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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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High school foundation finances new science technology for classrooms


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos High School Foundation donated $150,000 in lab equipment for high school science classes. Meghan Stratz, a biotechnology teacher at Los Altos High, demontrates how the new transilluminator can identify characteristics of DNA strands.

The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District last month presented a Science Showcase, highlighting the $150,00 in lab equipment recently purchased to enhance the science curriculum.

The Mountain View Los Altos High School Foundation and Google Grants donated the funds for the new equipment. The foundation has made enriching the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program at local high schools a priority.

“A major goal is to focus on STEM education for all students and to do more than textbook learning,” said Superintendent Barry Groves. “We want to be hands-on and to be excited about science. These things that the foundation is supporting are the things that are going to make a difference for our kids.”

The Science Showcase consisted of several brief presentations from science instructors, who demonstrated the new bells and whistles available in classrooms this year.

Teri Faught, who teaches biology, earth science and environmental science at Mountain View High, said she was thankful for being able to purchase new specimens – two cow hearts and a sheep’s brain.

“Tangible specimens often inspire students to enter research or the medical field,” she said.

Digital microscopes also “brought life back to microbiology,” Faught said, adding that before acquisition of the new technology, the department was using 20-year-old slides.

Faught praised the classroom set of pressure cuffs and stethoscopes, noting that students became more engaged with the new equipment.

Steven Widmark, physics and earth science teacher at Mountain View High, presented a video showing students operating new equipment in classes. The students used Labquest 2 Data Collection Units to record information live during experiments dealing with distance and velocity. He also touted the use of a radio frequency responder that polls students after posing a question.

Mountain View High biology and chemistry teacher Anthony Gallego lauded the new technology, which aided his students during data collection. He explained the benefits of receiving 32 Microsoft Pro tablets.

“Students are no longer chained to the lab table,” he said. “These tablets allow robust data analysis. It allows students and teachers to project their work.”

Greg Stoehr, biology and environmental science teacher at Los Altos High, extolled the gift of digital microscopes. He projected slides on a large screen, demonstrating how both teacher and students can make annotations on each digital slide and save the images.

“The students spend more time analyzing,” he said. “This totally changes the way we teach with slides.”

Darren Dressen, chemistry teacher at Los Altos High, discussed the benefits of the miniature gas chromatograph, which assists students during experiments. He said the technology helps to answer students’ questions, encouraging their curiosity and engagement.

Los Altos High physics teacher Adam Randall uses a high-frequency vibration tool to study waves and patterns in his class.

Meghan Stratz, biotechnology teacher at Los Altos High, outlined a new course she was able to introduce at the school.

“The really neat thing about this course is that it allows us to tie in everything the students have learned or are learning in their bio, chemistry and physics courses to understand genetics at a better level,” she said.

Stratz demonstrated the transilluminator, showing the audience how students can use the tool to take pictures of DNA and identify characteristics that indicate a genetically modified organism.

“What I really appreciate about this is that we can now allow students to do real science or citizen science projects,” she said.

Mountain View High chemistry teacher Katie Thornburg addressed the donors in the audience.

“I would like to thank all of you for the contributions you have made,” she said. “You have made our program much richer and much more attractive in many, many ways.”

For more information on the foundation, visit mvlafoundation.org.

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