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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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Community Services Agency sees need rise, help decline


Ellie Van houtte/ Town Crier
The Community Services Agency’s Food Nutrition Center provides residents in need with nutritious foods they could otherwise not afford.

Community Services Agency (CSA) Associate Director Maureen Wadiak has not only seen an increase in need locally – she’s seen the face of need become more diverse in 2013 as well.

While the agency has traditionally assisted working-poor individuals and families in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, a rise in the cost of housing (and other economic factors) has led to a recent increase in educated workers seeking help too, she noted.

“We’re seeing a lot of families being forced to relocate out of the area, and at the same time, we’re still serving more people than we did prior to the economic downturn,” she said.

The agency’s diverse population of need includes the likes of Jim, a 41-year-old unemployed semiconductor marketing and sales professional. Jim – whose name has been changed to protect his identity – said the allotment of food he receives from CSA’s Food Nutrition Center allows him to spend his limited funds on other living expenses.

“Food is very expensive, so the healthful food that they provide is something I appreciate a lot,” said Jim, who visits the organization’s Food Nutrition Center once or twice per week. “It’s definitely sufficient for me. I’m single, so I usually don’t take the allotment I’m allowed because if I take more than I need, it’s just going to go to waste. It’s not going to benefit someone else.”

“It’s an economic cushion,” Wadiak added. “Granted, we can’t be a grocery store, but we can certainly be that buffer that gives them a little bit of a cushion to absorb the increases in other things like rent.”

Referred to CSA through another Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – RotaCare – Jim added that the organization’s food center stands out because of its focus on health.

“It’s really helpful – vegetables, rice, beans, things like that,” he said. “It’s the vegetables I value most.”

The agency’s 2012-2013 fiscal year saw a 4 percent year-over-year increase in clients at its Food Nutrition Center, which offers fresh and packaged food items donated by local stores and nonprofit organizations. Food donations, on the other hand, have remained largely stagnant – from approximately 545,000 items in 2010-2011 to a four-year low of 532,221 in 2012-2013.

Wadiak noted that the agency has experienced an increase in other areas of service, including a 30.4 percent bump in its rent and utility assistance program in the past fiscal year.

The high cost of living in Silicon Valley, she added, has also had a noticeable impact on older residents living on fixed incomes.

“We’ve always had – in the past few years – anywhere from three to five seniors relocating out of the area because of the high cost of housing on an annual basis,” said Wadiak, noting that the agency’s senior lunch and nutrition program saw a 25 percent increase in 2012-2013.

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