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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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City manager recalls her roots


Town Crier File Photo
Los Altos City Manager Marcia Somers, center, enjoys a laugh with guests at an April 2012 welcome reception in her honor.

Marcia Somers assumed duties as Los Altos city manager in April 2012. The following Town Crier “e-terview,” an email interview, offers Somers’ account of how she stepped into a leadership position in a city bursting with activity. This is the second in the two-part series.

TC: Like many Los Altos residents, you have Midwestern roots. Where did you grow up and get your education?

Somers: I grew up in Bloomington, Minn., the original home of that state’s professional sports teams – Vikings, Twins and North Stars. I have fond memories of going to the Met Stadium for many sporting as well as community events. (As I recall, my high school graduation was held there as well.) Part of the larger metropolitan Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Bloomington had an outstanding public school district, extensive and award-winning city and county park systems, and an overall high quality of life. I followed (in the footsteps of) my two older siblings and attended the University of Minnesota.

TC: Have you ever been to Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the source of the Mississippi, and walked across the river without getting your feet wet?

Somers: Of course I have – hasn’t most every native Minnesotan? Itasca State Park is a national gem that a very small percentage of the American public has had an opportunity to visit and experience, so I consider myself lucky. Later in life I was also able to cross the river on a daily basis without getting my feet wet at all (way above the river on an enclosed walkway that was heated in the winter) when I was at the University of Minnesota.

TC: Did you also work in city governments in Minnesota?

Somers: Working for local government was nowhere in my sights as a young adult. I worked as a waiter in various restaurants in order to earn money to pay for tuition, books and other living expenses while in school. That experience, however, exposed me to all sorts of interesting people who helped me fine-tune my listening and customer service skills, which I’ve put to good use during my 28 years working in the public sector.

TC: What brought you to California?

Somers: After spending a summer working in Glacier National Park, I was encouraged by my co-workers to travel home with them to San Francisco. Other than a vacation with my family to the Seattle World’s Fair and a drive down the coast in 1962, I had not ventured this far west. As fate would have it, this post-Glacier trip resulted in meeting my future husband. But since I had plans to live and study in Europe shortly thereafter, I was off on yet another adventure after my brief visit here. I did ultimately move to California, married in 1976, completed my bachelor’s degree at San Francisco State University and obtained my master’s degree in Public Administration at Cal State Hayward.

TC: Tell us about where you live now and about your family.

Somers: I have lived in Campbell for 30 years. My husband and I have four adult children and four grandchildren – some who live in the Bay Area and others who are in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

TC: Where do you like to vacation?

Somers: My side of the family reconnects with biannual reunions, alternating between Minnesota, Colorado and California. My siblings and our children and grandchildren gather to spend a fun and laughter-filled week together usually in an area that offers lots of outdoor activities.

TC: What are your hobbies?

Somers: Back in the day (way back), when I had more free time, I sewed most of my clothes – business suits included (the fortunate result of having a mother who was an amazing seamstress/tailor). My almost 30-year commitment to public service is much more than a full-time occupation, so personal discretionary time is limited. However, my primary leisure interests include spending time with my family, reading, traveling and staying in touch with my far-flung relatives and friends through old-fashioned handwritten cards and letters.

TC: What do you see as the significance of SFMOMA coming to town with its temporary four-month exhibition?

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