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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 time to plan is when it's not needed

I received a call last year from a woman who sounded desperate.

“I was just offered an early-retirement package from my company,” she’d said, the words rushed from anxiety, “and I’ve got two weeks to make a decision. Can you help me?”

I groaned inwardly, imagining the late nights ahead struggling to collect the necessary data, performing the analysis and clarifying the results in a way that would enable her both to understand and to take action. But of course I did what I could to help.

It’s not uncommon to put off planning for something until we see the need for it. That’s human nature. But it’s also risky. 

Have you made a list and stashed away emergency supplies in case of an earthquake? What about a tornado? The latter may sound remote, but one actually touched down in my backyard in 1998.

The cost and stress of recovering from an unplanned problem is usually much higher than if we had planned for it. And we typically learn this lesson after it’s too late. When was the first time you started backing up your computer hard drive – before or after your first disk crash?

A recent survey by Nationwide Financial found that 26 percent of potential investors do not have a financial plan. Even worse: 38 percent of those who do not have one have no intention of getting one.

“We live in an era when Americans are more responsible for their own financial security than ever before,” said Michael Spangler, president of Nationwide Funds. “However, for various reasons far too many haven’t taken the time to draft a detailed financial plan to help them achieve their goals over the short, medium and long terms. An effective plan is much more than opening a savings account or investing in your employer’s 401(k), it’s a map to ensure that you get to your financial destination.”

Without a financial plan, we are left unprepared for life’s big transitions, such as job loss, marriage, divorce, birth of children, buying a house, inheriting money, death of a loved one and other events that can have such a huge impact on the quality of our lives. The emotional upheavals these life transitions can cause make it extremely difficult to make good financial decisions when we’re in the midst of one. The time to plan is before the event so that we’ll be much better prepared to manage the transition and its financial impact effectively and avoid getting sidetracked by the pain and stress.

Probably one of life’s biggest transitions is retirement. U.S. News reported that in 2009, between 60 and 80 percent of baby boomers expected to work past age 65 as a way to overcome the devastation of the Great Recession. Unfortunately, many failed to consider the employment situation or their health as factors. As a result, according to a follow-up survey by MetLife, more than half of the first wave of baby boomers to hit retirement age stopped working before they had planned. Many still hope for part-time jobs or developing new careers but have been struggling to find them.

The missing element in their plans was the inclusion of alternative scenarios. As humans, when we make guesses about the future, we almost inevitably predict more of the same.

Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. When we include different scenarios in our plans, we reduce our vulnerability (both emotionally and financially) to unexpected changes. The younger you are, the more likely you are to face a curve ball or two at some point in your future.

To summarize, the time to make a financial plan for your future is now, not when you’re in the middle of dealing with a major life transition such as divorce or job loss. A robust plan should include several scenarios to ensure that you’re prepared for at least some of the major problems life could throw at you.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner and principal at Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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