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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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The art and law of storytelling

I recently had a most enlightening experience from a very unlikely source. I was a guest at a law conference, where I was hoping to enjoy a lovely weekend at a resort on the ocean and a couple of luxurious spa treatments. However, I never made it to the spa and barely noticed the ocean view because I got completely caught up in actually attending the sessions. Unbeknownst to me beforehand, the theme of this particular conference was “The Art of Storytelling” – which, when you come to think of it, is an intriguing topic for almost anyone, and on so many levels. I was all in.

And then it got even better. They hired great storytellers to teach the lawyers how to be great storytellers. By that, I mean that they used “actors” to teach real-life lawyers how to be better lawyers. Who would have thought you could hone your real-life craft by learning from great pretenders? It was brilliant! The audience was introduced to actors and screenwriters from some of the great TV shows – some in person (really fun!), and some via numerous clips from law shows.

I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries and later became a great fan of law-centered TV shows. I remember “Perry Mason,” but my obsession with law shows really kicked in with “L.A. Law,” followed by “The Practice” and “Boston Legal.” I also suffered a brief, shameful dalliance with “Ally McBeal,” which I can barely admit to today.

I didn’t actually realize it at the time, but now I can see that what attracted me the most were the closing arguments. The writing was so compelling. When the defense presented its case, I became convinced it was right. And then the plaintiff would present his or her argument and blow holes in the defense, and I did a 180 and believed that side. I am not a lawyer myself, so I remained oblivious for the most part to the nuances of the actual accuracy in those arguments, but I didn’t care. Great storytelling is great storytelling.

In real life, court cases can drag on for days or months and are often onerous with dry, linear, factual details presented in a running monotone. In the entertainment industry, on the other hand, all of that time is compressed into sound bites that are presented with emotion and compelling hooks that draw you in and make you believe.

As a lawyer, one might want to reject the old approach in favor of using great storytelling that may distort data beyond recognition but produce an “aha” moment in the minds of listeners. Hollywood, of course, has always known this and was now sharing the “how-to” with the people who may need it most.

For those of us who love a great story – whether it’s a book, a movie or a TV show – learning more about how a story is constructed and delivered can enlighten our world, whatever our purpose or profession. I’m just saying … some people may call it “spin,” but it is a kind of magic that, when properly understood and practiced, can enrich many aspects of our lives. And a side perk may be that you become a much sought-after guest at dinner parties, where everyone wants to be seated next to you.

Sharon Lennox-Infante is a Certified Life Coach who lives and works in Los Altos. For more information, visit sharonlennox.com.

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