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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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Hidden Villa's summer experience plants seeds that last a lifetime



Youth who attend summer camps at Hidden Villa benefit from both the social interaction and communing with nature. Town Crier file photo

Youth circle around a countertop island in a small kitchen learning to bake a cake as others converse under a grove of trees on an outdoor patio. Minutes later, with baskets and shovels in hand, the teens fan out across the farmyard to clean bedding from the pigpens and gather eggs in the henhouse.

There are no televisions, mobile phones or fast food anywhere in sight, but these campers don’t seem to notice. The magic of Hidden Villa – the 1,600-acre nonprofit organic farm and preserve in Los Altos Hills – sets in, giving modern adolescents a memorable experience with lasting impact.

“Overall, it just has the best vibe around it possible,” said 17-year-old Hidden Villa camper and counselor-in-training Steffan Salas. “It’s really a nonjudgmental place where you can be yourself. … It’s pretty hard to find a place like that.”

Salas, a high school senior from Menlo Park who has spent 11 summers at Hidden Villa Summer Camp, noted that camp counselors and other campers serve as an important support network as he navigates the pathway to adulthood. Last summer he returned to Hidden Villa for his first “official paying job” as a residential camp intern.

“It’s kind of cool to move on from a part of childhood and start acting and fulfilling an adult role here and in life in general,” he said.

Whether at day camps for first- through fourth-grade children, or wilderness camps in the Santa Cruz Mountains for eighth- through 10th-graders, molding young people into responsible citizens is an important component of the Hidden Villa experience, which has roots in promoting social justice since it hosted the nation’s first multiracial camp in 1945.

According to Hidden Villa Camp Director Nikki Bryant, staff members are trained to be educators who can facilitate conversations that encourage curiosity and critical thinking. Evening gatherings at the campfire allow campers to reflect on issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, family and the environment.

“We show them how the actions they perform are contributing to the well-being of the community they’re in,” Bryant said. “We reach for growth and connection in a way that the world often fails to do for people.”

Contributions from the Town Crier Holiday Fund and other donors enable youth of all socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in the Hidden Villa camp experience.

Nearly 50 percent of the 1,200 students who attend camp each summer are supported by a scholarship. Bryant said a stockpile of camp necessities like sleeping bags and swimsuits donated by local residents are also available, a measure that ensures a positive experience for every camper.

“We want (youth) to be somewhere where they can wander around without having to worry about the complications they’re used to in their communities,” she said. “Camp provides you with an opportunity to talk with one another, resolve conflict and be confident in what you do – something our society just doesn’t have a lot of systems for.”

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