Thu10022014

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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EPAK continues to have positive impact on Ravenswood teachers


Courtesy of tami espinosa
Ravenswood School District students benefit from special experiences, such as field trips, thanks to regular grants from the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation.

This year marks 20 years for the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation (EPAK). Its continued success isn’t owed to radical change – its hallmark is stability.

The mission remains the same: Provide a consistent source of funding for teachers in the Ravenswood School District so that they can pursue their own class activities such as field trips. EPAK funds projects otherwise unfulfilled within the financial constraints of a school district located in an economically disadvantaged area.

“I absolutely could not do without it!” said Allison Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at Brentwood Academy. “I supplement nonfiction with passages and articles printed from the Internet, but I believe having real nonfiction books in the class is really important for our students. … I know that if we can’t find funding in any other way, EPAK is our only option for helping to pay for buses for our science camp field trip in the spring. EPAK is amazing. They help provide critical supplies and funding for programs that students at my school depend on.”

“We’re still an all-volunteer board, we’re still serving all the teachers,” said Tami Espinosa, EPAK board president and principal at Ravenswood’s Brentwood Academy. “Still core to our beliefs is asking teachers what they want. We still believe teachers know what’s best for their classes. We want to empower them.”

One notable change to EPAK is the board’s decision to fund specialist teachers along with classroom instructors. EPAK currently funds 240 teachers serving 5,000 students annually, providing two $600 grants for each teacher.

The nonprofit organization has rebounded from an economically bumpy 2010-2011, when funding decreased as class sizes increased.

“Corporate giving has increased – the (individual) donor base has shrunk a little,” Espinosa said. “We’re working on increasing the donor base.”

She also wants to see an increase in board member participation. Having an expert in accounting on the board, for example, could be a big help come budget time.

Espinosa got involved in EPAK after being a recipient teacher eight years ago. Thanks to an EPAK grant, she was able to take her fourth-grade class on a field trip to Sacramento and Sutter’s Fort.

Teachers use some grants for tech tools such as projectors and e-readers. One teacher purchased iPod touches as a teaching tool for students with special needs.

“It’s fascinating,” Espinosa said of teachers’ creativity. “One of the good things about being on the board is hearing about all the ideas (for projects) from the teachers.”

Espinosa said the annual Town Crier Holiday Fund check makes a big difference.

“Getting thousands of dollars from (the fund) that has been loyal to us is pretty amazing,” she said. “It’s been that base that has given us a sense of security so that we can support teachers every year. … We don’t ever want to drop a grant cycle. Teachers depend on us.

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