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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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Music for Minors showcases song as science and craft


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
First-graders rattle and tap in a Music for Minors class last week in Cupertino.

First-grade teacher Kenzie Brand shepherded her troupe of 20 students into a Cupertino elementary school’s portable music room last week to the bopping rhythms of samba music. Music for Minors’ docent Daphna Rahmil hefted a guitar to lead them through the familiar words of “their” hello song – “I’m in the mood for singing, hey! How about you?”

Singing included much more than following her lead – students practiced vocalizing not piano, and not forte, but at just the right volume, and worked on learning the lyrics without Rahmil’s help. To “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” they practiced clapping the la-la-las, striking hands to anticipate the eight-fold percussives.

The nonprofit organization, founded in Los Altos, brings song and sound to schools across the Bay Area that lack music programming. Sometimes, parent groups muster together to find and train volunteers for the program. In other areas, school communities need even more assistance, and Music for Minors, with help from donors, sends in a professional music teacher to bring music to a school for the first time.

Supporters such as the Town Crier Holiday Fund help provide materials and a 50-hour training class for the primarily volunteer-led teaching project, which reaches approximately 18,000 students in the community each week.

A Music for Minors class loops the whole body into the process as young people learn to handle and silence instruments, and bob heads and swing hips to illustrate songs.

Brand’s class didn’t just learn a new song about thankfulness last week, they also picked up the sign language to narrate along with the tune. One student stayed after class as his peers careened off to recess, to ask Rahmil whether she knows music from everywhere. He was wondering whether they could sing the Indian national song sometime.

“The emotional, the social – the connection – should never be undervalued,” said Rahmil, a seven-year volunteer with Music for Minors. Her students learn standards-based musical skills such as singing on pitch, how to read rhythm notation and how to follow a tune. But they also take turns leading demonstrations and doing solo work, working together to make their sounds.

Brand described some of her students’ irresistible desire to move their bodies throughout the school day, and stressed how hard it can be to fit that kind of energy into a traditional classroom space.

“Here, I don’t have to limit that as much,” she said, noting how even though the class allows for physical expression, it also showcases students’ ability to channel their enthusiasm into following thoughtful directions.

Unless Brand plans a specific craft for her classroom, this one hour of music is their only arts class during the week.

“When you’re young, these things get ingrained in you,” Rahmil said of early musical exposure.

She described Music for Minors as opening a door for local young people to become creators of music, not just consumers.

For more information, visit mfm.org.

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