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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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Father of vet killed in Afghanistan shares story with LA Rotary Club


Chuck Lindauer/ Rotary Club of Los Altos
Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos Nov. 14.

Judge Socrates “Pete” Manoukian praised the dedication and sacrifice of U.S. veterans in his appearance at the Rotary Club of Los Altos Veterans Day Luncheon Nov. 14.

The Santa Clara County Superior Court judge dedicated his presentation to his son, Matthew Patrick Manoukian, 29, a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan Aug. 10, 2012. Matt’s mother, Associate Justice Patricia Bamattre-Manoukian of the California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District, also attended the event.

Matt’s story

Matt Manoukian grew up in Los Altos Hills. His father traced the story of his son’s life, thanking by name the numerous teachers and friends who contributed to his development. Matt attended St. Nicholas Catholic School, St. Francis High, the University of Arizona, Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., and then infantry school.

According to his father, Matt strongly believed in “Pax Americana” (Latin for “American Peace”), a concept he learned at Foothill College that asserts that world peace is only possible if one superpower dominates or a benevolent democracy is established. Matt’s goal was to build a more peaceful world through service in the Marines, a dream he had since he was 7 years old.

Manoukian outlined some family history that emphasized the international aspect of his son’s dedication to serving his country: Matt’s grandfather had survived two Armenian genocide attacks in Turkey, then immigrated to the U.S. as a physician.

Matt was twice deployed to Western Iraq. His reports to his parents were always optimistic, his father said: “Everything’s great!”

Next, he was assigned to Helmand Province in Afghanistan, where he served as team commander, training Afghan police in advance of transitioning security to full Afghan control. In this role, Matt learned Arabic – a feat, said his father, because he had struggled to learn Spanish in school – and used it to converse with the local population. He befriended many Afghan children, and they in turn helped him by pointing out “strangers” in their village.

While learning the Pashto language, Matt adopted the custom of growing a beard to show respect for the local villagers. When times were tough, he told his men, “If they don’t eat, we don’t eat.” As Matt gained respect from the village leaders, they began calling him “The Lion” and he assumed a leadership role among them.

The captain continued giving positive reports to his parents, though he was injured twice by an improvised explosive device (IED). Manoukian said his son generally underreported his dangerous encounters and credited others whenever possible. Matt received many awards for his service, including two Purple Hearts and Navy and Marine Corps medals.

A loyal friend, when several of his friends were severely wounded in combat, Matt asked his parents to take care of them upon their return home. Matt himself never made it home – he was killed while on duty in Afghanistan. The Ceremonial Hall at Moffett Field is now named after him.

Manoukian praised the courage and sacrifice of several of Matt’s friends, who lost limbs and some their lives in military service. They, too, believed in bringing democracy to Afghanistan.

Foothill College veterans

Guests at the luncheon included Foothill College’s Veterans Resource Center manager Carmela Xuereb and several military veterans who benefit from the center.

Judy C. Miner, president of Foothill College, reported that 21,000 veterans are enrolled in post-secondary programs in California, including 16,000 in community colleges. To meet the needs of the 400 veterans enrolled at Foothill, the Veterans Resource Center provides academic counseling and a social outlet for vets to develop camaraderie and share their military experiences and goals. GI Bill Magazine for three years has designated Foothill College a “Veterans Friendly Campus.”

Miner praised Rotary Club member Ron Labetich, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, for founding the club’s Veterans Support Committee, which has generated a $28,500 scholarship fund in Matt’s memory. Labetich also led a fundraising campaign to purchase smartpens, braided graduation cords, a scanner, a laptop and a printer for the Veterans Resource Center. The committee’s activities have grown to include mentoring, legal guidance on benefits and community awareness of challenges facing veterans.

Several members of the Sereno Group who attended the luncheon pledged to donate 1 percent of their agent fees during fall and winter to the Manoukian scholarship fund.

For more information on the Rotary Club of Los Altos, visit losaltosrotary.org.

For more information on resources for local veterans, visit friendsofamericanveterans.com and foothill.edu/vet.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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