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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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Los Altos student wins Young Heroes award


Courtesy of Sruthi Ramaswami
Los Altos student Sruthi Ramaswami, fourth from right, works with students to lobby legislators in Sacramento.

Former Archbishop Mitty High School student Sruthi Ramaswami of Los Altos recently received the national Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. Ramaswami now attends the University of Chicago.

The Barron Prize annually celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young leaders from across America who have made a significant positive difference. The top 10 to 15 winners receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education.

While in high school, Ramaswami founded the Mitty Advocacy Project (MAP) to empower young people to make a difference in their communities via political advocacy. She created a legislative network of more than 1,000 students nationally who represent social-justice issues and interface directly with state and federal legislators.

Teams of students research topics such as poverty, education, immigration and criminal justice and then identify bills designed to address the issues. They lobby state legislators in Sacramento and have traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate at the national level. Five of the six bills they have lobbied for have been signed into law.

Inspiration and empowerment

Ramaswami began her work as a high school freshman, when a teacher inspired her to prepare for and participate in Catholic Lobby Day, an advocacy event designed to mobilize California Catholics to lobby state legislators.

“Mitty students were the only students who took part in the Catholic Lobby Day,” Ramaswami said. “I found that surprising and weird. I just had a fantastic experience and I felt others should have the opportunity so that they know students can be involved in politics.”

Inspired and empowered by that experience, she instituted MAP in her sophomore year to form a community of youth lobbyists to represent the interests of the less fortunate.

As the cornerstone of MAP, Ramaswami founded California Youth Advocacy Day, an annual event to promote civic engagement. For the past three years, more than 600 high school students have participated in the event, attending issue-specific workshops led by MAP students and then lobbying their legislators at the state capitol.

“As a young person, I felt empowered to work with politicians,” she said. “Legislators are pretty open to hearing from students. As intimidating as it might be to advocate, the legislators completely take us seriously. It feels good to have someone in power to listening to you.”

While working with MAP, Ramaswami became involved in promoting improvements to the state’s food-stamp program and helping those opposed to human trafficking. While volunteering for Sunnyvale Community Services, she learned that many who need services like food donations don’t know enough about the food programs, so she supported better dispersal of food-stamp program information.

MAP has grown to include 100 students at Ramaswami’s school and has expanded to more than 50 schools nationwide.

“I’ve learned that mobilizing people to believe in and work toward a common goal is not the purview of adulthood,” she said. “Motivation and self-belief trump age.”

Ramaswami is majoring in economics and continues to be involved in politics at the University of Chicago.

“I would encourage high school students to get involved in their community,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be talking to legislators – it can start small. It all starts with that belief that you can make a difference if you try.”

Author T.A. Barron established The Gloria Barron Prize in 2001 and named the award for his mother. Each year the award honors 25 young leaders as diverse as their service projects. They are female and male, urban and rural, and from many races and backgrounds. Half of the honorees have focused on helping their communities and fellow human beings and half have focused on protecting the environment.

For more information, visit barronprize.org.

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