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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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Other Voices: BCS asking district to fool public over bond purpose

Over the course of decades, our community has developed excellent public schools into which the community pours its heart, soul and minds. The ongoing facilities dispute with Bullis Charter School (BCS) has been a sore spot that we need to solve. But it’s hard to find the right path in light of recent BCS actions.

Last year, they waged a $300,000 PR campaign to promote compromise – then still sued the Los Altos School District (LASD) and lost. This year, they signed a Facilities Use Agreement that they are now violating. And now, instead of negotiating, they’re back on the PR trail again.

Throughout September, LASD and BCS met to discuss both short term facilities enhancements and long term cooperation on a school facilities bond. Yet, for the past month, LASD has been unable to get BCS to return to the negotiating table.

Based on BCS’s requests, the District proposed an agreement that would provide BCS with short term enhancements to their current facilities, and lays a path toward passing a bond. We have received no formal response to that proposal – no meetings, no dialogue –until the charter school manifesto recently printed in this paper.

Instead of working with LASD on a bond measure the community could support, BCS urges the district to position the bond as something other than what it would be. Repeatedly, they’ve suggested that the LASD Board of Trustees has mystical influence over our community – that folks here believe whatever we say, no matter what the facts show. They’ve asked us to deceive the public about the proceeds of a school bond. Ironically, a similar fight over a school bond spurred the creation of BCS in the first place.

Every year for the past 10 years, BCS has asked LASD (and often the courts) to close a neighborhood school and give it to BCS. The community has been very clear in their opposition to this. BCS knows this, and knows that a successful bond campaign would result in building a new school for BCS students. Yet they insist that isn’t their request. Our community is smart enough to see through that charade.

When we met in September, BCS negotiators refused to even discuss how they might change to help build community support for a bond. Instead, the BCS editorial asks LASD Trustees to violate state law and breach the trust of our local community by ignoring the legal funding formulas for charter schools. The state legislature allocates the property taxes between charter schools and school districts – it isn’t up to LASD trustees to change that formula. Similarly, voters of our community have generously supported LASD schools through parcel taxes, but it is the voters – not the trustees – who decide how those funds are spent. LASD has expressed a willingness to work with BCS to address these questions through the legislative process in the longer term. Perhaps if we’re considering a financial rebalancing we will also discuss sharing of all private funds as well. However, in the here-and-now, we have a facilities shortage that we need to address. Let’s talk about how BCS can help us pass a desperately needed school bond.

Doug Smith is president of the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees.

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