off when the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto incorporated her project into its work at the end of 2012. To date, approximately 10 clients have received pills, and the reaction to the project has been positive.

“It’s important to know about (lactose intolerance) and learn about it,” Mirbach said. “Even if you don’t get the pills or stop taking the pills, it’s important information to have about yourself, even if you leave the shelter.”

Reflecting on her growth through her work with the Lactase Project, Mirbach said she plans to recruit likeminded teens to expand her organization.

“I realize that as one girl, I can’t go around the country to homeless shelters and say, ‘Do this,’” she said. “I really think this program could be helpful all over the nation and the world. … I know teenagers who want to help but don’t know what to do.”

For more information, visit lactaseproject.org.

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