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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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Expert comes to rescue after feral cats litter neighborhood


Suzy Heisele/Special to the Town Crier
A cast of local feline characters now await adoption at Palo Alto Animal Services.

A feral cat problem that plagued a Los Altos neighborhood for several months is reaching a conclusion that might leave some residents purring.

An alleged cat hoarder in a neighborhood north of Los Altos High School contributed to the breeding of more than 100 cats. Neighbors began noticing the problem in March. Approximately 30 cats were confiscated before the hoarder, a woman, moved in late July.

Although the woman took a few cats with her, she left the rest behind. The cats kept populating, and before long dozens of cats occupied the abandoned house and the yards of adjacent homes. The starving creatures hid under cars and prowled driveways. Crews for the builder renovating the house discovered cats coming out of kitchen cupboards.

Enter Suzy Heisele, a volunteer with Palo Alto Animal Services. Heisele spent approximately 80 hours over two months, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1, rescuing 67 cats and finding shelters for their adoption. Heisele said neighbors and animal control officers rescued another 10 cats, bringing the total by Oct. 1 to 77 cats removed from the neighborhood.

“These cats were spraying our doorways and yards to mark their territories,” said neighbor Paula Sager. “Children’s sandboxes raised concerns with parents, since the cats use them and could expose their children to disease.”

Heisele used Sager’s backyard as a “base camp” at night to lure the cats with food and trap them.

“It was quite an involved process, and (Heisele) really knew what she was doing,” said neighbor Bronwyn Van Der Geest. “She sat in the dark with a string attached to her propped-up trap and would wait. She learned their habits and was very aware of the different cats and their lineages, knowing which mama had which kitty or which tomcat was the father.”

“I was really touched by the neighbors,” Heisele said, adding that the residents communicated well and joined forces to address the problem.

Looking for ‘forever homes’

Several neighbors, at Heisele’s urging, wrote a letter to the Los Altos Police Department documenting the problems with the cat hoarder.

Police spokesman Capt. Andy Galea said he was not aware of the matter, but he pointed out that animal abandonment is a violation of state law.

Residents declined to give the name of the alleged cat hoarder, who has since moved to Bakersfield after living in Los Altos for decades. However, some felt criminal charges should be filed against her and that she should pay for the cost of dealing with the cats.

Los Altos contracts with Palo Alto Animal Services for animal control services. However, budget cuts have crippled the agency. Heisele said paid agency personnel alone could not have handled such a massive feral cat problem. The cats are spread throughout area shelters, but Palo Alto Animal Services has plenty available for “forever homes,” as she put it.

Those interested in adoption can visit the agency’s Facebook page at facebook.com/animalservices or visit 3281 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto.

Heisele thanked the neighbors for their support.

“Some of you sent me very kind cards,” she said. “Your kind words kept me warm while I was sitting and waiting for these poor cats to show up at night.”

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