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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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Fire departments' Mutual Aid plan shares resources


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Numerous local fire departments and CalFire personnel participate in a controlled burn exercise at Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto in May. Such drills prepare firefighters for larger fires and emergency situations that require mutual aid.

When an emergency call comes in reporting a fire, a fire engine arrives at a Los Altos or Los Altos Hills home within minutes ready to battle the flames.

Depending on the address, the personnel alighting from the engine could be from the Los Altos or the Palo Alto fire station.

“People really don’t care if a red engine or white engine shows up or what uniform they have on – as long as someone shows up,” said John Jarvis, Santa Clara County Fire Department assistant chief.

Jarvis uses the distinction as an everyday example of how cities partner with neighboring towns to provide the most efficient service for residents through Mutual Aid and Automatic Aid, collaborative efforts to streamline emergency operations.

Sometimes the nearest fire station may not be located in a resident’s jurisdiction – for example, some Los Altos residents live closer to Palo Alto fire stations than those in Los Altos.

Jarvis explained how integral Automatic Aid, the day-to-day, predetermined cooperation between adjacent cities, and Mutual Aid, sporadic cooperation across jurisdictions, have become to response operations.

Although homeowners may experience the benefits of Automatic Aid through personal experiences in their own neighborhoods, Mutual Aid is often witnessed from afar. During the summer’s active fire season, the public observed the power of Mutual Aid on their television screens as battalions of engines and firefighters quickly appeared on the scene through a process that has been perfected over 50 years of cooperation.

First introduced to California in the 1960s when local fire departments struggled to extinguish large wildfires with limited resources, Mutual Aid enables districts to call on adjacent, regional and statewide fire departments for resources and personnel, with the understanding that the agencies would return the favor in the event an emergency occurs in their neck of the woods.

Jarvis noted that Los Altos Hills received Mutual Aid in 1985 when eucalyptus trees sparked a fire along Liddicoat Lane and Arastradero Road. In what was at the time the state’s largest mobilization of resources, the fire destroyed nine local homes and wreaked more than $1 million in damages.

During the 2013 fire season, the Santa Clara County Fire Department was asked to mobilize teams to assist in Southern California, the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park and the recent Mount Diablo fire in the East Bay.

The county’s local fire service and Mutual Aid rescue plan includes four predetermined strike teams, allowing for quick dispatch when calls for mutual aid come in to the Santa Clara County fire coordinator. Each strike team comprises five fire engines and one chief. Although all of the county’s strike teams are now back home, some specialized personnel are still on the ground across the state.

For residents concerned that sharing resources outside the district could reduce available help should a disaster occur in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills, Jarvis underscored that the engines for the county’s strike teams come from multiple stations, and “nobody is too depleted to take care of resources at home.”

“We may be sending help out … but there may be a time we need help to come in,” said Jarvis of the give-and-take involved in the partnership. “Just like we share the wealth, we share the burden.”

For more information on the Santa Clara County Mutual Aid plan, visit santaclaracounty-xsc.org/map.

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