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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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Those not-so-good old days: Other Voices

Being among the first batch of baby boomers, I can do nostalgia with the best of them. I can describe the good old days of the 1950s and early ’60s, when kids created their own entertainment and applying to college was not the stress-driven process it is today.

I can wax poetic about the affordability of housing and a much narrower wage gap that allowed schoolteachers, police officers and airline pilots to live in Los Altos alongside the doctors, attorneys and engineers. And yes, it was wonderful when the cost of attending a UC campus was $1,800 a year – which included room and board – and college debt was virtually unheard of.

But to be honest, there is an awful lot about modern-day life that is better today. So in the spirit of fairness, I want to admit that there is much to celebrate about life today.

In the ’50s, we had no NPR, no PBS, no Trader Joe’s. Youth soccer was unheard of. We went to the Bay only to go to the dump with our fathers, as it was a smelly, grungy place. Thanks to those who worked so hard to restore the Bay, biking or hiking at Shoreline Park is now one of my husband’s and my favorite activities. And when we go there, we celebrate the fabulous diversity of languages we hear, reminding us of how diverse this once homogenous area has become.

When I was in high school, females were expected to wear torturous undergarments – girdles, garter belts, merry widows – so that we could squeeze into our prom dresses. And no matter how cold it was outside, female students and teachers could not wear pants to school.

In the ’50s, no one wore seat belts or bike helmets. And almost all the parents smoked. In our Brownie troops and elementary school classrooms, we made ceramic ashtrays to give our parents for Christmas.

When I was young, parenting was pretty much the domain of the mothers. Now as I watch the influx of young families into our neighborhood, I marvel at how much time today’s fathers spend with their children. On weekday mornings when I go outside to snag the snails, I note how the parade of children, walking and bike riding the mile to Gardner Bullis School, are as likely to be accompanied by their fathers as their mothers.

What a better world it is for women, who have the choice of whether to stay at home or return to work. (I say this conceding that many low-income women have to work and wish they had that choice to stay at home with their children.)

While racial discrimination still endures, I think it’s safe to say that no black family would be hounded out of Los Altos as an African-American doctor and his family were in the early 1960s when they purchased a house near Los Altos Golf & Country Club.

And it certainly is a better world for young people who know they are gay. No longer must they remain in the closet, terrified that someone will guess. Teachers who are gay can now be open about their sexual orientation and no longer worry that they will be fired if anyone finds out.

Yes, there was a lot about life in Los Altos 50 years ago that I miss. But there’s just as much, maybe more, to celebrate about the changes that I’ve seen. The good old days weren’t always as good as we old geezers like to think they were.

Nancy Ginsburg Gill moved to Los Altos with her family in 1952, when she was 4 years old. In 1979, she and her husband moved back to her childhood home on Orange Avenue with their two young children.

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