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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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A celebration like no other: Hospital hosts Neonatal Intensive Care Unit annual reunion


El Camino Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse Gilda Primero, right, reunites with Monica Kough and Danny Kaea, holding son Eli, Sept. 7.

A recent reunion of graduates in Mountain View had absolutely nothing to do with diplomas. In fact, some of these graduates still wear diapers.

In what has become an annual tradition for the past 19 years, El Camino Hospital hosted a reunion of former patients – or “graduates” – and the staff of its 20-bed, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

The Sept. 7 gathering, according to NICU Clinical Manager Jody Charles, RN, was among the largest ever hosted by the hospital – more than 200 families of premature babies shared memories, hugs and laughs with Charles’ NICU staff. Charles noted that the annual get-together serves as her staff’s reward for their tireless efforts in nursing preterm babies to health.

“It was so much fun,” Charles said. “It’s very heartwarming for us to see the families and see where they’re at. … It’s a bit of a mutual admiration society.”

Positive outcomes

The reunion included San Jose resident Monica Kough and her 17-month-old son, Eli. Like other families at the event, Kough credited the hospital’s NICU staff for turning what was a dire situation into a positive outcome.

During her 28th week of pregnancy, Kough said her worst fears came true when her uterus ruptured. What made the situation especially critical, she noted, was the fact that she gave birth to her son, Ty, at 23 weeks into pregnancy one year earlier at El Camino’s NICU. He lived just 20 minutes.

According to the March of Dimes, preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the U.S. More than half a million babies are born prematurely each year. In California, more than 58,000 babies are born prematurely annually.

This time around, Kough again found herself at the NICU undergoing an emergency C-section. Underdeveloped because of his premature birth, Eli spent 68 days in the NICU and learned functions most full-term babies gain during the 36th week of pregnancy, such as sucking, swallowing and breathing simultaneously. He also received three blood transfusions during his stay at the hospital.

“It was the scariest experience of my life,” said Kough, who later became a March of Dimes Ambassador – a first among El Camino NICU families – to help her cope with the loss of Ty and help others. “I couldn’t help but have flashbacks from my previous experience.”

Kough said it was the hospital’s NICU staff that made the ultimate difference for her family. She noted that the unit’s medical professionals – from nurses to doctors and everyone in between – remained patient and compassionate with her, despite facing a barrage of medical questions and other expressed concerns.

“I don’t know how I would’ve made it out of there sanely without them,” Kough said of the hospital’s NICU staff. “You go into it thinking, ‘How can I ever leave and go home to sleep?’ … They treat you like a human being. That’s exactly what you need in that situation.”

“It’s a lot of conversations and a lot of repeating,” added Charles regarding handling patients and family members in the NICU. “I often remind them that we will have the same conversation a lot of times, and that’s OK. … I always tell people that we’re here to help them exhale.”

These days, Kough said, Eli is “thriving like any 17-month-old.” Kough now visits the NICU on occasion with Eli and said she’s always welcomed “with open arms and a ‘please come in.’”

Lifelong bonds

Charles noted that experiences like Kough’s often have an effect on her and her staff. At times, it’s not just the mothers and fathers who shed tears, but the staff’s nurses and physicians as well. On countless occasions, Charles said she’s seen doctors stay up all night tending to struggling babies. Those experiences, she added, create lifelong bonds between her staff and the families they serve.

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s OK, but the people who do it are extremely passionate about it,” she said. “It’s extremely rewarding to our staff to see that they make a difference. We are a part of those families for the rest of their lives. … We’re here for any baby.”

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