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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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Local filmmaker brings light to dangers of chemicals


Nachman

When “The Human Experiment” makes its world premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival Oct. 6, it will fall five days short of the 38th anniversary of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act – a bill that allowed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to scrutinize commercial chemicals prior to their use by manufacturers.

This is an appropriate coincidence, considering that the film, written, co-produced and co-directed by Los Altos filmmaker Dana Nachman and narrated and executive produced by actor Sean Penn, explores the risks consumers face through exposure to everyday chemicals.

The Toxic Substances Control Act inventory lists more than 84,000 chemicals, but only several hundred are tested for consumer safety. Given the disconcerting statistic, Nachman responded with a film that unravels assumptions.

“We think that this issue is one of the biggest environmental disasters of our time, one that most people haven’t even thought of,” Nachman said.

What began as a reporting assignment for Nachman during her years in television journalism grew into an interest she couldn’t resist exploring. A mother of two, she imagined that other parents would be as outraged as she was by how lax chemical regulations were in the U.S. compared to Europe and China.

“When I learned that most of the products we use in our homes and our lives are not vetted for the market, I was shocked,” she said. “Usually when I find something shocking, it turns into my next documentary.”

With a number of documentary films under her belt, Nachman joined colleague Don Hardy to develop “The Human Experiment” three years ago. Crisscrossing the country from residences in the Bay Area to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., the film investigates the dangers of chemicals found in common household products and questions why the EPA has not modified chemical testing in 38 years.

Moving moments

Skirting the line between education and social activism, Nachman noted that “The Human Experiment” is intended as a wake-up call to audiences. She thinks her film could be the next “An Inconvenient Truth,” the 2006 documentary on global warming.

“I think people intuitively want to know why we see kids with cancer, with learning disabilities, more than we did when we were kids,” Nachman said. “We think this movie puts it out there on a more level playing field of what is actually happening so that mothers and fathers and all of us can have the knowledge and then take the risk.”

The documentary follows a group of people from different walks of life, from an infertile couple to a mother with an autistic son, who are dedicated to changing policy in Congress. A politically conservative lobbyist trying to eliminate polyvinyl chloride from construction products joined them. “The Human Experiment” weaves a diverse set of perspectives to tell the story of the hidden risks behind chemicals and issues a call to action for Americans to take control of the situation.

With support from Penn, scheduled to appear at a question-and-answer session at the Mill Valley premiere, Nachman said she is confident that the film will take off. The first showing is sold out, and she recently received a call accepting the documentary into a “major European film festival.”

Nachman plans to bring the film back to Los Altos for viewing in local schools. An advocacy toolkit will accompany the documentary to inform people how they can join consumer activists to effect change.

“Even if we make several hundred people more aware, we’ve done our job,” she said.

Although shedding light on critical issues and documenting the stories of inspiring people motivate Nachman, more importantly, she said, she does the work for her children.

“I just want everything I do to really help my kids down the road,” she added.

To purchase tickets for the Mill Valley showing, visit mvff.com.

For more information on the film, visit thehumanexperimentmovie.com.

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