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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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Safari, so good: Traveling to Africa for a cause


Photo by Rich Carpenter/Special to the Town Crier
On her recent trip to South Africa, Rotary Club of Los Altos member Val Carpenter watched students at the Siloe School for the Blind perform and observed elephants at the Kings Camp watering hole.

My husband and I recently returned from a spectacular safari that also contributed to a good cause: raising money to support the service projects of the Rotary Club of Polokwane, South Africa. For more than a decade, Charles Hardy has organized weeklong safaris in May and August for eight guests at a time as his club’s primary fundraising activity.

We arrived in Johannesburg and spent the first night at a guesthouse in Pretoria, getting to know our safari companions over dinner. The following morning we were driven three hours to Polokwane and the homes of our hosts for the next two nights. At a formal dinner in our honor, we met a surprisingly diverse group of Rotarians and their spouses.

Our first game drive was in the Polokwane Game Reserve, followed by lunch at the Polokwane Country Club. We also visited the Siloe School for the Blind, where we toured the new music rooms built with the Rotary Club’s contributions and enjoyed a performance by their students.

The next morning we took a beautiful drive through the mountains to Kruger National Park. We spent three nights at Lataba Camp in the Fish Eagle Guest House in large individual bedroom suites with private baths and a great room with a full kitchen. Rotarian Celia Lister served delicious home-cooked meals featuring traditional South African fare between game drives.

For our final three nights, we stayed at the enchanting Kings Camp private game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park in a luxurious suite overlooking the watering hole beyond the swimming pool.

We visited in late August, at the end of the winter dry season in these mostly flat grasslands. Because the trees and shrubs had not fully leafed out, we had good views of the animals, though for such large creatures they blend in remarkably well. Cold mornings were followed by warm, sunny days. The night sky was clear and full of stars; seeing the Southern Cross constellation was a thrill for us Northern Hemisphere dwellers.

We saw an astonishing variety of animals, some from just a few feet away – zebra, giraffe, hippopotamus, crocodile, rhinoceros, leopard, lion, cape buffalo, honey badger, scrub hare, hyena, jackal, wild cat, baboon, monkey, antelope, wildebeest, warthog, mongoose, snake and many beautiful birds.

In one memorable morning game drive, we saw the Big Five – cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros. Viewing highlights included family groups with their young, a leopard with two cubs and a kill in a tree, several dozen hyenas devouring a dead cape buffalo and three male lions attacking a herd of cape buffalo.

Our week in South Africa ran like clockwork, with a full schedule and limited downtime. Accompanied by locals, we never felt unsafe. As they sing in Disney’s “The Lion King,” “hakuna matata” – Swahili for “no worries.”

Non-Rotarians are welcome on these trips. We highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. For more information, email Charles Hardy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Val Carpenter is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos and serves on the Los Altos City Council.

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