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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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Face of Cuban fashion flourishes in spotlight


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cuban fashion icon Natalia “Norka” Méndez, left, discusses the “Korda Moda” photography exhibition with Foothill College students and staff at an Oct. 23 event.

Natalia “Norka” Méndez knows a thing or two about being comfortable in her own body.

As the former Cuban model stood in front of a crowded room of students, instructors and media at Foothill College Oct. 23 on her 75th birthday, her composure offered glimpses of the confidence, perseverance and fiery attitude that helped her forge a place in history through the pages of international newspapers and fashion magazines.

Méndez gained international fame in the 1950s and ’60s as the favorite muse of renowned photographer Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez. Her success, she said, is all about being an “elegant and natural woman.”

Before blowing out the candles on her birthday cake, Méndez shared stories from her days modeling during Cuba’s golden age. With a Spanish father and an American mother, Méndez had a thin figure, a physical attribute that contrasted with the “thicker” image many in the Latino culture considered beautiful. It wasn’t in vogue for young women of her era to pursue creative careers, but her fate was sealed when she met Gutiérrez, the photographer behind “Heroic Guerrilla” – the iconic photo of Che Guevara the Victoria and Albert Museum identifies as the most reproduced image in the world.

“Being an artist was the last option to my family,” Méndez said.

Two artists, one heart

In what Foothill College photography and digital imaging instructor Ron Herman called the union of “two artists with one heart,” Méndez and Korda – the name Gutiérrez gave himself to mimic the sound and spelling of Eastman Kodak Co. – married and enjoyed success in the days before the Cuban Revolution.

But when Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959, extravagance and luxuries disappeared, along with fine fabrics and opportunities in fashion and modeling. After giving birth to two children, Méndez emigrated from Cuba to Germany, where she recalls struggling day-to-day to find work. She eventually made her way to Paris – fortuitously during a model strike, a circumstance that landed her the opportunity to model again.

In the years that followed, Méndez returned to Cuba to be with her family. Although many of Gutiérrez’s film negatives were destroyed in the Revolutionary Offensive of 1968, Foothill College Photography Department recently spent five months restoring some of the remaining images. It was during this process that the team organized Foothill’s “Korda Moda” exhibition, showcasing 30 of Gutiérrez’s couture fashion photos, including pictures of Méndez.

The exhibition is scheduled for display 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 6 in the Krause Center for Innovation Gallery at Foothill College, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. The gallery is closed Sundays and Nov. 11 and 28.

For more information, visit kordamoda.wordpress.com.

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Cuban model "Norka" visist Foothill College - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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