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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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Church's film screening reveals wounded veterans' struggles and triumphs


Courtesy of Didrik Johnck
A group of wounded Afghanistan and Iraq war vets scale the 20,000-foot Mount Lobuche in Nepal, chronicled in the movie “High Ground.”

Two members of Christ Episcopal Church in Los Altos decided to honor American military veterans by showing a movie, of all things.

Church Deacon Lauren McCombs and longtime Los Altos Hills resident Christopher Smith hosted a screening of the documentary “High Ground” for approximately 100 church members and local residents last week at the church’s parish hall. The award-winning 90-minute film depicts the struggles and triumphs of 11 wounded Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and one Gold Star mother as they climb to the summit of the 20,000-foot Mount Lobuche in Nepal.

The Nov. 6 screening at the church, held partially in honor of Veterans Day, ended with a brief panel discussion that included two military veterans, Smith and one of the film’s cinematographers, Oracle Corp. Senior Producer John von Seeburg.

McCombs said she had the chance to view the film – now available on Netflix – earlier this year and walked away inspired, wanting to share its messages with others. Specifically, she pointed to the detailed accounts in the film of the 11 veterans overcoming physical obstacles – such as amputations – as well as mental hurdles like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries to achieve their feat together. McCombs added that the film also offers stark reminders about the troubles some veterans face as they transition back into civilian life.

“I’m a pacifist, I need to say that to start, but I believe in our nation and I believe in those people who have served in the wars,” McCombs said. “I believe we need to support them when they come back.”

McCombs later added that the veterans’ experiences – what happened in the war and how they got wounded – made a profound impression on her.

“For me, that’s the part I recognize where we as a nation need to step forward and help transition them back,” she said.

Invisible wounds

East Bay native von Seeburg told the Town Crier he was thankful his employer, Oracle, gave him the time off to join the Nepalese expedition and film the veterans in action. Von Seeburg added that the veterans and film crew experienced “a really intense, emotional experience – and it wasn’t on the summit.”

“It was all of the things that happened day-to-day in our interactions with these guys that actually were the most meaningful,” von Seeburg said. “A lot of barriers were broken between us as filmmakers and them as soldiers. When you think about it, it’s really courageous for them to tell their stories on camera.”

Von Seeburg said the experience gave him a new appreciation for Veterans Day. He hopes the film spreads awareness about the debilitating issues some veterans face as they return home from war.

“It changed me – definitely did,” he said. “I came back understanding that some of the worst wounds are the ones you can’t see – it’s the hidden, invisible wounds that are some of the worst and the hardest to recover from. I never really understood that or knew that.”

A ministry to veterans

Smith, an 11-year U.S. Navy veteran and 40-year Los Altos Hills resident, noted that Christ Episcopal Church and its members are no strangers to military veterans issues. Smith and a group of church members supply pasta dinners once a month to recovering veterans and their families at the Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center.

“The challenges that they face, I’m just so impressed with them and their families,” Smith said. “You’re looking at a guy and you see that his wife is actually feeding him and you just think, ‘Wow, these people have a long, uphill climb.’ We really owe them a lot.”

In addition, five members of the church – including McCombs – cook dinner monthly for the families of veterans living at The Fisher Houses associated with the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto. The living facilities offer families a place to stay while veterans receive medical treatment at the hospital.

“We sit down with them, talk to them and offer them a meal. … It adds some normalcy to what they’re experiencing,” said McCombs, adding that the church also hosts an annual Valentine’s Day dinner and dance to raise funds for veterans at the hospital.

For more information, visit highgroundmovie.com.

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