Thu10022014

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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New tech product aims to help seniors live independently


Courtesy of Lively
To ease isolation and encourage participation in social media, Lively created a wireless product for seniors and their caregivers.

Social media is a constant in the lives of the current generation of young adults, who have grown up with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and dozens of other products that allow them to share as much about their lives as they want. For the generation 75 years and older, the concept of sharing information about yourself was reserved only for best friends or confidants.

As we reach our later years, a major challenge is being physically and emotionally disconnected from friends and family. Older adults give up driving not because they want to, but because it often becomes unsafe. Social isolation becomes a real problem. For seniors, the concept of social media is often so foreign and the technology so confusing that they have not participated in the positive aspects of getting connected on the Internet.

An eye-catching product

A variety of products hitting the market are targeted to the elder generation. Having worked for many years in the technology sector and now in providing home-care services to older adults, I am often approached by entrepreneurs who want my input on their ideas and products. One such product caught my eye about a year ago. The founders really seemed to understand their target market but didn’t assume anything. They asked great questions. They conducted extensive market research.

Fast forward a year, and I met with folks from the San Francisco-based Lively (mylively.com) in my Los Altos offices to get a peek at their service. I was impressed with their thoughtfulness about their customers and many other aspects that go into providing a successful product to this market.

Lively isn’t exactly a social media service, but it does dip its toe into the sharing of information about oneself with others. It is a service that basically captures a few key data points about your activities of daily living and allows them to be shared with a loved one. The goal is to allow seniors to live independently at home.

The company supports this independence by affixing a small transmitter to a pill box, refrigerator door, chair or any other object in the home that is a proxy for healthful activity – eating regularly, taking medications on time, etc. It records the senior’s routine and transmits the data to a friend or loved one invested in monitoring the senior’s well-being. The beauty of Lively is that it protects your privacy, shares only a small bit of data and allows you passively to share the information without data entry, a smartphone or computer.

The company tested the service extensively and learned a great deal. The service works well, doesn’t require any kind of Internet connection and costs $19.95 per month. The medication-monitoring aspect of the service alone is well worth the investment. The product will be available from the Lively website beginning in late September, which marks the rollout to various retailers, home shopping networks and other outlets. It costs $149 and comes with two months of free service. There is no contract.

Lively is a small, inexpensive step in the right direction that uses today’s technology to help seniors remain at home as long as they prefer. It doesn’t try to do everything, but does these few things really well. I think the company will be successful if it continues to listen to its customers and takes evolutionary steps to provide a variety of services for an elder generation that can benefit from a little sharing of their lives with a limited set of friends or family.

Greg Hartwell is founder and CEO of Homecare California, a Los Altos-based in-home caregiving agency. He is a frequent guest speaker on elder-care issues. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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