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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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LA Council Briefs

The Los Altos City Council took the following actions at its Nov. 12 meeting.

No fee change for EV charging stations

The council last week resisted changing the hourly charging fee for the city’s electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, despite numbers that show a cost-recovery shortfall for the program.

Ultimately, the council opted to re-examine the fee structure at the stations’ one-year mark in June after councilmembers appeared initially split.

According to a city staff report, the three EV stations – installed in late March in Parking Plaza 3 off San Antonio Road near the Bus Barn Theater – have cost $3,048 to operate but generated just $2,400 in revenue over the first six months. The $648 shortfall led some councilmembers to express support for increasing the stations’ $1 per hour charging fee.

Councilwoman Val Carpenter told her colleagues that she favored switching to a fee that allows the city to break even, adding that the stations offer an incentive for EV drivers to come to Los Altos.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary for the city to subsidize this program,” she said.

Councilwoman Jan Pepper said she was “comfortable” with a fee of $2 per hour, noting that the city also paid approximately $29,000 to install the stations earlier this year. In addition, she said, EV owners are more concerned with simply finding places to charge their cars.

“I think the issue right now for people who have EVs is knowing where there’s a charging station – not what the cost is,” Pepper said.

Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw, however, countered that his “greatest fear” is that a rate increase could lead to EV owners avoiding the Los Altos stations for cheaper ones elsewhere. The three dual-heading chargers, according to the report, collectively saw 1,145 charges at an average of two hours per session in their first six months.

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee recommended that the council revisit the issue in June, with additional usage data at their disposal before a final fee decision is rendered.

“I don’t think we should be subsidizing this,” she said, “but I don’t think we should be picking up pennies either.”

County DA commends Los Altos Police

A council presentation last week by the Santa Clara County district attorney included praise for the Los Altos Police Department in addition to new details about a recent burglary case.

District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen told the council that his agency – which prosecutes nearly 30,000 cases per year – is pleased to see the lengths that Los Altos Police Department officers and detectives go to solve cases.

“They are in size a small agency, but they make very big arrests,” said Rosen, a Los Altos resident. “Woe to the criminal that has the misfortune of entering into their jurisdiction.”

Rosen pointed to the recent arrests of two burglars – San Francisco residents Dennis Windham and Andre Marcell Clark – accused of breaking into a Los Altos home. As previously reported by the Town Crier, the duo was charged with burglarizing a Cristo Rey Place home in mid-October. That incident occurred days before Windham and Clark were arrested for another burglary after a car chase by Morgan Hill and San Jose police.

Rosen added that the Los Altos burglary charges came after an iPad stolen from the residence started pinging its location because it contained a locator app. That led detectives Mark Thompson and Scott McCrossin to drive up to Oakland, where they located the device at a pawnshop and obtained surveillance tape of the suspects, he added.

“Not every police department’s officers would’ve driven to Oakland, found that pawn shop, then worked with the pawnshop owner to show the surveillance tapes,” Rosen said.

Rosen also noted the arrest earlier this year of Los Altos resident Thomas Andrew Cronin for a string of armed robberies, including a pair of downtown banks. He said the department’s investigative work was “so strong” that Cronin opted to plead guilty in lieu of a trial and is currently serving seven years in state prison.

Rosen also sounded a word of caution for Los Altos residents, noting that elder fraud and abuse, in addition to real estate fraud, remain “quite prevalent” throughout the county.

Former commissioner selected for new post

The council unanimously voted to appoint former Planning Commissioner Ken Lorell to a vacant seat on the Los Altos Planning and Transportation Commission.

The vote came after the council conducted eight interviews for the seat, vacant since August. The Planning Commission was disbanded when the previous city council combined it with the Traffic Commission.

Senior Commission deadline extended

The council announced that the deadline to apply for one vacancy on the Senior Commission would be extended to Monday after no one applied during the initial search.

Applicants must be Los Altos residents 55 or older.

For more information, call 947-2720 or visit losaltosca.gov.

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