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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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Los Altos councilmembers split over Fallen Leaf Lane


Courtesy of City Of Los Altos
One of the concepts included in the Stevens Creek Feasibility Study calls for the installation of green directional signs for bicyclists riding along Fallen Leaf Lane in Los Altos.

The Los Altos City Council last week voted 3-2 in favor of scheduling a future public meeting – likely in early 2014 – to discuss the final outcome of a four-cities Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study.

Councilwomen Val Carpenter and Jan Pepper cast dissenting votes Oct. 22 after each expressed a desire to eliminate Fallen Leaf Lane as a possible connection for the trail between Mountain View and Cupertino. Fallen Leaf is one of the routes under consideration as the study seeks to find a technically feasible way to align the trail through Los Altos or Sunnyvale.

A group of residents – including members of the Fallen Leaf Lane Neighborhood Association (FLLNA) – recently urged the council to remove the street from consideration as a connector by the study – which includes the cities of Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. A handful of FLLNA members asked the council Oct. 8 to adopt a policy requiring a 75-percent approval rate by affected residents before a trail is designated in Los Altos. The group has presented the council with two petitions totaling approximately 800 residents signatures opposing a Fallen Leaf trail.

Carpenter and Pepper cast “no” votes after many of the 30-plus residents in attendance spoke out against the study listing Fallen Leaf Lane as a potential trail route.

“I’d like to remove the angst that the residents of this neighborhood are feeling and stop the time and effort that is being spent on this option,” said Pepper, who unsuccessfully sought council support in scheduling the item for further discussion in November.

Carpenter, meanwhile, told her colleagues that while she continues to support the goal to connect the regional trail, she couldn’t support any new trail options in Los Altos.

“At this point, I really lack confidence that the process will result in an outcome that works for the people who live in the city of Los Altos, especially in view of the petitions we’ve received and that have been signed by more than 800 of our residents,” she said.

Residents voice concerns

The council’s decision came after several Fallen Leaf Lane residents told the council that they do not want a trail connection on their street. Several said they favor a 2008 feasibility study by Los Altos that lists a preferred trail connection using Fremont Avenue, Grant Road and Foothill Expressway.

“We don’t want this bike trail. We don’t want it going down Fallen Leaf Lane. It’s as simple as that,” Fallen Leaf resident Nancy Claunch said.

Some residents who spoke said the ranking criteria that lists grades for possible connector routes is flawed, while others cited the potentially increased liability for the city if a trail connector is established through Los Altos.

“You owe it to all of us to get independent individuals to come in and look at what’s going on here, in terms of how these decisions are being made,” said Fallen Leaf resident Larry Thompson, who added that a trail connection on the street would be “highly destructive to a substantial community in Los Altos.”

Local realtor Kathryn Tomaino said such a trail could negatively impact home values in the area.

“Never do (buyers) request to be adjacent to a bike path … buyers will buy in spite of bike paths, but not because of bike paths,” she said.

El Sereno Avenue resident Susan Murphy, however, offered a different take on the matter, noting that having Stevens Creek Trail run through the city would leave a “positive legacy for families in the future.”

Dissenting council views

Despite concerns by Carpenter and Pepper, the remaining members of the council – Megan Satterlee, Jeannie Bruins and Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw – said they favored completing the study first before making any decisions.

Satterlee noted that while she wasn’t certain the study would end up with a clear solution, making changes midstream could result in a negative outcome.

“If we are to take action before we know where the (trail) connection is, we may very well go in a direction that doesn’t make any sense,” she said. “To me, that would be a waste of the money that has been spent so far. … I just think this is the wrong point in time to be making a decision.”

Fishpaw added that other cities in the study would likely follow suit if Los Altos started picking out which connections should be considered.

“Personally, I have concerns with taking any particular street off this study, because I don’t want other cities to take streets off the study,” he said. “I want to understand what is technically feasible.”

Bruins, who represents the city on the four-city study, conceded that it “remains a work in progress” but urged patience and trust in the process. Bruins noted that study elements, such as ranking criteria, have yet to pass her “sniff test,” and that it appears that the study will “probably not” put forward a specifically preferred route recommendation.

“We haven’t finished fleshing this out and we have a lot of questions,” she said of the four-city group conducting the study. “We have more questions than answers.”

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